In a previous posting I wrote about the CURES program in California. Under this program every controlled substance dispensed, from the six pack of Vicodin given to go from your local ED to controlled medications dispensed by Pharmacies, is required to reported to the CURES program. CURES is administered by the California Department of Justice. Data collected include the dispenser, date, time, drug, amount, and person dispensed to. Health Care providers can currently obtain a written report on patients under their care on just what they have received from all the various sources. Soon this database will be available online instantly for Health Care providers. This information is also available to Law Enforcement upon their request for cause. The need for this level of monitoring has become necessary in light of the medical communities inability to police itself. The outcome of reckless prescribing was highlighted recently in a Archieves of Intermal Medicine article here.
In a recent press release the Attorney General announced the arrest of some of the most flagrant prescription drug violators. Here is one
California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced a crackdown on rampant prescription drug fraud in California, including the top fifty abusers who average more than 100 doctor and pharmacy visits to collect massive quantities of addictive drugs like Valium, Vicodin, and Oxycontin.
“These prescription drug addicts are abusing the system, draining time and money from hundreds of doctors and pharmacies who are there to help real sick people, not con artists,” said Attorney General Brown. “On my order, California Department of Justice special agents launched a statewide search for the most aggressive prescription drug addicts. We want to end these dangerous cycles of fraud and abuse.”
Launched in June this year, the new crackdown has already led to the arrest of dozens of suspects, including Frankie Greer, 53, who visited 183 doctors and 47 pharmacies to feed a prescription drug habit that included some of the most dangerous painkillers in lethal combinations. In a one-year period, Greer sought out multiple doctors at hospital emergency rooms to prescribe her over 4,830 hydrocodone tablets, 2,210 oxycodone tablets, 156 Oxycotin, along with a variety of additional addictive painkillers.
Think Frankie was consuming all those drugs. Probably selling as many as she took for herself. The loose prescribing habits driven by the patient satisfaction push and the fear of being accused of not treating the firth vital sign have provided a steady supply and a nice income for many of our ED patients.
Now I am no fan of Jerry Brown, California’s Attorney General and former Governor, known as Governor Moonbeam. He is way left of my leanings but he has it right on this subject.