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SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY

Prescription Pads Play Key Role in Drug Abuse

from the San Francisco Chronicle

Los Angeles (Associated Press) -- The small pads that doctors use to scribble out prescriptions, a seemingly innocent part of the medical profession, have played a role in the surge of prescription drug abuse.

Take a diagnostic imaging center in the San Fernando Valley where investigators in March found thousands of unsigned pads that were stored there as part of a suspected Medicare fraud scam. Or the case of Dr. Lisa Barden in Riverside County, where authorities found she had pads stolen from a dozen doctors to obtain Vicodin and OxyContin.

There's a growing sentiment among law enforcement and some legislators that in the computer age it no longer makes sense to rely on paper "scripts" that drug abusers and pill pushers can steal or fabricate to get what they want. Those who are trying to combat prescription drug abuse believe creating a system that provides a direct link from a doctor to a pharmacy may be the best and more cost-effective solution.

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