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How to halt the opioid epidemic: Stop making doctors pill pushers and record keepers

How to halt the opioid epidemic: Stop making doctors pill pushers and record keepers
Prescription only pain medication. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Opioid addiction starts in medical school, where the student is inundated with evidence-based studies about the efficacy of the latest breakthrough pain medications. This "education" continues through training and with continuing medical education classes on analgesic use promoted by the pain specialists and drug companies. ("Long-term opioid addiction can start in the ER," Opinion, Feb. 27)

But opioid addiction really begins in utero with the genetic foundation for the infant and continues with the environmental stresses inherent in our society.

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How to change this scenario? Stop drug advertising in the U.S. Give the physician more time to spend with patients, away from the computers and the mostly meaningless computer records. Let physicians be physicians and learn about pain control by doing more than writing a prescription.

There is the art of medicine, which once was the hallmark of our profession.

Jerome P. Helman, MD, Venice

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