Much of the turmoil over the death of Prince has subsided, but the news about his death and the public’s response have been interesting, especially when it was revealed that fentanyl and other controlled substances were determined to be part of the cause of death. Individuals who villainize all opiate medications and call for greater prescribing controls came out of the woodwork again.
My view all along, as the prescribing pendulum of controlled substances swings from high to low, is to try to achieve balance. Remember that the vast majority of prescribers are incredibly honest and primarily prescribe these medications to patients with legitimate pain. Therefore, it’s amazing to me that, for the sake of the 10% to 15% of individuals to whom these medications are prescribed and who abuse them, we are willing to drastically reduce prescribing. In some cases, physicians promote the “suck it up” approach, encouraging no prescribing of opiates, no matter the pain level. [Read more…]