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Washington Must Realize That Prescriptions Are Not Driving The Opioid Crisis

Jeffrey A. Singer

On January 20th, the Cincinnati Enquirer ran a story on the recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that showed a 30.1 percent drop in prescription opioid volume from 2010 – 2011 to 2016 – 2017. While the CDC report was non‐​judgmental, it was greeted by hospital administrators and emergency physicians in the Cincinnati area as good news.

The article quotes one physician/​hospital spokesperson as saying:

“The patient can know, ‘My encounter with the ED will … lead to a good outcome. I will not be exposed to unnecessary threats … downstream.’

“They will treat the pain in a safe way.”

I was interviewed for the story and shared with the reporter my experiences as a general surgeon seeing patients referred from emergency departments in excruciating pain who were given minimal pain medication — sometimes just Tylenol (acetaminophen) or ibuprofen — for conditions needing urgent surgical intervention. I told reporter Terry DeMio “It means a lot of people are getting under‐​treated for pain.”

Read the original article.