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Lethal outcomes

Published March 10, 2013 4:55 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Kirsten Stewart's "Docs to blame for pain pill deaths?" (Tribune, March 1) was an excellent article.

What we are seeing here is the lethal outcome of erroneous medical beliefs that: (1) chronic pain patients don't become addicted, and (2) patients with psychosomatic pain (such as related to depression) require opioids.

Furthermore, failure to recognize the disease of addiction often leads to adverse consequences by maintaining addicted patients on opioids under the guise of (mis)managing chronic pain, while neglecting to refer them for drug detox and rehab services as well as to mental health.

Additionally, this also leads to failure to recognize the pain of withdrawal, a common cause of pain in patients on chronic opioid therapy.

Thank you for your fine reporting; we look forward to follow-up articles.

Stephen G. Gelfand Secretary, Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing

Myrtle Beach, S.C.