NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Doctors could soon be forced to keep a closer eye on their patients painkiller prescriptions.
The Obama administration wants doctors to use the databases to track their patient’s prescriptions.
A federal proposal would require doctors to log onto pill-tracking databases before prescribing pain pills to track patients’ patterns, and prevent opiate addiction.
Massachusetts already has a prescription monitoring program, which gives doctors the ability to see their patient’s history. Once they log on, they can see how many prescriptions their patients have, how many pharmacies they go to, and the prescriber.
Dominique Simon-Levin, the director of Allies in Recovery, said the goal is to stop drug users, and drug dealers from ‘doctor shopping.’ “What somebody will do is go to different doctors and complain about a certain pain. If you’re new to the doctor, they may not know about any addiction, and might give you a prescription for opiate pills for your pain. Then, you go on to the next doctor,” she said.
Opponents argue the proposal would be time-consuming, and could take away from patient care.
Caroline Shelton of South Hadley said she thinks it’s a way to stop an addiction crisis that’s affecting the entire country. “If we have that information, that could show someone’s history with pill abuse, then maybe we can curb that right there. I think it’s definitely a good idea to do,” she said.
Some states already have prescription tracking programs, but doctors aren’t required to use them.