This Knoxville News Sentinel article is one of many now popping up all over. Fox News ran a series on narcotic prescription medication addiction. The doctor in the KNS article points out that it goes beyond opiates, and encompasses “nerve” medications, as well. But, here is the real scandal.
This problem is decades old, and the following are all complicit: judges, plaintiffs’ lawyers, physical therapists, nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants, and the doctors. Some doctors were too afraid of being sued to “just say no” to their patients. Some doctors permitted themselves to be used because eventually, the entire family trooped through the door with all manner of pain complaints, all wanting pills. The Fox News report mostly blamed the pharmaceutical industry. I mostly blame the doctors for writing the prescriptions, and for pretending that this was all just fine and dandy.
The legal system enabled all of this, and has been doing so for about 25 years. Plaintiffs’ lawyers grew wealthy on fake pain complaints, and encouraged their clients to keep filling those prescriptions. Judges knew what was going on, and winked at it, richly rewarding their local attorney friends. Too many appellate judges looked after their attorney friends and failed to stop it. They had the excuse that the legislature had to act, first.
The legislators were far too slow in responding but, in fairness, anytime someone made the concern public and asked for a legislative cure, purportedly injured people hobbled out of the woodwork with their lawyers to complain about their treatment by the insurance industry and their pain, pain, pain, pain, pain — though, they were caught on video proving they could rebuild their decks, clear land, refinish furniture, and farm. I’ve taken their depositions and seen the video. Many times.
And, even now, it all still goes on. Dr. Thomas is brave for taking this on. The wave of corruption stands above him to crush him.