Pubdate: Sat, 06 Jan 2007
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 2007 The Baltimore Sun, a Times Mirror Newspaper.
Author: Lee Tannenbaum


I commend The Sun's editorial on Congress' decision to change the
patient limit for physicians treating patients suffering from
addiction with buprenorphine ("A promising treatment," Dec. 21). The
change from 30 to 100 patients is a significant step forward for
addiction treatment. But more must be done to make addiction treatment
available to all who need it.

The disease of addiction, involving illicit drugs and alcohol abuse,
strikes every community of our country and its effects permeate every
aspect of our society.

Providing more and better treatment for this disease could have the
greatest public health benefit we have ever seen.

But with the continued patient restrictions, there will never be
enough doctors to provide lifesaving treatment to all the patients in

We do not limit the number of patients an endocrinologist or a
cardiologist may treat, nor do we limit the number of prescriptions
for insulin a physician may write.

And we don't limit the number of addictive, narcotic pain pills a
physician may prescribe.

The only way to provide adequate treatment opportunities for addicted
individuals is to remove any restriction on the number of patients who
can be treated and to allow appropriately qualified physicians to
provide the care they have been trained to provide.

Dr. Lee Tannenbaum

Bel Air
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