Category Archives: Opioid Debate

Incorrect Medical Information has Dire Consequences

The Press: Incorrect Medical Information, Dire Consequences! | American Council on Science and HealthBy Wolfgang Vogel — Oct 2019

Reporters and editors have the duty to inform the public about current events. In fulfilling this duty, every journalist must follow the journalistic code of ethics; reports must be based on proven facts or when personal opinions are used they must be clearly be labeled as such.

Sometimes we don’t even realize the difference between something we have knowledge of and something we only believe. More than once in my life, things I thought I “knew” turned out to be more assumptions or opinions rather than facts. Continue reading

Civil Rights Case Gives Hope to Pain Patients

Civil Rights Case Gives Hope to Pain PatientsBy Richard Dobson, MD, Guest Columnist – Pain News Network – Feb 2019

Here’s a hopeful development: an example of a successful suit on the basis of discrimination under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA).

People with chronic disabling pain frequently complain that doctors discharge them from their practice because of the medications they take. Sometimes doctors refuse to accept patients who are taking opioid pain medications, even though the medications treat a legitimate medical condition.

There may be hope that such actions will be considered violations of the civil rights of patients. Continue reading

Only 1.3% of Overdose Victims Had Opioid Rx

Study Finds Only 1.3% of Overdose Victims Had Opioid Prescription — Pain News Network – By Pat Anson – Oct 2019

It’s long been a popular belief that prescription opioids fueled the nation’s opioid crisis and play a major role in overdose deaths. The CDC’s 2016 opioid guideline says as much.

But a new study by researchers in Massachusetts has turned that theory on its head. Prescription opioids are not usually involved overdoses.

And even when they are, the overdose victim rarely has an active prescription for them – meaning the medications were diverted, stolen or bought on the street.   Continue reading

Opioids Continue to Be Effective Long Term

Opioids Continue to Be Effective Long Term Medscape – Fran Lowry – October 01, 2013

This is a good review with results that ring true in my experience,

Unfortunately, it’s fatally tainted by funding from Purdue.

An extensive literature review of studies evaluating the effectiveness of long-term opioid therapy in chronic noncancer pain (CNCP) concludes that the drugs continue to provide reliable and safe analgesia for 6 months or more.

“Due to FDA regulatory guidelines, most contemporary phase 3 randomized controlled trials of opioid analgesics for CNCP are 3 months long or less.   Continue reading

Pain Patients Shouldn’t Have Opioids Abruptly Tapered

Chronic Pain Patients Shouldn’t Have Opioids Abruptly Tapered, Says New Guidance : Shots – Health News : NPR – Oct 2019Heard on All Things Considered

In the haste to address the epidemic, there’s been pressure on doctors to reduce prescriptions of these drugs — and in fact prescriptions are declining. But along the way, some chronic pain patients have been forced to rapidly taper or discontinue the drugs altogether.

Now, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a new message for doctors: Abrupt changes to a patient’s opioid prescription could harm them.

Adm. Brett P. Giroir, MD, assistant secretary for health for HHS. “If opioids are going to be reduced in a chronic patient it really needs to be done in a patient-centered, compassionate, guided way.”

I’m so glad they say “if” instead of “when”.  Continue reading

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.  Continue reading

Delivering Quality Patient Experience without Opioids?

Reconciling the Opioid Crisis with Delivering Quality Patient ExperienceSara Health – Apr 2018

The nationwide opioid crisis has called into question the use of narcotic pain relieving drugs. But as clinicians work to prevent addiction, they face a quality patient experience quandary.

It seems that doctors are now expected to give equal weight to patient pain relief, opioid restrictions, and “customer satisfaction” reviews. The skills, experience, and professionalism of doctors have been devalued to little more than gaming “customer satisfaction” surveys.

Doctors are now just providers of standardized transactional “healthcare services” to customers, who are expected to shop around for the best value, the highest patient-satisfaction scores, and preferably both.   Continue reading

Market barriers to appropriate pain management

AMA: Get rid of market barriers to appropriate pain management by Andis Robeznieks – Senior News Writer – American Medical Association

This article makes a critical point and describes what should be the goal when treating pain: “appropriate analgesic prescribing and pain management.”  

Ending the nation’s opioid epidemic requires eliminating obstacles to treatment and appropriate analgesic prescribing and pain management.

New policies adopted at the 2019 AMA Annual Meeting took aim at barriers established by health plans and other players in the medical system.  Continue reading

DEA Branching Out Into Regulating Medicine

Is the DEA Branching Out Into Regulating Medicine? | Cato @ LibertyBy Jeffrey A. Singer – Sep 2019

This truly seems to be happening. Until now, the “practice of medicine” was carefully defined and defended by the AMA and anybody who tried to step between doctors and their patients was hauled into court.

This time around, the AMA has been noticeable mainly by their silence in the face of this assault on the integrity of medicine, when politicians and law enforcement agencies are controlling what kind of medical care doctors are “allowed” to provide their patients.

After a few brave individual doctors had been pushing back for years, and when the CDC and FDA were close to issuing their own statements warning against the abandonment and forced tapers imposed on patients, only then did the AMA finally release its own statement advising against such barbaric (and virtually illegal, in the case of patient abandonment) practices.  Continue reading

Contribution of Rx Versus Illicit Opioids to Overdoses

The Contribution of Prescribed and Illicit Opioids to Fatal Overdoses in Massachusetts, 2013-2015 – Oct 2019

Massachusetts is only an example of what we’d find in other states if they were more concerned with finding out what’s killing people who overdose. Instead, it’s often not tested adequately to find the real culprit because it’s already assumed that any sign of any opioid makes it a “prescription opioid overdose” to be added to those inflated numbers.

Objectives:
Opioid-related overdoses are commonly attributed to prescription opioids.

Whether true or not, our “public service” coroners just follow the path of least resistance and fall into the false confidence of their predetermined ideas.  Continue reading