Punishing People in Pain
The Ohio governor unveiled a plan Thursday that targets the place where experts say many opioid addictions begin — the doctor’s office.
Gov. John Kasich’s order limits the amount of opiates primary care physicians and dentists can prescribe to no more than seven days for adults and five days for minors…
…The new limits, which have gotten the blessing of the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, the State Medical Board, and the state’s dental and nursing boards, do not apply to patients who take prescription painkillers for cancer treatment or to dying patients who are already receiving hospice care, Kasich said.
There are plenty of reasons other than cancer and hospice care. It’s a little unclear how strict this will be,
“Health care providers can prescribe opiates in excess of the new limits only if they provide a specific reason in the patient’s medical record,” the state said in a statement.
Nonetheless, I find this crazy and punitive to people who actually need pain medication. Many doctors are already reluctant to prescribe painkillers due to crackdowns, and this will drive people even further towards buying illegal drugs. You certainly want people on codeine or morphine in preference to various synthetic opioids, which can be far more dangerous.
Ohio doesn’t have an opioid addiction problem because of availability; it has one because of deep socioeconomic problems which manifest as personal despair and breakdown. Some people will always use drugs, but “epidemics” of drug use happen when people don’t have better options.
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