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The rise of prescription drug abuse


Narrator:       This is Science Today. Pain is the most common reason that patients go to see a doctor, and yet pain management is not widely taught to medical students.

Fishman:        We're not taught about what pain is, how to treat it or about the complications of the treatment.

Narrator:       Dr. Scott Fishman is one of the nation's foremost pain medicine experts and is the chief of the Division of Pain Medicine at the University of California, Davis Medical Center. Fishman says there's currently a public health crisis of prescription drug abuse in this country as the street abusers have shifted from abusing illicit drugs to abusing prescription drugs. Fishman says the most commonly abused drugs are the morphine-type painkillers, such as Vicodin and Percocet.

Fishman:        What we're seeing is there's a much higher amount of doctor shopping than we ever thought. That's multiple providers of the same prescription being sought after by patients, then to be filled at different pharmacies, none of which are known to each other.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.