Doctor shopping limited under proposed law

Next year, the legislature will consider a new law requiring doctors and pharmacists to check a state database before writing and filling prescriptions.

Doctor shopping, visiting different doctors to obtain pain medications, has become a common trend. Overdosing is also seen more nowadays as a result.

According to the Texas Pain Society, seven million Americans over the age of 12 abuse prescription drugs for non-medical purposes. In 2009, 99 percent of the world's hydrocodone was used by Americans.

"Sometimes the physicians prescribe medications not realizing the patient is getting that medication from somebody else," Poison Control Center Director Dr. Jeanie Jaramillo said. "And with the variation of medications out there, it's really easy to have two drugs that do basically the same thing but have different names."

State Senator Tommy Williams said emergency room doctors are seeing more overdoses from prescribed medications that from illegal drugs.

"Currently, the abuse of prescription medications is the fastest-growing problem in the United States," Dr. Jaramillo stated. "Prescription medications are just as dangerous as illicit drugs are and they think if a doctor prescribed the medication or it's in their home that it must be safe."