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Too many pills, too little oversight

by | Jan 31, 2019 | Opioid Over Prescription

Pat McGuckin barely recognized her 39-year-old son. Once a personal trainer and bodybuilder, Michael now was exhausted, his limbs bloated, his mood so volatile that he ripped the phone off her wall.

He told his worried mother that he was in pain from a car accident but that a doctor was helping him.

On Oct. 21, 2007, his younger brother found Michael in bed, his body cold. A few days later, their mother stared at the words on the death certificate, struggling to understand what had killed her son.

She dialed Richard J. Hollawell, a friend of Michael’s since childhood in Northeast Philadelphia.

“I said, ‘Rick, it says ‘adverse reaction to prescription drugs.’ How could that be? He was under a doctor’s care,’ ” Pat McGuckin recalled.

Hollawell soon would learn from medical records that his friend was being prescribed nearly 200 narcotic pain and anxiety pills every week in dosages that easily could be fatal, an expert said. And the doctor who wrote those prescriptions operated on a cash-only basis, which meant no insurance company could flag the extreme pattern.

Read the full story at Philly.com

 

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