Doctors Withholding Opioid Drugs Wasn’t Such A Good Idea

If one of our purposes was to keep addicts alive.

Carol Burt
6 min readJul 21, 2022


Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Withholding pain pills was a terrible idea that has seriously backfired, but nobody in medicine or government wants to admit it. The government leaning on doctors to not prescribe Opioids unless a person is dying, and maybe not even then, is hurting our national health care.

While many human rights groups hold to the concept that treatment for pain is a human right, the medical community and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) do not necessarily agree.* Even the World Health Organization has issued papers basically stating that the right to available pain relief is a human right like any other right*. Many people and a number of doctors agree.

But not all of the medical community. They are still fighting the obsolete and ineffective War On Drugs conceived of and started by Nixon in 1971. What they have done, by so tightly restricting access to opioid pain pills, is actually contribute to the drug crisis and to drug overdose deaths.

Those addicted to opioids, when the supply of pain pills dried up, were forced to heroin and Fentanyl.

The thought in recent years was that if less opioid pain relievers are prescribed, then people would become addicted and there would be less opioid drugs available for drug dealers to sell on the streets.

That was a great intention and the medical community and the government has been most lauded for it. However, it has not resulted in less drug addiction. Right now, estimates are that a whopping 13-percent of Americans over 12-years-old are addicted to opioids.* That’s the highest in 40 years.* So, it just stands to reason that taking the pain medicine away from the hurting did not help with the addiction problem.

Two problems: One (overdoses) increased by the prohibition and another contributing to dire suffering of legitimate patients.

There are actually two addiction problems. One is when a patient who legitimately needs pain medicine takes too much and begins an uncontrollable addiction. The other problem is drug use on the street by people who may…



Carol Burt

Former print journalist, former mayor, retired law enforcement officer. Writing about politics and government along with random personal essays.