Chief Medical Officer at Baystate Franklin: Should we prescribe opioids to addicts?

My one experience with fentanyl patches was when my father was dying from cancer. I came to visit him and there were multiple patches affixed to his skin because the staff hadn’t bothered to remove the older ones. I was afraid he’d been overdosed, so I went over the nurses station (where no one was available) and waited to speak to someone. I forced the issue my demanding to speak to the doctor on call. I was furious. The doctor tried covering everyone’s ass, but I ultimately said that if I came in again and found something like this, they’d be reported to the state medical board. It never happened again.

If prescribing fentanyl patches to legitimate addicts will keep them from seeking out street drugs, then monitor them closely, but don’t just give up on them and allow heroin, or other drugs, to destroy them.


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