A new study finds that emergency room doctors are prescribing strong narcotics more often to patients who complain of pain, but minorities are less likely to get them than whites.
According to the study that appears in tomorrow's Journal of the
American Medical Association, minorities were prescribed narcotics
such as oxycodone and morphine less frequently than whites -- even
for the severe pain of kidney stones.
In more than 2,000 visits for kidney stones, whites got
narcotics 72 percent of the time, Hispanics 68 percent, Asians 67
percent and blacks 56 percent.
One expert says the race gap finding may reveal some doctors'
suspicions that minority patients could be drug abusers lying about
pain to get narcotics, even though blacks are the least likely
group to abuse prescription drugs.