In response to the Aug. 4 Point of View “The public health issue of our time” by Robert E. Schaaf: In another time and another place, I was medical director of a comprehensive pain management program. It was a 25-day inpatient program where patients were weaned off narcotics and taught techniques to manage their pain without addictive medications.
The success rate for people who completed the program was 80 percent based on a two-year, follow-up study. Goals achieved included addictive-drug free, no future cure-seeking and resuming an active life.
Unfortunately, insurance companies and the government no longer pay for this treatment, despite the fact that it is more successful than alternatives. There were over 100 programs throughout the country. Now only a handful exist.
If we are to affect the problem of narcotic abuse, comprehensive pain management needs to be available.
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Alan D. Russakov