Opioid addiction has become so widespread that the government has been forced to take action, enacting regulations that affect both doctors and patients. The goal is to ensure those prone to addiction don’t have access to these highly addictive substances, but new laws may be taking things a step too far. Today, those regulations may force the more than 100 million chronic pain patients to suffer without relief.
Anne Dubosky, a Washington state physician, says the laws are targeting patients, who don’t have a propensity for addiction. In fact, she says those who suffer from chronic pain are not the ones dying from opioid overdoses. Even so, those patients may be the ones forced to give up the only medications that can help them live a bearable quality of life.
This concern has led to many chronic pain patients lobbying for better regulations. For instance, Don’t Punish Pain is a group organized by 64-year-old Martha Mioni and is set to engage in a public protest against opioid legislation. Ms. Mioni organized the protest group out of a concern that her opioid prescription, which has already been reduced, may be taken away altogether. She says she’ll be confined to a bed if her dose is lowered by much more.
The pressure on doctors to lower doses is coming from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), which recently published revised guidelines. The new regulations are meant to restrict doctors from serving as pill mills and to keep opioids out of the hands of addicts. The CDC guidelines only recommend that doctors limit each patient to a daily dose of 90 morphine mg equivalents, but many physicians are adopting the suggestion as a hard rule.
Instead of receiving the doses they need, patients are being pushed to seek alternative methods for managing pain. While these methods may work for less severe pain, they often prove ineffective in managing chronic pain, which may be caused by fibromyalgia and other long-term conditions. Dr. Dubosky says many physicians, including herself, feel that these regulations inhibit their ability to treat patients effectively.
Dr. Dubosky adds that she doesn’t disagree with the need for more efficient oversight, but adds that patients with a real need shouldn’t be punished. Instead, she would like to see away to identify and discipline those doctors, who may be operating pill mills. She feels there must be a better way to curb the opioid epidemic, rather than deny medication to the chronic pain patients, who need it the most.
Lorne Cross, MD is a healthcare professional from Portland, Oregon, who specializes in Addiction Medicine. It’s no secret that the United States is facing an opioid crisis. There are more lives lost to overdose deaths each year than were lost in the entire Vietnam War, and new data shows that opioids now kill more people each year than breast cancer. Understanding and treating the opioid crisis is of utmost importance to this country, and Dr. Cross has chosen to specialize in Addiction Medicine and focus all of his professional attention on this critical problem.
As the Medical Director of the Willamette Valley Treatment Center, Dr. Cross is the leader of a team that provides Medication Assisted Treatment to patients with Opioid Use Disorder. Lorne Cross, MD also serves as the Medical Director of a new Opioid Treatment Program in the Yamhill County Jail. Focusing on the treatment of opiate addiction, rather than punishment, can help to prevent relapse, decrease the rate of overdose deaths, and help to lower recidivism in the jail population, putting inmates on the right path upon release. Giving patients a path to recovery ultimately sets them up for more success in their futures.
Dr. Cross is hopeful as he looks into the future of treatment opportunities for opiate addiction. He sees the expansion of treatment into jails and prisons as a necessary step towards treating the opioid crisis and preventing unnecessary overdose deaths. Treating addiction with a rehabilitative approach is one of the best ways to reach out to those who truly need it most.
Senior Medical School Class Officer
Scholastic Honors Program Graduate
John Philip Sousa Award 1988
Years' Experience in Healthcare
Years Serving as a Major in the U.S. Army Reserve
Published Research Articles
From the time he was a child, Lorne Cross, MD was always fascinated by medicine and the natural sciences. By the time he reached college he knew he wanted to attend medical school and pursue his medical degree. He graduated in the top third of his class from Loma Linda University School of Medicine and completed his medicine internship and his anesthesiology residency at Loma Linda University Medical Center. Loma Linda University is a coeducational health sciences university located in California. He is also a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the Scholastic Honors Program at Southwestern Adventist College, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology. Southwestern Adventist College is a small college, with an undergraduate enrollment of around 800 students, located in Texas.
Outside of work, Lorne Cross, MD likes to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. He is an avid cyclist and bicycle racer, while actively pursuing many other sports. Outside of spending time exercising, he also loves to travel to new locations and spend time with his two teenage children and family.