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Prescription Drug Abuse

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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 23, 2013 | By Lisa Girion and Scott Glover
Federal authorities Friday raided the office of a doctor suspected of prescribing narcotic painkillers and other widely abused medications to patients who had no legitimate need for them. Undercover agents posed as patients at John Dimowo's offices in Wilmington and Anaheim and were able to get prescriptions for addictive drugs without the doctor examining them, the affidavit states. Dimowo, a pain doctor featured last year in a Times investigation into prescription overdose deaths, is a prolific prescriber of painkillers, such as Vicodin , writing an average of at least 37 prescriptions a day, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
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NATIONAL
April 16, 2014 | By Timothy M. Phelps
WASHINGTON - Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. has been crusading for more lenient treatment for nonviolent drug offenders, making it a top priority before he is expected to leave office this year. Recently, however, he has been forced to confront an epidemic of deaths from heroin and prescription drug abuse, one that his opponents have cited as a reason for not loosening drug sentences. In prepared remarks for a speech Wednesday, Holder cited the "stunning rise in heroin and prescription opiate overdose deaths" and vowed the Justice Department was committed to "rigorous enforcement" of the drug laws and "robust treatment" of drug addicts.
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ENTERTAINMENT
May 7, 2013 | By Christie DZurilla
Brooke Mueller, ex-wife of Charlie Sheen and mother to his twin boys, has been getting treatment for prescription drug abuse since Friday, according to her rep. "Brooke is currently at UCLA Medical Center where she has been since being admitted May 3," Steve Honig told the Ministry in a statement. "She will be there for several more days, and will likely transition directly into a residential treatment facility to get help for prescription drug abuse. " That's contrary to a report that Mueller had been involuntarily checked into the medical center for care on Wednesday.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 21, 2014 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO--A last-minute effort to forge a legislative deal on medical malpractice damages - and avoid a bruising initiative battle between lawyers and medical providers--has stalled, parties involved in the discussions said Friday.  Trial lawyers and consumer groups have squared off against doctors, insurance companies and hospitals over caps on pain and suffering damages in malpractice cases. Those rewards have been capped at $250,000 since 1975, when the state enacted the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, or MICRA.  The lawyers have been gathering signatures for a ballot measure that would raise the cap to approximately $1.1 million.  It would also require doctors to be drug tested and to check a statewide database when prescribing certain medications to stop prescription drug abuse.
HEALTH
October 8, 2001
"Misuse of Pain Drug Linked to Hearing Loss" (Sept. 10) brings to light an important aspect of drug abuse: the potential for substances to cause varied and sometimes nonintuitive effects. However, I must take exception to the implication that physicians are responsible for the epidemic of prescription drug abuse in this country. Our efforts to combat prescription drug abuse are hampered by our fragmented, litigious society. Though most physicians leave the decision to prescribe narcotic painkillers to a patient's primary care doctor, many drug abusers have multiple physicians whom they see as their "primary doctor" and from whom they receive medications filled at several different pharmacies.
NEWS
April 20, 2011 | By Marissa Cevallos, HealthKey
Prescription drug abuse is a crisis in this country, federal government officials said Tuesday, and it’s time to do something about it.  Specifically, they want to cut opioid abuse by targeting the people who prescribe the drugs and the users who obtain them. The report “ Epidemic: Responding to America’s Prescription Drug Abuse Crisis ,” recommends a four-part strategy to reduce painkiller overdoses. Essentially:  -- Increase education, particularly among parents and children, about prescription drug abuse.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 16, 2013
Join us at 9 a.m. when we talk with Times reporter Scott Glover about three bills related to drug prescriptions awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown's signature. Last week, state lawmakers passed an ambitious slate of reforms aimed at giving authorities better tools and broader powers to crack down on doctors who recklessly prescribe narcotic painkillers and other commonly abused drugs. The three bills, which garnered strong bipartisan support, await a signature from Brown  that would make them law. Brown, who as attorney general railed against prescription drug abuse and pill-pushing doctors, declined through a spokesman to say how he would respond to the bills.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 31, 2013 | By Scott Glover and Lisa Girion, Los Angeles Times
The state Senate on Thursday unanimously passed the last bill in a broad package of proposed reforms aimed at combating prescription drug abuse and mounting overdose deaths in California. The bills, inspired by a series of investigative stories in The Times, would help authorities track drug abusing patients as well as doctors who overprescribe painkillers and other addictive narcotics. One bill would give the state medical board the power to immediately suspend the prescribing privileges of doctors suspected of putting patients at risk.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 26, 2013 | By Lisa Girion and Scott Glover, Los Angeles Times
The Medical Board of California on Friday embraced a host of reforms aimed at combating prescription drug abuse and reducing overdose deaths but balked at a proposal to strip it of its authority to investigate physician misconduct. The board, meeting in Los Angeles, voted to support proposed legislation that would upgrade the state's prescription drug monitoring system, require coroners to report prescription drug overdose deaths to the board, and give the panel new power to halt a doctor's prescribing in some cases.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 1, 2013 | By Scott Glover and Lisa Girion, Los Angeles Times
Fearing lawmakers may fail to pass a package of medical reform bills, a coalition of consumer groups and trial lawyers is mounting a campaign to put before voters an even more ambitious slate of initiatives aimed at curbing prescription drug abuse and holding doctors more accountable for misconduct. About two dozen state and national advocacy groups - including the Consumer Attorneys of California, California Nurses Assn., the Center for Public Interest Law, and Public Citizen - have been organizing privately since December and plan to unveil the campaign at the state Capitol on Thursday.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 24, 2014 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO--Seeking to avert a costly initiative battle, state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) has introduced a bill to serve as a vehicle for a legislative compromise on California's medical malpractice law.  The measure is brief: just one sentence stating the Legislature's intention to "bring interested parties together to develop a legislative solution to issues surrounding medical malpractice injury compensation....
