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Prescription Drug Abuse

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Dr. Stephen Lloyd was in the last year of his residency when he started taking prescription painkillers that were leftover from a dental procedure.

"The anxiety started to build up and really became the only way I could deal with the pressures of my life."

His story is part of an epidemic of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. according to the American College of Physicians.The ACP issued a list of new policies regarding prescription drugs. It suggests doctors first consider non-addictive pain killers. When addictive narcotics must be prescribed, doctors should carefully think about the dosage.

The ACP also recommends doctors screen patients for risk of addiction and that patients agree, in writing, they will do as the doctor says.

"Follow the prescription as written, not sort of take on the role yourself of prescriber and physician," says Sean Clarkin from The Partnership at Drugfree.org.

The ACP says patients should know, drugs are not intended to eliminate 100% of the pain.

"If that's what the patient's mindset is he's likely going to come back and say, I wasn't getting enough relief and I doubled the prescription," says Dr. Molly Cooke of the American College of Physicians.

Dr. Lloyd received treatment and resumed his medical career. He has been drug-free now for 10 years.

"The reason I share my story is to let folks know You can get better."

And he works with others now to help them overcome their addictions.

The American College of Physicians also wants to connect all state drug monitoring programs so that patients cannot go across state lines to get multiple prescriptions.

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