In response to the correspondence on chronic pain patients having difficulty receiving pain control. I have a number of patients who are on chronic pain medication; and it is a legal risk for the doctor. The state is tightening controls on the prescribers and there is always a risk that the heath care provider, if not careful, will become a trophy on the wall of the DEA agent trying to make second lieutenant.
Unfortunately, the world of pain control is filled with abusers as well as people in pain who are users. The abusers may simply be selling their diverted medicines. Some abusers are drug seekers who are going from provider to provider receiving multiple scripts for abuse.
My office performs witnessed random drug urine screens with zero tolerance i.e., discharging patients for variance: 1. No drugs in their urine, or 2. The wrong drugs. Also helping us find people in need of help for dependency, the state has a computerized prescription system so that multiple-provider seekers will be flagged.
As far as the correspondent's inquiry about non-addictive medications that can help chronic pain, those medications are here now and frequently do a wonderful job in completely controlling pain. They should be a part of most pain-control regimes.
I'd like to close by asking this: Raise your hand if you know what state recently had the highest per capita overdose rate. (Hint: It starts with W and it's not Wyoming.)
P.S. An abuser is frequently an Academy Award-caliber actor.
ROBERT L. WHITSON, Richland