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You can't pick up a newspaper, magazine or browse the internet without seeing glaring block lettered comment on the nation's "opioid abuse crisis." I take no issue with that finding, but please take due note of the operative word, "abuse." There is another side of the coin here which is not being addressed, and that is the legitimate pain management patient who benefits from such interventions and under a controlled environment where their quality of life can be greatly enhanced.

So too, I believe I can reasonably state that the nation's pharmaceutical companies do not manufacture these pain relieving medications in order to cater to the abuser, but rather to the legitimate pain management patient who presents with a documented medical history and very often a list of previous surgical and related interventions that have been done but where pain is still present, and further surgical interventions to alleviate that pain and control it poses a higher degree of risk so that a pharmacological approach to pain management becomes viable and especially when issues of enhancing one's quality of life is the goal.

Unfortunately, because of the abuse by others who view Rx medications as merely an opportunity to use them recreationally and, in fact, "get high," it then becomes the legitimate patient who gets caught up in the, yes, very real "crisis," but not caused by the legitimate patient but rather the abuser and which is in fact the essential focus of the crisis. On the other hand, medical prescribers for legitimate pain management patients have the benefit of the record itself to readily justify such pharmacological interventions where previous interventions are no longer viable. Let's not place the legitimate pain management patient into the same mix as the chronic abuser. There is a big difference between the two.

Anthony J. Lomenzo, DPA, Fort Ann