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Thread: When to code drug dependence

  1. #1

    Question When to code drug dependence

    AAPC: Back to School
    I am looking for input on whether or not you can code drug dependence (opioid or other addictive drugs) if the drug is a prescribed medication for chronic pain or other reasons. Can it be considered drug dependence if a member is on chronic long-term drugs if they are prescribed? Thank you!

  2. #2

    Default Drug Dependance

    You should never code drug dependance for for anything unless it is specifically documented by the physician. A patient may well be addicted to a prescription and be managed by the doctor, however you never want to assign drug abuse codes or dependance unless the doctor has the documentaion to back it up.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Columbia, MO


    I agree, just because a patient has a chronic condition which requires medication for management is not the same thing as drug dependence, so do not code unless the physician specifically documents this.

  4. #4


    That is how we have been looking at it too. The next question is if the provider indicates a diagnosis as "opioid dependence" in the note and the patient is on prescribed opiates, can we code it as dependence?

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