Duke GIM Professor of Medicine and co-chair of the Opioid Safety Committee at Duke, Lawrence Greenblatt, MD, was recently published twice in The Hill, an American political journalism newspaper and website published in Washington, DC.
The first, published March 31, 2018, was entitled New rules could worsen the opioid crisis, not help it. In this article, Greenblatt states his concerns with the approach of "new rules" from federal Medicare officials that would discontinue payment for long-term, high-dose opioid therapy.
"While I, too, have deep concern about the opioid epidemic gripping our country, this outrageously short-sighted plan by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has the potential to cause great harm. It could drive hundreds of thousands of people to extreme measures to avoid unintended and profoundly miserable outcomes."
In the second article, published April 18, 2018, entitled Sanders's proposed opioid legislation is too focused on the past, Greenblatt addresses his concerns with Senator Bernie Sanders' idea to restrict the activities of companies that manufacture and distribute opioid pain medications, stating that his ideas "would have been a very helpful measure 15 years ago." Greenblatt believes the legislation addresses a historical factor instead of engaging the rapidly evolving opioid epidemic of today.
"Our government should not focus on fighting past causes of this complex problem. Instead, we should slow the flow of imported illicit drugs and punish those who profit from selling them. We must better educate the public about the staggering risk of experimenting with opioids. And finally, we must do a better job treating those who are in the grip of opioid addiction. The cost of ignoring this epidemic is simply too high."