On March 12, 2018, Jonathan Reisman wrote an article for the Chicago Tribune called ‘Judgment calls: Who really needs a pain killer?’ Dr. Reisman is an emergency room physician at Schuylkill Medical Center in Pottsville, Pensilvania. Dr. Reisman explains how the presence of drug seekers has negatively impacted many physician’s practice.
Opioids have become quite the ‘hot’ topic in today’s society . When used properly they are a powerful blessing but when not properly used, they have an incredibly destructive potential. A popular question amongst doctors is whether or not to prescribe opioids. Patients have a tendency to exaggerate pain in order to receive painkillers. Some of the patients seek a buzz while others are trying to find a fix for opioid withdrawal, which is an painful and unpleasant condition. Due to this strong presence of drug-seekers, physicians have found prescribing opioids an incredibly difficult decision to make. This epidemic is spreading rapidly and tainting the way physician’s think and it is beginning to cast doubt over clinical instincts. Physicians enabled this epidemic and are now tasked with its salvation.
The Federal Drug Enforcement Administration brings physicians a great responsibility and minimal insight on discerning diseases from ‘drug-seekers’. The misuse of opioids is nuclear and brings about death and destruction. But, when used properly they have an unbridled power that almost immediately relieves patients of antagonizing pain. Opioids are a double edged sword that are extremely concerning and hard to ignore. Doctors are being faced with under treating pain or feeding an addictions; being pulled in opposite directions by a patient’s pain and a national crisis. In the 1990’s there was a horrifying under treatment of pain that angered the public. Physician’s have the power to alleviate pain but are withholding from it. In order to not re-live the past, a physician’s decision to prescribe or administer opioids tends to be influenced by this phenomenon that occurred in the 90’s. So, now what? Patient pain is a daily conundrum and the decision on whether or not to prescribe opioids has become an emotional tug for physicians.