Expert says doctors put in difficult positions with prescription drug abuse

Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic sweeping the nation according to Robert Saenz, an expert on the issue who spoke in Salt Lake City Wednesday with numerous organizations. Interviewed by telephone for KVNU’s For the People program, Saenz said unfortunately from 2001 to 2008 the number of deaths from prescription drug abuse grew by 373 percent in Utah.He said people often ask about the doctor’s involvement. Saenz said for the most part doctors are caregivers and not suspicious of their patients.”A patient comes in and says, ‘I want x milligrams of this narcotic,'” he explained. “For example, they may say Lortab or Percocet’s the only thing that works for them. So they put the doctor in a position to where he feels he has to.”The doctor being afraid of some kind of complaint to the medical board may be unwittingly providing the fuel for this person’s addiction.”Saenz says when he speaks to doctors he tells them to stop worrying about pleasing the patient and think more about their safety.

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