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San Diego Doctors Discuss Ways To Help Curb Prescription Drug Abuse

Photo caption: Dr. Roneet Lev chairs the San Diego County Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force...

Photo credit: Kenny Goldberg

Dr. Roneet Lev chairs the San Diego County Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force. She spoke at a meeting in San Diego on March 11, 2015.

Hundreds of doctors gathered in San Diego Wednesday to discuss ways they could reduce prescription drug abuse.

Prescription drug overdoses have surpassed car crashes as the leading cause of accidental death. Opiate painkillers and anti-anxiety drugs have been among the major culprits.

The San Diego County Prescription Drug Task Force says doctors can play a role in helping to reduce the problem.

Hundreds of local doctors gathered Wednesday to discuss the task force's recommendations.

The task force suggests before physicians prescribe painkillers and anti-anxiety drugs, they should check a statewide database to see if patients are doctor shopping. They should also have patients sign an agreement that lists the dangers of these drugs.

Task force chair Dr. Roneet Lev said physicians need to change the way they practice.

"People are dying. Something has to be done," she said. "It's not safe, and it's not acceptable for people to be dying from prescriptions we give, and these are all potentially preventable deaths."

Health officials say over the last five years, 1,260 San Diegans have died from a prescription drug overdose.

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