Opioids and Abortion

The Washington Post headline screams, “Fentanyl fuels the nation’s opioid crisis.”  It is another in a long line of articles seen in most news sources about the growing public health crisis that is opioid abuse and addiction, a plague destroying lives, families and communities across the nation and our Commonwealth.

Fentanyl is a Schedule II opioid pain reliever, and is “is 50-100 times more potent than morphine, according to a recent statement on fentanyl by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and 25-50 times more potent than heroin.”  A Schedule II drug is defined as having “a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.”

So, why did one doctor who owns four abortion centers in Virginia get nothing more than a slap on the wrist when it was discovered that his facilities kept no legally required records of the fentanyl he had obtained and allowed unlicensed staff members to transport the drug from facility to facility?  (Never mind that he allowed an unlicensed staffer to administer the drug to women unfortunate enough to enter one of this abortion centers.)

In its July 9 and 10, 2014 inspection report from the Charlottesville Medical Center for Women, Department of Health officials found that unlicensed staff members were transporting narcotics (fentanyl) from one facility to another with no record or documentation.  In fact, the facility had no records in accordance with federal and state laws regarding any drugs used at the facility.  According to the inspection report:

“…the facility failed to keep records of all drugs in Schedules I-V received, sold, administered, dispensed or otherwise disposed of…” 

The Charlottesville Medical Center for Women is owned by W.K.G. and J., Incorporated (the secretary is Marianne Fitzhugh), which also owns the Roanoke Medical Center for Women, the Richmond Medical Center for Women and the Peninsula Medical Center for Women.  W.K.G is William Fitzhugh, one of Virginia’s more notorious abortion doctors.  The Commonwealth of Virginia’s Board of Medicine apparently “investigated” and found an incredible record of Fitzhugh violating federal and state drug laws.  Among other violations, the Board concluded that “for several years prior to July of 2014” he “failed to maintain a record of all drugs administered or otherwise disposed of at his Charlottesville clinic.”

For several years.  Didn’t keep track of fentanyl.  Fentanyl being one of the most abused opioids on the market.  With unlicensed and unaccountable staff members transferring the drugs from abortion center to abortion center.  With no way of knowing what happened to those drugs.

The Board of Medicine acted as forcefully as you would imagine when a doctor who performs abortions is involved – it issued a “reprimand” and required him to make a pinkie promise to be good from now on (okay, it was to promise to read the law and follow the law, but seriously?). 

Other than that, there is no evidence that anyone ever did anything to find what happened to the fentanyl of which no one at Fitzhugh’s clinic kept record. You know, like is required by every other medical doctor and medical facility in the United States of America because fentanyl is dangerous and we have an opioid crisis!

Now, there is also no evidence that the fentanyl Fitzhugh obtained was distributed illegally or abused, but that might be because no one ever bothered to investigate because, you know, it’s abortion and, well, the abortion industry is “singled out.” 

A Board of Medicine that makes decisions like letting Fitzhugh off the hook certainly doesn’t give hope that it’s serious about dealing with Virginia’s opioid crisis.  At least not when it involves abortion doctors.