Should prescription painkillers be restricted in the ER?

usa_today_logoMayor Michael Bloomberg recently introduced new restrictions on opioid painkillers for New York City public emergency departments.

I give my take on the issue in a USA Today column: ER key to curb painkiller abuse.

Prescription drug abuse is a growing national tragedy. One of the biggest culprits is opioid painkillers, such as OxyContin and Percocet. Shockingly, more than 200 million such drugs are prescribed annually, accounting for more than 16,000 deaths a year. Significantly more people become addicted to opioids, many of which have chemical similarities to heroin.

Most opioids are prescribed in the doctor’s office, which has prompted some states to restrict primary care physicians like myself from prescribing them and to encourage referrals to pain specialists.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has taken these curbs a step further by focusing on emergency departments.

Enjoy the piece.

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