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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

Online painkiller database appears helpful

‘Doctor shopping’ reduced by 30%

A two-year-old online database that allows Massachusetts physicians and others who prescribe painkillers to check whether their patients may be addicts who are “doctor shopping” for powerful drugs appears to be helping stem that abuse, state health officials said Wednesday.

An analysis of a small sample of providers enrolled in the program showed a 30 percent drop in the number of their patients with questionable activity — defined as patients who filled four or more narcotic prescriptions from at least four pharmacies within six months.

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