David Gottsegen: Doctors must teach skills, not just give pills

  • jacoblund

Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Doctors must teach skills, not just give pills

I couldn’t agree more with the sentiments of Henry Brown, who lost a son to opioid addiction, in your front-page story about WHMP’s forum on heroin addiction (“It was man-made, it was marketed,” Jan. 25). Oxycontin and other synthetic opioids were pushed by “Big Pharma.”

The opiate epidemic was “marketed.” But it took doctors to prescribe these drugs. The drummer Kali McConnell, also at the forum, began with an addiction to opioids, prescribed for chronic pain, and, like many addicts, moved on to the cheaper alternative, heroin.

He shouldn’t have been prescribed opiates for chronic pain.

There are so many better, evidence-based alternatives, like clinical hypnosis, meditation, and biofeedback, which I use in my pediatric practice. There is also physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, natural anti-inflammatory agents, and other integrative therapies. Merely restricting how many narcotic prescriptions a provider can give is not enough.

Physicians and other practitioners must learn to teach skills, not just give pills.

David Gottsegen


The writer is a doctor at Holyoke Pediatric Associates.