3. Red Flags for Physicians

Throughout the course of several investigations, certain consistencies have been observed and can serve as “red flags” for medical providers to alert them that the patient may not have a legitimate pain issue but are instead seeking narcotics for illegitimate reasons. It should be noted however, that any one of these “red flags” by itself does not necessarily mean that the patient is not legitimate.

Some of the “red flags” are:

  • The patient is from out of state
  • The patient requests a specific drug
  • The patient states that an alternative drug does not work
  • The patient states that their previous physician closed their practice
  • Prior treatment records cannot be obtained
  • The patient cannot afford an MRI
  • The patient presents to the appointment with an MRI
  • The patient presents to the appointment with pharmacy profile in hand
  • The patient(s) carpool
  • The patient tests positive for illegal drugs
  • Drug screen reveals no prescribed medications in the patient’s system
  • The patient recites textbook symptoms
  • The patient pays in cash only, no insurance
  • The patient calls for early refills
  • The patient’s pain level remains the same
  • The patient is non-compliant with the physician’s treatment plan
  • Prescriptions are routinely lost or stolen

Next: Part 4: Tips for Teens