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The Wall Street Journal featured an article last week that addressed the topic of drug tests for chronic pain patients. Doctors are becoming more cautious about their involvement in prescribing narcotic painkillers since the number of people abusing the drugs and overdosing on them has continued to rise.
By requiring a urinalysis prior to giving out any prescriptions the doctors can usually tell if people are taking elevated levels of the drug as well as whether or not they’re using other drugs. The practice serves as a cautionary measure for both the patient as well as the doctor.
On one hand it can help save a patient’s life by helping to catch a possible substance abuse problem while also hopefully preventing more overdoses. On the other hand it helps protect doctors from a liability standpoint, since they also usually have patients sign declarations that they’re not abusing the drugs or getting the same prescription from multiple doctors.
Treating chronic pain patients with narcotic painkillers while also trying to avoid substance abuse problems can be a very fine line at times, often because of the tolerance factor and high potential for abuse these drugs have.
If you have a family member struggling with prescription drug abuse and want more information about intervention services, contact us today.