In the several decades I have been in the business of following the diversion of pharmaceuticals, I have noticed a pendulum effect regarding this issue. In almost everything important in life, balance is usually paramount; extremes are rarely the answer. However, finding balance is difficult and requires work. Balance requires careful thought, weighing the pros and cons, and taking an action that can be accepted by most individuals because getting everyone to agree is virtually impossible. This holds true regarding the prescribing and dispensing of prescription drugs, especially controlled substances.
Sometime in the early 1990s, it was thought that our nation’s pain sufferers were being undertreated for pain. I think this was likely an accurate assessment, as I saw that my mother-in-law, a chronic pain patient, had been told by her health care provider to never take a controlled substance because she would become addicted if she did. So she, and likely millions of others, tried to get by with aspirin and other OTC drugs to relieve their excruciating pain. [Read more…]