We have to have a conversation about drugs. So says the Connecticut State Legislature.
Effective January 1, 2018, when a “prescribing practitioner” prescribes an opioid drug, the practitioner “shall discuss”…”the risks associated with the use of such opioid drug”. The complete Public Act can be found here, https://www.cga.ct.gov/2017/ACT/PA/2017PA-00131-R00HB-07052-PA.htm, and the pertinent section for this piece is at Section 5 (f).
The command in this statute is to healthcare professionals who prescribe medication, but we are all commanded by abject social urgency to discuss the risks associated with the use of opioid drugs, or any drugs at all for that matter.
What does discuss mean?
When we discuss something with someone else, there’s a conversation. It isn’t a matter of simply speaking to someone. A discussion involves the provision and exchange of information and ideas. A discussion is marked by questions, answers, suggestions and expressed reactions. That’s a discussion.
We discuss things with adults and we discuss things with children.
When we discuss drugs and substance abuse with children, that conversation is absolutely pivotal. We must have the sincerity, interest and courage to launch the anti-opiate, anti-drug, substance abuse conversation with children at the earliest possible age. This includes the risks associated with alcohol and marijuana.
I see two-year-olds and younger children using I-pads in restaurants. If your child can operate and play a game on an I-pad or smart phone, then your child is old enough to hear you say, “we don’t use drugs and here’s why”, followed by “what do you think about that?”
It is many years and thousands of lives past due for healthcare professionals to warn people about the dangers of opioid medication. This warning is required by Connecticut law to be a discussion.
For twenty six years, we have been having this conversation, hundreds of hours of conversation about opioids and substance abuse with people who come to us at the Maddox Law Firm. It is a natural and required conversation for us and it is ingrained in our mission to protect, advocate and defend and find durable solutions.
Support your healthcare professionals in following our legislative requirements. Support your family, your friends and your community by discussing the risks of opioid drugs and substance abuse at every possible opportunity.