Commentary

A Most Bizarre Response

Last week the Police Chief and the Commonwealth’s Attorney held a press conference, apparently feeling the need to be proactive about Martinsville being named the community with the highest rate of drug overdoses in the state. There hasn’t been one story that I’ve read on the drug overdose problem here that wasn’t a result of this press conference. In other words, a story that appeared to be flying under the radar was handcuffed and paraded around for everyone to take notice and pontificate upon.

My turn…

The dogs were barking as the cars were parking, the loan sharks were sharking, the narcs were narcing. Practically everyone was there at that press conference. Chief Dunn said he was coming after those drug dealers, and Mr. Gravely said he was going to prosecute the hydrocodone out of them. The State Health Directors have declared the situation epidemic and the Governor passed four new laws to make it more difficult for people with prescriptions to get them filled.

What were the media outlets to do? This story was overdone and no one had even preheated the oven.

Channel 10 out of Roanoke had a creative day. They bounced over to the hospital where the victims end up and talked to the Emergency Room Director and one of the attending physicians. This is where the story takes a turn. Ponder the question with me if you will … how does someone end up in the emergency room having overdosed on pain pills and heroin? I’ve watched 60 minutes and they said it was people, mostly kids and young adults who took pleasure in getting high. The practice became a habit and the habit produced an addiction. The addiction called for more and more and more until more was too much and the body balked and said “no more.” Despite a compelling piece on CBS News complete with victims and their families, it was obvious the bored, poor, young person was a major risk  – in the way I’ve just described.

But nooooooo….. That’s not what the health care professionals over at the Martinsville Emergency Room say. I really don’t think I would have believed this if someone told me, but I watched them say it. They really DID say it!

Dr. Tony Hodges and Dr. Richard Perren have formed an astonishing theory on what’s going on here. They explain that the ever increasing regulations being imposed on physicians these days are causing the good doctor to refrain from prescribing the proper pain medicine to their chronically pain-ridden patients. The situation, they say, has gotten sooooo bad that these patients are being driven to the streets and left to buy the pain relief their doctors are refusing to prescribe. Therefore, you take an idiot in pain with a handful of street drugs and you’ve got you a certified rate risk. Overdose City. Who would have thought! If that’s not enough, both of the Emergency Room Doctors interviewed admitted to making matters worse by reducing the amount of medicine they used to prescribe. Dr. Perren even notes that “the patients aren’t happy about it.”

It’s because they’re in PAIN you damn fool! Next thing you know dentists are going to start insisting on pulling teeth without novocaine or nitrous oxide.

Think for a second… how is it less medicine today is right? Does this mean too much was given before? If so, then why did they give too much? Isn’t that being irresponsible? And if they were giving the right amount before and now they are giving less than is needed, how is that right?

This is so ridiculous I need something to calm down. Anybody got anything? 

    

4 Responses to “A Most Bizarre Response”

  1. Goodness, Bill, you’re right! And what would your dad say? I’d say it’s time for a chorus krrrrrrrrrk.

  2. My Dad… A firm believer in “less is more.” He always thought doctors prescribed too much and never took as much as they told him to. He told me one time that doctors should prescribe medicine like vets do. They go by weight. In humans we go by age – two classes – child and adult. Makes no sense.

    • You are correct about the formula being used to prescribe opium drugs in children Vs Adults. There are several meds that do use a person’s weight as a qualifying criteria for the correct dosage in adults and most are related to cardiac issues. I’ve never given it much thought but maybe a person’s weight should be included in the prescription for opiates. It makes sense to me. Most pediatric drugs are based on weight for correct dosages. Why not call the ER on your morning program and ask the on-duty Doctor this question?

      • Although it always makes for good radio/TV ambush phone interviews are no longer my style. I will make a note to call after the show tomorrow and ask the question and invite him or her to come on the show either in person or on the phone. Certainly a question deserving of an answer. As a patient on multiple meds I can say that my weight has never been considered for any determination of dosage that I’m aware of.

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