Letters: ‘Middle ground on narcotics’

Experts, in the face of addiction issues and deaths, have swung the pendulum in the opposite direction

Editor, The News:

Re: Pain of prescription change (The News, June 3).

Dennis Kulbaba’s front page story encapsulates the problem with the pendulum whose name is ‘medical standards.’

A decade ago, the experts were all touting the appropriateness of long-term narcotics in the control of chronic, non-malignant pain.

This medical jargon referred to treatment of patients who had painful conditions that were not expected to cause death.

It was felt that few of these patients would become addicted, and what did it matter if they did, as long as they were comfortable, able to function, not escalating their doses, and not selling their prescriptions on the street?

I’d like to think that last sentence would have described all of the small number of patients I maintained years ago as a general practitioner, on long-term narcotics.

I recall one elderly man who was taking a potent anti-inflammatory medication for severe back pain. Not a benign drug, it was worsening his blood pressure, his kidney function, and his tendency to stomach ulcers.

He was wary about narcotics (wariness is a reassuring trait in patients about to start narcotics), but after some educating, he agreed to try.

He did well, and possibly lived longer than he might have otherwise.

Now the experts, in the face of addiction issues and deaths, have swung the pendulum in the opposite direction.

Doctors are fearful of censure if they prescribe narcotic drugs.

We need a middle ground, where patients like Mr. Kulbaba can be treated and live in some degree of comfort.

Unfortunately, there is not much in the way of a  pharmacological alternative to narcotics for severe pain.

Pain clinics can aid some patients via non-pharmacological means.

Fortunately, our experts have not yet decided that cancer patients must do without these extremely useful drugs.

The torment of precautions often exceeds the dangers to be avoided.

It is sometimes better to abandon oneself to destiny.

– Napoleon Bonaparte.

Lorne Walton,

retired MD,

Maple Ridge

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

LOOKING BACK: A ride down memory lane or in this case Dewdney Trunk Road

Maple Ridge’s museum director offers a history lessson on how the major thoroughfare came to be

$75K will mean gifts for Maple Ridge man’s kids

Meneo Asperin had a rush of emotion when he thought he’d won $75 on BC/49

New Maple Ridge park to be finished this summer

Park located on the former site of the Anita Place Tent City

VIDEO: Supporters turn out to honour art gallery curator

LETTER: 40 people turned out to thank Barbara Duncan for her contribution to the arts in Maple Ridge

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

Lower Mainland teacher facing child pornography charges

Elazar Reshef, 52, has worked in the Delta School District

Missing Fraser Valley woman has not been in contact with family for several months

The RCMP are asking for the public’s help in locating 35-year-old Chantelle Chenier of Chilliwack

Rescuers halt Coquihalla River search due to darkness, after reports of person in river

No information to indicate a child is involved, RCMP state, after this information surfaced on social media

Man who rammed gate near Trudeau residence with truck faces multiple charges

The man, who police have not yet officially identified, will be charged with multiple offences

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

Kelowna RCMP commander calls for more nurses during wellness checks after complaint

Southeast District Commander wants to increase Police and Crisis Team program

‘Tarantula moth’ spotted in broad daylight on Vancouver Island

Polyphemus moths are one of the largest insects in B.C.

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

Most Read