Doctors overprescribe dangerous, addictive drugs that lead to heroin use

The article on prosecuting heroin dealers for the deaths of their customers was very thought provoking. I wonder if this push should be harsher and more inclusive, or even worried about.

After reading the article my first thoughts on heroin deaths and penalties immediately went to doctors. I believe that our doctors, in an effort to negate complaining by patients, over prescribe dangerous, addictive pain killers. I have seen way too many people with large scripts for Vicodin and Percocet. These individuals had some minor surgery or relatively minor pain that they were dealing with, yet were prescribed these highly addictive drugs. I honestly believe that the increase in heroin usage is related to this scenario. People get hooked on the pain meds and then when the source dries up, people are forced to turn to the cheaper alternative, heroin. If the drug dealers are to be held accountable for selling to someone that dies, shouldn’t the doctor be held responsible for hooking the person in the first place?

On the heels of this thought came the idea that this could be a very slippery slope. While I am all for getting dangerous drugs off of the street, I worry about the doors being opened by this type of stance. Will the bartender or carryout be prosecuted for the actions of someone that becomes drunk? People can say that notion would be crazy, but we cannot see into the future for where this precedent may lead.

I guess what I am trying to say is that government is being reactive to a problem that can be dealt with in a far better way. First and foremost, addictive pain medication should only be given out in the most serious of cases, and only then followed by close monitoring. This will help eliminate part of the heroin customer base. Second, we educate our children on the dangers of all opiates, including the ones prescribed by physicians. Lastly, doctors need to relay to their patients that the patient is going to have to deal with a certain amount of pain.

Jay Owens

Waterford