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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Doctors Disagree On Prescription Opiates

Prescription drug abuse has become the most difficult problem to treat in the fight against addiction in America. In the United States more prescription opiate narcotics are prescribed than anywhere in the world, in turn many addiction experts and doctors differ on how to best curb the problem that continues to grow. Additionally, doctors have varied opinions on how to prevent prescription painkiller abuse; physicians practicing in the same hospital differ on how to best handle the situation, according to The Plain Dealer.

There are a number of doctors who wish for stricter rules for prescribing opioids, believing it might lower addiction rates and misuse. On the other hand, many doctors view stricter rules could penalize patients suffering from chronic pain, especially if new rules call for opioid treatment for those in severe pain only and not those dealing with moderate pain.

Dr. Riad Laham, a pain management specialist at the Cleveland Clinic, wrote a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) arguing that such a rule could lead patients to lie about the severity of their pain to meet the criteria for medication, resulting in more illegal street sales of opioids as well.

The head of the Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP), Dr. Andrew Kolodny, says opioids are overprescribed. “We’re not trying to take these people’s opioids away from them, we’re trying to prevent new starts,” he told the newspaper.

Dr. Edward Covington, Director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Neurological Center for Pain, supports a PROP petition to the FDA that states “an increasing body of medical literature suggests that long-term use of opioids may be neither safe nor effective for many patients, especially when prescribed in high doses.”
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