There are obvious-and not so obvious-signs to look out for when it comes to drug-seeking patients
As doctors, we know the complications the opioid epidemic can cause. We have all seen patients who were seeking drugs, whether we recognized it or not. And I would hazard a good guess that we've all fallen for prescribing controlled substances to a seeker at one point or another in our careers.Doctors and other healthcare providers want to do our best for our patients. When they are in pain, we want to alleviate it. But, we are often conflicted when we are treating a patient in pain because so many tried to scam us in the past and we cannot honestly tell which ones are telling the truth or not.Below are 13 potential red flags that a patient is seeking drugs:
Your patient comes from a town where few other patients come from, far from your office.â¨ Maybe even across state lines.
Your patient comes carrying records that are from several years ago, and the patient has been carrying these same records around to many different physicians.
Your patient comes telling you the dose, the medication and the quantity he/she/they wants. Your patient doesn’t want to listen to anything you have to say.
Your patient isn’t willing to consider any other treatments. Patients who are truly in pain want it to stop. They are willing to try most therapies that would make that happen-a drug seeker only wants the medication.
Your patient calls when the office is closing or right before the weekend or a holiday requesting a prescription.
Your patient lies or his/her/their story doesn’t make sense. It is imperative to take a detailed history. Often, there are inconsistencies in a fictitious story.
Your patient exaggerates his/her/their symptoms. A patient can walk into the office fine but hold a hurting body part or start moaning in pain once in your presence. Don’t be fooled by tears, either. Many drug seekers are convincing actors.