Preventing Prescription Painkiller Deaths

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

Officials say an Internet check-up on narcotic prescriptions could stop most "doctor shopping" for painkillers in Mississippi, but few doctors use the voluntary system -- and some pharmacists cannot even use the Internet from work.

Marshall Fisher, executive director of the state Bureau of Narcotics, tells The Clarion-Ledger that 95 percent of Mississippi's drug overdose deaths are from abuse of prescription drugs. At least 173 Mississippi residents died of overdoses last year.

The Board of Pharmacy has operated the prescription monitoring program since 2005. It lets physicians, pharmacists and other authorized officials look at all of a patient's prescriptions of controlled substances.

But state officials say fewer than one-third of Mississippi's physicians use it. And some chain pharmacies bar employees from using the Internet at work.


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