Bill May Shut Down Pill Mills, However There Could be a Problem

May 18, 2011

Yesterday the Ohio Senate passed a bill to closely monitor the dispensing of painkillers. In addition, there is a renewed effort to shut down pill mills and identify patients who are doctor shopping. However, the bill could have an unintended consequence.

Most painkillers are opiates which are very addictive. This means the patients who had their doctor’s prescribe these medications inappropriately, will suffer through a prolonged withdrawal period. If they do not have insurance, there is only one place to go to be safely detoxified. Therefore, in order to not get sick some of these patients will buy painkillers on the street. Worse, some may switch to heroin which is cheaper and readily available.

My suggestion would be to have qualified physicians review the patient lists of these pill mills and identify patients who are in danger of detoxification. The physician can then detox them safely and provide them with information and support.

Those in the field of addiction have been aware of the opiate epidemic for a while. It’s good that the politicians are finally paying attention. But unless the bill takes into account the need for detoxification, some peoples lives may get worse.

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