Next year there will be more and more states banding together to link their prescription drug databases. The article in the Boston Globe says that "with federal money and prodding, states are being asked to sign on to an agreement allowing police, pharmacies, and physicians to check suspicious prescription pill patterns from Nevada to North Carolina." In Maine, we have the system that works intrastate and it is awesome. What's interesting, though, is the fact the the local DEA guys and police cannot get onto the website. For those who don't know, that website lists meds like narcotics, benzos and stimulants and tells you how much a patient was prescribed and by whom. It is meant to cut down on drug abuse. This brings me back to the inability for police or federal officials to access this information. When I found a drug seeker recently who had been making the rounds, the DEA just listened to me but couldn't corroborate what I was saying because he was shut out of the website. Civil liberty groups want to continue this block because they fear legitimate prescriptions would lead to investigations. It's a conundrum but I lean to more open access on this one. Prescription drug abuse kills and robs the healthcare system of billions in dollars a year. Besides, it is a blast catching narc seekers and turning them in! We docs don't often get that much excitement.
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