Armed with new data, officials target 'drug-dealing' doctors

(Image Credit: David Pacey / CC BY 2.0 / MGN)
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PITTSBURGH (AP) - Federal prosecutors say a strategy that gives them better access to drug and health-care data is helping them stop doctors who irresponsibly prescribe addictive pain pills.

It's called the Justice Department's Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit. The unit provides authorities in 12 regions with information on which doctors are prescribing the most, how far patients will travel to see them and whether any have died within 60 days of receiving a prescription.

The unit's first indictment involved a Pittsburgh doctor accused of prescribing opioid painkillers to people who did not need them. Such pills are blamed for ushering the nation into its worst drug crisis in history.

Some experts say the focus may cause patients who legitimately need pills to be abandoned by doctors who fear prosecution.

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