Guidelines for breaking the cycle of dependence

An editorial from The Register-Herald

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Here’s a refreshingly smart and hopeful development: On Tuesday, federal health officials issued new guidelines that discourage physicians from prescribing painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin for the treatment of chronic conditions such as backaches, neck pain and migraines.

Yes, they are only guidelines, but they are better than nothing, and they serve as another front against a national epidemic that devastates individual lives and entire families. While doctors are not obliged to follow the guidelines, issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, government agencies and private insurance companies could use them in setting regulations.

The news comes in the wake of the West Virginia legislature, which put a little more bite into the bark of dealing with the problem. Both the House and Senate passed a pair of bills that address — in small measure — the full blown epidemic that is prescription pain addiction here in our state…

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