PROP Ends Affiliation with Phoenix House

PROP Ends Affiliation with Phoenix HousePain News Network –  Aug 2016 By Pat Anson

Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP), an influential and politically connected advocacy group that seeks to reduce opioid prescribing, is no longer directly affiliated with Phoenix House, which runs a nationwide chain of addiction treatment centers.

The Steve Rummler Hope Foundation is now the “fiscal sponsor” of PROP, which will allow PROP to collect tax deductible donations under the foundation’s 501 (c) (3) non-profit status.

IRS regulations allow non-profits to form partnerships with like-minded organizations, allowing other groups to essentially piggyback off their non-profit status and collect donations.  

Like PROP, the foundation’s main goal is to reduce opioid prescribing.

It is named after Steve Rummler, a Minnesota pain patient who became addicted to opioid medication while being treated for a back injury. After several attempts at addiction treatment, Rummler relapsed and died of a heroin overdose at the age of 43.

“He struggled with the pain for a long time,” said Judy Rummler, Steve’s mother and chief financial officer of the foundation.  “He had what I think later was figured out to be some damage to the nervous system around his spinal cord because he had what he described as shooting electric shock-like sensations that would shoot up his back into his head and down his legs into his feet.”

Steve sought help from many doctors, but never received a treatable diagnosis. He started taking OxyContin for pain relief.  “Once he was prescribed the opioids in 2005, then he didn’t care about getting answers anymore,” his mother said.

“I know there are a lot of people who are going to be hurt by cutting back on the prescribing, but I just think a lot of them are addicted as my son was. Yet he would have been the first one to scream and yell about having his pills cutoff.”

Opioid medication should not be prescribed for chronic pain, according to Rummler.

Another person who believes that opioids cause addiction. She would rather leave a person in agony than give them a medication to which only 3% of pain patients become addicted to.

Links with PROP

The Rummler Foundation already has a lengthy association with PROP.

Kolodny serves on the foundation’s medical advisory committee, as does Jane Ballantyne, MD, PROP’s president.

The two groups have also participated together in several advocacy campaigns. While PROP no longer considers itself “a program” of Phoenix House, Kolodny is still listed as the chief medical officer for the organization.

For several years, PROP lobbied the FDA, DEA and other federal agencies to reduce the prescribing of opioids with mixed success.

Recently it played a significant role in the development of the CDC’s opioid guidelines, which discourage primary care physicians from prescribing opioids for chronic pain. Kolodny, Ballantyne and three other PROP officers and board members served on panels advising the CDC.

In addition to his new affiliation with the Rummler Foundation, Kolodny is working with the Los Angeles-based Media Policy Center in developing a documentary on opioids and addiction. PROP is listed as one of the partners in the project, along with the Semel Institute of Neurobiology and the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

PNN has learned that several prominent doctors in the field of pain management have been approached to participate in a “debate” with Kolodny for the program.

All have declined because they fear the documentary will be biased.  

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7 thoughts on “PROP Ends Affiliation with Phoenix House

  1. david becker

    THe Rummlers have a foundatin riddled with medicocentric authoritarian doctors who seem to lack empathy and compassion for people in pain. So what else is new in our pain care utopia.
    It is remarkable how thse who perceive themselves as do- gooders lack perspective on themselves and have trouble being circumspect. They seem to have some sort ofobsessive compulsive tunnel vision that blinds them to the externalities their behavior engenders. And naturally, for them- the rest of the world doesnt know what they are talking about. Although, i feel their behaviors are tragic, I also have at laugh at how inept they truly are.
    I think soon enough more people in pain will feel that moral shock and sense of deprivation that social movements are made of- but i hope i wont be smiling and grinning at the changes all around..and pray we wont get fooled again…..

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  2. K Cooper

    This is an Ideology with them, reinforced by others who belief that if they keep repeating this narrative they can make it true. It is easier for these types to blame the medication, and it is popular too, as long as they run this False Narrative they can get funding and attention. Steve Rummler clearly was in a great deal of unresolved pain, yet he was told he was an addict. Since we know he was in Pain, we have no way to really know, whether he was really an Addict, or whether he was getting the optimum treatment for pain. Once the Diagnosis of “Addict” is made and they are told it is a lifelong incurable condition, that is almost worse for some people than the Pain.
    Since there is no clear cut Scientific test of whether someone is an “Addict” or if they have a legitimate Pain condition, there is a grey area of confusion. To make matters worse most of the research they have done appears to be to re-enforce their narrative, or obfuscate the issue. If we took the most obvious Patient with Chronic Pain, something documented to be painful, and clearly identified, as being painful by other credible people that have the condition, to ten Doctors, there would be various “Opinions.” Some would only look at the Opiod usage, and declare the Patient was an addict, If These physician worked for a Corporation that promoted this idea, that would be their diagnosis. It would not matter how much pain the patient was in. It is a matter of opinion, not a scientific fact, and unfortunately only the “Opinion” matters.
    Imagine the hopelessness that Steve Rummler felt, when his own Mother believed he was an Addict instead of in pain. Like many of us, attempting to get a diagnosis or any kind of Medical care that might help a pain condition, can be an exercise in futility. Physicians seem to be more concerned about “Addiction” or depression, or other issues that obfuscate the fact that the Patient is in Pain. They are perfectly willing to ignore, belittle or demean a Patient in Pain. They seem to equate a diagnosis or even an explanation for the pain with “Addiction.” Many of us have experienced this, where we wait weeks or Months for another Appointment, hoping there might be some kind of help. Yet when we finally see the Doctor, they are dismissive, rude and not only unable to help us, but essentially blaming us for the condition.
    We will never really know if many of these people are addicts or just in too much pain to continue. A question they never ask, as they try to get the easy answer and blame the Medications. How many of these people that overdose are in such a dark place, because they have no hope of improvement. There will be more of them as the Medical Industry has chosen this narrative, instead of the Facts. It is much easier to blame the Medication, than to look at the real problem, the hopelessness and Denial. Instead of helping him, his own Mother chose to blame the “Addiction” likely after a number of Doctors refused to acknowledge that he was in pain, and were more concerned with addiction than Pain. For some people this is just too much, to seek Medical help, while repeatedly getting called a liar, or having their sanity questioned or being labeled an “Addict.” No “Research” has been done on this treatment of pain patients. While Spurious non Scientific ones that reinforce the false narrative get published and go Viral. We should all be asking why.
    There is an Ideology at play here, these people actually believe that if they ignore it, it will go away, or that they are “Helping” by blaming the Medication, or the person with pain. This False Ideology dovetails with the Industry Interests who want more confusion, less accountability, and a new marketing opportunity. By censoring the negatives, they just don’t count the devastation that this Corporate Healthcare has caused. It is more profitable for Big Pharma, the big Multi Billion Dollar Health Providers, and the Insurance Companies have a lot to gain. One way to look at it is that the pain patients are the survivors of the Healthcare Industry. They lived to talk about it. My friends with Diabetes, Heart Conditions, and Cancer are dead. In nearly every case they had a postponed diagnosis, which led to a loss of their Jobs, and a downward spiral into costly surgeries and treatments. They do not count these people either, they can’t speak for themselves.

