In light of the FDA’s move to consider new restrictions on opioids such as hydrocodone, this interview with Andrew Kolodny, chief medical officer of Phoenix House Foundation, is particularly insightful. It gets past the tug-of-war between efforts to avoid deaths by overdose (which have been climbing) and ensuring those suffering from debilitating, chronic pain still have access to painkillers. If doctors write fewer prescriptions for opioids, what other legitimate options are there for treating pain? Plenty, says Kolodny.

Dr. Andrew Kolodny is the Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President at Phoenix House Foundation in New York. He’s also a go-to source for journalists looking for perspective on the nation’s prescription drug abuse problem. He first contacted me a year ago when I interviewed writer Maia Szalavitz about her thoughts on painkiller addiction.

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Lisa Aliferis

Lisa Aliferis is the founding editor of KQED's State of Health blog. Since 2011, she's been writing and editing stories for the site. Before taking up blogging, she toiled for many years (more than we can count) producing health stories for television, including Dateline NBC and San Francisco's CBS affiliate, KPIX-TV. She also wrote up a handy guide to the Affordable Care Act, especially for Californians. Her work has been honored for many awards. Most recently she was a finalist for "Best Topical Reporting" from the Online News Association. You can follow her on Twitter: @laliferis

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