AG Zoeller: can always use a “work around” to get at doc’s license ?

AG cracks down on painkillers from doctors; a look into prescribing

AG cracks down on painkillers from doctors; a look into prescribing

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Doctors overprescribing painkillers is a growing problem in Indiana. In 2015, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller took action against 140 license holders for alleged violations of overprescribing, drug dependence or drug diversion.

Zoeller said pain used to be treated as the fifth vital sign but now, doctors think of pain a bit differently.

“We still manage and treat pain, it’s still very important. But we recognize there is a time and place for opioids, so we do a lot more evaluation and assessment,” said Nicole Pugh, risk manager at Franciscan St. Elizabeth Health.

If you want some pain medication, it’s a process.

“Most practices and facilities are doing like a urine drug screen and just making sure that if they are prescribed an opioid, that they are actually taking it and they are not selling it,” Pugh said.

Doctors even make you sign an agreement now.

“We also specify that they have to be seen every four months at a minimum face to face so that we can do the proper evaluation and assessments to make sure that they are taking it appropriately,” Pugh said.

Zoeller said most doctors are following procedure but there are still some overprescribing to the extreme.

“The most recent one, it was over 150 prescriptions a day,” Zoeller said. “So there’s literally not enough hours of the day to have written that many after seeing a patient and making sure that you’ve checked, inspect, making sure that it’s safe.”

Zoeller’s office has no control over medical licenses, but often the solution is taking away a doctor’s prescribing license which is monitored by federal government. He said he has ways of getting around the fact he doesn’t control prescribing licenses but it doesn’t always work out.

“When I bring a case against a doctor, I often say if you will give back your DEA prescribing license, we’ll let you keep your medical license,” said Zoeller. “But if they’re not willing to do that, we have to claim that they are a risk to the public and we have to do what we have to do.”

Zoeller said he’s doing all he can to stop those overprescribing doctors, but he worries what may happen when addicts can’t get their painkillers anymore.

“The good news, there will be fewer people entering the stages of addiction,” he said. “The bad news, when we cut off prescription drugs people turn to heroin.”

Tuesday night on News 18 at Six, we plan to look into a recent Indiana law allowing anyone to buy NARCAN over the counter.

5 Responses

  1. […] AG Zoeller: can always use a “work around” to get at doc’s license ? […]

  2. ok,,lets do the math on this,,Docs see 5 patients an hour,right,,,soo that 40 patients a day,,for 1 doc,,right,,so say he writes 2 scripts,,,that 80,,,for 1 Doc,,,now,,,if there are 2 Doc’s in practice,,thats 160,,,Now I know my primary shares his office for financial reason for a lease,but the practice is under his name,,point being there are very legit reasons for 150 scripts,,and 150 of what???Plus the fact that soo many Docs are dropping people,,,this is soooo screw’d up its frightening,,,,Never ever does the media/ dr.government mention, chronic PHYSICAL pain people,,and their needs,,,ever,,,maryw

  3. Also wanted to add, where was Zoeller in math class??? The more he extorts doctors for their CSR licenses and the less doctors in the state that can write for controlled substances, then the pain patients have to be picked up by other pain doctors OF COURSE the number of pain prescriptions they write for is GOING TO GO UP!!! Obviously he slept through math all through his entire schooling!!! I went with my friend to her pain management appointments, it didn’t last very long, many times she saw the ANP, that was the face to face visit, the UDS was done and the script was given. so if the doc has ANPs and PAs In our state they can write for CIIs, The visit wasn’t a full blown was similar to what my typical PCP visit was..vitals, how are things going, any other problems, any scripts you need renewed, OK, see you in 4 months…10 mins tops!!! GIve me a break…if the office hours are later than 8-5 than yes it is possible to see 150 patients especially if you have 2 or 3 NPs and PAs seeing patients. I can’t wait to vote out our AG!!!! I will cross party lines to do it too. I did it for our school superindendent, yet our state legislature screwed every state voter by going over our heads and stripped her of her powers and pretty much everyone in our state will most likely be voting these bums out in November!! He just makes me made every time he opens his mouth!!

  4. How about they’re not addicts in the first place but legit chronic pain patients…so the docs are forced to cut them off…what the he’ll are.these pain refugees supposed to do when they get desperate and no other doctor will.take them??? Of course they’re going to to resort to the black market….they’re not really addicts they’re refugees

  5. How about some actions against doctors knowingly putting patients in danger by cutting working meds and/or putting patients on drugs they know are dangerous to the patient’s particular situation just so they don’t have to prescribe opiates? Not to mention the rash of knowingly erroneous diagnosises made based on no appropriate tests (read: fibromyalgia) as an excuse to push antidepressants????

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