Letter: Doctors and abusers at risk when it comes to pain control

March 5, 2013 

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

Tri-City Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service