This is a wonderful well-referenced essay on how Andrew Kolodny, a self-appointed (and self-anointed) addiction policy “expert”, has taken control of the current thinking about the “opioid crisis” with a false narrative, resulting in the destruction of pain patients’ lives.
Dear Dr. Kolodny,
I am one of millions of chronic pain patients in the United States who has been continually and increasingly oppressed over the past few years by progressively invasive and prohibitive laws at the state and federal levels concerning the delicate relationship between doctors and patients, particularly when it comes to a certain class of drugs, i.e. opiates.
Ever since my very real, physical condition began about 4 years ago, my family and I have been disoriented again and again by a lack of what might be termed, “help,” from doctors.
We have discovered a very confused medical community, corruption, and a growing collection of laws being passed so fast and furiously hardly anyone seems to know just what is going on.
I began researching you and your career last night out of curiosity.
I wanted to answer the question, “Who is this Dr. A. Kolodny, that everyone from journalists to policy makers and bloggers keep quoting as an “expert on opiates”?” And I found out. You, sir, are a psychiatrist and board-certified addiction specialist-turned policy maker and buprenorphine (Suboxone) sales rep.
Since at least 2005, you have been marketing buprenorphine as if you had a personal, financial stake in the drug, to government institutions and agencies including prisons, public hospitals, and rehabilitation facilities.
In the fall of 2013, you were appointed Chief Medical Officer of the largest chain of non-profit detox/rehab facilities in the USA (cited for questionable practices and abuse from at least 2012-2015) callPhoenix House, which received $131 million in June 2013, championing the use of MAT, or “Medication Assisted Treatment”. I wonder which drug Phoenix House used?
In 2016, your organization, PROP (Physicians for Responsible Opiot Prescribing), got the ear of the CDC and helped to write the now-infamous, misinformed, and rushed guidelines for prescribing opiates.
While these guidelines were fairly general in nature, they have been used as a springboard for countless pieces of state legislation and DEA investigations, which has, in turn, led to the above-mentioned abuse and abandonment of chronic pain patients and doctors, as well as opiate shortages in hospitals and ERs (The DEA, in an attempt to prevent diversion of opiates to the black market, has cut production by an incredible 45% in the past 2 years)
…although you are not a pharmacologist, opiate researcher, pain doctor, pain patient, surgeon, or even general practitioner; although you ran a private clinic for a short time in 2005 (as far as I’ve been able to learn) that dispensed buprenorphine/Suboxone, you have, for the majority of your career as far as I can tell, been a policy-maker and not directly involved with addiction patients or chronic pain patients whom you recently claimed were simply addicts who needed compassion and “treatment” (and, presumably, Suboxone).
Anyone who questions your authority, expertise, policies, or the efficacy of your pet drug, buprenorphine, is loudly dismissed by you as uneducated , addicted, or corrupt, regardless of how closely they actually work with addicts and pain patients.
But Dr. Kolodny, I have nothing left to lose — your policies and attitudes have directly impacted
- my health,
- my freedom,
- my ability to be a parent,
- my work,
- my hobbies,
- my family,
- my finances,
- my friends, and
- my personhood.
I have no problem announcing to the public, as loudly as I can, “The Emperor is not wearing any clothes!”
These are just a few excerpts – it’s well worth reading the full original article by Loura: An Open Letter to Dr. Andrew Kolodny