The Danger of Opioid Prescriptions for Vets

But in the last part of the paper we learn what every doctors knows, should know, and is easily observable on a casual basis:

Trials assessing the efficacy of opioids in treating non-cancer pain have shown only modest or equivocal benefit. In contrast, multiple studies have described numerous harms, including overdose death, from the upsurge of opioid prescribing, in recent years.

We might rightly ask: what is going on? Why are doctors prescribing dangerous drugs in large quantities, of very marginal benefit to their patients, with such well-documents dangers? (Incidentally, 40 percent of veterans with PTSD who were prescribed opioids were also prescribed sedative tranquillizers, an extremely dangerous combination as had been many times proved.)

Is it that doctors are ignorant of the dangers? I doubt it. Rather, they have before them patients who are suffering both physically and mentally, who say they are in pain, and for whom they, the doctors, naturally wish to do something; they have relatively little time in which to do it; and the patients communicate to them subliminally that they want strong drugs. Unwilling or unable to disoblige them, the doctors take the line of least resistance and prescribe what they think is being demanded of them.

Doctors, like most people, want to apply simple solutions and therefore want problems reduced to an equivalent simplicity. Unnecessary and even harmful prescription of opioid drugs is the natural result.

I look forward to a reproduction of this study among ex-Taliban fighters.