Top Health Official Pleads With Doctors to Reduce Painkiller Prescribing

The head of the U.S. Center for Disease Control is issuing a public plea for doctors to stop prescribing so many painkillers so often unnecessarily for relatively minor aches, because addictions and fatal overdoses are going up dramatically. A Los Angeles Times article reports:

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that doctors are relying on these powerful drugs to treat chronic pain when physical therapy, exercise and other remedies would be safer and in many cases more effective.

“These are dangerous medications, and they should be reserved for situations like severe cancer pain,” Frieden said in his most forceful statement yet on the use of narcotic painkillers. “In many other situations, the risks far outweigh the benefits. Prescribing an opiate may be condemning a patient to lifelong addiction and life-threatening complications.”