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Growing like weed

Stuart Rosenthal, Publisher

Last month, I addressed the subject of pain management in the context of opioid pain relievers such as Vicodin and Percocet. Use of these painkillers — both by patients with legitimate prescriptions and by those obtaining them illegally — has exploded in recent years, leading many experts to speak of an “epidemic” of addiction and overdose that is claiming many lives each year. The problem of chronic or intractable pain is a real one for many Americans, and doctors and others who encouraged wider use of opioid pain relievers a decade ago thought they were doing the right thing. We have since learned there are more and less safe ways of prescribing and using these drugs...

stuartrosenthal's picture

The pendulum swings

Stuart Rosenthal, Publisher

Recently, there has been an explosion of studies, lawsuits and newspaper articles highlighting what many are calling America’s opioid crisis or epidemic. While the term opioid includes illegal drugs like heroin, it also encompasses a variety of prescription painkillers, including OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), referring to our nation’s “opioid overdose epidemic,” notes that deaths from overdoses of these types of drugs have more than quadrupled since 1999. Some of these deaths are of abusers who steal prescription drugs from family members or pharmacies, obtain prescriptions illegally, or buy the drugs on the black market. But it appears that...