Specific Issues Legal Implications

Ihe Drug Enforcement Agency licenses physicians (along with state agencies) to administer or dispense controlled substances. However, it is state law that determines most prescribing regulations. All physicians should be aware of state laws regulating controlled substances prescribed in their practice setting. For example, some states mandate reporting the use of schedule II agents, and some states limit monthly dosing. Prescribing narcotics to a known drug addict could result in restriction of the physician's medical license in some states. However, if a patient refuses to acknowledge his or her addiction, the physician cannot be held accountable unless medical records at the facility where the patient presents document the addiction. In all states it is illegal for patients to forge or alter prescriptions. In some states it is illegal for patients to use aliases or factitious illness to obtain narcotics. Further, in some states, concealing previous or recent prescriptions for narcotics when requesting narcotics from a new practitioner is illegal. Physicians should ask patients about previous addiction and recent treatment with narcotics.

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