Topic: health care
As has been the case in many states that have gone this route, it was the impassioned pleas of patients and family members that played a deciding role.
It’s no accident (physicians) choose this often challenging work, and it genuinely bothers them when they can’t relieve a patient’s discomfort.
The pharmaceutical industry, in spite of their immense resources, may not be the best candidate to come up with a solution.
If by chance the patient didn’t fit the physician’s preconception of an addict– he or she was a respected member of the community, for example– then the doctor often fell into the enabler role.
Nobody knows exactly how extensive off label prescribing is, but estimates range from a fifth of all prescriptions written in the US, to a third if we just look at psychiatric meds.
It may alter the nature of society’s challenges, and move them to other sectors of the economy, but I expect we’ll continue to have difficulties.
The increasing prevalence of polypharmacy is a concern due to the potential for adverse drug interactions but also because the use of multiple meds often results in a lower quality of life for the patient.
If I walked into a physician’s office convinced I had had high blood pressure and he prescribed medication based solely on my belief without bothering with an assessment, that’d be malpractice.
The reality is that if we’d had to rely solely on the healthcare system, a lot of people who are in recovery today would simply never have made it.