The Death Penalty??? Really???? I thought the opioid crisis WAS the death penalty. Now he is suggesting another one. Why doesn’t he realize that many of the folks that get addicted do so from medical prescriptions and not heroin? Is he failing to recognize the simple fact that they need to invest more time and money into re-educating the general medical community as well as beginning a cultural change in our country where we don’t feel that we have to demand pain pills for every simple thing that hurts. NO not every tooth filling requires percocet, NO not every viral cough need opioid cough syrup.

I think HHS secretary Alex Azar, has it right when he suggests we treat this as a medical challenge and not a moral failing. He suggests “we have to get people willing to seek out treatment”. What does this mean? This means that those patients that swear the only thing that works on their pain is oxy have to have the courage to step into my office. Then, ironically I have to CONTINUE their opioids for a short time while I build rapport with the patient and begin to explore other options such as suboxone. THEN once I get them stabilized and confident on suboxone we begin the slow and arduous task of weaning them down realizing that after so many years of dependence/ addiction some will come off and some will not (same as methadone) but at least we have done our very best to

1) Get them off opioids,

2) If we have to stay on anything then suboxone is the smarter choice. Just because my colleagues got my patients so completely and utterly dependent doesn’t mean that I can always magically free them fully but we can do our best to produce a much safer environment: NO traditional opioids, only suboxone, limit benzos carefully, abstain from alcohol and MONITOR MONITOR MONITOR. None of these doctors are doing this…

What am I doing?? IM going from physician office to physician offices and an spending my volunteer time teaching them proper pain mgmt, proper addiction discovery and compassionate approach to patients in need. I’m pretty sure the death penalty wont help…