Of the readers who answered the above survey, more than one-fifth admitted to lying to their physician about marijuana use. A reader writes:
Following elbow surgery last year, I was prescribed pain medication by my surgeon, who then referred me to a pain specialist for continued treatment. A month later I went to the pain clinic and was given several pages of paperwork to fill out. I skimmed through what looked like the usual privacy and release forms and signed everything, then was asked for a urine sample before seeing the physician. Unwittingly, I had just submitted to taking a drug test, because one of the first things to come out of the doctor’s mouth was "We need to talk about your marijuana use."
I was stunned. Because I have insurance under my wife’s plan, which is a health trust for the school district here in Las Vegas, the doctor assumed I was an educator and began to express her concern that I was using illicit drugs in that work environment. I informed her that I was not a teacher, but the admonishment did not stop there. I am a casual and responsible cannabis user, but I felt like a teen being lectured to by the school principal for bad behavior.
I understand that the abuse of prescription narcotics is a serious and growing problem in this country (as opposed to, say, casual pot smoking), but the assumption that anyone who uses marijuana should be a considered a substance abuser is ridiculous. Ironically, the physician went ahead and gave me a rather large prescription for the same narcotic medication (Percocet) that my surgeon had prescribed, in spite of the "drugs are bad, mkay?" speech. And a few months later, the pain clinic actually called me to see if I needed to come in for a follow-up – something that never happens to me. Needless to say, I didn’t need the narcotics any longer and wasn’t about to submit myself to that kind of invasive scrutiny again.
Earlier cannabis confessions here.