Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Striking a Balance

I was struck last week when I had these two articles on the Washington Post on the same day. The first, by physician James Hudson: “Our dangerous fear of pain”; and the second, by Amber Petrovish: “Some of us actually need painkillers. Can doctors ease up on us?”. As chaplain-types, we are, I think, aware (or we certainly should be) of the difficult balance. Our physician colleagues are caught between anxiety about over- or inappropriately prescribing and anxiety about leaving patients suffering. 

With that in mind, I would remind folks about General Convention resolution 2018-C037 “Call to Respond to Opioid Epidemic.”  The resolution explicitly speaks both to opioid addiction and to the need to adequately address real and chronic pain. It does spend more text on addressing addiction, but it is balanced in its intent.

It’s worth some time to read both opinion pieces, and then to review the Convention’s response. We need to be aware of the difficulty, and to be aware that the Church has spoken to it.