Painkiller distribution needs stricter regulations
Published: Sunday, January 27, 2013
Updated: Sunday, January 27, 2013 20:01
While skimming through The New York Times website, I came across a headline that, surprisingly, didn’t urge me to revolt against my government. That is an extremely rare find. Even more bizarre was the fact that it was a decision made by panelists at the Food and Drug Administration, which holds a special place in my heart right next to Kanye West. In case you didn’t get that, I’m a huge Taylor Swift fan.
The good news is, the FDA is looking to crack down on the distribution of hydrocodone. That means less circulation of Vicodin, the highly addictive painkiller that is causing death by the hundreds.
Now, I’m no supporter of big government intervention, but there are some things that simply cannot be accepted in a functional society. Legal drug abuse is one of them.
Physicians are far too liberal in prescribing these pills, and Americans are suffering for it. What’s truly sad about this epidemic is that many who are dependent on painkillers were not seeking a high when they got hooked. The stories you hear involve some type of injury or serious surgery that required short term use of Vicodin. The patient likes the feeling, wants more, complains of pain, asks for more and is granted the wish by a medical professional. I use the term “professional” loosely. But they are doctors, right?
I hate to be “that” person who tells doctors that they don’t know what they’re doing, but there is something wrong with this picture. If a patient is in enough short-term pain to need a substance as strong as Vicodin, monitoring the patient during the recovery phase should not be such a huge feat.
This is not to place the blame solely on the government and medical world for the addictions of individuals. There clearly needs to be accountability on both ends. I am just particularly appalled by trusted figures enabling drug abuse. “No means no” should be the mantra of doctors everywhere.
If I could recommend an important class for med school students, it would be on assertiveness. Preferably taught by Plankton, because we all know Spongebob really benefited from those lessons.
The most amusing defense against tightening the reins on hydrocodone is that it will lead those who are cut off from their prescriptions to turn to heroin or meth as an alternative. A person who doesn’t even know what Vicodin is could see that this argument falls apart. Placing a prescription drug in the same category with illegal narcotics is essentially furthering the point that it is just as dangerous. One does not seek cocaine after giving up soft drinks. Maybe a nice tea or coffee would do the trick.
Though I am strongly in favor of taking legal measures to get this under control, I do understand that there are individuals who suffer from severe chronic pain. I may be putting too much faith in the FDA when I say this, but surely they will be able to devise a plan that does not punish those who need painkillers for a decent quality of life.
Hopefully, a system will soon be established that provides only to those who sincerely need it. The safety of the population should not continue to be jeopardized because of poor medical practices. Come on, FDA. Don’t let me down.
Thrall is a sophomore majoring in journalism and film.