Doctors Gave No Reason for 1/3 of Opioid Prescriptions: Study - NBC 6 South Florida
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Doctors Gave No Reason for 1/3 of Opioid Prescriptions: Study

"Lack of robust documentation undermines our efforts to understand physician prescribing patterns and curtails our ability to stem overprescribing," one doctor says

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    Hydrocodone-APAP. Hydrocodone is an opioid derived from codeine and thebaine. Hydrocodone is an orally active narcotic analgesic (pain reliever) and antitussive (cough suppressant). Shown here are generic pills that contain 10 mg of hydrocodone and 325 mg of acetaminophen (paracetamol). The trade name for this combination is Norco.

    New research shows that about one-third of doctors who prescribed opioids in the buildup to the opioid overdose epidemic gave no reason for doing so, according to NBC News.

    In 29 percent of cases between 2006 and 2015, doctors's opioid prescriptions had no explanation for why they were written, a team from Harvard Medical School and the Rand Corp. reported Monday.

    "Whatever the reasons, lack of robust documentation undermines our efforts to understand physician prescribing patterns and curtails our ability to stem overprescribing," said Dr. Tisamarie Sherry, who worked on the study, in a statement.

    Federal agencies have said that inappropriate prescribing practices contributed to the crisis that saw 42,000 people die in 2016 alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been encouraging doctors to prescribe opioids only when necessary.

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    Medical marijuana could be the answer to overcoming the nation's opioid epidemic, but so far the only evidence cannabis can relieve pain comes from patients. That's because the federal government considers marijuana a Schedule 1 drug, highly restricting research. 

    (Published Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018)