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Author disclosure: Brian Siegel, M.D. is my husband. This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to promote his medical practice.
Dr. Brian Siegel, pain management physician, and Medical Director of the Yampa Valley Medical Center’s Pain Management program said a patient could get a prescription for Suboxone, and then because Suboxone has a street value, that patient can sell the Suboxone to an opioid addict who may be struggling with withdrawals. Alternatively, a patient may take Suboxone to prevent withdrawals and sell their prescription opioids on the street, he said.
In another similar case involving narcotics and prescription drugs, Steamboat Today reported Routt County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested an individual after Boomer indicated there were narcotics in the vehicle In addition to heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and ecstasy, the Sherriff’s Deputies found a bag containing prescription pills.
On July 5, 2016, The Craig Daily Press reported that the All Crimes Enforcement Team arrested two Craig men on suspicion of distributing opiates. According to the article, an oxycodone prescription bottle and cash were pushed out of an interior house window. The prescription bottle was in the name of the arrestee and contained $100.00 cash along with 74 oxycodone pills. The prescription was filled on June 27, 2016, and eight pills were missing from the bottle.
To comply with the guidelines, the primary care physicians or surgeons may longer refill that patient’s opioid prescription, which causes abrupt withdrawal without the opportunity to taper off the medication, according to Siegel. Opioid withdrawal can lead a patient to seek opioids on the street or experiment with other dangerous street drugs, primarily heroin laced with Fentanyl, to get the same opioid high, said Siegel.
“It is important to understand there is a short window of opportunity, especially with younger patients that get hurt and put on opioids, to identify their escalating needs within the first month so we can prevent a crisis,” said Dr. Siegel. Dr. Siegel says his clinic tries to identify patients while they are early on in their injury or surgical recovery, and collaborate with the primary care physicians and surgeons to get those patients into the Pain Management Behavioral Health program as soon as possible post-injury or post-surgery.
The program, overseen by Dr. Siegel, addresses opioid addiction from both a medical management standpoint, where patients are evaluated and their medications reviewed on a regular basis and from a mental health perspective by offering patient counseling with the program’s behavioral therapists. The patients receive mental health counseling from behavioral health specialists to help the patients understand their pain and that opioids will not help their pain long term. Instead, the behavioral health counselors educate the patients about alternative methods of managing their pain, with minimal to no opioids, Dr. Siegel said. “Those patients do better in the long run,” said Dr. Siegel.