Dr. Gene Dorio | Behind the Overdose Crisis

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

We have an overdose crisis in this country, and it certainly does not exclude the Santa Clarita Valley.

I am a house-call geriatric physician caring for wheelchair- and bed-bound patients who have difficulty leaving their homes. Many require narcotics in order to survive their daily routine. 

In order to exert control over doctor-written prescriptions, the Centers for Disease Control established guidelines in 2016 placing a cap on opioids, resulting in inadequate pain management care, and even withdrawal symptoms.

This misguided bureaucratic decision enabled pharmacists and insurance companies to practice medicine without a license manipulating dosing over and above physician decision-making.

Doctor prescription writing has long been blamed for the opioid crisis, but evolving evidence has shown this not to be the case. Controlling narcotic prescriptions did not solve this problem, and only made many in need of pain control suffer.

At the end of 2022, the CDC relaxed some of its controlling policies, yet some insurance companies and pharmacies still maintain a tight rein on prescription writing.

For some physicians, they have been unnecessarily prosecuted for “over-prescribing” by the judicial system — realize a few doctors ran “prescription mills” and deserved the heavy hand of the law to intervene. The majority of MDs, though, follow the rules, yet protect their patients.

All doctors who have a license to prescribe narcotics from the Drug Enforcement Agency are now required to take an eight-hour course in opioid prescription writing. No problem.

Maybe now is the time for insurance companies, pharmacists, and the CDC to take this course also.

Dr. Gene Dorio


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