New York to sharply limit prescription painkillers in ER rooms
Prescription painkillers are the most abused drugs in America. NYC is trying to do something about it.
City officials said the policy was aimed at reducing the growing dependency on painkillers and preventing excess amounts of drugs from being taken out of medicine chests and sold on the street or abused by teenagers and others who want to get high.
“Abuse of prescription painkillers in our city has increased alarmingly,” Mr. Bloomberg said in announcing the new policy at Elmhurst Hospital Center, a public hospital in Queens. Over 250,000 New Yorkers over age 12 are abusing prescription painkillers, he said, leading to rising hospital admissions for overdoses and deaths, Medicare fraud by doctors who write false prescriptions and violent crime like “holdups at neighborhood pharmacies.”
But some critics said that poor and uninsured patients sometimes used the emergency room as their primary source of medical care. The restrictions, they said, could deprive doctors in the public hospital system — whose mission it is to treat poor people — of the flexibility that they need to respond to patients.