Holding doctors responsible for drug abuse

To the editor:

After reading your March 7 story on Nevada Senate Bill 75, which would make prescription drug manufacturers and medical care providers liable for people who become addicts, I wanted to speak up for responsible patients who have pain management needs, as this bill could potentially impact their treatment.

While we clearly face a growing problem with prescription drug addiction, Sen. Tick Segerblom’s bill takes the wrong approach. Modern medicine has its flaws, but the benefits of innovative drug technology and an appropriate treatment from doctors far outweigh any of the unintended consequences.

Plenty of other states are trying to stem this growing problem. Nine states have introduced legislation this year based on monitoring programs, which help physicians access data on a patient’s use of potentially addicting medications. Nevada’s Board of Pharmacy currently has the PMP system, which monitors the dispensing of controlled substances. Doctors can use this tool as a safety mechanism if they have any concern about a particular patient’s usage history.

Massachusetts is considering a bill that would provide grants for law enforcement agencies to establish drop-off boxes for prescription drugs. 55 percent of prescription drug abusers obtain their drugs from a friend or relative. Drop-off boxes go further toward addressing this problem than Sen. Segerblom’s poorly drafted legislation.

If this bill is enacted, Nevada could be overrun by litigators looking to sue the white coats off of the medical community. Instead, our state should become a leader in addressing the growing problem of prescription drug abuse.

If you’re a fan of the old sitcom “Cheers,” ask yourself: Were Sam and Woody responsible for patrons? To hold IGT liable for gambling addicts or Mars Chocolate liable for overweight Americans is as irresponsible as holding drug manufacturers and good doctors liable for prescription drug abuse. It also ignores one key issue: personal responsibility. Let’s urge the good senator to take a common-sense approach and find a solution that doesn’t clog up our overburdened court system.



The writer is president and CEO of the Nevada Health Care Association, an association of nursing homes and other providers of long-term care.


To the editor:

Another branch of the U.S. military is reported in need of spiritual/psychological counseling (“Computer analysts display combat stress,” March 12). Will future recruits be issued one rifle, one helmet, one backpack, one chaplain and one psychologist?

There are serious questions behind the sarcasm. I don’t doubt for one second the commitment and courage of America’s military personnel of all branches and at all levels, but “the system” seems to be failing to provide all the tools needed when changing a civilian man/woman into a military man/woman — especially before sending them into that terrible thing called war.

I was sad to read, “Many of the analysts are as young as 21 and may not yet have developed the ability to deal with the stress.” Why were they not helped to develop that ability before being expected to deal with the stress, i.e., before the damage was done?

We have many different types of “simulators,” but psychological warfare is not a new science. Where is “psychological defense”?

Somebody at the Pentagon needs to be kicking butt. They’re not adequately preparing America’s serving men and women.



Local talent

To the editor:

Ninety-five percent of the time, the solution to the problem lies within those who have the problem.

Our current school district leaders have the problem, and there are those in our area who can rise to the solution.

When strangers come into an area, it takes a long time to get the proper feel and perspective. Among all our schools, full of principals and administrators with master’s degrees and Ph.D.s, surely there are several who have the capacity and devotion to Las Vegas to do a superb job.

New superintendents brought in from somewhere else, while anxious to do well, take a while to get acquainted. In the meantime, some of our great people here could be off and running based on their local knowledge and concern.

Do we do “helicopter management,” hovering over our teachers and thwarting their creativity? Trust the teachers, free them up and let them soar.

No two individuals are alike. No two classes are alike. The greatest generation came from teachers who loved their students and nurtured their feeling of personal worth and responsibility, which brought their desire to learn. The desire to learn creates the greatest development in a student. With that, the grades and graduations will take care of themselves.




To the editor:

Not only are Las Vegas police officers overpaid, they’re totally overstaffed. I cannot count the number of times I’ve observed three or more squad cars surrounding what appears to be a single vagrant/drunk, or whatever, in handcuffs. Of course, even after the arrest is complete, the officers hang around and socialize for another 15 minutes or more. The only thing missing is the coffee and doughnuts



Compared to … ?

To the editor:

Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar’s Associated Press article appeared in Wednesday’s Review-Journal under the headline, “Sign-ups may bring headaches.” It was all about the complexity of signing up for the government’s just-released draft application for insurance.

But buried at the end of the article was this little gem: “Even with all the complexity, the new system could still end up being simpler than what some people go through to buy their own insurance.”

Now there’s real journalism for you.



Who needs a knife?

To the editor:

Is there not anyone in the Transportation Security Administration with half a brain (“New TSA policy on small knives sparks backlash,” Saturday Review-Journal)?

Simple question to any passenger. What do you need a knife on a plane for? This is just them being loud to bring attention to the impending budget cuts. Do they think that we really believe that allowing knives and baseball bats on a plane will lighten their workload and benefit anyone?

This is just one more pathetic story for attorneys to argue about, and get rich doing so. Sickening.



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