, Salem, MA


April 3, 2014

Column: Is Obamacare failure through incompetence, or by design?


My pharmacist told me about Gov. Patrick’s new initiative on dealing with opiate addiction: Druggists presented with an opiate prescription must check it with a database to make sure the patient isn’t filling various prescriptions from various doctors (Code XXX: patient I’ve never met before begging for addictive drugs). So, if you stop in on your way from surgery with a prescription, you’d better hope the computer system isn’t down for three days. My pharmacist has known me for 40 years and knows I think twice before taking one Aleve, but the government wants me to prove it before allowing me my valid prescription.

I feel bad for those with real pain who inadvertently get addicted, but let’s not pretend that young people who take drugs “for fun” or because of “peer pressure” couldn’t help themselves. We need to tell them: “Hey kids, it’s stupid, just say no, the first time, every time.

Someone suggested that the government should take addicts under the government wing while helping them fight their addiction. I might think that was a decent plan — better than letting them walk the streets committing crimes to feed their pathetic need — if it wasn’t for the Justina Pelletier case in which the government got its claws into a 15-year-old girl it is now holding prisoner as she wastes away. In a treatment dispute between Children’s Hospital and Tufts, Judge Joseph Johnston took the girl from her parents and awarded permanent custody to the dysfunctional state Department of Children and Families. Two state legislators, Reps. Marc Lombardo, R-Billerica, and Jim Lyons, R-Andover, are trying to get the Legislature to step in; just last weekend, the famous defense attorney Alan Dershowitz offered to help, arguing that this is a terrible violation of parental rights. Gov. Patrick, of course, has no opinion.

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