A doctor’s take on pain management

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The opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen in pill form. Almost 9,000 children and teenagers died from opioid poisoning from 1999 to 2016, and annual deaths increased threefold over the 18 years, a team of researchers at Yale University reported Friday. | AP file photo

In a recent article discussing the possible merits of cannabis as a tool in pain management, used to avoid or diminish the use of opioid medications, I — a retired family physician — was infuriated to read Dr. Jay Joshi’s paternalistic comments regarding proper pain management (“Can expanding the state’s medical cannabis program help curb the opioid crisis?” -April 2).

He seems to imply that all patients with pain issues should be “treated by true experts” to avoid perpetuating the “epidemic of stupidity” relating to the current opioid crisis.

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There is not a practicing general physician who would not give his soul for even ONE satisfactory pain management consultation. In my experience, there either is no pain management specialist available, whether for reasons of sheer numbers or insurance issues. Either that or the pain management consultation is so superficial it proves to be a waste of my time and the patient’s.

I completely agree that adequate, competent, thorough pain management consultation is ideal. Where does that exist, Dr. Joshi? Whether he knows it or not, so-called pain management specialists were on the front lines of the dispersal of highly addictive medications, the consequences of which will continue to plague us far into the future.

Steve Menhennett, Berwyn

A dream unrealized is ‘blowin’ in the wind’

In his speech “Beyond Vietnam” at New York’s Riverside Church, April 4, 1967, a year to the day before his assassination, Rev. King said we must turn “sharply from our present ways… to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam.”

Instead, we’re bombing people and defiling the land in many “Vietnams” in the Middle East and Africa. Like the search for true racial justice and equality, the search to end perpetual war is ‘blowin’ in the wind.’

Walt Zlotow, Glen Ellyn

And the National Guard will be doing what exactly? 

It has been reported in a number of papers and online that the Department of Homeland Security announced in a statement Wednesday afternoon that President Trump has decreed that “military forces” — now clarified as National Guard troops — will be sent to the Mexico border to “fight” illegal immigration. This is not a good step.

The effectiveness of a basically “military” solution is questionable as the troops likely won’t be able to make physical contact with anyone. So how do they really stop the illegal immigrants? Is this really the best use of a large number of troops who could be used in many other, more productive, tasks around the country? And although they probably have logistics support, housing and feeding so many people spread along over the 1,000 or more miles of border will be a challenge.

Looking at the other option of actually building “the wall” may not be a better solution as the $25 billion plus construction costs could be better used to cure some diseases or to help educate students who in time may solve these problems.

Considering the other border problem discussed after the election, will the Canadian military on the northern border be used to keep Americans in? Not funny nor logical, but then again, none of this is — it’s just too real and sad.

Dennis Fitzgerald, Melbourne, Australia

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