Prescribing Practices Amid the OxyContin Crisis: Examining the Effect of Print Media Coverage on Opioid Prescribing Among Nova Scotia Providers
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This research examined the effect of increasing attention on OxyContin in the news media on prescribing practices of the drug in Nova Scotia. Using data collected as part of a study looking at representations of OxyContin in North American newspapers between 1995 and 2005, this research assessed the trends in prescribing practices of OxyContin in relation to the increased media attention. Data from the original media study was combined with administrative data from the Nova Scotia Prescription Monitoring Program to examine OxyContin prescribing trends between September 1996 and December 2007, with a specific focus on changes in the volume of OxyContin prescribed as a proportion of all opioids prescribed and as a proportion of strong opioids prescribed. Peaks in print media attention in both the United States and Canada were followed by statistically significant changes in OxyContin prescribing. These changes differed among prescribers in different District Health Authorities and specialties.