[your name and address here]
To the Honorable [your representative's name here]:
I am writing to express my concern with the way the government is proposing solutions to dealing with the so-called "Opioid Crisis."
I am totally in favor of President Trump's suggestion that prosecutors seek the death penalty for those who deal in narcotics. But the ideas that pharmaceutical companies need to stop manufacturing opioids, and that doctors should stop prescribing them are ignorant and ill informed, and are putting legitimately suffering people at risk.
Did you know that less than 2% of opioid overdoses are attributed to legally prescribed painkillers? Also, the RATE OF ADDICTION AMONG PATIENTS WHO ARE LEGALLY PRESCRIBED OPIOIDS AVERAGEs BETWEEN 8% AND 12%. Additionally, approximately 75% of people who become addicted to prescription painkillers do so by stealing them or obtaining them illegally on the streets. That means that only approximately 25% of people who become addicted do so by obtaining their opioids legally. The solution is not to prescribe or manufacture fewer opioids. The solution is to target the addicts and the drug dealers.
THE NATIONAL SAFETY COUNCIL'S WEBSITE Suggests that "ALTERNATIVE MEDICATIONS AND NON-PHARMACOLOGIC TREATMENTS SHOULD BE USED FOR TREATING PAIN." THAT'S A GREAT SUGGESTION. BUT WHO'S GOING TO PAY FOR THOSE ALTERNATIVE MEDICATIONS AND TREATMENTS? INSURANCE COMPANIES PAY FOR BIG PHARMA AND TRADITIONAL WESTERN MEDICINE. THEY DON'T COVER CHINESE OR AYURVEDIC MEDICINE, ESSENTIAL OILS, THERAPEUTIC MASSAGE, ACUPUNCTURE, YOGA, MEDITATION, OR EVEN CHIROPRACTIC IN MANY INSTANCES. MANY PEOPLE WITH CHRONIC PAIN SPEND THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS OUT OF POCKET TO TRY ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS, AND the vast majority CANNOT AFFORD TO DO SO.
Recently, CVS announced that they would only fill a seven-day supply of opioids at a time in order to reduce the number of opioids in circulation. This was a widely applauded move. Did CVS stop to consider what kind of impact this change would have on chronic pain patients, the majority of whom are on fixed incomes, and many of whom have difficulty getting out of the house? This means that instead of having to come up with one co-pay per month, the patient has to come up with four co-pays per month. It means that instead of having to make one difficult trip to the pharmacy per month, the patient who suffers from severe chronic pain has to make four trips per month.
A bill was just passed in Florida which limits the ability of MD’s to prescribe opioids to three to five pills at a time. This, too, is going to have a serious negative impact on legitimate pain patients. What about the chronic pain patient whose insurance doesn’t pay for a visit to a pain management doctor? Or the acute pain patient who doesn't need pain management, but now won't be able to get a short-term supply of medication from his MD?
These are serious issues, which affect millions of Americans. Yet our government does not seem to be taking the well-being of those Americans into consideration when making these decisions.
I hope I can count on you to support chronic pain patients along with your other constituents, and to encourage your fellow politicians to do the same.
[your name here]