Blame doctors, too, for opioid epidemic

To the editor:

In regard to the article mentioned in the subject line, I tried to post a comment, but for whatever reason that hyperlink didn’t open. Your article was typical of the many I’ve read on the subject in that it presents the essential facts vis a vis Franklin County (in this case) joining a lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company. I find myself incredulous, however, when the professionals who write the scripts are portrayed as hapless victims of the drug companies who prescribe in ignorance of the addictive properties of opiates. (“The lawyers will argue that the companies purposely lied to doctors…”) The addictive properties and adverse side effects of narcotics have been fully realized for well over a century. (Morphine addiction associated with Civil War use was called “The Army Disease.”) I assume, hopefully correctly, that anyone given the authority to prescribe is well educated and well versed in the addictive properties of narcotics — I know I was — and to imply otherwise is absurd.

I have neither a particular animosity to drug companies nor a particular loyalty to them, but they are largely secondary players in this situation. People with prescriptive authority can be and should be expected to act with professional-level knowledge and not be susceptible to “lies” told to them by drug companies, though they might be susceptible to disingenuous patients. There are many factors involved in this difficult societal situation, and for governmental bodies to primarily focus on only one of them with a relatively minor role is itself disingenuous and suggests that easy money, not finding a solution, is the motivating factor.

Thanks for reading this.

Reid Fitzsimons

Former Tri-Lakes resident for most of 25 years (my son used to deliver the Enterprise!), PA for about 19 years between FCI Ray Brook and Sunmount, later volunteer medical practitioner in Guatemala and rural Kenya (I stopped renewing my New York state PA license in 2009.)

Thompson, Pennsylvania