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Study: Doctors Could Do More To Prevent Prescription Drug Overdoses

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Sharyn Morrow / flickr

A prescription bottle of Vicodin is shown, on Dec. 17, 2005

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California has an online database called CURES, that physicians can use to see if a patient is doctor-shopping for dangerous drugs. A new study from two San Diego doctors suggests a lot of drug overdose deaths could be prevented if more physicians used the database.

The study examined all of the 254 prescription-related overdose deaths in San Diego County in 2013, most of which involved the use of prescription painkillers. In 73% of the fatalities, people took drugs that were in the CURES system.

Dr. Roneet Lev, emergency medicine physician at Scripps Mercy Hospital, and Dr. Jonathan Lucas, San Diego County deputy medical examiner, discuss Monday on Midday Edition what steps physicians and patients could take to help reduce the number of drug overdose deaths.

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