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More than 111,000 people died as a result of a drug overdose between April 2022 and April 2023, according to the most recent federal data. Compared to January 2015 data—when deaths reached 47,523—today’s overdose numbers have increased a staggering 133%. Medical Economics recently created a checklist of red flags to watch for in patients who might be seeking prescription pain medications as a way to ward off cravings or withdrawal associated with substance use disorders. Most pertinent among the flags to watch for: “Your patient comes in telling you the dose, the medication, and the quantity.”

Everyone’s on task: From drug take-back days in communities to federal policies to encourage more physicians to treat addiction disorders, everyone in the healthcare ecosystem has a role to play in addressing the opioid crisis. Too often, the prescribers on the front lines are making the toughest decisions as they balance pain management with risk of addiction while also attempting to judge the credibility of their patients.

Physicians Fight Drug-Seeking Behavior