New Game Teaches Doctors About Prescription Drug Addiction

By John Lichman , Updated May 29, 2012 09:36 AM EDT

Tom has lower back pain and came into the emergency room to be prescribed some pain killers. Tom's charming and begrudingly admits he once took a few too many pain killers. Tom's also a non-playable character you interact with based on the research of Dr. Michael F. Fleming and his soon-to-be-released training game.

The New York Times profiled the game and what it means for training medical students and doctors about the signs of prescription drug abuse:

"A doctor can choose from 1,500 questions and responses, selecting one from five to seven options that appear on the screen when it is time to speak to the patient. The dialogue is drawn from research by Dr. Fleming, based on interviews with more than 1,000 patients who were receiving opioids for pain. 'We have 95 percent of what a patient and doctor would say or do,' he said."

So instead of Tom, you can encounter an angry and demanding person demanding a new OxyCotin prescription. The game will be avaliable online at a fee, which will probably attract more tech savy medical schools and hospitals for their staff. On the other hand, you could be the most enterprising pill popper in the world and dole at the cash to beat the system. Then again, what the good doctors are about to do is the equivalent of logging a few hours with a Japanese RPG that's about addiction instead of wooing every girl in your high school before the magical demons come to fight--which is sadly, real.

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