Johnna Stahl · Albuquerque, New Mexico
First of all, this statement is false: “Drugs prescribed by doctors to relieve pain often end up becoming the object of abuse as users quickly become addicted.” Change the word “often” to “sometimes,” and the word “quickly” to “may,” and you have a truer statement.
This is a very small study and its definitions of “episodic” and “long-term” are both inaccurate and misleading. And the study indicated that only 6% “progressed to a long-term opioid prescribing pattern.” Where did this 25% figure come from?
The risk of inadequately treating acute pain, including pain from surgery, is that the pain can then become chronic. Inadequately treated chronic pain then becomes intractable. When pain becomes chronic and intractable, you have a large percentage of people on disability and a higher suicide rate. Denying opioids to pain patients is creating suffering for the sake of suffering. And I’d really like one of these “experts” to explain why suffering is preferable to being dependent on pain medications, just like diabetics are dependent on insulin or heart patients are dependent on beta-blockers.
Considering the millions and millions of patients who take opioids, the number who die from overdoses is minute. And let’s compare 40 deaths per day to the 80 per day by alcohol, 92 per day by guns, and 113 per day by suicide (which is most definitely under-reported).
Addiction is not about any certain drug — it’s about untreated and undiagnosed mental illnesses like depression, bipolar and PTSD. It’s about victims of abuse, rape and violence. It’s about the cruel lack of mental health services. The only thing this study is about is the drug war and the war against pain patients.