Letters: Legitimate opioid uses

The national controversy relating opioid caused deaths brings a beneficial public message. However, there is an unintended consequence for people who genuinely suffer intense chronic pain. My 78-year-old wife has complicated health issues including Lupus-anticoagulation, Fibromyalgia, Crest Syndrome and other anti-immune pain relating to Lupus. Physicians seem to be intimidated by the publicity and are reducing the level of opioid prescriptions even to patients nearing the end of lives. Doctors downgraded the level of medicine from six tabs per day to four per day. She must endure severe pain between doses of Norco. Doctors said it's because of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s regulation. DEA officials deny it. Later, a pharmacy employee said it is a Medicare policy. I confirmed that is untrue. My wife cannot go to other health plans because we could find no doctor accepting patients on an opioid regimen. It seems doctors prefer to allow older patients suffer agonizing pain rather than risk, what they believe, is a possible inquiry by regulatory officials.

Glen L. Griffitts, Roseville