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Sun, Nov. 17

MATForce hails state ed on prescription drug abuse

Dr. Leon Cattolico

Dr. Leon Cattolico

The doctor who for years has led the Yavapai County Substance Abuse Coalition campaign to slow the number of prescriptions written for opioid pain relievers, is hailing the new educational outreach by Arizona's two state medical boards.

Prescription opioid pain relievers have taken the place of illegal drug concoctions to become the most commonly misused and abused substances, especially among young people who often first find the drugs in family medicine cabinets.

Opiod medications include hydrocodone (such as Vicodin), oxycodone (including OxyContin and Percocet), morphine, codeine, and related drugs. Hydrocodone products are the most commonly prescribed for a variety of painful conditions, including dental and injury-related pain.

Dr. Leon Cattolico, active with the Yavapai County Coalition, or MATForce, has long campaigned to have doctors register and use the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy's (ASBP) online Controlled Substance Prescription Monitoring Program (CSPMP), is hailing the actions of the Arizona Medical Board and the Arizona Board of Osteopathy to offer free medical seminars about prescribing opioid drugs to doctors throughout the state. As an incentive, the Opioid Prescribing Seminars are presented as free medical education credits around the state during August and September.

"They are presenting information describing the problem as it exists. Many physicians aren't even aware that there is a prescription drug abuse problem."

"They say, 'We have a problem and this is how you can help solve the problem since you are the originator of prescriptions of these opioid medications.'"

There is a full discussion of the curriculum by University of Nebraska Medical School.

"Part of the program involves the state board explaining to physicians some of the cases that come before the state board and shows how uneducated and naive some doctors were that were filling and refilling these prescriptions, without adequate documentation and testings," Cattolico says.

Both Board web sites have links that take consumers to a section titled Prescription Drug Awareness, that provides information about the drugs which may be habit-forming.

Yavapai County's MATForce has been a leader in actions to slow the prescribing of prescription drugs. Cattalico says the number of Yavapai doctors who are signing up to the CSPMP increased in participation from 17 percent to 40 percent. The county also is active in efforts to dispose of unused prescriptions.

"MATForce actually started doing this a year before the Criminal Justice Commission got us involved in the Governor's Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse Initiative," Cattolico recalls. "They piloted in three counties, with Yavapai being first because we were so far ahead. Now it is being used in five counties. Primarily, what we are trying to do is to get more doctors registered for and using this site so they would have better information about their patients. and perhaps cut down the amount of doctor-shopping that goes on."

The sites include a video Cattolico voiced for the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission on its site warning about the risks of pain management medications.

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