Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Opinion

May 9, 2013

Urge to `do something' usually makes bad law

(Continued)

Finegold and other legislators rushed through a bill that delays implementation of this prohibition until Dec. 1. The delay gives legislators time to refine the bill so it does not ruin legitimate companies like Injured Workers Pharmacy.

This isn’t the only aspect of the bill that needs more thought. The bill also requires physicians to participate in the state’s prescription monitoring program, a measure that could make some doctors hesitant to prescribe painkillers to their patients.

Prescription painkillers and narcotics certainly are abused and that abuse causes a great deal of personal suffering and damage to society. However, there are many patients who need these medications to treat their chronic pain and ease their suffering. Why must those who legitimately need these medications suffer for lawmakers’ zeal to pursue abusers?

Abuse of drugs, prescription or otherwise, already is illegal. There are uncounted laws on the books limiting and controlling their use. Lawmakers, eager to “do something” to fix every problem, are sweeping up ever more innocent people and businesses in their nets.

Thoughtful lawmaking recognizes that when someone says, “there ought to be a law,” often there already is.

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