Doctors struggle to balance pain treatment with painkiller abuse

Authorities in some areas where prescription drug addiction is rife have recently been cracking down on unscrupulous doctors who inappropriately prescribe painkillers. But there are other doctors who are struggling in a different way: they are being faced with the tough task of walking the line between treating pain and furthering addiction. One resident in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts describes her experiences here, noting that while prescribing narcotics to alleviate physical suffering is undoubtedly appropriate in some cases, “the proper use of narcotics is less clear when managing those with chronic pain syndromes who often have a long history of prescription pain medication use.” And in this recent article, the chair of the AMA Board of Trustees argues that various statutes and regulations implemented by some states to curb the epidemic “go so far as to nearly criminalize the practice of medicine.”

About Erin Marie Daly

I’m a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. My book on prescription drug and heroin addiction was published in August 2014 by Counterpoint Press.
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