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

Congressional retirement

I don't agree with the retirement our congressmen receive. They sit behind their desks in cushy swivel chairs -- warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

My husband worked for the Washington State Highway Department as a crew chief, outdoors in all kinds of weather, 12 months a year for 30 years. His retirement is a drop in the bucket compared to our congressmen.

My husband enjoyed his work and I'm thankful for the retirement I get from it. But I don't agree with what we pay our congressmen.

JEAN VARLEY

Richland

Helping the poor

Are entitlements good or bad? Webster's Dictionary defines entitlements as "the right to benefits." In America, we provide benefits to persons unable to work. This includes children, the disabled, and where employment is unavailable. The poor return everything they get into general circulation, especially helping small businesses. Reducing these entitlements, or reducing wages, speaks another message: "You're in my way, so die!"

Jesus introduced entitlements as the beacon of judgment. Those whom God blesses with wealth will be tested on their "brother's keeper" obligations. The helpless will test wealthy people's capacity for compassion. In Matthew, Jesus taught, "I was hungry, thirsty, homeless, naked, sick and you did ... or did not help me." Cheating the poor won't reduce our national debt; but it will expose greed and hypocrisy among the rich.

JOY K. RASCH

Kennewick

Build a better bike path

I'm a middle school student and I like to ride my bike with my older brother and Dad. We used to live in Clarkston, Idaho, and enjoyed riding the river trail. Kennewick has a bike path through Columbia park but it is full of bumps, is too narrow, and has large cracks running through the asphalt. Instead of being a real bike path, it is part of the road which means cars pass by close.

I used to like riding along the river but now if I want to ride on a good path I have to drive to Pasco or Richland. Both cities provide wonderful river bike paths which are smooth and wide enough for people to pass each other with ease. There is also no danger of cars passing close by. I don't understand why Kennewick cannot provide the same type of path to its citizens as Richland and Pasco?

Kennewick needs a better bike/running path so its citizens can enjoy the beauty of the Columbia River in a safe manner. If Kennewick built a better path I would use it and I believe others would as well.

ANDREW SCRIMSHER

Kennewick

'Ferry' odd situation

Why do the politicans from the west side suggest gas tax increases rather then increases in ferry fares which, I believe are subsidized with gas tax dollars? I don't care if people want to live on islands or places difficult to get to by land, but I don't know why I need to pay for it.

LEO G. FAUST

Pasco

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