drug monitoring

12.20.16: Prescription Pain Meds & The Seventh Fire

Dec 20, 2016
J. Stephen Conn via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/agvt1z

Since 2011, authorities have attempted to curb the growing opioid epidemic by monitoring prescribers, limiting doses, and cracking down on so-called pill mills. The goal is to limit access to addicts. But what do those restrictions mean for the estimated 25 million Americans who suffer from chronic pain?

Plus, The Seventh Fire - a documentary follows two men through the cycle of poverty, addiction, and crime on a northern Minnesota Indian reservation.  

This is a story about what can happen when no one is looking. For the patients at Universal Pain Management, a medical clinic in northern Los Angeles County, Dr. Francis Riegler is always looking.

Riegler huddles with the clinic's nurse practitioner over a computer printout. The one-page report from the state's drug-tracking system shows that a patient was on the hunt for more Vicodin, a powerful pain reliever that he was already getting from Riegler's clinic.

Flikr Creative Commons / Dvortygirl

A governor’s commission has released a report detailing surprising levels of prescription drug abuse in New Hampshire. The commission’s findings give weight to a push to create a prescription drug monitoring program in the state.

According to the report, almost 17 percent of 18 to 25-year-olds in New Hampshire say they have abused prescription drugs in the past year. That’s the second highest rate in the country.