Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
New pain-management rules may hurt suffering patients
Posted by Letters editor
The dangers of opioids
The use of opioids for treatment of pain has increased 200-fold in a single decade and resulted in many unintended consequences, ranging from dependence and addiction and death, to accumulation of unused opioid drugs in homes [“Chronic sufferers fear new pain rules,” page one, Aug. 28].
Young people experimenting with drugs do not equate the actions of OxyContin or Vicodin, for example, with those of heroin, and believe that they are using drugs that are safe because they are prescription drugs.
Many of these drugs are just as addictive as heroin; 16.4 percent of high-school seniors now report nonmedical use of opioid drugs.
Doctors and other providers licensed to prescribe have a responsibility in the creation of this sad situation. We know that better treatment of pain is necessary, but the best treatment may not be an opioid.
I am part of a national group of pain specialists, addiction specialists, scientists and bereaved parents (I am one). We are trying to teach the medical community and the public about the dangers of opioid drugs.
The large numbers of addicted and dependent people and those who have died are not “a few losers.” Many of them are our children or our friends.
— Rosemary Orr, professor of anesthesiology and pain medicine, Seattle Children’s hospital and University of Washington, Seattle
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