Opinion

In fighting the opioid epidemic, remember people with chronic pain

To the editor: I agree with cancer survivor and opioid user Melissa Sanders-Self. (“The opioid crackdown is making life untenable for chronic pain patients like me,” Opinion, Oct. 25)

Good doctors, chemotherapy, radiation and other treatments, following my serious 2010 colon cancer, saved my life and at the same time exacerbated the chronic headaches I have had since childhood. I am a 72-year-old man who suffers from daily headaches and, with the consultation of my doctors, have tried over-the-counter and prescribed medications (including mild opioids) and other remedies.

As a Roman Catholic priest I pray, but I have also expressed that “God does not do headaches."

What is needed, in addition to supportive friends and family, are dedicated doctors who listen and communicate carefully with their patients (from my experience, this does not always happen), multimodal pain management and education, risk assessment that responds to the whole person, and policies that allow for realistic, monitored opioid usage when other measures are not providing relief.

Frank Ferrante, Rancho Dominguez

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To the editor: Several years ago, my 83-year-old father was taking liquid morphine and Vicodin for his bladder cancer.

After a fall at home, he was taken to a hospital where his medications continued. Two days later he was transferred to a skilled nursing facility, but his medications didn’t follow him and had to be reordered. Because of the special triplicate subscription form, not all pharmacies carried the drugs, and because his transfer was at night, there were few local pharmacies open.

I’ll never forget the screams of pain my father cried out for hours until a courier could get his medications many miles away.

My father fought in World War II. He went down in two torpedoed ships and never complained, yet his last days were spent crying in needless agony because of the shortsightedness of lawmakers who don’t consider the effects of drug legislation enough.

Linda Alkana, Seal Beach

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