Doctor Pusher?

Most doctors and dentists prescribe painkillers ethically, but some don’t, a recent report stated.

Beware your doctor and dentist. While most are ethical, some may be pain killer ‘pushers’ in white coat clothing.

National Public Radio (NPR) recently reported on Minnesota Public Radio that while Big Pharma made the pills, doctors are the gatekeepers to patients.

As early as 2007, drug makers were paying out massive settlements for falsely marketing opiods as safe and relatively addiction-free. Their role sparking a wave of addiction that left more than 450,000 Americans dead. Many of the dead were alcoholics too. Thousands of communities have filed civil lawsuits hoping to recoup some of the staggering financial cost.

Yet, doctors have faced far less scrutiny for their role in the crisis. The medical profession has struggled for years to clean up its overprescribing culture. In 2014, the American Medical Association (AMA) formed an opioid task force, charged in part with reforming physician practices.

NPR reported on Minnesota Public Radio online that, “Physicians feel like we had a role to play and we wanted to be part of the solution,” said Dr. Patrice Harris, who heads the AMA’s effort. “Prescribing has been going down since 2012, but we wanted to get the word out that physicians should be more judicious.” 

In 2016, the federal Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued strongly-worded guidelines, urging doctors (and dentists) to avoid opioids or to minimize their use whenever possible. Roughly half the states have implemented some form of regulation designed to curtail prescribing.

But scientists, government officials and front-line medical workers interviewed by NPR say those efforts have fallen dangerously short.

A CDC study released in May 2020 found many physicians regularly ignore federal guidelines, prescribing large quantities of powerful opioid medications even when better treatment options are available.

“It’s possible some clinicians just simply aren’t aware of existing evidence-based recommendations,” said Christina Mikosz, one of the CDC’s lead researchers studying opioid prescribing. “The other possibility is that they are aware and they just choose not to follow them.”

I went to a dentist a few years ago for a tooth extraction. Right after he asked if I wanted some pain killers. You should have seen the surprised look on his face when I told him I didn’t want any opioids. In fact, I told him, I’m sure ibuprofen will work fine. 

Happy 30th Sobriety Birthday Elton John!

On July 30th, 2020 Elton John celebrated 30 years of sobriety!

“Reflecting on the most magical day having celebrated my 30th Sobriety Birthday,” the singer wrote. “So many lovely cards, flowers and chips from my sons, David, friends in the Program, staff at the office and in our homes. I’m truly a blessed man.”

John, 73, also expressed his gratitude to everyone who helped him get to this point in his life.

“If I hadn’t finally taken the big step of asking for help 30 years ago, I’d be dead. Thank-you from the bottom of my heart to all the people who have inspired and supported me along the way,” he wrote.

If a mega global star like John can humbly admit he has a problem and ask for help, anybody can! Congrats Elton. I saw you in concert in 1989 in Denver, your first year of sobriety. You looked and sounded great! Sobriety works!

Elton John admitted he had a problem, asked for help in a 12-step program and just celebrated 30 years of sobriety!