Friday, January 27, 2012
Doctor shopping is a major concern for officials trying to stop the prescription drug abuse epidemic crippling this country. Florida emergency rooms have become a frequent stop for addicts looking for pain killers. Doctor shopping typically involves a patient going to a number of different doctors to get prescriptions for the same drugs. Before the advent of databases such practices were considered easy, now it has become more difficult and patients have begun going to the emergency rooms looking for their “fix”. Some doctors are afraid to go to work due to a number of patients becoming violent.
Addicts go to hospital emergency rooms to get prescriptions for their habits, usually during off hours or on a Friday when it's more difficult to check with the patient's primary care physician. County leaders and doctors from Florida Hospital and Orlando Health announced a new plan last Wednesday to cut off people addicted to pain pills, WFTV learned. The announcement was made at the Orange County Administration building, where doctors claim the problem is so bad they're being threatened by the addicts.
Guidelines for doctors to consider before treating a patient have been formed for all Orlando Health and Florida Hospitals, officials said. Hospitals will start tapping into a regional health care database to keep track of repeat visitors, said officials.
"Have your doctors ever been threatened by people who they refuse to give the drugs to?" WFTV reporter Daralene Jones asked.
"Yes. At many different hospitals there have been threats to doctors, nursing staff, and we want to maintain the hospital as a safe place for people to come," said Josef Thundiyil of Orlando Health.
Doctors told WFTV they want lawmakers to stiffen penalties for people who assault the doctors who treat them.
"Addiction is best treated and pain is best treated if there is a single person treating it," said Thundiyil.
Officials with the Center for Drug Free Living said their centers are at capacity and the state wants to cut nearly $1 million next year, unfortunately, more money will be needed if this problem is to be combated.
"We have to turn people away every day," said Dr. Stacy Seikel of the Center for Drug Free Living.