Database to curb doctor shopping, drug abuse

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OKLAHOMA CITY — According to the Centers for Disease Control, Oklahoma uses about 120 million dosage units of Hydrocodone each year. We rank number one in the nation in prescription drug usage per capita.

Last year, a staggering 715 Oklahomans died of drug overdoses; eight in 10 Oklahoma deaths are prescription-drug related.

Last year, OU star linebacker, Austin Box, died after he took too many prescription pain pills.

Former OSU head basketball coach Sean Sutton admitted to so-called “doctor shopping” to feed his addiction to pain killers.

Now State Representative Pat Ownbey wants to beef up some current legislation designed to help doctors know who is prescribing pain pills.

Ownbey says, “It’s only effective if all the doctors use the system. So what we’re saying is before you write that prescription, take a second and check what prescription that patient has been prescribed.”

The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics created this database back in 2006.

Already, Oklahoma doctors and law enforcement can keep track of patients who have been prescribed hundreds of controlled dangerous substances.

Ownbey says, “The database is in place but if you don’t use the system, it doesn’t do any good. I think it could save a lot of lives.”

They are expecting some push-back from the medical community.

More than 70 percent of doctors are using the system but many say they don’t want to be forced to log on.

Oklahoma is the only state in the nation with this type of “real- time,” prescription-monitoring database.

There are three similar bills in the legislature this session aimed at forcing the medical community to comply.

LINK: Read more on Prescription Monitoring Program.