In denigrating a local physician unfairly for both prescribing opioids and treating addictions, the newspaper on Dec. 26 revived an age-old practice of “yellow journalism” (i.e., sensationalizing by half-truth, innuendo and misleading reporting). The front-page headline read: “Manchester doctor took $28,519 in payments in ’15.” In reality, however, we learn that Dr. Doug Jorgensen didn’t “take” anything. He earned it all.

The implication that a doctor appropriately prescribing legal medication and an individual receiving treatment for drug addiction are or were a “one-and-the-same” doctor-patient relationship is unconscionable. Dr. Jorgensen found the need and filled it; he didn’t cause the need, which nobody wanted.

Regardless of Centers for Disease Control statistics, dominated by averages, means, and interpolations, opioids prescribed in dosages appropriate to the disease and individual tolerances for both medication and pain level are not only highly effective in controlling chronic pain, but in many cases are the sole means of functionality in a palliative care setting. Society often treats sufferers in a way that the diabetes patient, similarly dependent on insulin for his or her life, never is.

The folks who are crushing pills are not chronic pain sufferers (or they wouldn’t be wasting their medication). Sadly, not a single patient was interviewed; they are the “forgotten” constituency, roughly 100 million or more chronic pain sufferers nationally.

Pain management specialists are concerned about a potential spike in statewide drug trafficking and addiction, perhaps beginning as early as January 2017, when an initially estimated 10,000 to 15,000 Maine patients whose medication already exceeds limits imposed by new state regulations will have to either be individually exempted or obtain relief in another form, as close as the nearest street corner, as the Maine is successful in coming between doctor and patient.

Max Beichert

Augusta