Some people who can no longer “doctor shop” to get multiple prescriptions for opioid painkillers because of stricter regulations are still able to get the drugs from relatives with prescriptions, a new study suggests.
Researchers from the University of Michigan found about one in every 200 people prescribed opioids in 2016 had a family member who may have doctor shopped, HealthDay reports. Their findings appear in JAMA Network Open.
If these family members have access to the patient’s opioids, this could increase their risk of misuse and possibly overdose, the researchers noted. “Our study demonstrates yet another reason why clinicians should not overprescribe opioids,” lead researcher Kao-Ping Chua, M.D., Ph.D. said in a news release. The study also highlights the importance of helping patients understand safe storage and disposal practices for opioid medications to prevent misuse by family members, the researchers said.