Two sisters residing in B.C. have decided to publicly appeal and expose an alleged “big hole” detected by them in the health system after finding out that a drug addict used their identities to acquire thousands of taxpayer-funded prescription narcotic pills.
A cook from Surrey who works for the RCMP, Sandra Adamson, has reached out several media outlets to plead her case as she believes that the systems intended to detect and stop prescription abuse are not working. Adamson stated that “I want the doctors held accountable and I want the pharmacists held accountable — and I want them to start red flagging stuff like this when it comes up.” She added that “don’t you have a clue when somebody is addicted?” According to official records, a gigantic drug-shopping spree was detected under Adamson sisters’ names, which spanned for up to five years, while no doctor or pharmacist put a stop to it. Sandra alleged that “they just kept feeding the habit.”
The prescriptions were found to have been written by various physicians while the pills were acquired from numerous small and large pharmacies around B.C.’s Lower Mainland, including a London Drugs, a Wal-Mart and several Shoppers Drug Mart outlets. Sandra’s sister, Lisa Adamson, stated that “now we know how easy it is to use somebody else’s identity to get any kind of prescription drugs they want.” Record shows that the sisters acquired 260 individual prescriptions, i.e. an average of 90 pills per time, most of which were of 20 mg (per pill) of the highly addictive narcotic Oxycodone.
Amazing carelessness — almost criminal — by all parties professional involved: greedy doctors interested only in making fees within a minute or two; useless pharmacists who see the records but despite knowing how dangerous the drug is issue it by the kilograms anyway; the almost criminal behavior by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. who ignored pleas from the police to act; BC Pharmacare for not enforcing existing laws, and anybody else involved. Totally ugly and totally criminal by professionals who should be charged with professional failure, they and their employers severely fined, and at least temporarily lose their licenses and permanently if more than twice. Time for the province to immediately act and act with huge, huge penalties.
The core issue here is not inadequate policing, insufficient penalties, nor even over-prescribing of pain medication, but the impossible expectations we place on these doctors and pharmacists to essentially read their patient’s minds regarding their symptoms and pain levels, in order to weed out the drug seekers.
The problem is, despite the training and experience doctors have, there will always be an element of subjectivity to patient-reported pain symptoms, and there will always be legitimate patients in need of immediate pain relief AND illegitimate patients seeking opiates for their addictions. The simple problem is that if you place the barriers to pain relief (wait weeks to see a specialist, etc.) high enough to weed out the addicts, you also sentence all your legitimate patients as a result, leaving them to suffer simply because they might be lying.
It’s an impossible situation which stems from the delusion that the disease of drug addiction can be treated by criminalization and thus enforced by the police, who demand that doctors treat their patients as potential criminals first, honestly suffering patients second. Short of telepathy, doctors have no way of determining on the spot whether a patient is being truthful or not, and ultimately have to guess whether to risk giving an addict drugs or denying a patient pain medication.
The answer is simple: Make OST (Opiate Substitution Therapy) available through addiction doctors trained to minimize risks, work with addicts to switch over to methadone, attend treatment, and ultimately reach abstinence. Drug-Seeking problem solved. I don’t believe in enabling addiction any more than anyone else, but “enabling” (provcomment_IDing OST to addicts) is only “enabling” when there is a reasonable likelihood of stopping drug-seekers from abusing the mainstream system as they do now. It’s time for us to grow up and recognize that addiction, drug-seeking, etc. are never going to just go away – the issue must be dealt with intelligently.
These addicts are addicted to opiates which they use and use despite the drugs only giving the illusion of them solving their problems.
Society too has an addiction which it is in denial about – that we can easily make a serious disease go away simply by declaring it to be an ‘illegal’ disease to have. Time for us to grow up, too. It’s not the doctors or the pharmacists, it is us as a society which is standing in the way of improvement.
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