To help combat pain, doctors use opioids as part of their arsenal. For those with chronic pain, continuing to use opioids may lead to a lifetime of addiction, and sometimes some doctors will give out those pills for a price.
As a doctor or nurse, you took an oath to care for those in your charge. Do you work for a clinic or a doctor’s office where opioids and opioid prescriptions get handed out liberally? Are you seeing and hearing things that may be illegal? You may work for a pill mill.
What is a pill mill?
“Pill Mill” is a term coined by investigators to describe a doctor, clinic or pharmacy that dispenses or prescribes narcotics, such as opioids, inappropriately or for nonmedical use. Federal law makes prescribing pain medication without a valid medical reason illegal.
Law enforcement agencies may file drug trafficking charges if a doctor or pharmacist prescribes or fills a prescription deemed not valid.
What are the signs?
Pain management clinics may be a pill mill in disguise. Those who run these clinics may shut them down to evade law enforcement. Here are other signs to look for:
- Accepts cash only
- Pills are the only treatment
- Security guards are present
- A person picks their own medicine
- No x-rays or medical records needed
- Many people are always waiting
- The clinic has its own pharmacy
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 65% of overdose deaths in Pennsylvania involve opioids. In 2018, providers wrote 49.9 prescriptions for every 100 patients, but how many go unreported because of doctors running pill mills?
If you recognize these signs at your clinic, removing yourself from this situation may save your personal and professional reputation.