Last week, thousands of my physician colleagues and I received a letter from the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy. He asked us to change our behavior in prescribing pain medicines.
Around the same time, I was seeing a middle-aged man who had been admitted to the hospital for the fifth time in the same number of months for “pain.”
A week earlier another patient burst out at the nurse, “I am not taking my antibiotics until I get my pain medicine.” His skin infection did not warrant narcotic pain medicine.
And in yet another case, the nurse found a patient’s bedside drawer full of pain medications. “The drugs have a good street price,” the patient told me.
Undeniably, our nation is in the midst of an opioid epidemic, and Tennessee is at its epicenter.
Read the full article in The Commercial Appeal.