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Don't make debilitating pain sufferers go without the opioids they need

Don't make debilitating pain sufferers go without the opioids they need
OxyContin pills at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. (Toby Talbot / AP)

To the editor: The March 6 article "For all their risks, opioids had no pain-relieving advantage in a yearlong clinical trial" could lead to serious misunderstanding as to the relative pain control of opioids versus more common medications.

First off, the study involved a very limited number of patients served by the Department of Veterans Affairs with solely musculoskeletal pain, like pain in their backs, knees or hips.

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I agree that the study has good intentions of fighting the escalating opioid crisis, but the majority of people with serious, unbearable pain should not have to suffer while a well meaning, inexperienced doctor tries out the effects of ibuprofen and acetaminophen before prescribing stronger medication.

If we are serious about fighting opioid abuse, we need simply go after the immoral doctors and pharmacists who over-prescribe these feel-good drugs to their hapless users. Jail time is called for in these cases, not some monetary fine or loss of license. That's how serious "crimes" are punished if we want to rid our society of this menace.

Jim Harley, Banning

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To the editor: A year and a half ago, after freakishly injuring my shoulder, I became the proud owner of the following permanent structures in that shoulder: two screws, eight staples and four stitches. If I somehow forgot to take my Oxycodone, my pain went to a 9 or a 10 on the common 10-point scale.

If anyone is prescribing an opioid for a pain level of 4 — well, therein lies the problem. This warrants Tylenol or Advil, not an opioid.

No flipping wonder we lose 115 people a day in this country to opioid use.

Stacy Mason, Redondo Beach

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