NEW MEXICO MEDICAL BOARD
First Quarter Meeting
February 7-8, 2013
(Relevant parts of the) MINUTES
The Council’s job is to make recommendations to the Governor on the proper use of controlled substances for the treatment of pain.
Representatives, including the medical board, met with staff members of the Governor’s office and discussed a legislative option that would give the Council the authority to create prescription limits for opiates and other controlled drugs; including the duration of treatment and doses. Representatives at the meeting voiced concern about this approach. Limits will remain an option, however, as our state battles prescription drug overdose.
I. Investigation Department
-Attorney General’s Task Force on Prescription Drug Abuse in NM
The Attorney General’s task force has asked the medical board to give a presentation at their awareness summit, which is to be scheduled in April.
I communicated recently via email with the Executive Director of New Mexico’s State Medical Board, and here’s most of her response:
“I have forwarded your emails to the Governor’s Council on Drug Overdose Prevention and to several board members. I do not have the ear of the Governor nor to Legislators who have all been telling the boards who license prescribers of controlled substances to pass rules to sway the tide of over prescribing; prescribing that has resulted in NM being #1 or #2 in the country in prescription drug overdose. I will keep the board informed, but the board is not setting this policy direction on its own. Are you also writing to your elected officials? I hope so.”
In a message like this, you don’t even need to read between the lines. I mean, I’ve been told to f*** off before, but this is rather blatant. And in case you’re bored, here was my reply:
I didn’t expect you to help me, Ms. Hart. (Is it “Ms.”?) And I suppose it wasn’t very nice of me to shame you into responding to my email. I don’t know what I was thinking… I can barely help myself, why did I think I could help others? And what made me think that you would help me do that? I feel rather silly about it, after the fact.
I know there’s nothing I can do to change the minds of people who blame certain drugs for abuse and addiction, instead of facing the actual reasons for these problems. After all, it’s a lot easier to pretend that the actions of State Medical Boards, along with the DEA, are actually making a difference. And if trying to help one small group of people — those who suffer from addiction — causes harm to a much larger group of people — millions of chronic pain patients — well, I guess them’s the breaks. Can’t please everyone, right?
I mean, pain isn’t a tumor, like cancer, that can kill you. Sure, suffering can kill you, but it takes awhile, so most pain patients aren’t in danger of dying, like, right now. More under-treated pain means even more people on disability, and for longer periods of time; but that’s economically beneficial for doctors, so no worries there. It also means more people in poverty, but that’s not the Board’s problem.
I completely understand your position.