Posted: Feb 10, 2012 6:19 PM
Updated: Feb 10, 2012 8:50 PM
State troopers are working on a new weapon to crack down on what's called doctor shopping. That's when people go from doctor to doctor trying to get multiple prescriptions for the same drug.
Pharmacists and doctors say they know how to spot doctor shoppers. They say it's a major problem. Now the state is working to put a stop to it.
Pharmacist Jesus Saenz has seen plenty of people who are trying to abuse prescription drugs.
"We usually we'll ask them, do you have insurance? ‘No, I want to pay cash, but I want the blue tablets.' So, that right there is a red flag. We don't have the medication," says Saenz. "I guess the blue ones might work better on them and they make sure that when they come into the pharmacy they're requesting the blue ones."
Pharmacists and doctors have to send reports on who's getting certain types of drugs to the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Texas Department of Public Safety. The report is a way for the state to keep track of doctor shopping.
By this summer, data on who is receiving what prescription drugs will be online, making it easier for doctors, pharmacists and police to figure out who is abusing prescription drugs and where they're getting them.
Dr. Matt Loewen says he runs into doctor shoppers a couple of times a month.
"A patient will call in and ask, do you fill prescriptions for pain medications or anxiety. And when they do, we will tell them the truth, which is I don't treat patients for chronic anxiety. I refer them to a psychiatrist. I don't treat patients for pain management; I refer them to the pain management doctor," says Loewen.
Loewen says doctors need to make sure they have an ongoing doctor-patient relationship and that they know their patients before prescribing drugs that can be addictive.
Next year, state lawmakers may consider requiring doctors and pharmacists to check the online database for abusers before writing or filling a prescription.