Doctors face new challenges with opioid epidemic

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Acting U.S. Attorney James Kennedy announced Wednesday that a 166-count indictment against Dr. Eugene Gosy, 56, was returned by a federal grand jury. The new indictment supersedes an indictment handed up in April 2016, adding charges of distributing and dispensing controlled substances, other than for legitimate medical purposes, resulting the death of six patients.

The indictment of Gosy paints a picture of a careless pill-mill doctor, who ignored patient addiction.

Dr. Richard Blondell, University at Buffalo’s Vice Chair for addiction medicine says over prescribing is partly to blame for the opioid crisis.

“The promotion of drugs to physicians by pharmaceutical companies or the representatives that encourage physicians to over prescribe is what got us into this mess,” said Dr. Blondell.

Dr. Gosy argues he was simply treating a community need for chronic pain.

The indictment against him says he and his staff continued prescribing drugs even after patients were addicted.

“Sometimes doctor’s begin to double book patients, originally in an effort to meet the demands or needs of the patient,s but over time sometimes the profit motive begins to cloud clinical judgement,” said Blondell.

Blondell says doctors have to balance their responsibility in the fight against opiate addiction, with the real needs of their patients.

“If you have a patient now who has a chronic pain condition and is suffering from pain and also has become addicted to the drugs we’ve given them to treat the pain that creates a big dilemma for physicians, like what do you do with those patients,” said Blondell.

Blondell says it’s possible to reverse the crisis, but doctors need to recognize signs of addiction.

“They need to learn how to recognize addiction in its earliest stages when an intervention is most effective. If we change the rules and regulations within the system we have the ability to fix this epidemic,” said Blondell.

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