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Letters: Treating our drug problem

September 17, 2013

Re "Taking aim at drug abuse," Sept. 16

Like virtually all other measures in California and across the nation that address the prescription drug crisis, the drug monitoring system called for in SB 809 focuses entirely on the supply side of the equation. Meanwhile, the demand for prescription painkillers by those already dependent is ignored.

Where is the commitment by the government or the healthcare sector to ensure prompt availability of treatment for those who need it, want it and may well die without it?

We've learned over the decades that "just say no" is great advice, but it's totally ineffective.

Without a treatment alternative, the crackdown on availability will result simply in a switch to heroin, which is more readily available, cheaper and of even greater threat to the user and the general community.

Robert Newman, MD

New York

As one with personal experience in prescription medication addiction, I can assure readers that cracking down on reckless doctors will help — minimally.

There seems to be very little attention paid to the fact that, in the end, this is about a user intentionally taking massive amounts of these medications. If an addict wants something, he will find it.

My heart goes out to those families that lost loved ones. Blaming the doctors solely, however, is an easy out.

Neil Glines



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