NATIONAL
February 11, 2014 | By Daniel Rothberg
WASHINGTON - White House drug czar R. Gil Kerlikowske on Tuesday called for making naloxone, a drug that has been highly effective at reversing heroin overdoses, more widely available to emergency-care providers and other first responders. Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, also urged states and local communities to pass "good Samaritan" laws to provide immunity from criminal prosecution to individuals who call for emergency help during an overdose.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 27, 2013 | By Scott Glover and Lisa Girion
Gov. Jerry Brown signed two bills Friday aimed at curbing prescription drug abuse but vetoed a third that could have helped the state's medical board identify reckless doctors whose patients died on pills they prescribed. The three bills, which garnered strong bipartisan support, were spurred by a series of investigative reports in The Times that linked drugs prescribed by doctors to nearly half the prescription-involved overdose deaths in Southern California from 2006 through 2011.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 16, 2013
Join us at 9 a.m. when we talk with Times reporter Scott Glover about three bills related to drug prescriptions awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown's signature. Last week, state lawmakers passed an ambitious slate of reforms aimed at giving authorities better tools and broader powers to crack down on doctors who recklessly prescribe narcotic painkillers and other commonly abused drugs. The three bills, which garnered strong bipartisan support, await a signature from Brown  that would make them law. Brown, who as attorney general railed against prescription drug abuse and pill-pushing doctors, declined through a spokesman to say how he would respond to the bills.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 15, 2013 | By Scott Glover and Lisa Girion
Since her son Joey fatally overdosed in late 2009, April Rovero has warned schoolchildren, coeds, cops and congressmen that it was too easy for the 21-year-old college student to get the prescription drugs that killed him. In speeches from Sacramento to Washington, she complained bitterly that authorities had suspected a Rowland Heights doctor of reckless prescribing for years but did little to stop her. Rovero's son was one of at least eight...
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 10, 2013 | By Scott Glover
Two bills aimed at combating prescription drug abuse and overdose deaths in California won unanimous approval in the Senate on Tuesday and were headed for the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown. The proposed legislation, inspired in part by a series of investigative reports in The Times, would help authorities better track prescriptions for painkillers and other addictive narcotics and allow for enhanced scrutiny of deaths involving such drugs. SB 62 by Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) would require coroners to report prescription overdose deaths to the Medical Board of California for review.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 15, 2013 | By Scott Glover and Lisa Girion
Since her son Joey fatally overdosed in late 2009, April Rovero has warned schoolchildren, coeds, cops and congressmen that it was too easy for the 21-year-old college student to get the prescription drugs that killed him. In speeches from Sacramento to Washington, she complained bitterly that authorities had suspected a Rowland Heights doctor of reckless prescribing for years but did little to stop her. Rovero's son was one of at least eight...
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 9, 2013 | By Lisa Girion
The state Assembly on Monday passed a pair of bills aimed at staunching prescription drug abuse and the mounting overdose death toll in California. Propelled by a series of investigative reports in The Los Angeles Times , the bills would help authorities track drug-abusing patients as well as doctors who recklessly prescribe painkillers and other addictive narcotics. The bills now head back to the Senate, where they originated and won overwhelming approval. If the Senate passes the latest versions, which include Assembly amendments, the bills would move on to Gov. Brown for final approval.
OPINION
August 16, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
The growing death toll from prescription drug overdoses reflects the increased use of powerful painkillers and psychotherapeutic drugs, many of which are addictive and toxic when misused. Since The Times' Scott Glover and Lisa Girion began highlighting the problem late last year, state lawmakers have responded by trying to plug the information gaps that enable patients and doctors to abuse the system. Those efforts are slowly yielding results, although not to the extent that's needed.
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