Trusted local news leader for Kingman, Arizona & Mohave County
Sun, Feb. 16

Letter | Don’t forget the people who need pain medication

All we hear about from the media, law enforcement, and now from physicians, is about the minority people whom abuse opioids. We are told what resources are available for people who abuse opioids, but nothing on what resources are available for pain patients who are dependent and not addicted, and having problems.

I disagree with the statement Dr Knievel made in the article, “Knievel explained that a majority of opioids within the community at one point came from a prescription.” With all the heroin, fentanyl, and counterfeit pills on the streets, I question if Chief DeVries’ drug arrest records support this?

I have a problem when physicians like Dr. Knievel and Dr. Valpiani make statements like this one, or when Dr. Valpiani said, “In Mohave County, with its high percentage of the population on Medicaid, roughly half of the people on pain pills are abusing them.”

It makes the millions of patients who use their medications responsibility sound like junkies. I’m sorry people lie to doctors and abuse their prescriptions, and I hope they get help. But for physicians to label all pain patients as drug abusers and junkies is counterproductive. If a physician believes half the people who walk through their door are lying to them, how can they practice medicine and do no harm?

Law enforcement, physicians, and patients need to work together to find a solution to this problem. I don’t know what to do. I do know we can’t arrest our way out of this, that it’s a medical problem, and not a law enforcement problem.

Jay Fleming

Local resident

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