Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Darkside of Medication Non-adherence

This is a sad case of the dark side of medication non-adherence: prescription medicine abuse. This form of drug abuse has been gaining "popularity" over the last few years, the most serious cases involving OxyCotin, and well publicized by Hollywood Celebrity overdoses.

I found this article on WDAY Channel 6's website from Fargo ND, taken from an AP story about a doctor who's license was suspended for "sloppy handling of narcotics, letting assistants fill out drug prescription forms for patients, and accepting unused drugs from his patients and keeping them in an unlocked drawer."

The whole situation sounds very fishy to me. Here is a patient profile and quote:

Chastity Woodbury, 32, of Fargo, said she was hit by a train when she was 5 years old and has been in several accidents, leaving her in chronic pain and depression. She said she needs medication to function. "No other doctor understands us," Woodbury said. "Everyone looks at us as pain medication seekers, but Dr. Lee cares about us."

And another patient quote: "Yes, the paperwork in his office is stacked on the floor, but I don't go there for that," said R.D. "Dick" Knutson. "I go there for help."

I understand the need for patients with chronic pain to need medications, but when it turns to abuse, that is what it is: drug abuse.

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