In Rural Arizona, Some Doctors Worry Tighter Opioid Regulations Could Backfire
KJZZ | Jan. 23, 2018 | By Will Stone
When a patient came into her practice not long ago with a broken jaw, it wasn’t a difficult diagnosis for Dr. Christina Goldstein-Charbonneau.
“Obviously I could see her jaw was big as anything,” said Charbonneau, a primary care physician in Bullhead City.
Dr. Christina Goldstein-Charbonneau is a primary care physician who practices integrative medicine in Bullhead City.
But she did something that may have seemed overly cautious in years past.
“In today’s climate, the way it is right now, I actually went over there and said ‘I’m sorry I can’t give you anything,’” she said. “‘Let’s hold off, let me go and get your X-rays.’”
The patient had actually gone to the emergency room first where they had refused to give her pain medication. Charbonneau hurried to get the medical records and only once confirmed did she prescribe an opioid.
This hypervigilance has become the norm for doctors in this remote, underserved corner of northwest Arizona — a place hard hit by opioid abuse and overdose deaths.
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