Regarding the opioid crisis — 22,000 deaths includes illicit drugs like heroin. The number becomes 15,000. One study shows half obtained them from friends and relatives (also addressed by law enforcement). The number becomes 7,500.
Part of the quadrupling of prescriptions from 1999 to 2015 can be attributed to an aging population living longer due to advances in treating life-threatening illnesses.
Better education of patients is vital. People in pain who treat it with over-the-counter meds regularly take more than the recommended dosage. They must be made to understand the danger of “more is better” when they step up to opioids.
Therein lies the peril of misguided “lowest dose, shortest duration” guidelines. People in pain just want it to stop.
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Chronic pain sufferers must be allowed to get ahead of the curve and not be forced into a routine of pain alleviated by inadequate doses throughout the day.
Abuse must be addressed, but patients enduring unrelenting pain must be allowed to manage it effectively with the help of their doctors and pharmacists.
They can handled discomfort, but chronic, oppressive pain is a nightmare.
Don’t punish millions for the 7,500.
Burt Peterson, Meridian