I read Dr. Unger’s guest editorial, “Staring down the opioid epidemic” (J Fam Pract. 2017;66:8) and thought that he made some good points, but as an internist for 38 years and a detox addiction specialist for the past 7 years, I have seen too much “pendulum swinging” with regard to opioids.
The state of Pennsylvania is enforcing opioid prescription laws so intensely that I now see underprescribing of needed medications by physicians and dentists. For example, I recently had dental surgery and wasn’t prescribed a narcotic. I suffered for 24 hours with ineffective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. And a relative of mine experienced excessive pain following gynecologiccancer surgery because the surgeon wouldn’t prescribe opioids for fear of reprisal.
I would like to see someone conduct a nationwide survey of primary care physicians regarding their views on narcotics for pain so that I can better understand my colleagues’ perspectives on this issue.