By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – There is no doubt that the abuse of prescription pain medications is a major issue in this country. Certainly we need to monitor and control this more efficiently, but there are people who truly need and can benefit from pain medications.

When a person has cancer or pain, it can be a crucial issue, especially those final few days of the battle with cancer. Yet many people don’t get the medicine because there is a hidden fear that it may cause addiction or is somehow perceived as running from a problem.

Believe me, I’m not a big fan of narcotic medication. I’ve seen too many people with addictions that are almost impossible to break. But in the case of severe pain at the end of life, it can be the only humane way to deal with it.

Don’t be afraid to have the pain managed. It’s critical.

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