Opiates: ‘Doctors Treating Patients Like Criminals’

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.

2 thoughts on “Opiates: ‘Doctors Treating Patients Like Criminals’

  1. HELLO!!! Additional perspectives??? The perspective for MILLIONS of PEOPLE who NEED these medicines for their OWN quality of life IS THE ONLY perspective that without even having to consider you to be so incredibly STUPID as to say that in your ignorant follow up to a statement that you were just as Self Serving trapped in your own tunnel vision about those who abuse the same as most of my PATIENTS have abused unhealthy diets that maybe I should look into cracking down on heavy people from eating. In the case of you who are this stupid, should I crack down on you for thinking? !! Quality of Life ~ get one!

  2. The fact is patients living with chronic pain without pain pills CAN and do adjust, depending on the pain, and do manage a life.

    Some pain however is debilitating, agonizing and wearing that over time the patient entire being is wrapped up in pain… far from a quality life, it becomes the total focus of each moment of each hour of each day, each week….

    Doctors under prescribe in concern their patients will become addicted to pain killing drugs.

    The people trafficking in prescription drugs for ‘fun’ (?) are keeping those needed drugs from the patients who do need the relief from pain…. they are frightening good doctor’s who care about their patients and don’t want them addicted… and so hesitate to prescribe them.
    If they do prescribe a pain med, the drug and dose is so mild it can’t touch the pain.

    uncommonsense is obviously aware.
    Sharon O’Hara

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