Letter: Attacks on prescription opioids are misguided

Published: 9/21/2019 12:01:27 AM
Modified: 9/21/2019 12:01:13 AM

New Hampshire elected officials, clearly unfamiliar with the quote, “Every problem has a solution which is simple, neat and wrong,” first labeled the “Addiction Crisis” the “Opioid Crisis.” Now they create a new label that is wasteful and endangers innocent lives.

In a misguided attempt to address the issue of addiction and overdose, Rep. Tom Loughman sponsored new legislation that requires orange “opioid” labels on all prescription opioid bottle caps. With this beacon alerting everyone to the presence of opioids, orange double-sided “risks” handouts must accompany the medicine.

Adding layers of bureaucratic busy-work and costs on pharmacies and endangering the lives of the chronically ill with orange labels that announce to all “I have opioids!” does nothing to address the true problems.

In a report from the CDC, law enforcement and the National Forensic Laboratory Information System both report the sharp rise in overdose deaths is due to the increased availability of illegally made, non-pharmaceutical fentanyl.

Prescription opioid addiction and overdose rates are so low they are statistically insignificant. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that “only 2% of those who used a prescription opioid in the previous year developed addictive behavior.” Additionally, the New Hampshire Department Of Justice, as of Aug. 14, reports that less than 5.44% of all overdose deaths were attributed to prescription “opiates/opioids.”

Elected officials must stop wasting money on restricting prescription medication use. It is better to solve the right problem approximately than to solve the wrong problem exactly.

BILL MURPHY

Manchester




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