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DEA cracking down on narcotic abuse

Published on April 22nd, 2010

The Concord Monitor had an article about the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s recent enforcement against the practice of nurses taking doctors’ orders orally to order patients’ narcotics and anti-psychotics by phone. Pharmacies are required to have written authorization from a doctor before filling prescriptions for narcotics such as Percocet, OxyContin and Vicodin.

The move is aimed at protecting nursing home residents by preventing nursing home staff from diverting or dispensing the powerful painkillers without doctor authorization.  Of course, the nursing home industry does not want to pay doctors so they are whining about the DEA’s enforcement.

Few nursing homes have pharmacies on site or doctors on staff.   However, federal regulations and professional standards mandate licensed staff to treat residents’ pain immediately.

 See NY Times article on this issue here.

The DEA changed the standard to make it easier for nursing homes to give narcotics to residents by allowing nurses to dispense controlled painkillers to nursing home patients if the patient’s doctor electronically transmits a prescription to a pharmacist.   See article from Wisconsin Rapid Tribune.

Joe Pioletti
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