Posts Tagged ‘drug abuse’

Prescribing narcotics and other habit forming drugs. A doctor’s view on why it can be complicated

Friday, January 9th, 2009

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Like a lot of doctors, I have mixed feelings about narcotics.  They are great for severe, short-term pain and a must for some terminal cancer pain.   Some people abuse them for nothing more than the high they get.  And then there are all of the in-betweens.  We doctors are kind of caught in the middle, also.  We can lose our license if we prescribe too much or inappropriately.  We are told, by some groups, we prescribe too little to the patients that really need it.  But how do we know who really needs them?  If we are too gullible, we will be prescribing to a bunch of abusers, too strict and we are doing a disservice to those in need.

It is the long-term, chronic use that concerns us the most.  Narcotics are habit forming. They alter your mental state. If you take them long enough, you will have a physical withdrawal trying to get off of them.  Most people will become tolerant needing more and more to get the same effect.

So what to do?

 

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Why the increase in accidental overdose deaths?

Friday, August 1st, 2008

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Heath Ledger is only one of many to die from an accidental overdose. The July 28, 2008 Archives of Internal Medicine found a 360 percent increase in “Fatal Medical Errors” (FME) between 1983 and 2004. The increased percentage was primarily in those that combine prescription medication with street drugs or alcohol. In 1984 there were 92 deaths reported of this nature. By 2004 the number was 3792.

With more emphasis on outpatient, non-hospital care in the past few years, there is less supervision and more powerful medications given than ever before. So what to do?

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