A rarely discussed aspect of the opioid crisis


Your article, “A patient-centered approach to tapering opioids” (J Fam Pract. 2019;68:548-556) by Davis et al is the most thoughtful article I have seen on opioids. The ­patient-centered ­ap-proach takes this article to a place that is rarely discussed in the opioid crisis.

It is clear to me that we will not win this battle with medicationassisted treatment alone.

If we could really understand and treat chronic psychic and physical pain better, we might begin to have a real impact on this crisis. I completely agree that ­evidence-based intensive trauma treatment is generally unavailable in the United States. I have been working with women in a residential chemical dependency treatment program for the past 15 years and more than 90% of them were sexually abused. Trauma can lead to all forms of addiction, and trauma induced hyperalgesia is not the same as nociceptive pain.

We have so many unaddressed mental health issues in our country and your article emphasized the importance of understanding people and their mental health issues rather than taking a formulaic approach and replacing one opioid with another. It is clear to me that we will not win this battle with medication-assisted treatment alone.

Richard Usatine, MD
San Antonio, TX
Associate Editor, The Journal of Family Practice

Next Article: