Des Moines Hospitals Place Limits on Painkillers

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Hospitals in the Des Moines area are imposing limits on painkiller prescriptions to limit abuse of the drugs.

The Des Moines Register reports that Iowa Health-Des Moines plans to join rival Mercy Medical Center in restricting access to painkillers.

The hospitals are reacting to increasing abuse of pain medications like Oxycontin and hydrocodone.

Last year, Mercy put up signed in its emergency room warning that doctors would only prescribe pain medications for emergency conditions. Iowa Health-Des Moines is planning to post similar warnings.

Dr. Gary Hemann, chairman of Mercy's emergency department, says it can be hard for doctors in emergency rooms and urgent care facilities to tell if a patient is lying about pain because they don't see the patient regularly.
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