When we think about prescription pain killers, or opioids (aka opiates), we think about doctors who write for them. Well, they are only part of the source of the supply of these drugs. With the deluge of patients on the medical system, due in part to an aging population, and increases in treatment modalities, state medical boards have allowed an entire army of other prescribing sources. Doctors just don’t have enough hours in a day to meet the demand, so physician assistants (PA’s), nurse practitioners (NP’s), and others in some states, have taken up the slack.
Unfortunately, when you get more players in the prescribing arena, you get less oversight by the boards that created them. Especially in this day and age of post recession when medical board budgets are strained. There are fewer investigators to keep track of all of these new writers of dangerous drugs.
The federal government is clamoring for more oversight, but the states have yet to respond. Sure, most states have implemented prescription monitoring programs, but most are not require mandatory reporting. The pain killer to heroin to overdose death spiral has cost too many lives already. it is time we put human lives before greed, with required monitoring and increased oversight of prescribers.