If you saw 60 Minutes Sunday night, you saw an excellent piece by Bill bunch of white oval medication tablets and white medication capsulesWhittaker on the opioid crisis. He featured a drug maker who himself is willing to admit that his own industry is at fault along with the FDA for changing the labeling on many of the opioid based medications that have now become an American scourge. The original labeling called for short-term use of these meds. But around 2001, things began to change and drugs that are clearly very addictive, after very short periods of use, were suddenly green lighted for longterm use. Yes, you can blame the FDA, but I’ll tell you who I really blame, doctors!
IN THE END, the true gatekeepers of these meds are doctors, dentists, physicians’ assistants and nurse practitioners. No one can legally get these drugs without a prescription. As long as these people with the ability to write the scripts write them for longer than the barest minimum, then they are the ones to blame for the addictions.

 

Terminal cancer patients need pain relief at any cost. Immediate post op patients need a few days of pain relief. Patients in the throes of rehabbing after orthopaedic surgery need pain relief to get the most out of their PT sessions. And people who have just had four teeth extracted, or other major oral surgery, need a day’s worth of pain meds. They do NOT NEED days and day of pills and more pills! And if they get them, they got them because someone wrote a prescription for it!

You can clutch your pearls over the drug companies and the FDA, but in the end the final gate-keeper is the prescriber. Let’s begin to hold them more responsible for the serious problems we have now. Let’s start holding them accountable by auditing their controlled substance scripts, and let’s make sure they know they are being watched and will be held accountable up to and including license suspension and revocation! Enough!