Dennis Prager’s recent column on painkillers offered a very different perspective to the recent conversation on opioids. Many states, including Colorado, Pueblo and Steamboat areas in particular, are dealing with troubling opioid epidemics. According to the Colorado Dept. of Health, more people died in 2015 of opioid overdoses than from homicide.
What’s very worrisome is that many of these overdoses are not what you’re thinking — a junkie shooting up in some alley although of course there is some of that. No, many of these overdoses are from prescription drugs. It’s not only celebrities like Prince and Michael Jackson that are overprescribed medication. These opioid-based pharmaceuticals are extremely addictive, and when the prescription runs out, the former patient needs to scratch the itch. If they can’t get their hands on the prescription drugs, they might become that person in the alley.
Enter Prager. Contrary to much of the coverage on the opioid crisis, Prager writes an eloquent piece in favor of prescription drugs. He talks about his stepsons’ father, who killed himself after being in chronic pain for years. According to Prager, doctors wouldn’t prescribe opioid painkillers long term, because of their concern over addiction — even though the patient didn’t show any signs of an addictive personality and/or behavior.
On the one hand, especially when considering the doctors of Prince and Michael Jackson, one might look at Prager’s situation and think: Good on the doctor for being responsible.
On the other hand, one might be angry that the doctors couldn’t see past their very legitimate concern about opioid epidemics to properly treat this specific patient.
If you haven’t yet, please read Prager’s column. And then post a comment here: Do you agree with Prager? Or is he failing to see his personal story in the context of a larger nationwide epidemic of dangerous behavior?