The War on Drugs has become the War on Physicians and Patients

The War on Drugs has become the War on Physicians and Patients

Dr. Marylee M. James shares her views on various issues regarding patients in need of pain management, and the “war on clinicians” in their best effort to care for patients while attempting to stay afloat in terms of safety, ethics, and the law.

We live in the age of Reason.  We understand science, including anatomy and physiology, and understand that healers do not possess magic powers that might either hurt or heal us.

Despite this advanced understanding, we have allowed lawmakers and insurance companies to turn our healers into objects to be bullied, threatened, arrested and tried under charges of murder, with prosecutors demanding a death penalty when they have no evidence whatsoever that such a crime took place.  

Today, a physician who tries to treat patients according to the knowledge and skills that they worked so diligently to earn is now at risk of losing everything

They say it is because the physicians prescribe too many “pills”, and turn their patients into addicts.  Not true.

Only a small percentage of patients who follow the orders given by the physician become addicted [1-5%] – addiction is a disease that occurs most often when drugs are abused, against medical advice.  Most abused drugs do not come from physician’s prescriptions, but from families, friends, unsecured home supplies, or drug dealers

Dependency may occur, on the other hand, because people must depend on the medications that help them.  Physical dependency is not unique to opioids alone, and can be resolved by tapering when the need for the medication is over.  A similar approach is needed with several medication classes such as antidepressants to avoid serotonin withdrawal or beta blockers to avoid hypertensive crisis.

Because lawmakers and others often incorrectly blend the lines,  differences between physical dependence and withdrawal, we allow people and organizations with vested interests to feed our fears and turn us against the only people qualified to help us.

Why are they targeted, when they are not the problem? Let’s look at the real problem here: Addiction is real.  Drug-related crime is real.  Drug cartels that launder their profits and use some of the “cleaned” money to lobby politicians are real.  Even MD degreed providers who misuse the privilege and set up “pill mills” are real (I refuse to call them physicians).  There are solutions to all of these problems, and none of them include punishing physicians and other licensed clinicians with the goal of securing political points

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