What does forced opioid tapering do to chronic pain and illness patients? “In the short term, many policies that would limit opioid prescriptions for the purpose of saving lives would cause people to turn to heroin or fentanyl. In fact, over a 5-to-10-year period, that would increase deaths, not decrease them, according to a simulation study published in the American Journal of Public Health.” That’s not exasperation with the article’s author, Austin Frakt. I’m extremely happy he brought attention to this on such a big platform. My exasperation comes from the fact that this conclusion is SO. DAMN. OBVIOUS. How many patients need to commit suicide before anyone listens to us? “Amie Goodin, a researcher with the University of Florida College of Pharmacy who wrote an editorial accompanying the opioid policy simulation study, said, ‘Current policies to limit opioid prescriptions leave some pain patients high and dry, resulting in a new wave of unintended consequences for patients with untreated chronic pain.‘” Read this article here.
The title asks a great question. The Pulse of WHYY Radio asked that question of me in a podcast, and here is what I said! They also included the counter-perspective of a physician and health consultant, which I think was a great way to balance the conversation. Go listen to the melodious sound of my voice! It’ll air live next Friday at 9 am (I think), so if you’re in the Philadelphia/Delaware/Southern Jersey area, turn on that radio and tune in! Link again to the podcast: click here!