Here are the radical and unscientific views of the president of PROP, which dovetail with his business interest: the corrupt and government-financed rahab/recovery industry.
Dr. Andrew Kolodny would not win a popularity contest with many others in the medical field. “I cross lines, in my interactions with my colleagues,” he said.
It’s disturbing when the leader of a the campaign against giving pain patients relief shows pride in his inability to get along with others.
Kolodny, executive director of PROP, Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, presented his take on the opioid epidemic at the Cape Cod Symposium on Addictive Disorders held in Hyannis on Friday night.
Kolodny, a psychiatrist and medical director of the Phoenix House, said the medical community was duped by aggressive and misleading marketing about the safety of opioids starting in 1996 by the pharmaceutical industry. This led to rampant overprescribing of oxycodone and hydrocodone.
These two chemical alterations of opium are so similar to heroin they should be called “heroin pills,” Kolodny said.
This is the ultimate in derogatory and shaming language. Kolodny goes even further than calling these medicines narcotics by directly linking our pain medication to heroin, he shows his prejudice and extremism.
The popular notion that heroin overdoses are up because doctors no longer overprescribe opiate-based pain pills is false, Kolodny said. Heroin overdose deaths have gone up since 2010 because of the increased use of fentanyl, a powerful narcotic that dealers add to or sell as heroin, he said.
But doctors are still overprescribing pills, he said.
“It’s really striking how white this epidemic is,” Kolodny said. These are clues, Kolodny said, that doctors still fail to appreciate the danger of the opioids. He said the racial bias doctors and dentists hold against black or Latino people has been a healthy protector for those populations; physicians are reluctant to prescribe narcotics to them.
He posed the question: How could highly trained and intelligent doctors be fooled into thinking opioid drugs are not addictive?
Purdue Pharma called doctor’s opioid fears, “barriers to compassionate pain care,” Kolodny said. “Their message was so compelling: we’re letting our patients suffer needlessly.”
The message still gets clouded by pitting the chronic pain patients against addicts, Kolodny said.
Kolodny maintains these groups are highly connected and both are being harmed by opiates.
Here again, Kolodny shows extreme prejudice by focusing only on the fact that addicts seek out and abuse the same medicine as pain patients need to live decent lives.
Opioids ruin an addict’s life, while they enhance a pain patient’s life.
He said there is little evidence opiates can be safely prescribed for chronic pain. “But there’s a lot of evidence it’s really dangerous,” Kolodny said.
This is blatantly false. There is the fact that opioids are used to successfully manage pain for patients, among whom only 3-5% become addicted. Such odds are typical for the cost./benefit ratios of many drugs with severe side effects, like statins.
A 2009 study by the Jefferson College of Population Health of Thomas Jefferson University looked at 938,420 urine samples of chronic pain patients on opioids. Researchers found that 11 percent had illicit drugs in their urine, 30 percent had medicine not prescribed to them, and 38 percent had no opiates at all in their system, indicating they were selling their prescriptions, Kolodny said
No, it has been shown that this is actually because the tests used in the office aren’t very accurate and may not be able to detect certain opioid metabolites.
Kolodny’s criticism of his colleagues has not been easy. He had worked as chairman of psychiatry at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, a dream job, according to many of his friends and colleagues, he said. He gave it up in order to devote more time to PROP. He has since become medical director at the treatment organization Phoenix House.
Maybe he gave us his regular job because it wasn’t as public and didn’t give him the recognition he craves. Maybe he gave it up because he wasn’t good at it or didn’t enjoy it.
Perhaps he was not respected among his medical colleagues due to his unscientific statements, prejudiced approach, callous disregard for evidence, and closed mind.
Maybe Kolodny gave up his position in a medical program because he does not adhere to scientific principles and is thus far more suited to the unregulated, propaganda fueled, media-hyped recovery industry, which is not based on scientific principles.
The treatment organization he has taken a part in is notoriously ineffective and corrupt, fails to hold its recovery houses up to standards, and repeatedly fails audits.
I will detail the abuses of Kolodny’s recovery business in my next post.