“The New York Times’s Coverage of Other Drugs Still Doesn’t Cut It”: Maia Szalavitz

“The New York Times’s Coverage of Other Drugs Still Doesn’t Cut It”: Maia Szalavitz August 6, 2014

at Substance.com:

…Schwarz goes on to describe how deputy/pharmacist Logan sometimes actually jumps over the counter and arrests people “on the spot” if they come to one of his stores with a forged or otherwise illegitimate prescription. That’s a real health-care pro in action!

And throughout, Schwarz tells the story of one of Logan’s arrests, describing a sobbing mother—the one he’d holstered his guns and put on his bulletproof vest to go out and arrest—now in jail. She was charged with “doctor shopping” after being tipped off by a physician’s assistant who suspected she was lying to get drugs. Logan found that “in the previous 10 weeks, [she] had been prescribed, from three doctors, 171 total days’ worth of hydrocodone, and 140 days’ worth of tramadol and Percocet, other painkillers.”

However, the mom—whom the Times names, and even photographs during her arrest, despite the fact that she has not been convicted or taken a plea and refused to speak to the reporter—tells it differently. Shwarz, who is at the precinct observing even the interview the woman gives to a detective, reports that she says that she had pain from scoliosis and surgery and didn’t know it was illegal to go to several doctors seeking relief—and she doesn’t see herself as addicted.

The article closes with this quote from the sheriff:

“I understand what they’re saying about privacy, I really do,” Sheriff Walter said. “But look at this—this is just one woman, one family. Those kids, they’re wondering where Mama is tonight. She’s hooked on painkillers, because the system allowed her to be.”

She’s not with her children because she was arrested and put in jail by a supposed healthcare provider—not because of anything intrinsic to her use of opioids—and is basically portrayed as guilty unless proven innocent.


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