Letters: Pain pills and addiction treatment

Residents can safely dispose of expired or unused

Residents can safely dispose of expired or unused medications during a “Shed the Meds” event on Saturday. (Credit: Newsday, 2012 / Audrey C. Tiernan)

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It has come to my attention that health insurance often pays for five to seven days of inpatient detox for people addicted to opiates, but not a 28-day program that is the standard to treat, educate and prevent relapse ["Deadly turn to heroin," News, March 11].

If someone had heart disease, I'm sure they wouldn't be kicked out of a medical facility. If addiction is a disease, why are they kicking people out of this type of medical facility? When the cost of addiction care becomes more important than the patient's life, we have a big problem.

Many clients pay top dollar to have mental illness and substance abuse coverage, but trying to get approval over the telephone from an insurance company's review panel is a disgrace. It's exhausting for a family member to deal with addiction, but it's more difficult when the long-term care has gone out the window.

Society has ignored the stress factors that help create addiction, therefore it's up to us to protect our families from loopholes the insurance companies put in place to deny care. Politicians need to take on the drug companies, but more important, the insurance companies.

I have watched in horror and sadness as friends have had to bury their children, many more than one would think. Everyone is entitled to good care. Where do we go from here?

Susan Kalberer, East Meadow
 

Your lead story discussed a new painkiller ["It's purer -- and potent," News, March 25]. I am 80 years old and use painkillers, on rare occasions, to relieve pain in my back, shoulder and hand.

Why not praise the scientists who developed these drugs? I need the drugs occasionally to stand up, cook, drive and shop. You appear not to be concerned for my needs.

I've had five epidurals, 15 physical therapy sessions and 10 chiropractor visits. The pills are the only things that help. Write about our needs, and don't worry about criminals so much.

Guy Tannenbaum, Ridge

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