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Let’s cut off the bs and admit that the treatment of addictive disorders does not interest the vast, vast majority of physicians. Why would a physician be interested in treating a condition like opioids use disorder when all he/she has just two medications to choose from? There are no sophisticated tests, MRI, PET scans etc. required that generate a lot of revenue for the institution.

Dr. Jacobs writes about his ‘frustration’ at not being able to prescribe this patient pain medications. Hospitals are not required to obtain any exemptions to use pain medications. This particular patient could have been given buprenorphine parenterally and he would have stayed in the hospital. Patients in pain from other conditions or disorders and aggressively treated with pain medications, but it was OK to withhold pain meds for a ‘drug addict’. How many physicians working in medical school, teaching hospitals know about the treatment of addictive disorder? Shockingly few, I may add.

It was astounding that a physician wrote an op-ed article in the NYT about allowing patients to inject heroin in hospitals!

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/06/opinion/let-opioid-users-inject-in-hospitals.html?_r=0

Did this physician know about IM/IV buprenorphine that can provide relief from withdrawal symptoms? How physicians who are on staff at teaching hospitals have bothered to obtain the DEA exemption?

Would our teaching hospitals and medical school react the same if 90 patients a day died from the Ebola virus? It is time that medical schools and teaching hospitals mobilize the same way they did when our nation was hit by the AIDS/HIV epidemic.

Percy Menzies

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