Category Archives: Opioid Debate

Lawmakers are addicted to bad opioid policy

Arizona lawmakers are addicted to bad opioid policy – The Arizona Republic – Dr. Jeffrey A. Singer

The governor of Arizona is calling on the Legislature this week to enact prescription limits as well as other bureaucratic intrusions into the doctor-patient relationship.

Such policies are nothing new: State lawmakers are addicted to the idea of restricting doctors from providing opioids to patients in pain.

This strategy is premised on a false narrative.   Continue reading


Mindfulness Rx Allows Doctors to Ignore Pain

Prescribing Mindfulness Allows Doctors to Ignore Legitimate Female Pain – Feb 2018 – by Sarah Yahm

A few years ago, after a series of cascading injuries and illnesses that rendered me unable to type, drive, or sleep, I briefly became a professional patient.

Like all of my professions, I took it seriously. I went to appointments armed with lists of well-researched questions written down neatly on my yellow legal pad, brought in the occasional medical journal article, and compiled detailed descriptions of my array of increasingly bizarre symptoms.

My goal was to get my doctors to take me seriously so they would dive into the complexities of my case.   Continue reading

Doctors resisting opioid restrictions in Florida

Doctors concerned Florida opioids bills would go too far | The Seattle Times – February 4, 2018 – By  JOE REEDY

It’s wonderful to hear of more doctors pushing back against these ridiculous restrictions on medical care.

Legislation aimed at fighting opioid abuse in Florida has raised concerns among doctors over provisions to impose limits as short as three days for prescriptions of the potentially addictive painkillers.

Physicians have mounted strong opposition to provisions being considered by House and Senate committees to limit prescriptions for Schedule II painkillers like Oxycontin and Fentanyl to three days — or seven days in some cases if a physician documents it as medically necessary.   Continue reading

Forced opioid reductions “by the numbers”

What’s Wrong With Just Counting the Patients on High Dose Opioids and Calling that Bad Care? – by Stefan Kertesz – Feb 2018

Dr. Kertesz exposes the unscientific basis and hazardous effect of forced opioid reductions.

In early 2018, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services requested public comments on a draft quality measure of physician performance, called “Potential Opioid Overuse”. It’s alluringly simple.

Payers and regulators will count the number of patients who receive a total opioid dose equivalent to 90 milligrams morphine or more.

The higher the number, the worse the physician is rated.      Continue reading

Jeff Sessions: ‘Take Some Aspirin’ and ‘Tough It Out’

Jeff Sessions’ Advice to Pain Patients: ‘Take Some Aspirin’ and ‘Tough It Out’ – Hit & Run : –  by Jacob Sullum|Feb 2018

The attorney general thinks people should suffer needlessly, just like John Kelly.

USDOJAttorney General Jeff Sessions is a well-known admirer of Nancy Reagan’s recommendation that kids “just say no” to drugs. It turns out he applies that advice not only to curious teenagers but also to people suffering from severe pain.

“I am operating on the assumption that this country prescribes too many opioids,” Sessions said during a speech at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa yesterday.   Continue reading

Pain patients suffering – Doctors afraid to Rx opioids

Chronic pain patients suffering because some doctors too fearful to prescribe opioids – Calgary – By Colleen Underwood, CBC News – Jan 22, 2018

Larry Metz rates his flu-like aches and pains a 12 out of 10 today,  but some days he says it’s as high 14, now that his opioid pain medication isn’t strong enough to numb the pain.

he’s mad at Alberta’s College of Physicians and Surgeons because he believes they’re the reason why his doctor won’t boost his pain medication.

“Grow up. Wake up. Take off your ties and put on some blue jeans and go out and get in the mix and middle of the people that are going through this stuff.”   Continue reading

FDA Wants to Work with Providers on Opioid Issue

FDA Wants to Work with Providers on Opioid Issue – by Joyce Frieden, News Editor, MedPage Today – February 07, 2018

The FDA would like to work with physicians to find a way to curb the opioid epidemic while still allowing patients who need opioids to have access to them, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, said here Tuesday. Trying to write policy that works is difficult, says Gottlieb. [duh! -zyp]

Here we have the official word from the FDA Commissioner that opioids are sometimes absolutely necessary for chronic pain:

There aren’t a lot of alternatives for the treatment of chronic pain; for certain conditions, opioids are the only things that do work.   Continue reading

Help Shape The Times’s Opioid Coverage

Help Shape The Times’s Opioid Coverage – By THE NEW YORK TIMES JAN. 12, 2018

The NY Times wants to know what we think of their opioids crisis coverage:

The devastating effects of opioid abuse are rippling through families and neighborhoods across the United States. To improve our coverage we are seeking to learn more about what our readers are looking for.

Tell us what kinds of stories you’d like to see us cover. Your answers will be confidential and only shared internally. We won’t use your name or attribute any of your responses to you.

Take the Survey:


Mid-Level Providers Struggle to Treat Pain

Mid-Level Providers Struggle to Treat Pain Amid Opioid Crisis – Pain Medicine News – Jan 2018 – by Michael DePeau-Wilson

Mounting efforts to reduce opioid abuse in the United States have created difficult clinical environments, especially for mid-level providers like nurse practitioners and physician assistants, who are left searching for suitable treatment options for their pain patients.

“This societal pressure to prescribe less medication, although well intentioned, has led many prescribers to not prescribe at all to someone who has a perfectly reasonable indication to be on pain medication,” said Darren McCoy, FNP-BC, a pain specialist at Pain Consultants of East Tennessee, in Knoxville.

“Societal pressure” to prescribe less pain medication only exists until an individual has pain themselves.   Continue reading

DEA’s Targeting of Doctors and Pharmacies

Opinion: A Reaction to DEA’s Efforts to Target Pharmacies with ‘Unusual’ Opioid Prescription Rates

In response to “Sessions: DEA to Target Pharmacies, Prescribers in Crackdown” as published in The Hill, it should be obvious to responsible medical clinicians that Sessions and colleagues are naïve to the complex and biopsychosocial, medical, and pharmaceutical paradigms that are actually driving the opioid epidemic.

The article states that in 2016 there were “at least 66,000 deaths from overdoses reported, including 42,249 deaths from opioids. Opioid overdose deaths now kill more Americans every year than breast cancer, according to the latest statistics from the CDC.”  

Adding together 1. prescription medication use and 2. illicit drug abuse in the same number hides which of these two is causing the problem. Continue reading