As part of his campaign against opioid abuse, Governor Charlie Baker has urged doctors, dentists, and anyone else who can prescribe drugs to use the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program. The database, run by the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, collects and updates prescription information fed into it by Massachusetts hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies, as well as by out-of-state mail order pharmacies that deliver to Massachusetts addresses. The monitoring program can help physicians determine whether a patient has a history of obtaining drugs from multiple sources — a practice known as “doctor shopping.” In an emergency room setting, for instance, a busy doctor might have a difficult time determining whether a patient’s pain is real or concocted — addicts quickly learn to become skilled at deception.

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