Much has been said regarding an "epidemic" of abuse of opioid drugs ("Bass Announces $4.8 Million Federal Grant, Ramped Up Needle Disposal Efforts at Packed Opioid Town Hall," Nov. 15). Studies have been cited with little critical thought or regard for the legitimate use and need for such drugs. Look closer at these studies and it is evident that they lump all users and all opioid drugs together and give no consideration for legitimate use.
There are doctors who do wrong by their patients and the result is overuse of prescription opioids. There are many more good doctors, who properly prescribe these drugs to patients who would otherwise suffer great pain. There are people who find it difficult and even impossible to get out of their beds because of pain. There are not many alternatives to opioids currently available and some patients suffer adverse reactions from such drugs. We should not deny them something that makes it possible for them to live simply because there are others who abuse opioids. These drugs are already tightly regulated and monitored. Patients on prescribed opioids are subject to regular drug testing and prescriptions are only refilled on a regular timeline.
We must consider every case on an individual basis rather than using studies to paint everyone who has a need for these opioid medications as an addict. There is clearly a problem here, but we should not deny patients access to these drugs and a better quality of life because of alarmists who want us to panic because there is an "epidemic."
Todd Heiler, Arcata