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Column: Unintended consequences of pain-pill policies




My libertarian bent makes me skeptical of any government program, especially one that is thrown together to “solve” a crisis. The particular crisis I’m writing about is the marked increase in the abuse of prescribed pain medication in our country.

Before the 1980s, doctors in our country rarely prescribed strong pain medication for chronic pain. These highly potent opioids were mostly reserved for acute injuries like chain-saw wounds and those dying in agony ... say from bone cancer.

But about that time there were some lawsuits that contended for treatment of chronic real pain. Disabling arthritis, nerve damage from chronic diseases such as diabetes, weird causes of agony with strange medical names such as tic douloureux. Heretofore, people were expected to just suck it up and suffer in silence, stuck out of sight in their bedrooms.

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