I thought I’d show you an alternative version to my most recent post. Dr. J, over at Adventures in Medicine, has studied addiction for a bit and works with people in areas of Canada where, I imagine, addiction is a major social and economic problem. He has a differing opinion of the drug seeking behavior that is in stark contrast to what many physicians would agree with, but it’s one that definitely holds merit.
Personally I’m not saying that drug seekers should be instantly turned away. After all, they are someone’s kid, possibly a parent, and most likely have at least a couple people who love or care about them. Therefore they should not be instantly vilified for poor life choices and neurologic or chemical changes that force them to “seek”. What I was trying to convey in my post, though, is the tremendous amount of resources that are lost on people like this just so that they can satisfy their “Jonesing”. It’s really quite sad to know that someone might lose a bed because a Demerol junkie needed a fix and the hospital caved.
Now, after reading the well formulated post by Dr. J, I would admit that his method seems to be a better way to handle drug seekers at their intial intake: by being forthright with them. Let them know upfront you’re not going to give them drugs, but that you can help them with treatment should they want it. Make it their decision to seek the proper healthcare rather than shuffling them off onto inpatient teams many times over who will spend days and thousands of dollars “treating” a malingerer. It’s a good thought process and I think, as medical personnel, it is essential to always remember that the vagrant, the asshole, the annoying drugged out jerk in bed 3 is still a human being.