There’s an excellent article in the NY Times magazine about the problem of opiate addiction. One of the problems when distinguishing between patients and doctors who are trying to manage pain versus those who are dealing opiates is that there is no easy way to regularly track opiate prescribing.
I’ve discussed before how national databases, when privacy issues are properly addressed, are important for drug safety. One of the serious impediments to national health databases is that our healthcare system is so fragmented that electronic surveillance becomes very difficult (e.g., interconnecting all those IT systems).
One more reason why we need a national healthcare system.