Several recent tragedies have occurred in our community. A recent death due to prescription drug addiction and overdose, other recent prescription drug overdoses resulting in hospitalization and in at least one case brain damage, and several non-fatal overdoses are affecting many lives. Countless other drug users are walking around and driving stoned, loaded on their legal drugs. The disease of drug addiction (alcoholism is just alcohol addiction) is treatable. The excruciating pain to the family, as well as to the addict himself, which results from the consequences of addiction can be resolved.
To understand this problem of prescription drug abuse, let’s look at an analogy from the physical. If you have a broken arm, go to your doctor and get a script for narcotic pain relievers, the pain will be reduced, even though the fracture itself is not treated. If you continue to take the narcotics, continuing to use your arm, you will need ongoing medication. It just does not hurt that much when you are on narcotics. The fracture continues to hurt, the pain partially treated by ongoing narcotics but the underlying problem is never treated.
Your doctor has made a mistake. He has not diagnosed the fracture and treated it properly…he is just helping you cover up the pain with drugs. If the broken limb is treated with immobilization for a few weeks and surgery if needed, it will have the opportunity to heal, eliminating the need for ongoing pain relievers.
Likewise, if your doctor gives you “pain-killers” for your emotional pain, not diagnosing the underlying fracture in your emotional and spiritual health, he is making a mistake. Taking ongoing sedative hypnotic medication is not the treatment for alcoholism and drug addiction. Abstinence from mind-altering drugs affords the opportunity to feel, to deal with the underlying pain that makes you think you need medication, and to heal. To be clear, I am not talking about antidepressants, antibiotics, or ibuprofen. None of them cause a “high” or effectively cover emotional pain, nor do they bring much on the streets. (If any prescribers have read this far, congratulations. Remember that street value is one way to tell how much of a “high” your scripts provide. For example, Oxycontin currently goes for $1 per mg. in some places.)
Readers, the prescribing habits of your doctor, or non-doctor, will not change, not due to this article, not due to law suits against him, not due to deaths from his patient overdosing on drugs prescribed by him. If you want to get off of drugs, or get sober from alcohol and not switch to alcohol in pill form (Xanax, Valium, Ativan, etc.), you get to do it in spite of your (well meaning but tragically misinformed) physician. Stay away from him. Go to people who have found out how to recover, who know how to not use drugs.
Several non-medical people have asked me why doctors prescribe so many addictive drugs. The quizzical looks on their faces are profound. They don’t understand why a doctor would give repeated, ongoing, large doses of drugs that are used primarily to get high or to maintain a habit. Office and hospital staff roll their eyes when talking about the over prescribing they see every day from their own physician employers and other providers they work with in hospital settings. Why would a doctor, or non-doctor who has license to prescribe controlled substances, reduce himself to level of drug dealer? Good question!
One program button says:
My Doctor says I can live a normal life on medication as soon as I get off of these drugs!
Please respond with your own ideas. For now, remember, a drug is a drug is a drug, even prescription drugs.
Copyright, 2013, Dawn V. Obrecht, M.D.
If you or someone that you love is struggling with drug addiction or alcoholism, please call or text us. We want to help you.
Photo Courtesy of: doctormurray.com