Delaware cracks down on "doctor shopping"

    Governor Markell signs law designed to help doctors know exactly what prescriptions their patients are receiving, in an effort to reduce prescription drug abuse.

    With a massive increase in the number of people being treated for prescription drug abuse, Delaware Governor Jack Markell (D) has signed a measure that increases the state’s capability to monitor prescription drugs dispensed by pharmacists.

    Senate Bill 235 will create a database of prescription information that doctors will be able to check before prescribing potentially addictive pain killers.  The prescription information will be entered by pharmacies and is designed to help doctors know exactly what prescriptions their patients are receiving.

    Markell says the problem of prescription drug abuse has skyrocketed in Delaware in recent years.  “We have seen prescription drug related arrests increase more than 600% since 2003,” Markell says.  “Robberies and burglaries of Delaware pharmacies are at an all time high.”

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    Earlier in the day, Governor Markell was in Washington, D.C. for the unveiling of a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that showed a 400% increase in substance abuse treatment admissions for prescription pain relievers.  The report shows that the  explosion of prescription drug abuse from 1998 to 2008 spans every demographic.

    Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy R. Gil Kerkikowske joined Markell as he signed the bill outside Christiana Hospital.  Kerkikowske says when he first became the nation’s “drug czar”, he was surprised to learn of the extent of the prescription drug abuse problem.  “We see more people dying from drugs, led by the spike in prescription drug overdoses, ahead of gunshot wounds,” Kerkikowske said.  He says Delaware is the 43rd state to establish a prescription drug database system, adding that the program has seen success in other states where it has been implemented.

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