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DEA: Potential signs to a physician that a patient might be seeking drugs

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  1. The Cats Dream
    If you've ever wondered why you are treated the way you are when you go to the doctor's for relief of acute or chronic pain, this might give some insight.

    Many physicians have requested a list of the possible indicators that a patient might be seeking controlled substances for the purpose of diversion or abuse. DEA has provided this type of list in various publications over the years. While not an exhaustive list, the following are some of the common behaviors that might be an indication the patient is seeking drugs for the purpose of diversion or abuse:
    • Demanding to be seen immediately; Stating that s/he is visiting the area and is in need of a prescription to tide her/him over until returning to the local physician;
    • Appearing to feign symptoms, such as abdominal or back pain, or pain from kidney stones or a migraine, in an effort to obtain narcotics;
    • Indicating that nonnarcotic analgesics do not work for him/her;
    • Requesting a particular narcotic drug;
    • Complaining that a prescription has been lost or stolen and needs replacing;
    • Requesting more refills than originally prescribed;
    • Using pressure tactics or threatening behavior to obtain a prescription;
    • Showing visible signs of drug abuse, such as track marks.
    What are the general legal responsibilities of a physician to prevent diversion and abuse when prescribing controlled substances?

    In each instance where a physician issues a prescription for a controlled substance, the physician must properly determine there is a legitimate medical purpose for the patient to be prescribed that controlled substance and the physician must be acting in the usual course of professional practice.\31\ This is the basic legal requirement discussed above, which has been part of American law for decades. Moreover, as a condition of being a DEA registrant, a physician who prescribes controlled substances has an obligation to take reasonable measures to prevent diversion.\32\ The overwhelming majority of physicians in the United States who prescribe controlled substances do, in fact, exercise the appropriate degree of medical supervision--as part of their routine practice during office visits--to minimize the likelihood of diversion or abuse. Again, each patient's situation is unique and the nature and degree of physician oversight should be tailored accordingly, based on the physician's sound medical judgment and consistent with established medical standards.

    Note Item#2:
    Appearing to feign symptoms, such as abdominal or back pain, or pain from kidney stones or a migraine, in an effort to obtain narcotics;
    This might explain why I have been treated like a drug seeking criminal over the years every time I tried to get help for my back pain or migraines. Thank God I ultimately found non-narcotic drugs that work for both.

    From http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/fed_regs/notices/2006/fr09062.htm (go to the end, then scroll up 1 page).

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