Crackdown on pain medication coming - 8 News NOW

Crackdown on pain medication coming

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Chris Gordon Chris Gordon

LAS VEGAS -- Las Vegas valley doctors may soon have a much harder time writing prescriptions for pain management. The Nevada Medical Board of Examiners is planning to tighten restrictions in the next year.

The move follows the recent arrests of local doctors including Vinay Barraria at Centennial Hills Hospital who is charged with selling oxycodone in the parking lot. And another doctor, Victor Bruce, who wrote oxycodone prescriptions for people he had never seen as patients.

Problems with pain pills are surging in southern Nevada. Drug rehabilitation facilities say this is the most widespread addiction for young people and teens who are opting to break into their parent's medicine cabinets to get high.

"It's a national epidemic. This is the number one health problem acknowledged and recognized in the nation right now," said Chris Gordon, admissions director for Solutions Recovery.

In an effort to address the problem, many states -- including Nevada -- are now cracking down on how many pill prescriptions physicians can write.

"It's refreshing to hear that the medical board finally is doing a little something," Gordon said.

Some doctors have raised concerns the crackdown could stop patients, who have have constant and chronic pain, from getting access legally to the medicines they need. One doctor is concerned this could make all doctors afraid to prescribe pain pills because their fear getting arrested.

"The easiest thing to do is not to prescribe pain medications when it's appropriately needed and that I think would be a mistake," said  Dr. Mitchell Forman, Nevada State Medical Association. "I'm not trying to be cavalier about prescribing these medications. I think they have a place in the healthcare system. I think when appropriately prescribed, they do wonderful things."

He believes enforcing existing laws and educating patients could be ways to stop pain pill addiction before it starts.

Another concern is that people, who legitimately need pain medication and have trouble getting it, could turn to illegal drugs such as heroin.

The Nevada Board of Medical Examiners says it will take months before it could toughen these standards and the proposals are considered "best practice" in the medical community.

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