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.