A man in his 40s with chronic pain from a traumatic arm amputation, a history of alcohol and cocaine use disorders, and depression presented to the emergency department with suicidal ideation. While he awaited placement at a psychiatric hospital, a member of his care team accessed the state’s prescription drug monitoring program website, revealing a large number of oxycodone and clonazepam prescriptions. How many exactly? A medical student copied the records into a spreadsheet program. The patient had received a 90- to 120-day supply of these medications every month for the last 7 months. Even more curious, “doctor shopping” (receiving prescriptions from different prescribers) could quickly be ruled out because all the prescriptions appeared to be written by his primary care physician.
Wright AP, Becker WC, Schiff GD. Strategies for Flipping the Script on Opioid Overprescribing. JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(1):7-8. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.5946