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Letters to the Editor: I’m a doctor who treats chronic pain. The CDC isn’t helping my patients

A bottle of OxyContin with pills spilled around it
The aggressive marketing of OxyContin contributed to an overdose crises that spawned federal limits on opioid prescriptions.
(Associated Press)
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To the editor: As a house-call geriatric physician, many of my patients are wheelchair- or bed-bound under pain management. (“Finally, some promising news on opioids for patients in severe pain,” Opinion, Dec. 23)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines issued in 2016, which placed a cap on opioids, led to inadequate pain management care and even withdrawal symptoms in many patients. This misguided bureaucratic decision enabled pharmaceutical and insurance companies to practice medicine without a license, manipulating dosing outside physician decision making.

In 2016, I shifted treatment plans for some patients to cannabis. Should those patients be admitted to a hospital now, by law they cannot receive cannabis because it is a Schedule I drug, federally illegal in these facilities. What are they given instead? Opioids, ironically.

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Until this country has a comprehensive opioid and addiction plan, this problem will continue to linger at the behest of misguided bureaucrats and those acting in their own financial interest.

Gene Dorio, M.D., Santa Clarita

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To the editor: Thanks to UCLA substance use researcher Joseph Friedman for his piece on the lack of proper care for chronic pain patients.

I have been one of those patients for 22 years, and the past several years have been agony, day after day. Finding a doctor who can help me has been difficult, and the constant pain prevents me from having a life at all.

I will read the new CDC guidelines on opioid prescriptions, but how do I convey them to my pain management doctor, who should be informed of these changes? Friedman is so correct to say that physicians have been arbitrarily programmed and politically mesmerized by all of this setting of limits for those of us in incurable pain.

Carol Dickinson, Laguna Niguel

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