By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - A growing number of state medical societies and state legislatures are taking a careful look at how doctors are prescribing medications, in particular narcotic medications for chronic pain.
Personally, I am in favor of this because the vast majority of physicians are finding themselves in a quandary. Clearly there are patients who need strong pain medications to deal with chronic problems ranging from nerve damage to cancer, but there are many patients who are addicted to prescription pain medications and hop from office to office and emergency room to emergency room. They learn the buzzwords to say and the stories to tell and they are quite imaginative and effective. To make things worse there is a huge underground market for these narcotics.
Oxycontin, fentanyl and many others are sold on the streets and people have learned that they can fake health problems to get medications and turn them around. The pharmaceutical companies keep making stronger and more effective medications to help those who truly need them and that seems to be adding to the illegal use. The problem is greater than at any time in my medical career and physicians need training and strong regulations to help them control the problem as well as they can.