Massachusetts Doctor on Opioids: 'We Created This Problem' - NECN
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Massachusetts Doctor on Opioids: 'We Created This Problem'

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Trump Declares Opioid Crisis a Public Health Emergency

    Dr. Daniel Muse's job is to save lives. But he'll be the first to tell you he's played a role in the opioid epidemic.

    (Published Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017)

    The president's declaration of the opioid crisis as a public health emergency will not bring more money to the problem, but a Massachusetts doctor says it will lead to some changes.

    After the epidemic claimed 59,000 lives in the United States in 2016, medical and state professionals say anything helps at this point.

    Dr. Daniel Muse's job is to save lives as an emergency medicine physician at Brockton Hospital. He'll be the first to tell you, he's played a role in the biggest epidemic in the United States.

    "If anything, I am paying for the sins of my profession," Muse said. "We created this problem, to a great extent. We are the ones who prescribed the pills."

    Muse says those pills lead seven to eight people to a Brockton emergency room everyday. He says about two people lose their battle to addiction every month.

    "Without realizing it, we had a flagrant disregard for the well-being of our patients," Muse said. "And the worst part is that they trusted us."

    Dr. Muse says Donald Trump making the opioid epidemic a public health crisis is a step in the right direction. He cautions, however, that it's just the first step.

    "I don't know what he's really going to do, but the bottom line is yes, we have to do something about it," said Muse.

    The president's declaration of an emergency will allow some grant money to be used to combat the abuse, and expand services in some areas.

    "I think it will have a lot of comprehensive and really aggressive approaches to dealing with this problem and I am looking forward to seeing the feds move on it," said Gov. Charlie Baker.

    It falls short of allocating more federal funds to the fight.

    "In the end, we are still going to lose most of them who are addicted," said Muse.

    The "how to" will determine if the fight against opioid addiction can be won. To Dr. Muse, stopping the crisis depends on people never starting.

    "So the real future of this is to prevent them from ever getting on these drugs," Muse said. "And that's where education and the way physicians practice has to change."

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