Oregon’s Ignorant Forced Opioid Taper Idea

What I Would Have Told Oregon Officials About Its Forced Opioid Taper Idea – by Kelly Howard – Nov 2018

As a trained biology researcher, Ms. Howard sees exactly how such forced tapers are not supported by evidence of any kind. She cuts to the quick of the matter by showing how scientific data actually supports the opposite of what the Pain Task Force claims.

“My name is Kelly Howard. I have been a chronic pain patient since the late 70s. My doctor first suggested I apply for disability in 1989; I worked 22 more years because of responsibly used, prescribed pain medication.

Many of those years I worked as a medical research specialist, so I’m here to discuss the bibliography of this task force. 

Despite your repeated use of the word “evidence” you have less than no interest in it. You have no evidential basis for this extremist proposal.

There is considerable medical evidence that these pain medications are efficacious in the treatment of complex chronic pain conditions –far more good evidence than the opposite.

The recently released VA study shows that forcibly removing pain medications from patients greatly increases the suicide rate. [See Chronic Pain and Suicide: a Deadly Link ].

I expected to see cherry-picked studies which confirmed your extremist proposal. I found no such thing: your own studies support the use and efficacy of opioids.

I refer to

  • the Scottish Guidelines for Chronic pain,
  • the NICE guidelines for neuropathic pain, and
  • the American Academy of Pain “minimum insurance benefits”.

They all have 2 conclusions: 

  1. Opioids are safe & effective & have a role in the treatment of chronic pain.
  2. “alternative treatments” may provide some benefits for some patients, so they might as well be covered.

NONE of these say that ALL pain meds should be banned; all say opioids are safe & efficacious and are a legitimate part of pain management

I was sure I’d see the remarkably poor Krebs study. If you read this study, as opposed to mainstream media’s absurd headlines, you’d know that it is so flawed that it’s an utter travesty.

A major problem is that 11% the “non-opioid” group took Tramadol –a synthetic opioid– when OTC medicines proved insufficient.

As for the opioid group, about 120 people were on those “heroin pills” for a year, with no abuse, addiction, dose escalation, overdose, or deaths.

I noticed the same thing. Although they were trying to prove that opiods were no more effective than OTC medication, they ended up proving no such thing. However, they inadvertently made a case for opioids. “Krebs Study” Shows Opioids are Safe

The only valid conclusion that can be drawn is that opioids can be used safely even when given in a flawed, biased study done by people out to prove that they can’t be used safely.

The paucity of studies looking at time periods longer than 3 months is due to the fact that study designers consider it too cruel to withhold pain medications from pain patients for longer than 3 months;

this panel clearly has no compunction about the cruelty inherent in withholding pain medications from pain patients permanently.

What are we to think of this proposal that would permanently withhold our pain relief when research ethics standards do not allow studies that withhold pain relief for more than 3 months?

Isn’t the ACLU supposed to stand up for people who are downtrodden and abused by the rest of society? Have nour “civil liberties” not been violated by this government intrusion into our healthcare?

They are forcing us to live without relief from a condition that greatly limits our “pursuit of happiness” (and it’s questionable how much “life” or “liberty” we have when we can’t get out of bed due to pain).

But where the wheels completely fall off this bus is where you people insist that it’s one-way proposition: we may access alternate therapies, but all opioids must be banned.

This is not backed by scientific or medical evidence, or even CDC guidelines. There is no moral, ethical, or legal validation for this insanity.

This state has already instituted an involuntary experiment upon its back-pain patients by forcing them off opioids. It has no idea of the impact of this forced treatment change.

Now you want to expand this unethical, unsupported experiment onto thousands of other unfortunate citizens. There is no evidential basis for this extremist proposal.

There is considerable medical evidence that these pain medications are efficacious in the treatment of complex chronic pain conditions – far more good evidence than the opposite.

2 thoughts on “Oregon’s Ignorant Forced Opioid Taper Idea

  1. peter jasz

    Ms. Howard: Beautifully articulated.

    With such evidence on offer, how is it that such proposed legislation (that will further make life unbearable for millions) is not seen as ‘Crimes Against Humanity’?
    (Let’s face it -many will either find it “on the street” or end their lives for some desperate relief)

    Surely there must be some hot-shot hungry lawyer/law-firm that sees the opportunity.
    These government/legislative abuses must have a core/root cause; find it, expose it, correct it. And then, may the pursuit of life, liberty and (pain-free) freedom be available for all to engage and enjoy.

    peter jasz

    Liked by 2 people

    1. canarensis

      Peter; your comment touches on an issue that has really gotten my paranoia meter cranked to the max in this culture of hysteria; no one, not individual lawyers or so-called “civil rights” orgs (like the ACLU or Oregon Civil Rights Org) will have anything whatsoever to do with any aspect of this insane anti-opioid zealotry. I have contacted a number of groups personally, & a couple of the other very active Oregon advocates who’ve been working more on the social/political/legal side of things have tried repeatedly. At best, the response is a mealy-mouthed form letter saying something like, they’re watching the issue but choose not to get involved at this time. The ACLU in particular is always eager to leap onto any issue involving inmates being denied medical/addiction/pain care, but they have less than zero concern about law-abiding citizens who are denied medical care. Some theorize that anti-addiction money is behind it; I have no clue, but it sure makes me crazy.

      Thank you for the kind words about my little piece…if you or anyone wants to use them in any place or venue to try to get some facts out, go for it! Share it around! One person asked if they could print it & give it to their doctor; I’d be ecstatic if everyone did. As Zyp pointed out, I’ve been a biologist & researcher for decades & am strongly data driven. This national narrative that is driven by lies and hysteria has me seriously climbing the walls. If I can in any small way get some actual facts out there, it’d be absolutely fantastic.

      And, as usual, the existing article is greatly enhanced by Zyp’s intelligent & insightful commentary; I feel honored that my little outpouring was worthy to get the Zyp Czyk treatment!

      Liked by 2 people


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