Somewhere in Pennsylvania — maybe in your very own community — a pill-seeking doctor shopper is making plans to trick a health-care professional into writing a prescription that isn't needed for medical reasons. Since Pennsylvania has yet to give physicians access to a narcotic prescribing database, scammers have a leg up in our state.
Sadly, some of these scammers are actually addicts, who need help.
September is National Recovery Month and the Pennsylvania Medical Society encourages our communities to consider what can be done to help addicts recover while also combating local doctor shopping. Free resources are available through the society's website, www.pamedsoc.org. Health-care teams can learn more about the red flags of a pill scam and how to help an addict. In addition, with help from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, information is also posted for addicts and their family members.
Finally, communities can also contact their elected leaders this fall and demand that physicians be given access to a database that will help them know if the person sitting in their exam room is a scammer or actually a patient with legitimate pain.
Bruce A. MacLeod
The writer, a physician who practices emergency medicine in Pittsburgh, is president-elect of the Harrisburg-based Pennsylvania Medical Society.
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