Medical Tuesday Blog

Why are doctors being treated more harshly than the Taliban?

Jan 9

Written by: Del Meyer
01/09/2018 1:36 PM 

A 63-year-old Physician Received a 55-year sentence while Taliban operatives received 10-years

In September 2003, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gene Rossi stated to a reporter: “Our office will try our best to root out [certain doctors] like the Taliban. Stay tuned.”

In 2003, all six members of the “Lackawanna Six” (Lackawanna, New York, is a suburb of Buffalo), “who attended an Al Qaeda terrorist training camp,” pleaded guilty to providing material support to the Al Qaeda terrorist organization and were sentenced to prison. 12 Sentences ranged from seven to 10 years. All of them are now out of prison.

Unfortunately, when a patient fails to follow the instructions and heed warnings provided by the prescribing physician, deciding to combine the drugs with other substances, like alcohol, or crushes, dissolves and injects a medications/drug mixture, and then dies, the physician may be subject to prosecution and conviction for manslaughter. 

One physician, Dr. James F. Graves, was sentenced to 63 years in prison at age 55 (a life sentence), a sentence later reduced by 17 years due to a sentencing error.

A 2010 Cochrane Review found that less than 1 percent of well-screened patients become addicted to their opioids prescribed for chronic non-cancer pain. 3

The vast majority of opioid misuse is not caused by physicians prescribing opioids for patients who have pain. Approximately 75% of opioid abuse stems from individuals who obtained opioids from a friend or family member (including by theft), or from drug dealers and other sources including purchase over the internet. 4

According to an article posted last year on the Scientific American MIND Guest Blog:

Typically, young people who misuse prescription opioids are heavy users of alcohol and other drugs. This type of drug use, not medical treatment with opioids, is by far the greatest risk factor for opioid addiction…. 5

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