The Unsuspecting Addict

June 15, 2018

During what appears to be a routine physical exam, Dr. D hears the story of how a patient’s decade-long addiction began with a single dose of Percocet (narcotic medication to treat pain) given to her in the hospital—the result of an error in the medical system and an all-too-common story about how addiction begins. Dr. D reflects on her preconceptions toward the patient and the importance of “switching gears” during the visit to encourage the patient to share her/his story. The message Dr. D relays to her fellow physicians, “Be aware of the power we hold in prescription pads” and offers tips for how to care for patients, including those who don’t realize they have an addiction. Dr. D ends with insights for those facing addiction and how loved ones might approach doctors for an intervention.

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