In Quest To Treat Patients’ Pain, Doctors Struggle In Role Of Enforcer
As the warriors on the front line of one of the worst drug epidemics in U.S. history, physicians are being called upon to balance their desire to care for their patients with the desire to stem the rising crisis.
The New York Times:
Patients In Pain, And A Doctor Who Must Limit Drugs
Susan Kubicka-Welander, a short-order cook, went to her pain checkup appointment straight from the lunch-rush shift. “We were really busy,” she told Dr. Robert L. Wergin, trying to smile through deeply etched lines of exhaustion. “Thursdays, it’s Philly cheesesteaks.” Her back ached from a compression fracture; a shattered elbow was still mending; her left-hip sciatica was screaming louder than usual. She takes a lot of medication for chronic pain, but today it was just not enough. Yet rather than increasing her dose, Dr. Wergin was tapering her down. “Susan, we’ve got to get you to five pills a day,” he said gently. She winced. (Hoffman, 3/16)
Meanwhile, a poll gauges Americans' reactions to the epidemic and the new CDC guidelines —
1 In 3 Americans Blame Doctors For National Opioid Epidemic, Harvard Poll Finds
Americans broadly support new Obama administration guidelines urging physicians to prescribe fewer powerful painkillers, according to the latest STAT-Harvard poll. They blame doctors for the nation’s epidemic of opioid addiction about as much as they hold individuals responsible for abusing the drugs. (Scott, 3/16)