‘Death Diaries’ reveal lessons about prescription drug epidemic

From the Tribune:

  • With the nation in the throes of a prescription drug and opioid epidemic, a doctor in San Diego is helping lead an effort to learn from overdose deaths to prevent future fatalities.
  • The “Death Diaries” project examines what drugs killed 254 people in 2013, what they were being prescribed, and by whom.
  • Dr. Roneet Lev found several troubling patterns, including doctor shoppers, people mixing drugs with other substances and physicians who don’t seem to be paying attention to the prescription drug histories of their patients.
  • Hundreds of doctors got a surprise letter in the mail, informing them that one of their recent patients had died from a drug overdose. The letters are part of an experiment to see if doctors change their prescription practices.

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