In medical school and residencies the teaching is that narcotics have no place in the treatment of most chronic pain, especially musculoskeletal pain. But these teachings have been ignored and people are dying as a result. This article cites findings on significant death rates among women due to opiate overdoses, including from Oxycontin. These are prescription drugs, either received directly or drugs diverted to the street. These deaths are disproportionately the poor, single mothers, and the defeated. Federal data shows a quintupling of deaths among women due to prescription pain killers since 1999, climbing at a rate higher than men, with the gender gap narrowing.
More women die from these drugs than from homicide or cervical cancer. These deaths are not statistics. They are men and women who did not need to die and most likely did not need the narcotics.
Physicians who prescribe them casually and the companies that create and promote them aggressively should rethink their motives and their practices. It is easy to say yes to drugs. It is harder to listen with one’s heart and mind to the real pain that underlies many of these lost lives. Collectively we must find a different path. Read more…
J Kates says
These are the same pts ( and their families) that demand pain meds, fake symptoms, and doctor shop.
Perhaps this is the case, but isn’t that why we physicians are licensed and trained; to help protect our patients from their own bad decisions? And if one can doctor shop and find narcotics in the process for chronic pain, a contraindication for such drugs, should not those who prescribe operate at a higher standard?