Maley recommends ways to combat painkiller abuse

The state inspector general says prescription painkiller abuse is rampant in South Carolina, but there's no statewide effort to combat it.

Inspector General Patrick Maley released a report Monday recommending that legislators, state officials and the medical community work together to rein in the escalating epidemic.

Maley noted that states surrounding South Carolina are already aggressively doing so, with initiatives that focus on doctors.

His recommendations include requiring doctors to participate in the Prescription Monitoring Program. The centralized database can identify "doctor shoppers" who go to multiple doctors to abuse or resell. But Maley says just 22 percent of physicians statewide have registered and even fewer participate.

The state's Medicaid agency asked for the review, due to its increased spending on prescription painkillers, particularly opioids such as oxycodone.