Investigators at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center created the Center for Professional Health (CPH), which provides a program for health professionals who overprescribe painkillers or other controlled drugs.
The three-day course, "Prescribing Controlled Drugs: Critical Issues and Common Pitfalls," allows participants the opportunity to:
- Vent anger at being accused of wrongdoing.
- Examine the reasons that might underlie their prescribing problems.
- Learn strategies designed to prevent problems in the future.
- Project staff held four pilot sessions of the course, serving 33 physicians.
- After refining the course, they held 16 additional sessions with a total of 113 physicians from 14 states.
- The vast majority of participants had prescribed large quantities of narcotics for back pain, migraine headaches, arthritis, and other "non-malignant" conditions.
- These physicians often had a history of being duped by drug-seeking patients, prescribing for office staff or family members, or not documenting their treatment decisions in patient records.
- The majority were in solo practice in small towns or rural areas, and some had a drug use problem themselves.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported the project with a grant of $349,970 from 1997 to 2000.