Prescription drugs: Mix and misuse recipe for death

admin | 2/23/2012, 4 a.m.
Floridas policies dont bode well for recovery Wollschlaeger says that opioid dependency is a disease plain and simple. But he worries that with the current policies and procedures that are followed by the State of Florida, that those who need help the most cant get it. We are not talking about a social or behavioral problem we are talking about a disease, like diabetes or high blood pressure, he said. There are medications that can help and there are treatments that clearly work. But Florida continues to cut funding that supports medically-assisted treatment programs. One estimate I have is that for every dollar used in treatment, we save four dollars. Thats because people dont have to be incarcerated or be sent to emergency rooms. People should also be aware that theres a big market out there for prescription painkillers. And its sad that some patients are even compelled to sell their own medication to augment their income. These drugs are powerful and they work quickly. They stop the pain, make one feel a sense of euphoria and often help us perform when we physically feel unable to do so. But they are highly addictive. And they are becoming more and more deadly. Dr. Wollschlaeger was appointed by Governor Crist in 2009 to serve on the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Implementation and Oversight Taskforce. He maintains his own clinical practice in Miami, is a professor of family medicine at the University of Miami School of Medicine and is 2010, was appointed to serve as a member of the Miami-Dade County Addiction Services Board. By D. Kevin McNeir kmcneir@miamitimesonline.com