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Prescriptions Aren’t the Problem

Published August 17. 2019 06:44AM

Doctors overprescribing opioids did not cause our drug crisis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s data, nearly half of all overdoses don’t involve prescribed opioids at all. Among the remaining drug-related deaths in 2017, half involved illicit fentanyl and heroin. Only about 18,000 deaths involved a prescription opioid — most not prescribed to the person — and most of those involved multiple illegal drugs and alcohol.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says most addicts begin to abuse drugs in their teens or early 20s. Contrast that with pain patients on opioid therapy, the majority of which are over age 55. Seniors are prescribed opioids three times more often than youths under age 18, yet seniors have the lowest overdose rates of any age group. Youths overdose six times more often. Prescriptions aren’t the problem.

Restricting pain medication to pain patients won’t stem the tide of illicit fentanyl and heroin overdose deaths. Forcing pain patients off the only medications that work, providing no alternatives, is driving those same patients to street drugs and, increasingly, to suicide. Lawmakers must direct their attention to the real problem — illicit street drugs — and stop persecuting pain patients, the most vulnerable among us.

Gina Robertshaw

Coaldale

Comments
There are very few examples of conditions appropriate for long term opioid therapy and studies have shown that there is no change in pain level when patients are taken off long term regiments. If you are being treated long term with opioids you frankly need to find a new Dr.

The fact that over half of opioid overdoses do involve a prescription drug is actually a stunningly high number. Please read the evidence in the current lawsuits against the opioid producers. Leaders in these companies acknowledge that the were aware that they were shipping more opioids than the population could possible use and did nothing but increase production. These companies were well aware that their product was contributing to deaths and being diverted yet failed to act.

Patients who need opioids will still get them but it is in all our best interests that the producers be held accountable in civil court. Make them pay to help clean up this mess instead of the taxpayer getting the shaft.
Joe,
Define opioids. What all do you include in that list? Not able to locate the "Over 50%" data.
I don't dispute the knowledge among the pharma's on per capita to use, that's sickening. I do not agree with making this the pharma's responability. We all make choices. I'm currently in a painful time of blunt force trauma. I decided to stop at using three pills. Choice!
Thankful to have had them. Choice

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