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H-L: Honor slain doctor by redoubling efforts in pain pill fight

December 10, 2009

Another victim in the fight against painkiller addiction was claimed this week, this time violently.

Dr. Dennis Sandlin was gunned down while working in his Perry County clinic, and police have charged a man they said shot Sandlin because he refused to write a prescription for pain pills.

The Lexington Herald-Leader puts it well in its editorial today

For almost 30 years now we’ve heard about the war on drugs. Some areas of Eastern Kentucky have the nation’s highest per capita consumption of prescription painkillers. Drugs are also waging war on the population.

Sandlin is both a casualty and hero in that war. His loss will be felt not just by his family and friends but also by hundreds of patients who trusted and relied on him.

It’s often said that no family, no matter how well educated or upstanding, is escaping Eastern Kentucky’s painkiller scourge. The loss of Sandlin proves that.

The best way to honor his memory is to redouble efforts to heal the sickness that spawns so much violence and neglect, and to identify and punish those who are profiting from it.

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