April 23, 2023 -At age 93, struggling with the effects of a stroke, heart failure and recurrent cancer, Teri Sheridan was ready to end her life using New Jersey’s law that allows medically assisted suicide — but she was bedbound, too sick to travel.
So last Nov. 17, surrounded by three of her children, Sheridan drank a lethal dose of drugs prescribed by a doctor she had never met in person, only online. She died within minutes.
Soon, others who seek Sheridan’s final option may find it out of reach, the unintended result of a federal move to roll back online prescribing of potentially addictive drugs allowed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“How much should one person suffer?” said Sheridan’s daughter, Georgene White, 68. “She wanted to just go to sleep and not wake up.”
Online prescribing rules for controlled drugs were relaxed three years ago under emergency waivers to ensure critical medications remained available during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has proposed a rule that would reinstate most previously longstanding requirements that doctors see patients in person before prescribing narcotic drugs such as Oxycontin, amphetamines such as Adderall, and a host of other potentially dangerous drugs.