The drug-trafficking trial of a Virginia pain specialist demonstrates the slippery slope between treating chronic conditions and enabling addicts. Dr. William Hurwitz's jury heard the story of a patient with deblitating migraines who had been treated with anxiety medication that actually caused headaches—by another doctor who happened to be an expert witness for the prosecution.
Not until she went to Hurwitz, who prescribed high-dose opioids, was she able to function again. Many doctors are reluctant to prescribe the highest doses of opioids like OxyContin because they're open to prosecution if they're tricked by addicts, as Hurwitz admits he was. "I felt that I had a duty to the patients," he said.