What is your image of an addict looking for a fix? Probably not someone sitting in a crowded clinic, waiting impatiently to be called. And what is your image of a drug dealer? Surely not the 58 year old fellow in a white jacket, rarely-used stethoscope sticking out of a pocket.
But in these days of a national opioid epidemic, the doctor’s office is where much of the action begins. Here’s an example from the pages of the New Orleans Times Picayune.
Frederick Floyd, Doctor of Osteopathy, was a popular man, garnering a handful of five star reviews. He was praised, among other things, for providing “follow up as needed.” Hmmm. His raving fans will not be seeing him for a while, as he faces a ten year sentence for drug trafficking.
Dr. Floyd was a very busy man. He saw as many as 70 patients a day in his two New Orleans clinics; assuming he worked for 8 hours, that’s about 7 patients per hour. He didn’t bother with insurance – it was a cash-only business, usually requiring about $300 per script. According to court documents, his patients routinely walked out with scripts for Xanax, Percocet and Roxicodone. No one knows how many prescriptions he wrote between January 2015 and August 2016, but the total was at least 2.4 million dosages.
Perhaps it’s time we revised our image of the drug pusher. A relatively small number of doctors across the country are providing fuel for an epidemic that is killing 90 people every day. These medical practitioners have turned “do no harm” into a Hippocritical Oath. In Floyd’s case, he’s moving his practice from “doc in a box” to “doc in a cell” where he’ll have plenty of time to reflect on the shambles of his career and, more importantly, on the incalculable harm he has done to people ostensibly in his care.