8,200 deaths related to opioid overdoses that took place in the U.S., nearly quadrupling since 2002.
The article, written by Willem Scholten and Jack E. Henningfield asked, “what is the evidence that chronic pain patients are the problem or that restricting access to chronic pain patients will reduce harmful use of opioids and mortality more generally?”
However, it failed to address the fact that painkiller addiction is a much more complicated process. Most chronic pain patients taking opioids will develop a tolerance to their medication after two to four weeks of use.
After a month’s time, their body will need a stronger dosage to feel the same relief. If they do not feel that same amount of relief withdrawals will set in. Chronic pain patients are not the problem; it is the chemical and physical dependency their medication creates.
The article does get one thing right, though. All the attention on opioids, whether misinformed or not, has led public health agencies in the U.S. to work together to control the harmful use of opioids while addressing the needs of patients.
Last month, Addiction Now published an article on Big Pharma’s role in the opioid crisis in the United States. One of the most poignant quotes in the article came from Dr. Andrew Kolodny, executive director of the Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, who stated that while the focus for many years has been to prevent kids from getting into grandma’s medicine chest, nobody was asking why “suddenly every grandma had opioids in her medicine chest.”