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Letter: It’s unfair to stigmatize patient for past drug use

It’s unfair to stigmatize patient for past drug use

My son is a recovering addict of 5½ years. Two months ago he went to his general practitioner of 10 years (whom he’s been honest with about his addiction) for some flu symptoms. Two weeks later he received a form letter from the office telling him he could no longer be a patient there due to a breach in the patient-doctor relationship. He was baffled and called to find out what breach had occurred. He was stunned to find his urine test had indicated opiates were present.

He asked that any test, perhaps the hair follicle test, be done so he could find out what could be in his system to result in this finding. In today’s horribly sad environment of death due to heroin use, my son would have been one of its statistics had he been using. He is not using thanks to the city’s diversion program and his hard work. Now I know that too many parents can be in denial about their child’s drug use, but I have been around this block before. He has turned his life around and he is not using.

However, the way this was handled was both abrupt and harmful to him; his demeanor is visibly down. He has worked hard to overcome his addiction and to become a functioning, working and incredibly compassionate human being. He deserves to be looked at as successful, not as a mistrusted and discounted patient because of his past.

On April 9, the hair follicle sample came back negative on all counts. His treatment because of a mishandled urine test, a litigious society and myopic medical assumptions is disgraceful.

Sandy Moyer

Amherst