On "All Things Considered", KQED's April Dembosky reports on the California medical board's Death Certificate Project, which collected almost 3,000 death certificates of people who died of opioid overdoses, then cross-referenced those with the state's drug prescription database. The board then sent letters to more than 500 doctors throughout the state who had prescribed the drugs to the people who died. The board has filed formal charges against 25 doctors, and left hundreds more, like Dr. Ako Jacintho of San Francisco, waiting to learn their fate.
Jacintho is a family physician who discovered through the project that one of his patients died in 2012 of a methadone and Benadryl overdose. He did not know of the death and said he believes he gave the person appropriate care. Jacintho became an addiction medicine specialist in the intervening years. "If they're looking for clinicians who are overprescribing, I'm the wrong doctor," he said.