April 23, 2014  Last Update: April 21, 2014, 9:13 pm

NYC Task Force: “Patients simply do not understand how addictive these painkillers can be”

New York City’s Task Force on Prescription Painkiller Abuse released data today revealing that 8,000 health care providers (15 percent) prescribe 82 percent of prescription drugs in New York City. This news accompanies data showing a 22 percent increase in overdose deaths related to prescription drug abuse.

The Task Force is concerned about these high-prescribers:

“Our report shows that some doctors are prescribing prescription painkillers at an alarming rate, and data is the key to turning the tide,” said Chief Policy Advisor John Feinblatt.

The Task Force on Prescription Painkiller Abuse is a group of local health and law enforcement officials, co-chaired by Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs and Chief Policy Advisor John Feinblatt. The Task Force proposes updating New York State’s drug monitoring program with more timely, accurate information so doctors and pharmacists can avoid over-prescribing.

“In the face of opioid abuse, it is critical that we educate providers, pharmacists and patients on the potential dangers of painkiller misuse or overuse,” Deputy Mayor Gibbs said in a press release. “Strengthening our drug monitoring system will help us work together to ensure that well-intentioned providers don’t inadvertently overprescribe these pills – with potentially dangerous consequences –and that we have the information we need to investigate those who are actively engaging in criminal behavior.”

The Task Force is highlighting the high-prescribers in New York City as part of the opioid abuse problem, and wants all high-prescribing doctors to complete eight hours of training in opioid dependence prevention. The task force also wants prescribing physicians to provide patients with written warnings of the dangers of prescription painkillers. The rationale:  patients simply do not understand how addictive these painkillers can be.

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New data: 82% of prescription drugs in NYC prescribed by just 15% of health care providers. Drug Task Force wants changes.
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