MTPR

Montana Board of Medical Examiners

Lawmakers will study prisoner solitary confinement and meth and opioid abuse during the legislative interim as they begin to shape new policy proposals for the 2019 session.
Eric Norris (CC-BY-2)

Montana’s Board of Medical Examiners is learning more about how doctors treat pain and prescribe pain medicines as they grapple with the state and national crisis surrounding opioid painkiller abuse.

Bob Mason and his dog Sophie.
courtesy

When Bob Mason decided to end his life with a self-inflicted gunshot, his pain helped him pull the trigger.

Mason died in January. He was 67 years old. His daughter, Shane Mieski, says her father had been without pain-killing drugs for about a week when he died.

Kathy Snook, Terri Anderson and Gary Snook waiting in Dr. Forest Tennant’s office in West Covina, California.
Corin Cates-Carney

Over the past two decades, the rate of overdose deaths from prescription painkillers known as opioids has quadrupled in the United States. Federal authorities say 78 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Health care officials in Montana report that the abuse here is worse than the national average. But the casualties of the opioid epidemic are not all addicts and drug abusers.

Consumer Reports gave Montana poor marks for not using simple language to get more information about doctors.

Lisa McGiffert is the Director of Consumer Reports' Safe Patient Project. Her complaint is with terminology on the Montana Board of Medical Examiner website.

“The terms on that page are licensee search as opposed to something real simple like find your doctor or look up your doctor,” said McGiffert.

The former director of the state chemical dependency treatment center has pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from his arrest at a Butte bar.

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