Opioid Guidelines Let Her Die Without Dignity

Canada’s Opioid Guidelines Let Her Die Without Dignity – Sept 2017 – by Marvin Ross Writer, publisher – Huffington Post

I’m far from the only to notice the disconnect between the number of overdoses and the milligrams of opioids prescribe. Foolishly, Canada has decided to go along with America’s war on prescription opioids:

“Our response to overdose deaths is to
target pain patients and their doctors,
when most know that this is not the source of the problem.”

The last six months of her life before she passed away last week were spent in misery thanks to the new opioid-prescribing policies being forced in Canada.  

Catherine, as she was known on the Roy Green Show, died last week. She was a frequent guest on Green’s show talking about how the new Canadian opioid-prescribing guidelines have impacted her. I’ve been writing about this here for quite some time.

Catherine first became ill in 2010 with a blood disorder that resulted in her body retaining iron. It caused her terrible constant pain and effected her liver, her stomach lining and her heart.

Her family doctor treated her pain with a combination of long term opioids supplemented with short-acting opiods for breakthrough pain. She described to Roy that her pain level was kept to a three or four out of 10, and she was able to maintain a reasonable quality of life and to work.

When the 2017 guidelines for opioid use in non-cancer pain were introduced, her doctor was ordered by his regulatory agency to reduce her medications by 50 to 60 per cent and her pain level shot up to a seven or nine.

This situation sounds remarkably like mine: with opioids, my pain level varies from 2-5 and without, it jumps to 4-9. It looks like opioids are 50% effective for my pain.

She was no longer able to work or to function. She had been on a wait list for a pain clinic for two years and was told it would be another year before she could see someone. Before her unfortunate death, she was struggling greatly with pain which her doctor was prevented from ameliorating as he had done in the past.

I just have to wonder: Does “they made me do it” really justify a doctor harming their patient instead of helping them?

The guidelines do not tell doctors to force patients off opioids, but that is what is happening. Jason Busse, the chair of the guideline committee who is an associate professor of anaesthesia (a chiropractor not an MD) and researcher at McMaster University, assured Green that the guidelines do not mandate that and he said that it was dangerous to do so.

I can’t believe he’s trying to pretend it’s enough just to say “guidelines do not mandate treatment” even when he knows darn well that doctors all over North America are being pressured to commit malpractice by harming their patients when they arbitrarily reduce their prescribed opioids.

However, he did admit that doctors are under pressure to reduce opioid use amongst their patients.

His colleague on the guidelines committee, Dr. David Juurlink from the University of Toronto, agreed that we will not fix the addiction problem in Canada by cutting people off opioids — instead, he insisted cutting them off will make things worse for them.

So, why are we doing exactly that?

The main reason seems to be the false belief that doctors prescribing opioids to patients are the cause of the large increase

in addictions and overdose deaths. As I’ve pointed out before, this is not the case. In his interview linked above, Dr. Busse estimates that maybe five per cent of people prescribed opioids become addicted, while Dr. Juurlink thinks it is maybe 10 per cent. I’ve argued that it is much lower than that. Dr. Busse suggested that only about five per cent of prescribed opioids are diverted to illegal use.

Dr. Thomas Kline recently wrote that the idea that prescription drugs cause addiction is nothing but a myth and that opioids are the only drugs that ease pain. Journalist Nick Bilton — who wrote American Kingpin about the founder of the Silk Road, a drug-selling website on the deep dark web — points out much of the deaths are attributable to purchases on the web.

Our response to overdose deaths is to target pain patients and their doctors, when most know that this is not the source of the problem.

People have pain, we have the resources to deal reasonably well with that pain and it is inhumane to do what is being done.

For politicians, it is a seemingly simple (but wrong) solution to demonstrate that they are doing something.

There may, however, be another reason amongst some doctors which was explained by Dr. Juurlink and it comes down to a bias against opioids, for whatever reason. Juurlink explained to Green that there are a lot of people on opioids who think they are doing well but really aren’t. “They are being harmed in ways that they do not appreciate,” he said.

When my doctor gives me medicine, I know if it works. If it has side-effects, I assume they are known. For the pain patient, opioids take most or all of the pain away and you have no or few ill effects. But Juurlink thinks that is because you do not know what is really happening to you. I suspect that he is talking about a condition called opioid-induced hyperalgesia.

It could be hyperalgesia or it could be tolerance requiring a higher dose. Regardless, the entire concept is highly controversial and some question the validity of the studies

In my opinion, Dr. Juurlink’s comments reflect a considerable arrogance — “You may not know it is not good for you, but I’m a doctor and I know better.”

This attitude has no place in modern medicine.

What we are seeing, again in my opinion, is a horrible experiment playing with people’s lives. Maybe overdose deaths will decline if we attack legitimate pain patients. Let’s see.

People are suffering with this opioid experiment and dying without any dignity.

It is time to end it.

Original article: Canada’s Opioid Guidelines Let Her Die Without Dignity

3 thoughts on “Opioid Guidelines Let Her Die Without Dignity

  1. Krista

    The opioid situation has become a matter of certain doctors not believing in them and that’s part of the problem here . Doctors have got to put their own opinions aside and do what’s best for the patient . Any good and compassionate pain doctor is not afraid to prescribe opioids especially when they’ve taken a look at their records they’ve seen a long they’ve been in Pain Management they see now how their pain has progressed and they’ve seen that they’ve tried the other step things also and the opioids were the last ditch effort . I can tell you one thing. Dr. Mark Allen was never ever afraid to prescribe opioids to the people that he knew needed them. My mom went to him 10 years and in those 10 years I saw my mom getting better and having a better attitude in being in a better mood in and moving better and it only took me one time of meeting Dr. Allen for me to see why my mom just would never want to go to anybody else . And then he has a couple of slip ups after his father whom he was very close to passed away none of these infractions affected the care of any of his patients because he would’ve never put his patients in jeopardy . He went as far as to tell my mom that he would look at my records because around that time was when I was first diagnosed with degenerative disc disease and my mother just was so beside herself because she just didn’t want me to have to go through what she’s had to go through and Dr. Alan said hey I’d be willing to take a look at her stuff and if the physician she is seeing doesn’t mind my opinion I’ll be happy to give my opinion. He went as far as to tell my mom that he would look at my records because around that time was when I was first diagnosed with degenerative disc disease and my mother just was so beside herself because she just didn’t want me to have to go through what she’s had to go through and Dr. Allen said hey I’d be willing to take a look at her stuff and if the physician she is seeing doesn’t mind my opinion I’ll be happy to give my opinion my mom passed away last year and she never got to talk to Dr. Allen again so I am calling him tomorrow to let him know of her passing and to thank him for his wonderful care of her the 10 years that she was with him because it made all the difference in the world. She began to live again . And the government and DEA flexing their muscles would have not bothered him whatsoever . He did what was right for his patients and his patients needed opioids then by God that’s what he was going to give them.

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  2. Krista

    It’s OK for doctors to have their union about pain medicines however I guarantee if that doctor got hit by a car and I had a broken leg and was laying on the hospital bed in anguishing pain they wouldn’t have such a strong opinion about pain medicine then. We all have to keep an open mind . And the patient has to work with the doctor and the doctor asked to work with the patient it’s got to be 50-50

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    1. Zyp Czyk Post author

      Absolutely! We and our doctors have to be a team: we have the feedback from our body and they know possible causes. It’s only if they listen and believe what we’re telling them that they can even apply their knowledge.

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