Colorado among the worst states for prescription drug abuse

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Prescription drug abuse
Prescription drug abuse is Colorado's fastest-growing drug problem.

Colorado has one of the worst prescription drug abuse problems in the country and it often shows up in emergency rooms, Hoppe says.

Dr. Hoppe says he’s come to expect that on every shift, at least one patient will ask him for painkillers; he suspects many of these patients have drug abuse problems. The prescription monitoring database is intended to help doctors like Hoppe check their patients' prescription histories. Many such patients "doctor-hop" in an effort to get potent narcotics. But because doctors' use of the database is so low, Hoppe says the prescription monitoring system isn't solving the problem.

As part of the Colorado Consortium to Reduce Prescription Drug Abuse, Hoppe is trying to improve that database. The consortium is a collaboration between state agencies, universities and hospitals. Hoppe spoke with host Ryan Warner.