Opiates: ‘Doctors Treating Patients Like Criminals’April 29th, 2008 by josh farley
I have received — but always welcome more — feedback about our Sunday project regarding the abuse of opiate-based prescription drugs.
Some public criticism came from Shari Wood-Flatley, a Bremerton woman who wrote this letter to the editor.
In part, she states:
“It would be nice if someone in the media or medical community would do a report about pain meds and acknowledge that there are people who genuinely need pain medication instead of pressuring doctors and communities to take action — action that may end up hurting a population of patients who already live with a debilitating condition.”
I know that in the story, we tried to convey the idea that opiate-based drugs have seen advances in their effectiveness and help people to live more normally who suffer from chronic pain. As Kimber Rotchford, a Port Townsend doctor who specializes in addiction, told me: chronic pain is “life threatening.”
He said that people with it are sometimes driven to suicide.
That said, the evidence of abuse — increased addictions in treatment centers and convictions in the justice system — was something we couldn’t turn away from for the story.
Still, I’m glad to see letters like Wood-Flatley’s. As we continue to write about this topic, it will help temper our reporting to include additional perspectives.