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Ramesh Ponnuru

War on Opioid Abuse Is Striking the Wrong Target

Prescription drugs help people in pain. They aren’t to blame for the rise in opioid deaths.

Pain relief.

Pain relief.

Photographer: John Moore/Getty Images

Patients in pain have become collateral damage in the war on opioids.

That’s the message of a letter from more than 300 medical professionals, including three former White House drug czars, to the Centers for Disease Control. In 2016, the CDC issued guidelines to discourage doctors from overprescribing opioids. The signatories believe that those guidelines are being misapplied in a way that keeps many patients in agony.