(Open letter from a reader):
“We just found out that police showed up at our personal physician’s office last week. They took him away in handcuffs. According to a small-town news release, he is guilty of ‘operating a criminal enterprise’ – specifically, they say they can prove he has been illegally distributing narcotics.
“So my doctor was arrested on charges of writing prescriptions for oxycodone, to people that he evidently knew were drug dealers themselves. It’s unbelievable. They say he knew full well that some of his “patients” weren’t patients at all – because they were turning around and selling the drugs on the street for profit.
“I’m not going to reveal my doctor’s name because the reason I’m writing is to show that this turn of events affects far, far more people than the doctor himself. Consider for a minute how his arrest injures his hundreds of patients who trusted him, and who have come to depend on his clinic for regular care. We can’t even get our legal prescriptions filled anymore. The medical clinic is now closed. There is a sign on the office door referring all of us to a phone recording operated by the state medical board. But it doesn’t tell us where to go or what to do now.
“Consider what this does to his new wife. And his young son. Everybody in town is calling the man a drug dealer.
“It’s truly a sad day in our little town, but what may be even sadder, is that it’s not uncommon anymore. Any simple internet search shows hundreds upon hundreds of doctors being imprisoned for illegal drug-pushing. In fact, when you look, you’ll see that doctors are being arrested practically every day for the same crime. How can smart people act so stupid?
“These aren’t small crimes. Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic and kills dozens of people every day. And like nearly all of his other patients, I’m left feeling abandoned and confused. I trusted him. We are now on our own to try and find other physicians in other cities. The only other family doctor in our area is about to retire, and is not accepting any new patients.
“Thank you for the work you do. The American public damn well needs to know how terrible this doctor/drug-pusher problem really is. It causes harm to more people than you can imagine.”
Andy in Virginia
(We are indebted to Andy for his letter)