I have this exact conversation more often than I would have believed:
Guy in boots: “I hurt my back awhile ago, doc, and it’s just not getting better.”
Guy: “So, I was talking to my buddy, and HIS doctor gave him this oxycotton for HIS back, and he gave me a couple and they really helped.”
Me: “Let me take a look at you.”
Guy: “Nah, I just need something for the pain. Can I get a prescription?”
Me: “What, do I have moron tattooed across my forehead? Get out of my office, asshole.”
OK, so I don’t really say that last bit, I just think it.
I prescribe narcotics to four groups of people: people I inherited on narcotics. People with terminal disease pain. People who are post-op, and we have a plan to end the narcotics. People who are waiting for a joint replacement or other surgical intervention for a painful condition.
If you show up without one of these conditions and ask me for oxycontin, percocet, or any other branded pain control medication, I will immediately label you a drug seeker and flag your file.
If you show up and ask me for a weaning programme because you’re buying them on the street, and you “want to get off them,” I will cheerfully refuse and give you the number for withdrawal management services. You can buy your own damn wean.
If you tell me you can’t do a detox “right now” because of all the other important stuff going on in your life, I will smile, and nod, and stop listening, because you’re not here to get off drugs, you’re hoping I can get them paid for by the government.
Fuck. That. Shit.
I want to help you. I can only help you if you want me to. This has been the hardest lesson for me to learn: no matter how hard I try for you, if you’re not on board, I can’t fix this problem.