Bioethics News

I’m a Doctor. I Worry Every Time I Prescribe Painkillers to a Patient.

January 14, 2016

(Vox) – The possibility of drug abuse, overdose, and diversion is the backdrop to every conversation I have with a patient about opioids. Some cases are clear-cut. A patient in pain from terminal cancer, whose need for narcotics is obvious and whose potential for dependence is immaterial — I don’t worry too much with patients like that. But in most cases the decision ??is far more fraught. My task as a doctor is to take stock of each patient’s risk for misuse of the medicines and weight it against the desire to treat his or her pain. There is an ever-present fear that, as much as I hate to believe it, a patient could be manipulating me.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.