Addicts and Pain Patients are NOT the Same

Defining Addicts and Pain Patients as One and the Same, A Moral and Ethical Failure in Policy • CERGMBy R Carter – Mar 2019

Morals and ethics are often used interchangeably, but there are small differences.

  • Ethics refers to rules provided by an external source, e.g., codes of conduct in workplaces or principles in religions.
  • Morals refer to an individual’s own principles regarding right and wrong

There are two great arbitrators of morality devised by mankind, the State and Religion. Each has a power they use to enforce ethical standards.   

Note; based on data collected by the State of Ohio up through 2017 and beyond, Ohio continues to revise its laws and regulations to make a distinction between opiate abuse and the legitimate use of opiates in treating chronic pain. 

This makes Ohio a progressive leader in establishing balance and equity between these two issues. Protecting the rights of its citizens to unobstructed and equal access to medical care while fighting a continued blight on society through illicit drug abuse.

Actual law governing the prescribing of opiates for acute and chronic pain is both general and indirect, as it should be. They are limited to those actions which can be taken by a licensed physician. This fact indirectly acknowledges that as a legislative body, legislators are not qualified to diagnose and prescribe medical treatments requiring opiates.

The specific details for diagnosis and treatment are legislatively delegated to State Medical Boards as is common across all states and recognized under Title 21 (USC) Controlled Substance Act.

Specific recommendations and guidelines governing standards of care for chronic pain, how a primary care provider should treat and prescribe for chronic pain, are recent developments which have come about since 2016.

Prior that, few if any states had written standards of care for both primary care providers as well as pain specialist. Such guidelines were often left to non-government private interest groups representing medical specialties.

The entry of the Federal Government into this space through the CDC is both unprecedented and alarming, many calling it overstepping and government interference.

By implementing these recommended guidelines through the CDC and through State Medical Boards, government is now making unilateral decisions which affects hundreds of millions, avoiding the possibility of a hotly contested ethical debate and political fight, by keeping it from coming to a vote of the general public.

A person who knows the difference between right and wrong and chooses right is moral. A person whose morality is reflected in his willingness to do the right thing, even if it is hard or dangerous, is ethical. Ethics are moral values in action.

Since then there’s been mass confusion and a blatant disregard for the welfare of a minority group, resulting in suffering for tens of thousands, death for others and imprisonment for physicians sometimes irresponsibly so.

  • A failure of law enforcement and government to enforce existing laws,
  • an unchecked profit motive in healthcare,
  • the unchecked growth of the illegal drug trade and
  • unchecked political influence on our democratic process

has all come together like a perfect storm.

For some, the need to rapidly enact new laws which reflect their moral convictions resulted in unforeseen consequences to a silent minority.

20.4% of the population are chronic pain patients, many of which have taken opiates for decades.

While 80% of the non-opiate treated population rushed to curtail its use, little regard was given to the consequence it would have. Now that nearsightedness is reflected in a growing number of suicide deaths from individuals who have been forced to taper or terminate.

Ethics and morals relate to “right” and “wrong” conduct, so I ask these questions.

Is it right or wrong to deny chronic pain patients medication when most have used it without incident, simply for the possibility of curtailing illicit drug use and overdose deaths?

Or is it possible to do both, fight drug abuse while protecting individuals who use opiates as medication and do so without the tragic consequences we see in drug abuse?

Enacting laws without hearing from those substantively impacted by them, is nothing short of a moral and ethical failure of government.

What was done in error can be undone, but for those who have suffered needlessly and for those who have died, government has a responsibility to own this failure and take corrective action.

To date, these issues and questions have gone unacknowledged by our elected officials.

Read the full article at Defining Addicts and Pain Patients as One and the Same, A Moral and Ethical Failure in Policy • CERGM

4 thoughts on “Addicts and Pain Patients are NOT the Same

  1. Kathy C

    Our government no longer represents the people, the effects of big money and legalized corruption have undermined our institutions. The media, the fourth estate was supposed to keep people informed, instead it ran false narratives, designed by corporate public relations people. It was no accident that the CDC, marketers and media falsely conflated pain patients with the addicted. That false narrative was profitable, and took attention away from the culpability of the big pharma corporations. Various industries promoted the false narrative of conflating pain patients with the addicted, because pain patients are inconvenient, and point to the failures of our medical system. The industries knew that millions of American would be experiencing chronic pain, due to lax labor regulations, working two jobs, and even long commutes to work. The insurance industry had to protect their profits, and keep our federal agencies from investigating the causes of chronic pain, The big corporations did not want to cover works injuries, and needed to discredit injured workers.
    Our healthcare system is broken and millions Americans know it. Every day our corporate media runs new industry funded articles attacking Medicare For All, as Americans die even younger. Our government under the control of industry insiders, refused to regulate or even collect data on our healthcare system. The FDA , CDC and FTC failed to regulate the deceptive marketing of opioids and other medications. They failed to even investigate the death count. The greed corruption and lies are promoted as “Free Speech,” as the corporations continue to attack the last vestiges of a functioning government.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Zyp Czyk Post author

      I read somewhere that throughout history, things have to break pretty badly before they are set right. It sure looks like we’re reaching that point in our healthcare system.

      I read this morning that life expectancy in the US has gone down again for the 3rd year in a row. I guess that’s another indicator of a broken system. I’m just trying to keep going whatever way possible and keep hoping that any further problems will only bring the “fix” sooner.

      Liked by 1 person

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  2. Kathy C

    People have no idea how badly broken the system is. The mass media has not been covering it because they make a lot of money with misinformation and advertising. A lot of people have been dying due to drug shortages, the media has not covered that topic. Apparently a lot of things like older, effective medications, and even saline IV bags, are not profitable enough to manufacture, so there are shortages. There are also a lot of issues, with supply chains in other countries like China, selling inferior and uninspected drugs and components of drugs. For a long time, Congress, and their lobbyists and cronies have been under funding, the agencies that were supposed to be protecting American lives. Pharma industry lobbyists found that inspecting the overseas manufacturing plants was inconvenient and could cut into profits.

    One of the talking heads at NPR claimed that the onus was on physicians and hospitals to speak up. Of course no hospital will allow their patients to be fully informed and seek out a competitor, by calling attention to the number of deaths at their hospital due to a drug shortage. Physicians have been silenced, they are under gag orders and almost as confused as the general public. The FDA has watched as this problem grew worse, and chose to side with industry profits over human lives. The few media outlets that have covered this problem, were careful not to discuss industry greed and the number of deaths due to these manufactured shortages. In the era of alternate facts and fake news, misreporting the facts, costs and deaths is more important than and informed populace. Patients are not told that the effective medication that would have saved their life, was replaced with something a thousand times more expensive, and much less effective. Providing the facts could cut into hospital and pharma profits, and even lead to liability.

    Liked by 1 person

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