A new study finds doctors who were informed of their patients’ deaths from prescription opioids were less likely to prescribe the drugs for new patients.
The doctors also issued fewer high-dose prescriptions over the next three months, compared with doctors who did not receive a letter informing them of patient overdose deaths, according to The Washington Post. In total, there was almost a 10 percent reduction in the total amount of opioids they prescribed.
The form letters stated, “This is a courtesy communication to inform you that your patient (Name, Date of Birth) died on (date). Prescription drug overdose was either the primary cause of death or contributed to the death. We hope that you will take this as an opportunity to join us in preventing future deaths from drug overdose.”
Many doctors who prescribe opioids may believe that addiction is a problem that happens to other doctors’ patients, because they never find out about their own patients who died of an overdose, the article notes.
The study, published in Science, followed doctors for three months after they received the letters.
The above original article can be found by clicking here.
Although this is a good move, it’s certainly not nearly enough. We need to attack doctors in their wallets and with their loss of freedom. We believe that every single doctor who prescribes opioids, without someone being in the last few weeks of a very painful death, should be treated no differently than street drug dealers. In other words, they need to be held accountable in a court of law and serve prison time. There is no difference in the two types of drug dealers, except one wears a white coat and has a medical degree! To me, the medical degree should make them more accountable rather than greedy to the point of killing the patients who trust them. Also, if they are reported to be prescribing opioids, their licenses need to suspended for one year so that they do not earn a penny. A repeat offender should lose his or her license for a lifetime. They should also be mandated by the court system to do community service.