CDC Chief Joins DEA Warning On Overprescribing Narcotics for Pain Relief


The nation’s top public health official sharply criticized the widespread treatment of aches and pains with narcotics, saying that doctors are prescribing such drugs too soon, too often and for too long — putting patients at risk of addiction and overdose, reports the Los Angeles Times. Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said doctors are relying on these powerful drugs to treat chronic pain when physical therapy, exercise and other remedies would be safer and in many cases more effective.

His comments come as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers new controls on the way narcotic painkillers can be prescribed and promoted. A top Drug Enforcement Administration official has publicly supported stricter limits on OxyContin, Vicodin, and similar medications to “safeguard the American public.” At the same time, there is a growing awareness among law enforcement officials and public health experts that physicians’ prescriptions play a significant role in fueling addiction and overdoses.

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