Pain and Addiction Should Be Treated Separately

Pain and Addiction Should Be Treated Separately — Pain News Network – By Emily Ulrich, Columnist

Andrew Kolodny, MD, the founder and Executive Director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP), whose name seems to be six degrees of separation from all movements to thwart proper pain care, has submitted a petition asking Medicare to stop requiring hospitals to survey patients about the quality of their pain management.

A group of U.S. senators has gone even further, introducing the PROP Act in Congress, which would prevent Medicare by law from making “any assessments” of pain in hospitalized patients.

As I and others have written, pain is not merely discomfort.    

It is unhealthy and can even be life-threatening. So, reporting one’s pain care while hospitalized is essential to the outcome of healing.

But, according to Kolodny and others who signed his petition, asking patients about their pain care leads to “dangerous pain control practices” and “aggressive opioid use.”

My question is, since patient surveys have contained pain evaluating questions for years, where is the evidence that doctors have over-medicated patients so their hospitals will have satisfactory survey ratings?

My next question is why doesn’t Kolodny want people to know about our pain? I suspect I know the answer.

As mentioned earlier, Kolodny can be traced back to nearly every movement to intervene in the proper medication of pain patients. In addition to running PROP, he is chief medical officer for the addiction treatment chain Phoenix House, and seemingly has an elaborate plan to have every patient on opioids be treated as an “addict.”  

This brings me to one final question.

Why doesn’t any major American media outlet look into the conspicuous ulterior motives of Kolodny, PROP and Phoenix House?

I am not much on conspiracy theories, but at this point I am compelled to say there might be something there, but our government and society are already so brainwashed to associate pain with addiction that no media outlet will touch it. Not to mention the political funding and special interest groups that also have a stake in this.

It all boils down to money. Healthcare in this country is treating pain on a financial hierarchy.

The Obama administration has bought into the CDC guidelines on opioid prescribing, and the passing of the PROP Act will only further the notion that pain and addiction are one in the same.

Despite what we are being told, pain and addiction are two different issues, which need to be addressed separately. If this havoc wreaking discrimination continues, there will be no such thing as pain care left in this country.

Emily is a writer, artist, filmmaker, and has even been an occasional stand-up comedian. She now focuses on patient advocacy for the International Pain Foundation, as she is able.  


4 thoughts on “Pain and Addiction Should Be Treated Separately

  1. Doc Anonymous

    Question: Phoenix House is a FEDERALLY funded organization and I would like to know where all of those funds come from. Is it possible they get funding from the DEA under their media anti-drug funding programs? Why can’t the major news media use the Freedom of Information Law to uncover the funding sources for Kolodny’s well funded and well organized multi-faceted anti pain treatment assaults.

    And if the federal government is funding anti pain treatment through Phoenix House and probably others, should there not be EQUAL FUNDING FOR PAIN PATIENTS under the equal protection clause of the Constitution? Same issue as federal funding for college athletics which used to go to all the men and none to women until someone filed and equal protection suit. And don’t forget that people who are disabled by chronic pain are covered by the American’s with Disabilities Act.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Zyp Czyk Post author

      This is news to me – I didn’t know Phoenix House (aka PROP, aka Kolodny) were federally funded. Now that makes me angry!

      You are so right, there needs to be equal funding for pain treatment as there is for addiction. Most “pain management centers” have quietly been converted into recovery centers, but still claim to treat pain. Addiction treatment is *not* pain treatment, so this seems like false advertising. Since many or these hospital programs are government supported, this only heightens the audacity of this crime.

      I’ve been wondering how the ADA can help pain patients get effective treatment. I don’t care what it is as long as it relieves pain without horrible side effects, and right now only opioids work for me.

      If I’m denied the only treatment that’s effective for *my* pain, what can I do? The opposition claims there are other effective methods, but there are so many of us pain patients that have tried them already. But if we complain they’re not working, we are told: “yes, they are effective, you just don’t realize it”.

      Regardless of our own experience and reports, the latest tactic is to simply assert that
      1) we are not in as much pain as we *think* we are, and
      2) whatever hokey alternative treatments they suggest are more effective than we *think*.

      How can we defend ourselves against having doctors decide how much we hurt?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. painkills2

    Actually, there have been a few articles in the past about Kolodny, but they didn’t get much coverage on the internet. If memory serves, he began with federally-funded research in the prison system with buprenorphine. The addiction industry is mostly funded with federal dollars through programs like Medicaid, but also through city, state, and private funding, including through some insurance companies.

    In many states, mental health funding has been cut since the recession, but in the last couple of years, the federal government has been increasing this funding. But every state is different. In my state:

    “The state may let well over $300 million in Medicaid money slip from its fingers, even though it only has to find $86 million to get the $300 million from the Feds:

    Faced with limited dollars and skyrocketing Medicaid enrollment, the New Mexico Human Services Department. . . plans to generate as much as $33.5 million in savings by cutting provider rates for doctors, hospitals and dentists around the state. . .

    New Mexico is seeking to close an $86 million state funding gap for Medicaid services between now and mid-2017, under budget restrictions linked to a downturn in energy markets and other spending priorities. The state budget shortfall means New Mexico is likely to forgo well over $300 million in federal matching funds for Medicaid.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. painkills2

      Article found here:

      Which also says this:

      “Five state employees testified in federal court that they falsified income information on emergency applications for people seeking welfare benefits, resulting in wrongly denied food assistance to the poorest citizens in the state. . . The state workers said they sometimes entered false asset information on emergency requests for food assistance as a part of a state policy created just as Gov. Martinez’s administration came under federal scrutiny for its high rates of denying emergency requests for aid.”

      Liked by 1 person


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