For anyone who missed it, as CBS reported this week, West Virginia is going to allow those who are addicted to painkillers to sue their doctors as a means of attempting to get control over some of these clinics that have basically become little more than legalized drug traffickers:
About two million Americans are hooked on prescription painkillers. In 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written -- that's one bottle for every American adult. CBS News went to West Virginia, a state that is attempting a drastic solution: allowing addicts to sue the doctors who got them hooked.
Seventeen years ago, Willis Duncan's life changed forever when a coal mining accident left him with a crushed sternum and broken ribs.
"If I didn't have ten pain pills, I wouldn't go to work. Bottom line," said Duncan.
He developed a life-long addiction to painkillers when his doctor's only "treatment" was a never-ending supply of pills.
Duncan said he would go in to get a check up, but the exam wasn't done by a doctor. "The only time you went in to see a doctor was to get your pills raised."
He would wait for hours to be seen at a clinic for just a few minutes, where 150 patients lined up every day. [...]
The cash-only operation allowed doctors to clear as much as $100,000 a week. The clinic was raided and shut down in 2010.
Exam rooms were filled with piles of trash and files, loose prescription pads, syringes and starving birds stuck in roach-infested cages.
Hundreds of patient records were seized with thousands of undated and pre-signed prescriptions for addictive pain medications like Vicodin, Xanax and Lortab. The doctor in charge went to jail for six months for negligence. [...]
"We are talking in a certain sense drug traffickers. They are doing nothing but writing and cranking out prescription after prescription after prescription," said DEA agent Gary Newman.
Newman is part of a team currently investigating dozens of doctors, pharmacies and distributors throughout the state of West Virginia. [...]↓ Story continues below ↓
Shutting down these clinics can often take years because these are licensed doctors writing legal prescriptions.
"Therein lies the problem. You have to be able to prove in court that their prescribing was for a non-medical necessity, or in such an egregious amount that it was negligent," Newman explained.
Among the 30 West Virginians now suing their doctors and pharmacies for enabling there addiction is Willis Duncan.
"They hurt a lot of people. I mean its a bad deal all the way around. I have nothing for them. Nothing for none of them."
So, who does Fox's resident quack, Dr. Keith Ablow side with on this issue? You guessed it. The doctors cranking out these prescriptions. In Fox upside down land, drugs don't cause addiction and who cares what these doctors do because all of these addicts would just be out on the street buying heroin if these doctors weren't writing them prescriptions.
Here's Ablow's fearmongering from this Saturday's Fox & Friends where he tells the audience that if heaven forbid anyone who is addicted to painkillers sues their doctor, it's going to mean an end to any doctor prescribing opiates to any patient, ever.
ABLOW: Clayton, I don't think this is the right solution. You know how many people could be in this case that was brought which establishes the right of a patient to sue doctors for prescribing pain relievers had not had a problem before this with addiction? Most if not all of these plaintiffs had had addiction problems prior to this. They went to these doctors looking for the pills.
Now should doctors try to screen out addicts. Yes! But it's tough. Is the way to do this to day, look, you're liable in case some people become addicted? You're liable because these are addictive agents. Everybody knows that. What, are we going to close every convenience store now that sells cigarettes? We going to close every bar that sells alcohol?
Pain killers of an opiate nature are addictive. Addicts misuse them. Addicts are not created by painkillers. They're created by other factors.
I'd say treat it. Treat those people. Look, I think we should legalize most drugs. The truth is if these people don't use Oxycodone or OxyContin, you know what they'd do? They'd go get heroin.
You know why? Because they're addicts. They need help. Most of the factors that lead to addiction, frankly, they're psychological. These are people who won't tolerate or can't tolerate pain. They want to be high. They don't want to think about being traumatized as kids.
They don't want to think about injuries that they've had. They don't want to think about getting older. They need help, generally psychological help, but the idea that you're going to shut down the doctors and make everybody terrified. Okay? That's the effect it will have.
I don't care if somebody with cancer, who's had cancer is 45 or 50 years old. A doctor's going to have to think gee, what if this person becomes dependent on these medicines and then decides they're suing? Well, that' the trouble and these are very affective medicines and thank God for these medicines.