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    1. Zyp Czyk Post author

      You make a very logical argument here, but as you know, logic carries no weight these days. This whole country seems to look down on logic these days. Instead, celebrity spokespeople control the public conversation. We need a famous person with chronic pain to stand up for us, but they, like Prince, would be keeping their pain a secret to preserve their careers.

      I also shudder to think of poor Steve Rummmler. He may also have had addiction issues, but that in no way minimizes his pain. There are doctors who work with addicted pain patients and they come up with ways to give them opioids in a controlled fashion.

      I can’t think of anything else that would make me turn to street drugs except untreated pain. Even then, I’d probably kill myself first because I’m just not strong enough for the chaotic and brutal lifestyle of active addiction. I feel like I’ve been sentenced to an early death by PROP because if they stop giving me effective pain relief, I would probably not be able to do anything to make life worth living anymore.

      Of course, the public thinks we’re just being dramatic and that if we would just stop “catastrophizing”, our pain would magically become perfectly tolerable. God save us from the people who think they are helping when they propose reality-free ideas like this.

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. K Cooper

        Thanks Zyp!

        Exactly! No logic at all just anecdotal and heart wrenching coverage of Parents who find it easier to blame Prescription drugs.
        I think a lot of people would rather die than expose themselves to the shady world of street drugs. Many of the people involved are desperate and scary.

        In my State while they are claiming there is an opiate Epidemic and all of the “Helpers” are rushing to set up “Faith Based” “Treatment Centers” they are actually closing the few remaining De-Tox Centers and “Treatment Centers.” The local Media runs stories of the “Devastation” which are essentially Advertising for the Non Profits who have only ignored this issue for Decades. Another Person died in jail, the Heroin seem to be very plentiful there, of course they leave that little fact out of the “News”. Many of our “Addicts” are first exposed to Heroin in Jail, after a Low Level drug incarceration. They tend to leave this Fact out too, along with the fact that many now have Hep-C or even Aids from dirty needles in Prison. Seems like they are leaving a lot of Facts out.

        My Dog seems to understand. The Hummingbirds really don’t care, as long as they get me to refill the feeders. We has a lovely sunset tonight, there is am Autumn chill in the air, we might even light a fire!

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        1. Zyp Czyk Post author

          I see you do exactly what I do when I’m forced to face yet another piece of news that I know will cause us more pain and hardship: I realize how negative my thoughts are and simply switch to finding something positive to think about.

          Yes, even in the midst of all this craziness, Junko birds are bringing their new families to my feeding deck and I’m watching the babies slowly losing their fluffy well-camouflaged “baby feathers” to grow “big bird” feathers. The brightly colored Acorn Woodpeckers always announce themselves with hearty screeches and Stellar Jays opportunistically wait just until I leave the deck to pounce on the mixed birdseed and grab the sunflower seeds.

          Thanks for reminding me!

          I posted the “Two Wolves” story with a great analogy for this that has stuck with me for decades now: Keeping a Positive Attitude

          Liked by 1 person

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          1. Kathy C

            Thanks Zyp!
            Every so often I have to look outside to get perspective and get away from the negativity, it will still be there tomorrow. I have similar activity in my yard, the bird feeders are a constant source of amusement. My favorite birds are the Magpies their antics are amazing. There is a neighbors cat that lurks around because I have a lot of birds in the yard. The Magpies never miss an opportunity to announce the cat’s presence and broadcast it to all of the birds. The cat would try to sneak up the nearby trees searching for nests. He does not bother anymore. The magpies used the tree climbing as a way to torment the cat. One would perch further out on a branch taunting him, while trying to lure him further out. The other members of the Magpie Gang would perch above, taunting and squawking, egging the cat on. It is really funny if not a little sinister since I suspected they might lure him to his death if he fell.
            The hummingbirds are always up to something too! They like to use the dog as a weapon in their aerial battles. One will lead the other into a close fly by of the dog, then pull up and away as the dog reacts to the nearly invisible menace. It is a good thing they are so quick!

            I am looking forward to reading Two Wolves. I love Wolves, they have been trying to reintroduce them in my State, but there is a faction against it. I used to spend a lot more time outdoors, there are some really spectacular places here in New Mexico. I would lose it if not for Nature! It reminds me that everything is temporary.

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