Anti-Opioid Propaganda and Profit

I’m sickened by the tone of the anti-opioid lobby these days, which has become aggressively hostile to pain patients.

They present more propaganda than fact and attack pain patients who are legitimately taking opioids for chronic pain. They invent their own truths and blur the line between known facts and biased conjecture. Any dissent is met with hostility.

Their denigration of pain patients has reached a new low with their latest claim by A. Kolodny, leader of the anti-opioid organization, PROP:

“Anyone taking opioids regularly is addicted.” 

Whether you are in pain or not is irrelevant, whether you are taking prescription medicine or scoring heroin on the street, whether you are conscientious hard worker, or living by crime, none of that makes any difference; if you take opioids you are an addict, they insist.

They do not believe in the well-known medical condition of dependence independent of addiction. Many other medications cause physical dependence and then withdrawals when they are stopped, but they insist that the same dependence, if on opioids, is addiction.

By unilaterally deciding that tolerance and dependence signify addiction, they find addiction where it simply does not exist (according to modern definitions of addiction and dependence).

Their definition includes literally everyone who takes opioids regularly for any reason whatsoever, creating a vast (and inappropriate) market for their services. Yet, if we refute their biased judgment, then we’re just in denial about our addiction.

This is the lucrative catch-22 of the recovery industry: Once accused of being an addict, anything you say in your defense is considered denial, which is just more evidence of your presumed addiction.

This biased mindset and dangerous circular reasoning is used by the groups that have been guiding our country’s opioid policies. (See PROP conflict of interest in Phoenix House rehabs)

Let us not forget how much money the recovery industry stands to earn if every pain patient is forced into a “recovery program” for addiction.

Despite their long history, addiction recovery programs based on the ubiquitous 12-step model are almost criminally ineffective (less than 20% success), so the vast majority of patients must return to them (and pay for them) repeatedly.

Unlike any other healthcare services, the additional profit generated by repeated failures creates a perverse incentive against improvements.

At the same time, drug courts are still forcing people into these unscientific, ineffective, semi-religious programs. While this seems a clear violation of the separation of church and state, the recovery industry has lobbied heavily to keep this ridiculous status quo in place.

So this industry is being handed an endless stream of customers by the government, the medical system, and our cultural misconceptions of addiction.

Anyone even spuriously accused of being an addict gets caught in the airtight dogma of recovery (your denial of being addicted is a sign of your addiction) and, instead of receiving proper treatment, they are placed at the mercy of an industry that is not regulated or controlled by anyone other than itself.

With the help of grieving parents, politicians, well-financed special interest groups, and even our government, the recovery industry has created a modern-day gold rush by exploiting the misery of pain patients.

Some percentage of human beings will always suffer life-limiting extreme or prolonged pain and opioids will always be necessary, so our prohibitionist policies regarding opioid pain medication have created a lucrative business model that cannot fail.

(See The Opioid Treatment Business Is Booming)

2 thoughts on “Anti-Opioid Propaganda and Profit

  1. Judith Bruno

    Please start asking some real questions like are any drug addicts no longer abusing drugs with these policies because we know that Prohibition does not work? The country is so concerned over the raise in heroin addiction and you will find, if you really look, that the raise is directly connected to these policies because if a drug addict can’t get the pills they want, they will and are turning to heroin and now our government is supporting the Drug Cartels who will get a drug addict anything they want just as the “Mob’s” did for alcohol. Did we learn nothing from history?

    Why is the life of a drug addict more important than the lives of those who are in pain? Why are politicians acting as doctors in the decisions of what is the best way to treat us?

    Mothers can no longer care for their children and bread winners no longer able to support their families. Who is going to pay for that care and where will that money come from? Who is going to care for those like myself who strive to stay independent and live within the boundaries of our disabilities but can no longer do so without the pain relief we need?

    Health Care in this country is going to fail under these policies and it must when doctors refuse to take on patients who are in pain, clinic are closing and good doctors can no longer treat their patients in the way they know is best without fear of prosecution? Who are they going to blame for this? Obama Care? Someone must be blamed for the failure of our health care system to deal with those who are in pain.

    Chronic Pain is a disability and we are being discriminated against because of those who will and do abuse drugs just like any religion or race who is discriminated against because of the actions of a few. We need someone to stand for us, talk about us, do something for us in this losing war on drugs.

    We are told that 13% of Veteran’s abuse drugs but what about the 87% who need relief from pain and now can’t get that relief? Chronic Pain can and does kill and those who can no longer deal with a life in pain 24/7 will take their own lives and Veterans are the most vulnerable after the horrors of war. America makes these Veterans and makes the pain they now live with and yet we are turning our backs on them and telling them there is nothing we can do for the pain they are in.

    Why aren’t pain patients given the same rights as others to decide what is the best care for their problems? Politics needs to stay out of our relationship between our doctors and the care we need.

    Please do your jobs, do it right, look into the problems these policies are making that no one will talk about because of the fear of supporting drug addicts but we are NOT drug addicts, we are patients who need help.

    Please look into the politics of all of this as we know the reasons behind this attack on pain medications after losing the war on Marijuana, which will become legal in this country, in order to validate their existence and the billions of dollars wasted in this losing war on drugs are now attacking those who are in pain. Look into the big pharmacies and the fight against them and yes, they need to be held responsible for never finding cures but only drugs that mask the symptoms to make more money but taking all of this out on those who’s only sin is that they are in pain, is not the right way to fight any of these injustices.

    Please, think of the quality of life of those who are suffering in pain and think of your families, your parents, your children and how you would feel if they were suffering in pain and told there is nothing that can be done.

    Help us, help the millions of American’s both Veterans and civilians alike who are actually being tortured because of these policies. Please look at all sides of this war on drugs and the dangers of drug abuse but remember, there are millions of us who need relief from our pain. They can’t fix the problems, can’t give us what we need to live with any kind of quality of life without the pain medications that are available so why are they torturing us?

    Liked by 1 person

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