Pubdate: Tue, 12 Apr 2016
Source: Press Democrat, The (Santa Rosa, CA)
Copyright: 2016 The Press Democrat
Author: Patricia Coughlan Hale


EDITOR: As a geriatric-care manager, I'm glad the overuse of opioid 
medications is finally getting attention ("Doctors paved road to hell 
with pain pills," Saturday).

It's frustrating to point out increased fall risk, more drugs 
prescribed for side effects, decreased mental focus (with increased 
risk of mismanaging other meds), only to be accused of not caring 
about pain, as if stating the obvious makes one a cold-hearted ideologue.

Conversely, excruciating chronic pain is a fact of daily life for 
many, many people. I've never had a broken hip or severe arthritis, 
so what right do I have to weigh in on how much of what kind of 
medicine someone else should be taking for how long?

Clearly, serious research needs to be done to treat pain in ways that 
don't compound the functional problems of those who have to deal with 
it; as compelling an issue, in my view, as addiction.

There's also a broader point here: the tendency in public discourse 
to take dug-in positions on subjects that are just plain difficult, 
that will take hard work and cooperation to address and that don't 
lend themselves to easy, doctrinaire solutions.


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