The article by Laurent LePierres in the Herald Opinions on 5/18/12, contained gross misinformation and was a mischaracterization of the disease of addiction. It is a blatant insult to the victims of addiction and their families to imply that those who have become addicted from prescription opioids would have become addicts anyway and that this has nothing to do with the supply of opioid drugs.
The professional opinions expressed in this article have rehashed the false statements and myths about addiction and chronic pain initially disseminated by the opioid industry, including the rare 1% chance of developing addiction if you do not have a history of addiction and that more, not less, opioids are needed for the growing population of patients with chronic noncancer pain [CNCP] which is the “flagship” for the treatment of pain. This ‘flies in the face’ of and contradicts evidenced-based research studies, CDC reports and clinical observations, and will only serve to increase the mounting toll of addiction, overdose and death related to prescription opioids.
Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing [PROP] believes that the continued dissemination of such false information will only increase the legacy of harm to the public health from the excessive and inappropriate prescribing of prescription opioids. In discussing the propensity to addiction in a recent interview, Andrew Kolodny, MD, President of PROP, and addiction medicine specialist, made the following comments regarding addiction to prescription painkillers:
“—-the inherently addictive qualities of the drug may may be more important than genetics in understanding why users can become addicted. The opioid manufacturers want doctors to think that opioids aren’t inherently addictive and that if they carefully select patients who don’t have a genetic predisposition for addiction then they don’t need to worry. But that”s simply not true.”
Stephen G. Gelfand, MD
Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing [PROP]