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Physicians and healthcare institutions have begun experimenting with new tactics to combat the recent dramatic increases in prescription drug abuse. An important tactic involves implementing agreements with patients to protect against physician liability for patient abuse of prescription painkillers. Attorney Michael A. Moroney recently addressed the merits of Patient Agreements, which he recommends his physician and health care facility clients use. He described obtaining the Patient Agreement as being similar to obtaining an “informed consent” from a patient, but with specific language used  when narcotics or pain medications are being prescribed. According to Moroney, in the Patient Agreement the patient acknowledges and accepts in writing “the parameters under which the physician is prescribing the medications” and consents to “the specific directions governing the use of the narcotic or pain medication.” The acknowledgement might state that the patient understands “these are the parameters under which [the medication] is being prescribed, under which I’m being permitted to use it, and this is how I agree to use it.” The patient should acknowledge that the prescription is for a specific dose only, and that the patient cannot take more or less of the medication than what is being prescribed.

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