Drug abuse is a significant problem in this country, and stemming the tide of drug-related deaths and crime is a top priority of both law enforcement and the courts. However, in the desire to save lives and slow drug trade, decisions are sometimes made that are questionable. Such may be the case in the example of two Pennsylvania medical professionals who stand accused of unlawfully distributing drugs. The federal drug case has made headlines across the nation and sparked debate among many.
The charges center on the operation of a methadone clinic in North Union Township. Authorities claim that a doctor working at the clinic and the institution's director are guilty of unlawfully distributing a schedule III controlled substance. The doctor is also accused of unlawfully distributing a drug named Suboxone. The drugs in question were given to clients of the methadone clinic. Both defendants are also charged with conspiracy to distribute those drugs.
Patients who seek the services of methadone clinics are struggling with chronic pain and sometime with addiction issues. They are often seeking methadone, Xanax and Suboxone to alleviate their symptoms without having to turn to stronger, and sometimes illegal, drugs. In some cases, these patients are seriously addicted to the drugs that they seek, leaving physicians and administrators in a tough ethical position when determining which patients to serve and which to turn away.
This is not the first example of medical professionals being implicated in a federal drug case. However, the outcome of this case could have a much broader impact than any repercussions that these two Pennsylvania professionals might face. If dispensing methadone, Suboxone, Xanax and similar medications becomes a criminal act, fewer doctors will be willing to provide pain or addiction treatment to their patients, leaving a gap in health care for a significant portion of the population.
Source: heraldstandard.com, "Methadone clinic director and physician indicted on federal drug charges", Jan. 27, 2016