Focus on drug abusers, not providers

To the editor:

Your Tuesday article, “Lawyer says pharmacists liable: State high court asked to reinstate wrongful death case,” reports on an attorney’s assertion that pharmacists and their employing drugstores are responsible for a patient’s actions, which resulted in a 2004 traffic accident and fatality.

It is certainly true that a pharmacy and its personnel — not just the pharmacist, but including the clerks who may wait on the customer — may have cause to become suspicious about the conduct of a customer. But more often than not, I suspect that prescription purchases, made with a legitimate prescription or physician’s order, cause little concern in a busy pharmacy.

Drug abusers and chemically dependent individuals are not only people who may require help, they are often ethically compromised and clever manipulators who have far more time on their hands and the ingenuity to outmaneuver health care professionals in their quest to acquire drugs. They really are very similar to those folks who are on the streets hustling illicit drugs, although sometimes they can hide under a better smokescreen of respectability.

What is really needed, both with the addicts’ legal but abused drugs and illegal narcotic drugs, is an emphasis on personal responsibility. Whether it involves a court action, or a course of individual treatment, the person who is doing the abusing needs to be the focus.

Blaming others for a person’s drug abuse is a standard addict response in their often desperate attempt to get out of trouble. If we really want to help them, we cannot buy into to that and take the blame. Treatment by proxy would not work.

As the majority of pharmacy customers are honest and compliant patients, and busy people themselves trying to get on with their lives, they should not have to undergo excessive extra scrutiny just because an unscrupulous drug abuser is trying to game the system to get extra drugs.

Pharmacy staff often appear hard-pressed to handle the volume of customers who present themselves for needed prescriptions on a daily basis. Pharmacists and staff can only be expected to catch a small number of blatant problems like those cited in this report, because their main attention needs to be directed at taking care of the public. To make them second-guess physicians and customers is akin to making bartenders responsible for preventing alcoholism.

We should all be concerned about prescription drug abuse, but let’s penalize the abusers, not the general public and those who provide the health care we need.

Eric Stefik


This is a housing ‘fix’?

To the editor:

The $700 billion bank bailout could have bought 2.8 million homes at $250,000 each. The average home cost $219,000 at its peak. About 2.3 million were foreclosed on, locking up the credit markets, or so we are told.

This bill is now at almost $2 trillion in trying to fix this. That would buy 8 million homes at $250,000 each. You do the math from there.

Bob Blanchard


Broken promises

To the editor:

We were told we would get change in D.C. if we elected Barack Obama president. I personally knew it was hot air.

We would have no more earmarks in the budget. We would get rid of the old cronies and get new people who were honest and would get this country back on track.

Have any of you out there had a pass on paying your taxes the past four or five years? Without penalty?

Don’t worry, we’ve been shown by example. And yes, I can spell prevaricator: O-b-a-m-a.

Roy Brooks


More wasted money

To the editor:

Nine hundred million of our tax dollars going to the Palestinians and Gaza? Can this possibly be true? Have our leaders lost their collective minds?

This is money that should be going to shore up our economy, not aid people who send rockets into Israel — killing innocents — and then cry when Israel hits back. I wish there were a way to make sure my tax dollars in particular were not going to help a bunch of murderers.

Nevada is almost at the bottom of the list of states for stimulus money — and the Palestinians are being rewarded for their bad behavior with funds that should be going to us.

Jean Brandt


First, end attacks

To the editor:

The appeal of funding for the rebuilding of Gaza should be tied to the termination of premeditated rocket attacks on their neighbor, Israel.

Ask yourself, would you have financially supported the rebuilding of Nazi Germany whilst they still were bombing London?

Joseph Levin


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