Which Side Are You On?
Pete Seeger may have the most famous recording of this song that references coal operators’ intimidation of striking Harlan County miners. It was a war with violence on both sides, but you don’t have to be pro-union to be haunted by a verse like this:
Don’t listen to their lies;
Us poor folks haven’t got a chance,
Unless we organize.
A recent article by Phil Galewitz of Kaiser Health News describes a new war in Eastern Kentucky.
Picture the tiny city of Manchester with a population of 1,500; a depressed community in Clay County with vacant storefronts, declining infrastructure and limited economic activity. Except that they have eleven independent drug stores that focus almost exclusively on prescriptions.
Last year, Clay County residents filled scripts for 2.2 million doses of hydrocodone and 617,000 doses of oxycodone. According to the article, that’s “150 doses for every man, woman and child” in the county.
A local ER physician is quoted as saying, “Doctors are under tremendous pressure to prescribe, patients wear you down.” A local pharmacist said, although he recognizes the abuse problem, “when he’s given a valid prescription, he fills it.”
I know whose side I’m not on! I’m not on the side of profit hungry pill manufacturers, rogue physicians, shady pill mills and unscrupulous dispensers.
I’m on the side of limited prescriptions, alternative pain management protocols and improved outcomes to give the poor folks a chance.
Call us. We can do better.