Coroner’s letter on overdose death shifts prescribing habits

By

National News

August 11, 2018 - 4:00 AM

LOS ANGELES TIMES/LIZ O. BAYLEN/TNS

Addressed directly to the doctor, the letter arrived in a plain business envelope with a return address of the San Diego County medical examiner’s office.

Its contents were intended, ever so carefully, to focus the physician on a national epidemic of opioid abuse — and his or her possible role in it.

“This is a courtesy communication to inform you that your patient (name, date of birth inserted here) died on (date inserted here). Prescription drug overdose was either the primary cause of death or contributed to the death,” the letter read.

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