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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 117369
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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As a physician, I travel to ER sites work. One site is an

Customer Question

As a physician, I travel to ER sites for locum work. One site is an ongoing problem with drug/alcohol addiction. In town is a human services program that can provide limited help with outpatient counseling. It also offers immediate help with assistance of a one to four day allowance in their facility of housing for people who "want to get off drugs/alcohol", but must be "medically stable" for this. Meaning, they are brought to the ER and evaluated. Most cannot be "cleared" for this, as this is not a monitered situation. People "just ask" for "medication", which is prescribed by the ER doctor. The staff at the center usually ask for medication such as Valium, Librium, phenergan and "home medications" patients take which could include narcotics, Lyrica, etc. I do not feel comfortable prescribing these type of medications, and on my shifts I am willing to prescribe antinausea medications such as Zofran. I will prescribe regular medications such as medications for hypertension, etc. My concern is that if a patient is a long term user, they need a truly monitered setting, and need health care professionals to determine if they need medications and when. Just allowing addicts to "ask" for medications when they want in an unmonitered setting I feel is very risky. So, the other docs and I are in a battle over this issue. Do we get the state to mediate? No one ever stays at the Human Services center the full time they are alotted. They seem to go there for food and shelter, and to get a dose of a "feel good" medication, or to get away from their friends/family who are pressuring them to get help. My thoughts are that the addicts and their families need to proceed with the proper plan for the full in patient care. I know the process is frustrating and difficult. I know the options are limited. But is the best option to give the families a short "break" and send the addict to a day or two (if they stay that long) at the human services center, and possibly cause more harm?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
You do not have to prescribe anything you are not comfortable in providing. Furthermore, DEA regulations say you should not write prescriptions you believe are not proper or you cannot monitor. You are the doctor and can simply refuse to write the prescriptions they are asking for. If the human services center wants the prescriptions written then they can hire their own doctors to do so. You can report this to the State Department of Health and DEA, but both are going to tell you that as the doctor, you are responsible for whatever prescription you write and not to write something you do not feel is appropriate.