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The letters arrived from the San Diego County medical examiner’s office, informing clinicians that one of their patients had died from a prescription drug overdose.

These letters appear to have had an impact — prescriptions of addictive painkillers dropped.

In a small, randomized trial, researchers showed that this intervention — aimed at making the abstract issue of safe prescribing individually tangible — led to a slight reduction in the amount of opioids these clinicians prescribed. What’s more, prescribers who received the letters doled out fewer of the most powerful doses and appeared to start fewer patients on opioids compared with doctors who did not receive the letters.

…continue reading ‘Clinicians were told their patient had died of an overdose. Then opioid prescribing dropped’

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