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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Too much medical reefer? More government is not the answer.

There is a problem with the over prescripion of medical marijuana in Colorado. Fortunately, the solution to the problem already exists.

The pro-big government statists in both major parties, however, can not let the "crisis" go to waste. The boom of medical marijuana providers in Colorado gives the statists another opportunity to create another layer of government bureaucracy and government control over individuals and the doctor/patient relationship.

For instance, Christian Thurstone, a "board-certified child/adoscent and addictions psychiatrist" laments the abuses of our state's medical marijuana process ( see "Medical Marijuana and Teenagers, Smoke and Mirrors,") in today's Denver Post.

He complains that

In the last three months, I have seen more than a dozen young people — all between the ages of 18 and 25 and with histories of substance abuse — who received from other doctors what are essentially permission slips to smoke pot.

That presents a problem. It must be addressed.

However, Dr. Thurstone loses some credibility when he declares "Now, almost every day, a kid asks me, 'Doc, how can marijuana be bad? It's a medicine.'"

The good doctor is exasperated that he has to answer this question, as if the kid has a good point he can not refute.

That is an absurd conclusion. The kid does not have a good point. The doctor should tell the kid that valium, vicodin and oxycontin are medicine, too, and the kid should not be doing those things either, unless he has a medical need for them.

Of course, to answer in such a way is place marijuana on the same legitimate medicinal grounds as these prescription drugs. Dr. Thurstone does not wish to do this, and his bias is apparent.

(Of course, valium, vicodin and oxycontin are all more addictive and dangerous than marijuana, but let's not confuse the issue with clarity).

Dr. Thurstone has a higher opinion of his ability to determine if patients need medical marijuana than his fellow MDs. He disagrees with many of them.

He probably has a point. But let's not pretend that this is a new situation. Unethical MDs have wrongfully prescribed all kinds of medicine ever since the first prescription pad was printed.

Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson's doctors immediately come to mind.

The problem is not medical marijuana. The problem is its inappropriate prescription by licensed medical professionals. There already exists a way to deal with incompetent and/or unethical doctors.

Anyone, even other doctors like Thurstone, can file a complaint with the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners if one believes a medical doctor is acting in an unethical manner.

I found the form online in about five minutes.

The checklist of potential complaints includes "overprescribing of medications." It seems like Dr. Thurstone is in dire search of a solution that already exists, and it's as obvious as a bong at a baptism.

It appears that the good doc's real problem is that medical marijuana exists at all.

If one believes that a medical doctor is overprescribing a medicine, any medicine, report him to the board that already exists. There is no need to lobby the legislature for more government intrusion into citizens' lives.

Physician, heal thyself. And leave the legislature out of it.

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