Monitoring Pain Control

Via CBC this morning:

A bill aimed at curbing the abuse of the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin and other prescription drugs will be tabled in the Ontario legislature on Wednesday.

The bill would allow the province to monitor prescription narcotics and other controlled substances, from painkillers to stimulants and sedative.

[snip]

It would also identify doctors and pharmacists who are prescribing or dispensing too many drugs, which could lead to police stepping in.

This worries me a a little. Will it cause an “analgesic chill”, preventing physicians from prescribing decent pain control for their patients? Who decides what is “too much” and under what circumstances? The police? What about end-of-life cancer patients (for example) who often require enormous amounts of narcotic analgesia to maintain comfort?

Given the large numbers of news stories seen lately about opioid addiction, often described in lurid detail, I have to wonder how much of this amounts to moral panic.

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