The August 3, 2008, edition of The Lexington Herald-Leader revisited an issue raised several weeks ago when the paper reported on the disciplinary action taken against two central Kentucky physicians accused of over-prescribing narcotic medications. The recent suspensions of Lexington physicians, Dr. Charles Grigsby and Dr. James Heaphy, spotlighted not only a large scale social problem, but one specifically impacting the workers’ compensation community as the costs associated with increased narcotic use for pain management continue to escalate.
Sunday’s front-page story, “Treatment for pain divides physicians,” focused on the debate arising from two schools of thought on the use of narcotics for pain treatment. One school of thought “holds that pain essentially is an illness in its own right that should be treated aggressively, up to and including the use of powerful narcotic drugs. The other side contends that doctors must be much more conservative, offering narcotics only when they’re absolutely sure patients actually need the potentially addicting drugs and are not seeking them to abuse them.”
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