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Letter: Pharmacists already fighting opioid abuse

Prescription drugs.

Prescription drugs. Credit: iStock

Regarding the op-ed “Line of defense against opiod abuse” [Opinion, Sept. 26], I was very disappointed by the implication that community pharmacists aren’t doing their jobs properly when dispensing opiod medications to their patients.

The writers state that 186 Long Islanders died from overdoses from opiods and other prescription pain medications in 2014, and that almost every pill was dispensed by a pharmacist. Of course they were! How else could people have obtained them, except through illegal channels? This is akin to blaming a dealership for selling a car to someone who goes on to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs and gets injured.

Pharmacists are very proactive in checking on their patients’ drug usage. We use the New York State I-STOP database and counsel our patients on the dangers of these medications, including potential addiction. Pharmacists don’t prescribe these narcotics, and we have to deal daily with threats and abuse from addicted patients.

The writers, Robert Stutman and Arthur Kersey, are part of a company that specializes in pain medication. It’s self-serving to blame others without proving their accusations.

Peter Goldstein, Seaford

Editor’s note: The writer is a pharmacist.


In reference to “Terror, economy top LI concerns” [News, Sept. 25], I’d like to point out that there have been no terrorist incidents on Long Island. But in 2015, there were 442 deaths in Nassau and Suffolk counties from opioid overdoses.

These are preventable deaths afflicting mostly young people. How come this issue doesn’t seem to be on the radar of the public consciousness?

Sam Shafi, Syosset