Here is a letter I wrote which was published in the Washington Post March 16, 2015. It is about the misguided approach of targeting doctors and blaming patients for the crisis of prescription drug addiction, overdose and death.
From the Washington Post, Letters to the Editor, March 16, 2015:
As a defense lawyer with a sub-specialty in advising health-care providers on the criminal laws of opioid prescribing, I quickly saw that Charles Lane’s column overlooked critical aspects of the prescription drug crisis:
● Law enforcement agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration are too quick to brand pain management doctors as “dealers in white lab coats” and pain patients as drug seekers.
● Opioid manufacturers oversimplify the problem by accusing doctors of “overprescribing” and patients of “abusing” pain drugs.
● State medical boards purport to guide and advise but continually play a politics-fueled game of “gotcha” with doctors and don’t do enough to educate and support prescribers.
● Debilitating pain is real for millions of people. Soccer moms don’t deserve to become heroin addicts because a doctor is too afraid to prescribe a painkiller.
A reasonable approach lies somewhere between manufacturers’ blaming everyone else and the police arresting your local internist.