This Doctor Stopped Prescribing Opioids. Other Physicians Should do The Same.


Have you ever had a prescription altered? I have, several times — all opioids. Despite making copies of every prescription to prove what I actually wrote for, dealing with everything from patients who threatened to sue me for false accusations to time spent with the DEA was a real pain. The good news is that during the pre “pain as fifth vital sign” era at least — since my prescribing habits were nominal — the process was handleable. I attribute this to the fact the prescribing decisions were entirely between me and my patients and no one else.

All that changed after so-called “experts” decided they knew better and started pressuring physicians to become more liberal with narcotics. I am proud to say that my narcotic prescribing did not change despite enormous pressure to do so. Strangely, at least in the beginning, I did not see one altered prescription. Perhaps it was because with liberal prescribing came more lax enforcement, so prescriptions were still being altered but were not caught. In any case, the disaster that ensued was so predictable a child could see it. The fact that our leadership went along with it was particularly galling.

In any case, physicians are now dealing with pressure from the exact opposite direction. We have passed through the eye of the hurricane, so to speak. Those storms are clearly getting worse, and if physicians are not careful, we will be the ones suffering the most legal and professional damage, especially since the government has gotten on the bandwagon. In typical politician fashion, the government is now claiming it is going to step in to “fix” the opioid crisis. That means they will be looking for scapegoats. That means lawyers will inevitably follow.