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The opioid crisis and physician burnout: A tale of two epidemics

June 8, 2016

About the Author

photo of Steven A. Adelman, MD

Steven A. Adelman, MD, Contributor

Dr. Steven Adelman graduated from Harvard College, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and the McLean Hospital psychiatry residency program of Harvard Medical School. He has worked as a medical leader at Atrius Health and … See Full Bio
View all posts by Steven A. Adelman, MD


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June 13, 2016

I am sick and tired people expounding the evils of opioids in this past year. It’s insane, and, I believe self righteous of the ones touting it. And yes I understand the pros & cons, of its use, clearly! I am a retired nurse…. And in my opinion, it is just plain wrong to deny people pain relief. I saw too much of this in my job, of 30 years. It is WRONG.
Opioids is almost all there is….. Unless use of cannibus is allowed to help.
I live Oklahoma & legal use of cannibus will never be voted in for use here. l have psorriatic arthritis, which is rheumatoid. My timed periods of fair to good pain relief is appreciated. But the pain returns, and the disease causes fatigue that is horrid, as it destroys your body joints. I blessed to get to use Tramadol…and now they are trying to hype it up as ” opioids like” ! Totally riduculous.
But I would love to try some cannibus tea or whatever…just no smoking.
People a lot worse off than I will ever be, deserve whatever it takes to feel better, even if just for a while.
People without pain do not need to be governing or swaying opinions on pain relief medications.

June 14, 2016

Thank you… I have been a victim of untreated pain.. I shouldnt be punished for the drug addicts actions.. nor.. Dr Burnout!.. I need a nights sleep and a day that i can function.. If they figured out the root cause of my pain.. I wouldnt need pain killers… I’m very angry…

Clark Gaither
June 8, 2016

All true. But posts like this always end with statements like “until our society and the medical profession begin to address” rather than a call to action. Well, here are several. It is time for family physicians to tear up all of their payer contracts and kick insurance companies and federal payers out of our offices. Here is a fact: I don’t need the patient’s insurance. The patient needs the patient’s insurance. Remember all of the hand wringing over undue influence from pharmaceutical companies? Whatever their influence may have been, it pales in comparison to the undue influence from payers, including CMS. Everyday, up until my last day in clinical medicine, I was violating my oath each and every time I let a payer get between me and a patient. Conflicting values is one of the main drivers of physician job related burnout. I see it everyday. Enough talk about how bad it is or will get. Let’s do something!
Clark Gaither, MD, FAAFP (a.k.a. Dr. Burnout)

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