Stanford Doc Says Opioids Necessary Sometimes

Here’s a very supportive Twitter posting from the leader of Stanford’s Pain Management efforts: Sean Mackey, MD, PhD.   (@DrSeanMackey) on Oct 22, 2019

This is a breath of fresh air! Coming from an influential leader in the pain management field at a high-status University, I have hope that it will get through to some of our tormentors.

1) I’d like to share this brief story about a patient who’s currently taking opioids.

2) We’ve been treating a patient at Stanford who has a lower extremity injury. He came to us on high-doses of opioids through fentanyl patches.  

His primary care doctor wanted him weaned off. He has tried every treatment imaginable.

And why did his primary doctor want him weaned off? The rest of this little story shows that there were no medical reasons to take the patient off opioids. 

This doctor acted to harm a patient in order to make his own life easier (or because he was stupid enough to believe the anti-opioid PROPaganda).

With such blatant proof that patients are being forced off opioids without any medical justification, I would expect this to be condemned as malpractice.

3) Our pain center is multidisciplinary so we had a team conference to discuss his particular case.

He was seen be a physician, a pain psychologist, and a physical therapist. There was a lot of debate around what to do.

4) The team concluded after a long conference that this patient is a functioning member of society and is doing everything that’s been asked of him.

Every time he’s tried weaning down (three times), he’s had to quit work.

5) The lesson:

We cannot generalize these tools (i.e. opioids) and make broad statements across everybody.

Yet this is exactly what the bozos in Oregon did just 2 days ago: Oregon opioid task force passes tapering guidelines

For some people, opioids will lead to major problems. On the other end of the spectrum, there are people who will benefit greatly from the use of opioids for managing pain.

6) I discuss this in greater detail on the @PeoplesPharmacy podcast:

7) Given the polarized view of opioids, we hope stories like this will continue to bring awareness to this incredibly nuanced issue. As with many issues we face, this is not black and white.

I am not pro-opioid or anti-opioid.
I am pro-patient.

That last statement is perfect for every doctor and should be kept in mind by all the fools rushing to “get rid of opioids”.

3 thoughts on “Stanford Doc Says Opioids Necessary Sometimes

  1. Kathy C

    Imagine that! Of course this very same “researchers; was silent as his co workers sold books, speaking engagements, and sought out research money, to prove the opposite. This guy stood idly by as people suffered, bad policies increased the number of deaths and patients were driven to suicide. There is a serious disconnect when for profit healthcare, makes factual statements and unusual thing. This guy should look closer to home to see how they all took advantage of alternative facts in the media. Stanford made a lot of money misinforming the general public about pain, opioids and addiction.

    This is CYA operation, to give us the general impression that they are still relying on facts and science at Stanford. Notice how he is silent on the deceptive marketing, lies and misinformation that Stanford researchers, and the media amplified, to generate funding from the NIH, mislead patients, and protect the industries. A lot of lives could have been saved if he had done this four or five years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Zyp Czyk Post author


      Still, we have to give people a chance to change their views. I’m sure we’ve all had to change our minds about some beliefs we used to have in our lives. I know I’ve been wrong more than a few times in my life and I’m glad my previous beliefs aren’t held against me now.

      Of course it’s horrible when “mistakes” cause great human suffering but we can’t go back in time to fix that. We can only proceed with better understanding right now and moving forward.

      It’s futile and counterproductive to stay angry at someone who has changed their ways. My anger only hurts me, not the people I’m angry at, and I’m just too sensitive to handle it. I just hav to let it go to minimize my own suffering over the ignorance, lies, betrayals, and cruelty of others.



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