PLANO (CBS11) – It is the latest videotaped downfall of the rich and famous to go viral. But, some North Texas medical professionals say the DUI arrest of golfer Tiger Woods should be a warning to millions.
He wasn’t drinking– but, told Florida police officers that he had taken prescription medication.
“You don’t know what you’re going to do with those medications, until you’ve had them,” said Donna Barsky, a Plano doctor of pharmacy, who recalled a patient once taking a pain medication and sleeping for three days. She’s also an impassioned crusader, routinely urging medical colleagues to work harder at managing legitimate medical conditions, without unnecessarily exposing patients to extremely addictive narcotics.
“Some of these things are given– `oh, you know, you’ve got some anxiety, let’s just give you this for awhile’…but, in some individuals, they can be addicted to that within three weeks,” said Dr. Barsky.
And while the general public is still in the dark about what may have contributed to Woods’ situation– and there has been no suggestion that he is addicted– doctors say bad outcomes with prescription medications have become common.
“I think more than any of us have ever realized,” said Jill Wade, DDS, at her Frisco dental office. Dr. Wade said she takes so seriously the slippery slope from pain to pain medication to addiction, that there are certain procedures that she no longer performs in her office–referring patients instead to specialists for procedures that may require narcotics to manage the pain.
“As a general dentist you have to make choices,” said Dr. Wade, from her dental office, Stonebriar Smile Design. “And do you want to walk down that road, with the possibility of getting somebody addicted like that on something that should be fairly simple?”
While taking a break from a staff in-service session with Dr. Barsky that also included information on drug interactions and why some patients react badly to certain medications, Dr. Wade added that prescription drug abuse knows no social boundaries– everyone is susceptible. “There isn’t a picture of a person, you can’t line up 10 people and pick out which one is addicted to pain medication.”
So Dr. Wade takes no chances– and other medical experts are urging patients to be wary as well.
“This has become a pill driven society– if something’s not working, you take a pill. If this isn’t working, you take a pill,” said Dr. Barsky, “that’s not always what we need to look at…there is no magic bullet.”
Dr. Barsky says patients should stick with one pharmacist to handle all prescriptions so that another set of eyes can be looking for potentially harmful interactions.
“I can’t make that more clear, because there are drug/drug interactions and people who have multiple doctors and multiple specialists–there’s no one driving the boat.”