The following letter by Dr. Robbins has been accepted by the New York Times Editorial board in response to “States and Painkiller Overdoses”, (NYT Editorial, July 3) ….

Painkiller abuse is a problem, but chronic pain ruins many lives. The millions of pain sufferers use a variety of treatment approaches. However, for many patients only the opioids provide relief. Until better treatments are available, opioids are an important option.

Unfortunately, it is becoming difficult for pain patients to find physicians who are willing to prescribe opioids. There has been far too much focus on the overprescribing of pain meds, and also on addiction. Let’s stop punishing and stigmatizing those with chronic pain.

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