Saturday, January 7, 2017

A good read - from the Post Gazette -

....For the sake of helping people who need help -- both those who have pain and those who have addiction -- we need to clarify our language. Under the catch-all term "prescription drug abuse," we're really talking about two things: diversion of drugs, which is a crime, and addiction, which is an illness.

Conflating the two problems into one brands all addicts as criminals, which in fact is the attitude of some physicians, most law enforcement and many unrecovered addicts. No matter where we've bought or how we've taken our drugs and alcohol, we must be criminals. It's an attitude evidenced (perhaps unconsciously) by Robert L. Hill, chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Pharmaceutical Investigations Section, when he spoke at the summit about the people who lined up inside one of Dr. Oliver Herndon's three West Mifflin waiting rooms or those who flock to Florida pill mills: "I hear you talking about patients," Mr. Hill told the audience, "but these people are not patients, they're customers of these drug dealers."

"These people," I wanted to tell him, look like me. They look like you. They come from all races and socioeconomic classes, from all ages and both genders. Even if they don't have an official diagnosis that calls for these medications, they're driven by another illness that's poorly understood and harshly stigmatized in our society -- in part because of the lies addicts tell....

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