Narcotics and Driving

Here is the latest headline, which should scare you:

‘Drug driving’ leads to more fatal crashes than drunk driving

Why should that scare you?  Because if you don’t document that you had told your patient NOT to drive while on pain medication then you could be sued as well.  How do I know this?  Because I write about this crap every day for 16 years.  Doing this Authentic Medicine blog so long allows me to rememberer these kinds of things happening before.  And here it is:

Doctors Sued for Prescribing Painkillers to Woman Who Crashed Her Car

You need a WSJ to read the whole thing.  It’s an old article (2008) but here are the highlights:

A woman wrecked her car, killing an innocent bystander. Now the bystander’s widow is suing the woman’s doctors, arguing that they should have warned her not to drive while taking the pain medicines they prescribed.

I cant find the final outcome of this case but the last article I could find showed that it was going through a malpractice review with the state medical society seemed to think was a win.  Does it really matter, though?  With the opioid craziness going on there has got to be lawyers and others wanting to capitalize on it.  In fact, this is from the first article above:

An increasing number of drivers involved in fatal crashes are testing positive for drugs, especially opioids and marijuana, according to a new study by the Governors Highway Safety Association — though it is unclear whether drug use is actually the culprit in those crashes.

The report raises serious concerns at a time when the U.S. is facing an epidemic of opioid usage and as more and more states legalize marijuana for medical and recreational usage. But the GHSA also cautions that it is difficult to fully understand the extent to which “drugged driving” is becoming a problem.

All I can do is repeat what Corporal Hicks said in Aliens, “Hey! I know we’re all in strung out shape but stay frosty and alert. We can’t afford to let one of those bastards in here.”


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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] 

  5 comments for “Narcotics and Driving

  1. CHRIS
    June 8, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    Here is a good one for you. I have a patient just recently admitted to SNF who suffered a tib/fib fracture. Her leg was at 90 degrees and she said she reached down and straightened it out. Sent to the nursing home with 3 day course of narcotic pain medication by the surgeon because we have this idiotic “acute pain” law here in Kentucky.

    Another patient that I see in wound care center who has a massive open abdominal wound (its like 6″ x 12″) due to an intestinal perforation. Sent home by surgeon with 3 day supply of narcotic pain medication.

    True stories

  2. Kurt
    June 7, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    Yup, crap rolls downhill. (If you haven’t noticed, primary care is the bottom of the medical sh!#p!le) Now we’ll see an epidemic of renal and liver failure, a resurgence of
    GI bleeds and more poop on our heads. There is a place for chronic narcotics in those with
    chronic pain “NOT REMEDIATED” by injections or surgery. I wished they’d just legalize pot so access would be easier to the cannabidiols and support/research could be easier to support some of the interesting and positive results I’ve seen with chronic pain of whom their pain docs put them on it. Can be very narcotic sparing. I have no problem signing off of folks who are established patients (ie. several years with qualifying conditions) but will not hang out my shingle to do pot evals as there is a negative connotation with that.

    • Kurt
      June 6, 2018 at 2:57 pm

      And now the s$!t rolls down hill on top of the heads of the primary care physicians because others can’t bear to prescribe opioids!

      • martha oreilly
        June 7, 2018 at 1:00 pm

        3 YEARS AGO all the area rheumatologists stopped prescribing the hydrocodone they had scripted for YEARS and all those chronic rheumatologic pain patients were told “go see your PCP”. With this new round of nonsense I anticipate more post op and other pain patient to be told the same thing.

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