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A look back, and forward

Stuart Rosenthal, Publisher

I don’t know what possessed me, but the other day, as I was contemplating what to write about this month, I got the idea of looking back to see what I wrote in my column exactly 10 years ago — in our June 2007 issue. I was struck by how timely that 10-year-old column seems to be for us today. So I am repeating it below, with this bit of introduction. Two months before my June 2007 column, I had done something rare for me at the time: namely, express an opinion on a hot political topic of the day: the war in Iraq. Not surprisingly, we received a large number of letters from readers expressing their own thoughts. What did take me by surprise was

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Growing like weed

Stuart Rosenthal, Publisher

Last month, I addressed the subject of pain management in the context of opioid pain relievers such as Vicodin and Percocet. Use of these painkillers — both by patients with legitimate prescriptions and by those obtaining them illegally — has exploded in recent years, leading many experts to speak of an “epidemic” of addiction and overdose that is claiming many lives each year. The problem of chronic or intractable pain is a real one for many Americans, and doctors and others who encouraged wider use of opioid pain relievers a decade ago thought they were doing the right thing. We have since learned there are more and less safe ways of prescribing and using these drugs...