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A Nevada doctor who has had three patients die from prescription drug overdoses, is still allowed to prescribe narcotics. Investigation by the Nevada State Medical Examiners Board is in the process of being conducted, but during this process the doctor will still be allowed to see patients and write prescriptions.

Four independent medical doctors have reviewed the files of the three patients who have died and have contributed their death to their prescription drugs. The Nevada doctor has also admitted in a sworn deposition that he did not perform a physical examination on one of the patients who overdosed and died. Instead, he admitted to giving her large quantities of drugs because she "asked for them."

Since this investigation, a dozen more complaints have been logged with various agencies. In one such case, a patient and self-described drug addict, was prescribed narcotics with no questions asked and no examinations required. In more than two years the patient has filled prescriptions for 13,760 narcotic pain pills, an average of 510 a month.

The Nevada doctor is not solely to blame, the pharmacy who filled the prescriptions could have been more proactive. Pharmacists are allowed to deny a prescription if they think it’s fraudulent, if they think it’s going to hurt the patient, or if there’s no legitimate medical purpose for the drugs. This puts pharmacists in a tough position to second guess a doctors judgement, but when a patient is filled narcotic prescriptions for 1,020, 1,020, and 1,170 pills in a three month span, something is wrong.

Nevada’s medical regulatory system has to be entirely reformed. The Nevada doctor’s behavior may have never been brought to light if not for a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) drug consumption analysis in July 2008. Nevadans rank No. 1 nationally in per capita consumption of Lortab/Vicodin, and 4th for consumption of methadone, morphine, and OxyContin. Since the DEA’s report, the Nevada medical community is finally taking action, and trying to put a stop to doctors who prescribe narcotics for the wrong reasons.

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