Veterans need opioids, the VA needs to help veterans get the treatment they deserve not limit
treatment. The problem is nobody knows how these opioids are used. If that can be solved, everyone could win.
- A Fellow Veteran
Opioid addiction has been striking the heart of American patriotism for years now, but we are only witnessing its detrimental effects today as a result of the newly established 'epidemic'. Even though overprescribing by physicians and heavy marketing campaigns conducted by Pharma play a role in its development, chronic pain still remains to be the source. According to a 2011 study conducted by the VA, over 50 percent of veterans receiving care at the Veterans Health Administration are being treated for chronic pain. That being said, veterans are at a higher risk of aberrant behavior due to the accessibility of opioids for treating and managing their pain. PTSD and depression also play a role in the risk factor associated with veterans who receive opioids. One of the proposed solutions for counteracting the effects of opioid abuse is to eliminate it from treatment plans. More and more veterans are seeing their prescriptions taken away from them, which is creating an undesirable backlash; withdrawl symptoms that may lead to suicidal thoughts and actions, or in some cases, increases in heroine use as a last resort.
However, is the sudden sharp reduction in prescribing opioids to veterans and patients who have chronic pain justified?
The answer is no. Here at pilleve, we believe in the right of every patient to live a healthy addiction free life. This means that if veterans are not receiving the treatment they need due to a lack of opioids, then it goes against the very mission of healthcare institutions. For some patients, opioids are the best solution to treat their chronic pain, which means that safety precautions must be implemented in order to effectively enact their treatment plan. Thus, by incorporating pilleve in their treatment plans, veterans and patients alike, can be monitored in real time to screen for signs of abuse and addiction. By relying on early intervention, pilleve can provide stakeholders with the data they need to either tailor fit a prescription, adjust it effectively, or slowly take patients off their opioids while being monitored.
Extremeties are rarely the best solution to alleviate a crises. What got us into this mess is the overprescribing of opioids to treat chronic pain, and the underprescribing prescribing is surely not the best solution. We need to implement solutions that neither increase accessibility or decrease it from the reach of those who need it most. This is not to say that pilleve is the solution for the epidemic that we are in, but it certainly can be apart of the missing pieces in the puzzle.