Program To Curb RX Abuse Not Adequately Utilized By OK Doctors
OKLAHOMA CITY - Prescription drug addicts who need a fix often go from doctor to doctor, getting new prescriptions written each time. There are procedures to keep so called "doctor shopping" from happening, but as News 9 found out, few doctors are using it.
The legislature will study the issue this summer, but according to Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics less than one in three doctors use the program.
Dustin Harvick was addicted to Loritab for about 10 years. He took as many as 40 pills a day and became an expert at doctor shopping.
"Dentist to dentist, doctor to doctor, hospital to hospital, they don't check, they just pass it out," Harvick says.
Harvick finally got help at Men's First Step Recovery, but over the course of his addiction he says he probably visited 200 or 300 doctors.
"Maybe somebody would check once a month, maybe," he recalls. "And you figure I was going 10 to 15 different places a month."
At Thrifty Pharmacy, Dani Lynch says she catches doc shoppers frequently.
"Multiple times a day," Lynch says.
Clearly, Lynch says the doctors writing the prescription and other pharmacies aren't using the Prescription Monitoring Program, or PMP: a quick online check that takes less than 30 seconds.
"It's very frustrating, very frustrating," Lynch says.
According to OBN, of the approximately 10,000 doctors in Oklahoma, 3,500 are signed up on the system. Seventy-six percent of those actually use it.
"I have felt like we do utilize the PMP fairly well, especially when you take into account the physicians that don't prescribe controlled substances," says Lyle Kelsey, Executive Director of the Oklahoma State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision.
Kelsey believes most doctors who do not use PMP, and never have, don't understand how easy it is. He argues more doctors are using it every year. Still he agrees more doctors should be using PMP.
"We have to do something to try and correct it," Kelsey says. "We think we can do a big part of it through education, but we may have to look at something stronger."
However, Kelsey, stops short of supporting a law that would make using the program mandatory.