Doctors in the South Write Up to Three Times as Many Painkiller Prescriptions as Other States, Legislative Action May be the Cure

Doctors in the South Write Up to Three Times as Many Painkiller Prescriptions as Other States, Legislative Action May be the Cure

The Insurance Journal recently reported on a Southern trend – a trend that is not too flattering for our medical professionals. The article showcases a color coded depiction of the United States where you can see how many prescription drugs are being prescribed per 100 people in that state. The Southern states, including North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi, maintain a shade of purple – signifying the prescription rate between 82-143 prescriptions per 100 people.

Florida, a state that used to fall victim to a large number of drug overdoses, reversed its trend and passed legislation that caused a 23 percent decrease in prescription drug related deaths statewide.

One glance at the chart details how prevalent prescription drug abuse is in the United States and especially in the South. As seen by state specific research reported in this article, it may be time to call out to the legislature to hold our medical professionals and our doctors’ offices accountable. States that have seen results after passing legislation include Florida, New York, and Tennessee, to name a few.

The biggest fraud on the market requires prescription drug users to visit multiple doctors to receive multiple prescriptions, because in most states there is no way for the doctor to know if a patient has already been prescribed something from another office. New York alone saw a 75% drop in patients who were seeing multiple doctors after passing legislation implementing a state wide drug monitoring program and requiring the doctor to search the program before writing a prescription.

In North Carolina, the patient has to visit the doctor to receive a prescription. If something should happen after the patient takes that prescription, the doctor’s conduct will be measured against what another reasonable doctor would have done in those circumstances. With this standard, so long as the doctor did not observe anything unusual in the patient, checked their symptoms, and had no knowledge of the patient abusing drugs, it is likely that the doctor would not be held liable so long as their conduct was reasonable.

Currently, North Carolina falls into the deepest shade of purple allowed by the chart, signaling between 96-143 painkillers being prescribed per 100 people in this state. By implementing a state wide drug monitoring program in North Carolina, the standard of care for our medical professionals would change, because a reasonable doctor would check the program prior to prescribing the painkiller. This would not make it more difficult for you to receive your pain prescriptions, so long as you are not abusing your prescriptions.

According to research done by the Center for Disease Control, the rise in prescriptions cannot be explained by the fact that those in the south are less healthy. Unfortunately, the main cause is likely attributed to overzealous prescription writing and lack of state resources to circumvent the problem; resulting in not only higher prescription rates for the southern states, but also higher overdose rates for those states as well.

If you or someone you know has been harmed or even died due to the actions of a medical professional, call an experienced medical malpractice attorney today for your free consultation.