To the editor,

I would like to address this “opioid crisis” as a veteran for veterans.

Instead of concentrating on illegal drugs often contaminated with other substances, our government is concentrating on stopping doctors from prescribing opioid products to many who need these products to help get through a normal day. 

Speaking for myself, I have had 18 surgeries since Vietnam and still suffer from continuous pain in my back and hip. There are others suffering much worse than me.

Others suffer from PTSD, and there are good programs like REBOOT that helped me and many others with these symptoms. However, it should be the doctor who works with each patient individually to find a way to lessen pain. But instead, we have handcuffed doctors to stop pain medicines, instantly leaving their patients with no other options – at least legal ones.

Is it better for those needing pain relief medicine to go on the black market to get questionable medicine or to go other substances like alcohol for relief? I think it is better to have quality medicine dispensed at the proper dosage by doctors as the best choice. 

As a previous insurance agent, we had a national organization we reported all claims to so that there couldn’t be fraudulent repeated claims on the same incident. This system could easily be set up so that all doctors and pharmacies could report all prescriptions of these kinds of medicine. It would stop anyone from doctor shopping for multiple prescriptions even across state lines.   

But can our government stop illegal drugs that cause many deaths? We are all concerned about the average of 26 veterans dying daily from overdoses. If I or one of my friends forget if we took our pain medicine and so take another one it doesn’t cause death. This is caused by illegal, contaminated or mismarked bottles or intentional suicide. 

Removing legitimate medicine for pain with no other options may have an unwanted consequence of causing additional suicides. Thanks for listening. 

Roger Newton

North Branch 

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