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Announced drug plan neither effective nor compassionate

April 17, 2019
North Fort Myers Neighbor

To the editor:

I am responding to your front page article last week entitled "Efforts to address opioid crisis hailed."

The article failed to address a very salient point in its multi-pronged approach. That is, the devastating effects on the elderly patient in pain. Note I reference "patient," not "user."

Cape Coral is the fourth largest city in Florida and has 4.8 percent more elderly than any other city; more elderly equals more chronic pain disorders. When someone with arthritis, for instance, is having a bedridden day and is out of say, Tramadol, classified as an opioid, he or she must go in person to pick up the doctor-written script from his office as a refill can no longer be faxed to the pharmacy direct from the physician's office. Then, this patient in crippling pain or debilitative by chemotherapy for instance, must go in person to pick up said script from the pharmacy. By the way, for those in chronic pain the sojourn repeats monthly. Also of note, the statistics given for opioid prescriptions is not divided by 12 months thereby inflating the perceived number of users via numbers of prescriptions written. Also of note and also not stated, the number of prescriptions written by pain clinics or oncology facilities.

So I ask, how can this arcane, dispassionate and Machiavellian approach to drug control possibly be effective? Hard to picture our elderly population in chronic pain selling their opioids on the street -?the very drugs that make them functional.

And this is reported as an effective approach to drug control.

Really, I mean really!!

I submit some publicity-seeking politician thought, and I use that term very loosely, that this policy would actually be effective. Punitive, yes. Effective? No!

Wouldn't it be ironic if these elderly patients were driven to the black market to buy their much-needed opioids/pain killing drugs, thereby expanding the illicit drug trade by becoming "unintended consequences" of a well-meaning but poorly thought-out legislation.

Irma Backelant

Cape Coral



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