As a physician in Richland, I prescribe opiate pain treatment after conservative measures are found inadequate. Like fire, if it escapes, it can burn the house down. Unfortunately, a small percentage of patients have a genetic tendency toward the flypaper of addiction. It is always a very carefully considered option to use opiates to give quality of life for those with unrelenting pain.
I point to the movie The Wizard of Oz to help people understand addiction. Once Dorothy encounters the tornado, she has the means to be transported to Oz, where everything is in Technicolor and everyone sings and dances. Although Dorothy struggles to get back to the love of her family; on return to Kansas, everything is in black and white, the songs are gone. Dorothy finds herself looking for more tornadoes to return to Oz.
As practitioners, we are obligated to relieve the pain of suffering patients. We must be vigilant and monitor for misuse. We must remain ready to help Dorothy find her way home from the land of Oz. Oz isn't real.
ROBERT L. WHITSON, Richland