Prescription drug addicts in the ER have a far easier time getting pain pills than I do buying a firearm at my local gun-store

pills            Talk about a tragedy in need of some background checks!  In 2010 (the most recent year with complete data), there were 16,651 deaths in the US from prescription opiod pain-killers.  That means drugs like Lortab, Norco, Vicodin, Methadone, Dilaudid, Fentanyl, Percocet, Oxycontin and others. In fact, these deaths constituted 44% of all overdose deaths in America for that year.

While some of those deaths were due to suicide, most were simply due to carelessness,  ignorance and the ever-increasing need for the high that is a natural consequence of addiction.  Many of these deaths likely were the result of drugs not actually prescribed, but diverted from those with prescriptions.

Given this epidemic (which unlike gun deaths in America is growing), why aren’t we subjecting everyone to an up-to-date background check when they purchase narcotics at the pharmacy?  I already have to sign a paper and give my driver’s license to buy Sudafed!  So why not check narcotic purchasers every month?  Heck, every six months?  If they have a felony, or even misdemeanor, drug charge, they get no narcotics without special monitoring.  Heck, the same should be true if they have had anything that might prevent a gun-owner from purchasing a firearm.  That is, a history of any criminal conviction other than a minor traffic violation.  A history of dishonorable discharge from the military.  A history of mental illness that might result in suicide or homicide.

In the words of the left, ‘how many more lives need to be lost to this epidemic of drug-related deaths? How many more lives will we sacrifice to the pharmaceutical complex?  If one life is saved, isn’t it worth anything?’

Firearms and drugs aren’t the only dangerous items.  What about potentially dangerous animals?  Wouldn’t it make sense to have a background check before allowing a person to own a dog that can be dangerous to other people?  It’s well known that people in the illegal drug trade often favor certain breeds for their more aggressive tendencies.  A previous drug charge or other criminal history should preclude that sort of purchase, shouldn’t it?

What about some other background checks? I mean, let’s face it, the right to vote is critical to the safety, security and freedom of the Republic.  Why would we allow a person to vote who has a criminal background?  I know that a felony conviction generally leads to a loss of voting privileges.  But what about crimes, other than traffic violations, that did not rise to a felony?  What about plea bargains?  What about voting in the setting of known drug abuse? What about mental illness? In addition, should schizophrenics be allowed to vote?  It seems to me that if the right to bear arms is subject to background check, the right to vote should be subject to the same.

And why not free speech?  Reporters could undergo background checks; and then they could be licensed. After all, what if they had engaged in subversive political actions?  (Like some unnamed cultural and political figures of prominence.)  What if there are huge conflicts of interest?  What if they are mentally unstable?  Why allow the precious First Amendment freedom of speech to be imperiled by criminals or the mentally ill?

Not that I think any of these things will ever occur, or even should. It’s just that if we’re going to do background checks, there are a host of potentially dangerous things people have and do, and other particularly important rights that our citizens possess that might just as reasonably require expanded evaluation of their personal histories.

I’m not opposed to having my background checked.  I am opposed to the hypocrisy, the utter blindness of ideology, that says that one’s background only matters in firearm purchases.  And I am opposed to the lie that it is anything other than a gun registration system, with our information lying dormant in some archive until the data is desired by the government for use in confiscation or taxation.

But today, as I contemplate and write this, I’m deeply annoyed that the last few addicts I saw in the ER (whose dishonest disability and prescription drug plans are funded by my tax dollars) had a far easier time getting pain pills than I do buying a firearm at my local gun-store.

More background checks?  I hope not. But if it’s good for me, it’s good for thee.

About the author: Edwin Leap

Edwin Leap, MD is an emergency physician and columnist. He lives in rural, Upstate South Carolina with his wife and four home-schooled children, and their various dogs and cats. He is a 1990 graduate of the West Virginia University School of Medicine and completed his residency at Methodist Hospital of Indiana in 1993. He is board certified in emergency medicine. Dr. Leap and his children are hobby blacksmiths, who love collecting swords, spears, knives and axes. His favorite firearms are the Ruger over and under shotgun his wife gave him for his birthday, the Ruger Mini-14 and Smith and Wesson .357 he received for Father's Day and his big, ugly Mosin Nagant rifle (also a gift from his darling wife). He and his family are members of College Street Baptist Church in Walhalla, SC where he is a deacon.

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