Some physicians are so fearful of the DEA oversight of narcotics, they don’t even apply for prescribing privileges of opioids:

Patient 1, a young man, became acutely ill with an aggressive but highly treatable cancer that caused severe acute chest pain. Since he had to make quick and extremely difficult decisions about his treatment options, he sought advice and pain medication from his trusted primary care physician -— only to learn that his physician, wishing to be spared any possibility of regulatory suspicion, had never applied for prescribing privileges for strong opioids. At this critical juncture, the patient, who is himself a physician, had to find a new doctor in order to receive standard pain treatment.

Expect this to increase as more physicians shy away from the problems of narcotic prescribing.

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  • MedSleuth

    It is so frustrating to know that the abuse of prescription painkillers is keeping them out of the hands of those who truly need them, and the hassles created for physicians are making them shy away from prescribing them at all. Relieving suffering and easing pain, aren’t those big reasons why people become physicians in the first place?

  • gasman

    At my last renewal of my DEA license the paperwork was lost and no certificate could be provided to my hospital in time.

    As an anesthesiologist I found this strangely liberating, as I no longer had to go through the daily grind of being constantly under the watchful eye of someone expecting drug diversion at every turn.

    Oddly, the watchers in the pharmacy have little oversite. The unused waste narcotics returned to the pharmacy, where they test to be certain that I’m not just handing in saline syringes, are handled and destroyed by just one pharmacist. Far more available for diversion and no oversite.

  • THOUGHTS FROM THE HEADOC

    So glad someone else is aware of this probem. Thanks for this post.