Dr. Sarah Chouinard is trying new ways to take care of patients who take prescription medication to cope with chronic pain. In her role as medical director of Primary Care Systems in West Virginia, Dr. Chouinard cares for many patients dealing with pain on a daily basis. The clinics have now implemented strict rules to differentiate people who are either abusing or selling their drugs.
“West Virginia is one of the worst places for prescription drug abuse, but it’s also one of the places that I think has a high rate of legitimate chronic pain,” Chouinard.
The clinic is located in Clay County, where almost one in four people lives in poverty. Clay County’s unemployment rate is the highest in West Virginia. Most of Dr. Chouinard’s patients work in labor-intensive jobs like coal mining, and many of her patients have injuries that result in chronic pain.
According to Brock Malcolm, the chief operating officer of Primary Care Systems, many physicians are increasingly afraid to treat patients dealing with chronic pain.
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