Should prescription painkillers be restricted in the ER?

Should prescription painkillers be restricted in the ER?Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently introduced new restrictions on opioid painkillers for New York City public emergency departments.

I give my take on the issue in a USA Today column: ER key to curb painkiller abuse.

Prescription drug abuse is a growing national tragedy. One of the biggest culprits is opioid painkillers, such as OxyContin and Percocet. Shockingly, more than 200 million such drugs are prescribed annually, accounting for more than 16,000 deaths a year. Significantly more people become addicted to opioids, many of which have chemical similarities to heroin.

Most opioids are prescribed in the doctor’s office, which has prompted some states to restrict primary care physicians like myself from prescribing them and to encourage referrals to pain specialists.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has taken these curbs a step further by focusing on emergency departments.

Enjoy the piece.

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  • A.J. Padgett

    Boy am I glad you aren’t my doctor. Your mind is already made up that there is no place in your practice for patients in severe pain. Your article does not even acknowledge the fact that opioid medications have a place in patient care. There are many primary care physicians out there who responsibly prescribe opioid medications for their patients in pain. In many cases there are no non-opioid medications that will ease these patients suffering. I wonder how you would take care of someone who presented with unbearable pain?

    • Jacqueline

      The article is about prescription drug abuse. Why are you making it about YOU?

      • Average Joe

        The vast majority of citizens are NOT drug addicts, but thanks to the near-sighted focus on denying drugs to the 0.5% or whatever of citizens who ARE, now anyone who genuinely requires pain relief is treated liked one.

        Anyone who reports being in severe pain must now be presumed to be a filthy lying drug addict, and treated accordingly. It’s getting rather Salem-y.

        “Burn the witch!” … “But she denies being a witch.” “That’s a sure sign of being a witch, denying that one is a witch. BURN! THE! WITCH!”

        Forgive the average patient for being a little bit “over it” by now.

  • Mark Samuel

    PROP started a lot of this hysteria about opiate medications, Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing and they’ve started a petition with the FDA that is one sided thinking. I’ve suffered from chronic pain from a car accident . For the past 24 years I’ve dealt with ongoing chronic pain ,if not for the pain medications i take to keep my life somewhat normal I would have ended it long ago. OxyContin was the first long lasting medication that finally got my never ending chronic pain under control. Its just another pill in the arsenal of medications made to help people. Its structurally different than heroin plus heroin is filthy. I thought it was a doctors duty to first do no harm. By letting people suffer your then harming them.
    This situation with people that abuse opioids will always be, don’t let innocent people that suffer from chronic intractable pain pay the price of suffering because of those that see it fit to abuse pain medications.

    • bill10526

      OxyCotin relieved my pain in December 2010 when I was knocked silly by some kind of urinary system infection and a flair up of diabetes. The dose was one pill every 6 hours, and I followed that schedule. But it didn’t get to 6 hours and 1 minute before I took the next pill. Unfortunately the doctor cut me off a week too soon. I had no craving for the drug after my pain stopped, but I wish that I could have had that extra week of help.

      Why would anyone pay attention to the soda jerk mayor?

  • http://www.facebook.com/victimofpain C.m. Phillips

    When there are over, !00 MILLION pain patients in AMERICA(According to the Institute of Medicine, I.O.M; a 2011 REPORT on “Pain RELIEF in AMERICA, A Blueprint for Transforming

    Prevention, Care, Education and Research”

    ….IT IS A PANDEMIC OF PAIN….. “A WORLD-WIDE PAIN-DEMIC of BILLIONS….” and at the Very HEART of THIS COUNTRY!!!!!

    When there are “OVER… 100 MILLION PAIN PATIENTS in the UNITED STATES,” AND ONLY 200 MILLION OxyContin and Percocet are “Shockingly”, prescribed annually?” Are YOU KIDDING ME????? (2 pills a day for 1 single person?) DO THE MATH!!!! and as far as the….”accounting for more than 16,000 deaths a year?” HOW MANY OF THOSE DEATHS WERE DO TO SUICIDE BECAUSE OF THE PATIENTS SEVERE, EVEN CONSTANT “STRESS-STATE” OF UNTREATED OR MASSIVELY UNDER-TREATED PAIN???

    No government statistics that are NOT complete BIAS and BULL to answer? Imagine that?!?!

    “WE, The Pain Patients of the United States NEED ACCESS TO CARE, REAL PAIN TREATMENT and CAN NOT WAIT ANY LONGER!!! with each NEW BARRIER put up to…”Prevent Abuse?!?!”… BUILD’S A SYSTEM OF WALL’s to PROPER ACCESS TO TREATMENT!!!! TANDAMOUT TO TORTURE!!!!!

