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Physicians Are a Problem

January 21, 2014
by Dr. Roland Reeves, MD, FACS, ABAM
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Addicts seeking treatment, and even referring doctors, know nothing of these issues. They are duped. I hear in my office regularly the question “why did the doctor do that?” when talking about either the large number of opiates and alprazolam they were prescribed or the large amount of buprenorphine they were regularly prescribed with no other real addiction treatment. 

At this pint let me say, there are many well intentioned and ethical Suboxone providers that have been placed in a position of caring for a disease that is far more complex than what is taught in the online certification course. However, too many doctors are using it only as a profit center.

These problems and others have led to a general “bad rap” for buprenorphine in general. Evidence-based medicine practices strongly demonstrate the benefits of buprenorphine in the appropriate setting. This setting must include professional addiction counseling, treatment of co-occurring disorders, and strict accountability measures by the prescribing physician. 

Addiction societies and others have been lobbying strongly to rectify these problems. It may be a while. In the meantime, we must do our best to make sure patients with addictions are appropriately treated by addiction specialists. Medicine-assisted treatment of addiction is proven to save lives. We must not judge the use of medicines for this brain disease because they are misapplied.

Primum non nocere.  First, do no harm. 

Terrance R Reeves, MD, FACS, ABAM




As a substance abuse counselor who deals primarily with opiate addicts, I couldn't agree more with Dr. Reeves--Doctors are a problem. Hardly a week goes by that I am not confronted with a client who has a doctor who is essentially a dealer. In my area, it is easy for an addict to find a doctor who will give them the medications that they want, and the most popular ones are opiate pain medication and Xanax. Doctors who have little if any training in addiction medicine are easy, and I fear sometimes willing targets for opiate addicts trying to feed their addiction. I invite those physicians to come spend a day with me, and see the outcome of their work.

Surely, doctors may oversee some stuff but becoming addicted depends on the person and only on her or him. This person makes decisions and if he or she feels like they are addicted to a certain kind of drugs, they should get a consultation. Surely, this might be hard for them at the beginning but as long as they are willing they can make it through. It's like when you as a student get addicted to gaming or to the checker your assignment simply because at the beginning you do it for kicks but as time passes you get used to it and cannot live without it. But when you see how it affects your life, you should make a choice and the one which you won't regret.


Roland Reeves MD

Physician, T R Reeves


Roland Reeves, MD, provides medication assisted treatment for the practice T R Reeves, MD, in...

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