Medical Schools Pledging to Teach About Opioid Abuse


What a crock.  I just love it when medical schools pander to whatever is popular at the moment and then change curriculums to make it look like they are doing their part.

Upstate Medical University is one of more than 60 U.S. medical schools that have announced they will require students to take prescriber education in line with newly released federal guidelines designed to curb prescription painkiller overdoses.

This is such a marketing stunt.  First of all, medical students don’t prescribe anything.  Secondly, the whole narcotic abuse has many factors OTHER than doctors not knowing how to prescribe them:

  • Pain is the fifth vital sign.  Remember that one?
  • Doctors were getting into trouble with their state board of medicine or being sued for not giving enough pain medicine.
  • Prescription monitoring programs were not set up to even catch narcotic abusers.  Some are but NOT across most state lines.  How hard is this to do?  Isn’t this a federal issue?
  • Pill mills run by scumbag doctors were the biggest cause of this problem.
  • What about really punishing narcotic selling patients?  Shouldn’t they share in some of this responsibility.

All of this has nothing to do with medical school training.  There is so much to learn there that adding marketing ploys to their agenda is just ridiculous.  What’s next, a new education course in how to spot the Zika virus?

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  6 comments for “Medical Schools Pledging to Teach About Opioid Abuse

  1. Joe C
    April 7, 2016 at 9:29 am

    This whole problem started with pain the fifth vital sign and threats by various state medical boards to sanction physicians for not adequately relieving pain. Now it is all the doctors fault for the opiod addications. Give me a break.

  2. david78209
    April 6, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    I think the DEA is looking for new demon drug. For 60 years they got good funding by scaring the public about marijuana, but it looks as if that soon may no longer be a ticket to the gravy train. I question the accuracy of that figure they throw around, that 40 people a day die of overdoses of pain medicines — or is it 40 a day who die with any level of opiate, legal or not, in their blood?

  3. Steve O'
    April 3, 2016 at 9:51 am

    The chatter about what might belong in the medical school curriculum is merely a symptom of national confusion about education. Abraham Flexner railed about medical schools that were merely an endless series of abstract lectures of dubious relevance, which turned out students crammed with book knowledge but no experience in the practice of their profession.
    Imagine that.
    When one attends lectures, one has to put one’s trust in the honesty of the lecturer, if the material is at all new to the listener. The lecturer holds great power in molding the attitudes, strengths and beliefs of the students. It takes a long period of experience to clear out the didactic rubbish from the mind.
    Universities like to hire recent graduates, as they have just learned the tenets of ‘best practices’ and do not have the experience to cause them to think independently. That keeps the university’s party line coherent.
    If an interested party can “run a commercial” in the students’ daily broadcast during the pre-clinical years, one can implant prejudice that will be hard to root out. The more eagerly we insist on fictitious “theory” over experience, the more phony medicine will become.
    I believed “pain is the fifth vital sign,” and changed MY OWN opinion when it reeked of manure. American Retail Medicine desires the bright-eyed and infinitely reprogrammable medi-bot doctors who will not be bothered by their own heresy, as they generate none.
    Wait for the talking-head in a box, a true CGI doctor. The Dr. Max Headrooms are soon coming, when CGI imagery and Dr. Watson combine to give you a fictitious “Doctor Loving” on the screen to ‘see’ patients, while some drudge gathers vital signs. Spend as much time as you want in the examination cubicle with Dr. Loving – no extra charge! [ ]

  4. James Pollock
    April 3, 2016 at 7:10 am

    Doug Farrago , M.D. — You nailed it on the head. Craziness has consumed our planet, which includes the medical profession. I am a Family Practice Physician & Hospitalist who has spent 1/2 of my 20 year career in civilian practice & 1/2 in DOD practice until Wounded in Iraq….now back to civilian. Everything you said is 100% TRUE. I would like to relate my PERSONAL experience (as a PATIENT) recently. I was acutely injured at T 7-8 with “Acute, Anterior Thoracic Syndrome at T-7-8 with resulting 29 hours of Paralysis (b/f a miracle happened via decompression procedures) ]. I have been seeing some of the best Neurosurgeons, neurologists, pain specialists, etc.. for 3 years now, but as I transitioned back to my home state a few months ago, had to find a new PCP. As I walked toward the door, I noticed a sign that said, “The doctors here don’t prescribe the following medications to any patients, under any circumstances. (17 total)”. As I filled out the ‘intake’ sheet, I had to sign a disclaimer form repeating the door posting. Waiting on the Physician, I was told twice (makes a person feel like scum) by an M.A., ” … just want to remind you that a couple of your ‘prn’ medications will never be filled by our PCP Physicians due to strict laws, abuse by so many, etc..”. I did not say anything, but thought to myself, this is CRAZY. As a 20 year Physician, it is NOT ROCKET SCIENCE to figure out who NEEDS medication for pain, anxiety or any other situation under the microscope. If I have a person with pancreatic dysfunction, cancer, an injury that would cause pain or multitude of other reasons, THEN I ORDER PAIN RELIEF BASED ON MY KNOWLEDGE OF THE MEDICATIONS & WISDOM. If some Physicians & most “mid-levels” do NOT have that “WISDOM”, or if some providers are ABUSING their DEA status, then ADDRESS THAT WITH DUE PROCESS AT THE STATE MEDICAL BOARDS, not with BS propaganda that swings the pendulum either too far to the left or right. So far, I like my new PCP, but I was given a referral to see a Neurosurgeon 2 hours away, a Pain Specialist 4 hours away who is (5 months booked up), etc… = CRAZINESS . Another “rule” that we “Old School Doctors” were often told , ” If someone truly has pain, then giving them pain medication will NOT lead to any form of addiction 99% of the time.” (Truth). …..Thank you for bringing out the TRUTH. (Please join me on Linked In so that I feel better knowing there are many other Physicians still left with common sense !). …JP.

    • Steve O'
      April 3, 2016 at 1:49 pm

      Feel better, JP. Solely from my experience…
      People in pain talk about pain – limitations on activity and movement, endurance, type of pain and where it goes, associated symptoms, etc.

      Drug seekers talk about drugs – I need my XYZ for ‘the pain,’ which they can’t describe or categorize, but they sure know their pharmacology!

      I had a patient call me during clinic coverage, asking me to call in hydrocodone. I said that I thought it was a CII and needed a paper prescription. She said, “Oh, no, it’s a CIII and you can call it in. You need a paper prescription to get refills.” She was right, of course, at the time (now it’s CII) But I did not call it in for her.

      We are racing towards a Nirvana where people are freed from the responsibility of thinking. Let’s now treat nobody with nothing, and let nature take its course. Of course, that’s how things were BEFORE we struggled and sweated and discovered and invented, and started curing dread illnesses.
      But you have to think, that’s the problem.

      Civilization is often too much trouble. It’s easy to get rid of – one or two generations, we’ll be back to leeches and bleeding and mercury purgatives.

    • Kurt
      April 6, 2016 at 3:34 pm


      Unfortunately now one “shouldn’t” use narcotics unless they are dying of cancer!!

      (N.B. that is B.S. and I for one had to stand up against the DPR in 2000. I received
      a slap on the wrist as I had a good lawyer, my colleagues were behind me along with my
      hospital and hospital administration. If one has to stand against a Dept of Professional Regulation you are guilty until proven innocent.) I’m glad I have 5 years to go. I have no desire to spend anymore time in primary care than I have to.

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