    C.M.PHILLIPS
    Pain Patient…
    CHRONIC PAIN PATIENT ADVOCATE and
    HUMAN RIGHT’s ACTIVIST.

  • http://www.facebook.com/victimofpain C.m. Phillips

    P.R.O.P.= “Physicians for the RESTRICTION of OPIOID Prescriptions for ACTUAL PAIN PATIENTS!!!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/victimofpain C.m. Phillips

    When there are over, !00 MILLION pain patients in AMERICA(According to the Institute of Medicine, I.O.M; a 2011 REPORT on “Pain RELIEF in AMERICA, A Blueprint for Transforming

    Prevention, Care, Education and Research”

    ….IT IS A PANDEMIC OF PAIN….. “A WORLD-WIDE PAIN-DEMIC of BILLIONS….” and at the Very HEART of THIS COUNTRY!!!!!

    When there are “OVER… 100 MILLION PAIN PATIENTS in the UNITED STATES,” AND ONLY 200 MILLION OxyContin and Percocet are “Shockingly”, prescribed annually?” Are YOU KIDDING ME????? (2 pills a day for 1 single person?) DO THE MATH!!!! and as far as the….”accounting for more than 16,000 deaths a year?” HOW MANY OF THOSE DEATHS WERE DO TO SUICIDE BECAUSE OF THE PATIENTS SEVERE, EVEN CONSTANT “STRESS-STATE” OF UNTREATED OR MASSIVELY UNDER-TREATED PAIN???

    No government statistics that are NOT complete BIAS and BULL to answer? Imagine that?!?!

    “WE, The Pain Patients of the United States NEED ACCESS TO CARE, REAL PAIN TREATMENT and CAN NOT WAIT ANY LONGER!!! with each NEW BARRIER put up to…”Prevent Abuse?!?!”… BUILD’S A SYSTEM OF WALL’s to PROPER ACCESS TO TREATMENT!!!! TANDAMOUT TO TORTURE!!!!!

    C.M.PHILLIPS
    Pain Patient…
    CHRONIC PAIN PATIENT ADVOCATE and
    HUMAN RIGHT’s ACTIVIST.

  • http://www.facebook.com/victimofpain C.m. Phillips

    P.R.O.P.= “Physicians for the RESTRICTION of OPIOID Prescriptions for ACTUAL PAIN PATIENTS!!!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/victimofpain C.m. Phillips

    “Ask me if I AM PISSED OFF?!!!!!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/victimofpain C.m. Phillips

    sorry it’s….TANTAMOUNT TO TORTURE!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/victimofpain C.m. Phillips

    When there are over, 100 MILLION pain patients in AMERICA (According to the Institute of Medicine, I.O.M; a 2011 REPORT on “Pain RELIEF in AMERICA, A Blueprint for Transforming

    Prevention, Care, Education and Research”

    ….IT IS A PANDEMIC OF PAIN….. “A WORLD-WIDE PAIN-DEMIC of BILLIONS….” and at the Very HEART of THIS COUNTRY!!!!!

    When there are “OVER… 100 MILLION PAIN PATIENTS in the UNITED STATES,” AND ONLY 200 MILLION OxyContin and Percocet are “Shockingly”, prescribed annually?” Are YOU KIDDING ME????? (2 pills a day for 1 single person?) DO THE MATH!!!! and as far as the….”accounting for more than 16,000 deaths a year?” HOW MANY OF THOSE DEATHS WERE DO TO SUICIDE BECAUSE OF THE PATIENTS SEVERE, EVEN CONSTANT “STRESS-STATE” OF UNTREATED OR MASSIVELY UNDER-TREATED PAIN???

    No government statistics that are NOT complete BIAS and BULL to answer? Imagine that?!?!

    “WE, The Pain Patients of the United States NEED ACCESS TO CARE, REAL PAIN TREATMENT and CAN NOT WAIT ANY LONGER!!! with each NEW BARRIER put up to…”Prevent Abuse?!?!”… BUILD’S A SYSTEM OF WALL’s to PROPER ACCESS TO TREATMENT!!!! TANTAMOUNT TO TORTURE!!!!!

    C.M.PHILLIPS

    Pain Patient…

    CHRONIC PAIN PATIENT ADVOCATE and

    HUMAN RIGHT’s ACTIVIST!

  • http://www.facebook.com/victimofpain C.m. Phillips

    P.R.O.P.= “Physicians for the RESTRICTION (NOT RESPONSIBLE…RESTRICTION) of OPIOID Prescriptions for ACTUAL PAIN PATIENTS!!!” WT HELL???????

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