LAMENTING STIGMA, BUT REINFORCING IT:
A report in Citizens' Voice (Feb. 13, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) discusses the unwillingness of the vast majority of physicians to seek and utilize permission to prescribe buprenorphine in the treatment of opiate dependency.
It's not going to help matters when one reads in this story of a physician who states that his own patients "look normal to you or me," but then goes on to make the horrendously negative generalization that addicts “are very difficult patients. They’re highly manipulative. They lie, they cheat, they steal. … They also may present an unkempt appearance in the office.”
This physician apparently believes that there's something unique about him, his treatment, or his office. The fact is that patients who "look normal" are the rule rather than the exception in all practices that provide maintenance treatment - be it with buprenorphine or methadone. The physician cited in this article does a disservice to those who receive care, and the vastly greater numbers who, as this article notes, cannot find providers because of the stigma that is applied to them.