SHOULD DOCTORS BE ABLE TO FREELY PRESCRIBE PAINPILLS?
If you are in pain from an injury or a surgical procedure, the answer is usually yes! In my patient population I rarely run into prescription abusers, and we are very responsible in our prescribing patterns. We perform procedures that typically require pain relief during recovery and we prescribe appropriate medications and amounts. When we are dealing with patients requiring more advanced pain relief we involve the appropriate specialists. I feel this pattern of prescribing is true for the vast majority of doctors. We genuinely care about our patient’s overall well-being and we would never want to contribute to a problem such as drug abuse. (JADA 2021:152(8) 622-630 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adaj.2021.04.013).
There are government agencies, advocacy groups, and professional organizations pushing for strict control over prescribing of pain medications in particular. There is no question that an opioid abuse is a significant problem, but taking away the rights of pain relief of the majority to solve a misuse problem by some is not a good remedy. I am just speaking the truth. I am sure that I will get some nasty comments or mail about this, but lack of ability of our judicial system to properly punish or legally curtail illicit or misuse of these drugs should not be placed on the backs of the doctors who want to provide the best care for their patients.
I invested 13 years in college and residency, studied under great ethical professors, doctors, and educators. Society invested heavily in me through this process, just as it has for the many well trained and ethical doctors out there providing care. We are trained in properly assessing the need for pain control for our patients and are trained to be the best decision makers in this process. We are too busy providing this care to be involved politically in this discussion.
The bottom line is that the decisions for medication prescribing, including pain medications, should be left to the providing doctor and their patients. Have proper laws and enforcement to punish abusers. If you want advice on the best way to handle this, just ask us.
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