Changes to opioid prescriptions short sighted
Beginning Aug. 31, 2017, Gov. Kasich enacted new rules concerning acute pain management. As a physician, we will be limited to writing no more than seven days of pain prescriptions and no more than 30 Morphine equivalents per day. Roughly, that is about six pain pills a day. These rules were passed without much input from practicing surgeons and a review of the current relevant literature. Most of the people that become addicted to pain pills are the ones that have vague pain complaints without any true pathology. People that have real pathology, such as an arthritic hip, knee or a bad shoulder generally do not become addicted. Post-surgery patients rarely become addicted to narcotics. Now our post-surgical patients will have to come into the office after seven days to have their medications renewed. This is a tremendous waste of resources and an true inconvenience to the patient. The 30 Morphine equivalents may not be enough for somebody that just had a knee replacement or a rotator cuff repair.
Unfortunately, when the government gets involved they usually take the path of least resistance instead of solving the problem. The majority of the overdoses, regardless of what the government tells us, comes from heroin and Fentanyl overdoses, not from prescription medications. The only way to overdose on prescription medications is to combine narcotics with alcohol or Benzodiazepine (like Valium). There are much better ways to curb the opiate epidemic, which actually should be labeled heroin epidemic. Whenever there is an overdose, the person’s name should be taken down and there should be a follow-up to see if that person could be helped, since the majority will go back to using heroin and have a 60 percent chance of death from an overdose. Also, every time somebody comes to the ER and has Narcan administered, there should be a follow-up to see if they can be helped. We can also continue to make it more difficult to obtain the heroin and Fentanyl. Place the drug pushers in jail and make it so punitive that people should be afraid of selling drugs. The useful idiots in the media have been applauding Gov. Kasich’s decision, but they have not done any research. I certainly agree with some of the provisions, such as limiting the amount of narcotics an individual can receive at the emergency room, but the same rules should not apply to everybody.
Sometimes things look great on paper but in reality it does not work. In this case it makes people suffer unnecessarily and inconveniences a lot of people.
George Tokodi, D.O.