Dear Editor: The Wisconsin Legislature patted itself on its collective backside for passing a series of measures, known as the HOPE agenda, that make it more difficult for patients in legitimate pain to acquire prescription painkillers.

As will be shown statistically by rankings compiled from Wisconsin Health Department mortality data, this is an overkill measure against a fake "epidemic" to make a dramatic statement at a high human cost of needless suffering from subtherapeutic pain treatment.

How severe is our so-called "prescription opioid epidemic"?

Deaths from prescription painkillers are only the 16th-most lethal phenomenon in Wisconsin.

More lethal are homicide (15th place); Alzheimer's disease (5th place); and unintentional injuries (3rd place). Yet we don't see the Health Department refer to these as "epidemics."

(A complete list of mortality, by cause, can be found by googling "16 Leading Causes of Death in Wisconsin.")

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While fighting the fake opioid "epidemic," our lawmakers denied the preponderance of underutilized college graduates by stripping one of Gov. Scott Walker's best ideas to date: the nonfiscal policy directive that would require the University of Wisconsin System to provide every interested student with at least one internship or work experience directly relevant to his or her field of study.

Joseph Ohler Jr.

La Valle

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