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Prescription Medication: We Are Taught Early to Trust

Remember when you were 10 years old? You wake up Wednesday morning and you’re body is achy, you’re running a fever, and you just can’t get out of bed. What did your parents do? They took you to the doctor. You would go see your family doctor and he would give you some prescription medication for the flu and send you on your way. After a few days of taking the meds, you felt better and you were back at school with your friends.

We are taught from a young age that when we are not healthy, we go to the doctor to be treated. The doctor’s office is a safe place where medical professionals have your best interest at heart. Doctors are people you can count on to get you feeling better as quickly as possible. Just like many memories from our childhood, we take these ideals going forward into adulthood.

The medical landscape has changed over the last decade. In addition to physical health, mental health has come to the forefront as awareness continues to spread. Young and old working adults go throughout their day treating some sort of mental deficiency- such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, etc. Often times, they regularly see a medical professional and are given a prescription to help treat their issue. That medical professional is trusted to make decisions in the best interest of the patient. But what if that is not always the case?

Let’s make this clear. We are not advocating for a complete lack of trust in the medical field. Many licensed professionals serve their patients for decades and are an incredibly valuable resource. But it is important to understand and investigate who you are trusting with your mental and physical health.

Over the last few years, government officials have positioned a strong stance against any sort of malpractice when it comes to prescription medication. Why have they done so? Because malpractice has taken place far too often. Unfortunately, some of the consequences have been fatal.

In early March, a Kansas doctor was sentenced to life in prison in regard to an overdose death of one of his patients. The doctor gave his patient large quantities of methadone in exchange for cash payments. He was also convicted of countless instances of giving prescription medication without any sort of screening process. He preyed on sick individuals and misused their trust.

In early May, a doctor was sentenced to seven years in prison for what authorities are calling the “pill mill” operation. Over the course of ten years, this doctor made over $14 million selling prescription medication in exchange for cash payments. He made pills so accessible that struggling addicts would drive hours away to see him.

Earlier this month, a Miami doctor was arrested when one of her patients overdosed on Oxycodon in her home. While searching her apartment, law enforcement found upwards of 200 prescription pills in her possession. The doctor would meet with patients outside of her office to exchange medication for cash.

Early in the recovery process, addicts often begin a Suboxone maintenance program. There has been a lot of positives and negatives when it comes to Suboxone. But one clinic in particular has been on the wrong side of the spectrum.

A Suboxone clinic owner in Pittsburgh was found guilty of falsely giving Suboxone prescriptions to patients who did not necessarily need the maintenance. She would also over-prescribe patients in order to charge insurance companies more money. As we’ve seen before, those who abuse Suboxone often dig themselves into a deeper hole.

Once again, we are not denouncing the mental health field entirely or even saying that medications used to help the recovery process are bad. But with something as serious as mental health, it is important to understand that not everyone will have your best interest at heart. If you or a loved one visit a clinician with an aim to secure prescription medication, there are some signs you should look out for.

Lack of drug testing is a massive indicator of foul play. No quality doctor would prescribe these medications if the patient continued to use mind-altering substances. Lack of clinical counseling or support is another indication of sketchy medical practice. Too often doctors write scripts with no clinical support. If these medications are really being used to assist in addiction recovery, then it is imperative that it is used in conjunction with clinical counseling on a weekly basis. As a family member you can gauge the motivation of your loved one based on their willingness to engage in these clinical supports. If they are really interested in putting a stop to their addiction, then counseling is a necessity. Another red flag is cash-only doctors. If the facility is unwilling, at minimum, to provide a receipt the patient can submit to their insurance, you know there is a problem. Cash payments allow no evidence of a transaction, which creates a loophole for doctors to practice unlawfully.

If you are concerned or need any assistance seeking professional help, please do not hesitate to contact us.