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01/28/12

I salute those who have called for a balanced report on the issues of medications that have been prescribed FOR THE RELIEF OF REAL, DOCUMENTED, CHRONIC PAIN. They have not been prescribed for the purpose of recreation, which is implied by both the title and content of this unfortunately sensationalized program.

Doctors who treat chronic pain are now being hounded, not only by the new, otherwise well-intended regulations regarding use of opiates for chronic pain, but by unbalanced programs such as this one that look at only one side of this complex issue.

I sympathize greatly with those who have lost family members or loved ones to the misuse of drugs originally prescribed for the legitimate purpose of relieving pain. The RECREATIONAL DRUG USER doesn't get very far within the legitimate medical community to get his or her drugs. We doctors are constantly on guard and watchful for recreational drug users--they may fool us once but they won't do so for very long. We count pills, refuse early refills or refills for "lost" or "stolen" drugs, we have painfully detailed Pain Contracts, we do urinalyses to not only make sure the patient is not taking other drugs, but to make sure they're taking what is prescribed (as opposed to selling their prescribed medications.)

It is because of sensationalized programs such as this that those of us who are willing to treat chronic pain are marginalized and suspected, or even accused, of careless or unethical behavior or practices. Ask any chronic pain sufferer how nearly impossible it is now to find a doctor who will treat chronic pain with opiates; I am getting referrals daily from other doctors who will no longer treat ANY chronic pain patients, even ones they have known and treated for year. This is a terrible disservice to the many suffering individuals who need our professional expertise and help. Instead, we are now denying them the needed medications that will allow them to function in everyday living.

There are two sides to every story. It's too bad that KCTS 9 has chosen to show only one side of this very complex issue.

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