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FDA weighs training to dispense narcotics

New York Times, August 18, 2008

The Food and Drug Administration may soon recommend doctors be required to undergo special education in order to prescribe powerful narcotics. Typically, state medical boards impose licensing requirements on doctors. A few states now provide doctors with education about the treatment of pain patients. But nationally, state medical boards have shown little interest in mandating added training in the use of potent pain medications or in screening patients for those prone to drug abuse. Pain experts say they support increased education for doctors, but some fear that mandatory training may harm limit the number of doctors prescribing such drugs and ultimately harm patients.