Category Archives: Opioid Debate

Opioid supply crunch for U.S. coronavirus patients

Exclusive: Opioid supply crunch for U.S. coronavirus patients prompts appeal to relax limits – Reuters – Dan LevineApril 2, 2020

U.S. doctors running out of narcotics needed for COVID-19 patients on ventilators are asking the federal government to raise production limits for drugmakers, according to a letter seen by Reuters, after national quotas had been tightened to address the opioid addiction crisis.

It’s becoming ever more clear that the DEA has become an unacceptable impediment to healthcare delivery. They have no business regulating the practice of medicine when their purpose is the enforcement of the latest prohibition against an essential medicine.

The U.S. government sets annual limits on how much tightly regulated narcotics can be produced by pharmaceutical companies, and then allocates portions to various manufacturers.   Continue reading

Managing pain in the age of opioids

Managing pain in the age of opioids – by Greg Johnson – Feb 2020

This author seems to believe the propaganda that pain patients all having opioid use disorder, but I can ignore that because he makes another important point: if we had true access to a wide variety of treatments for pain care, opioids might be less necessary for some people sometimes.

However, many non-prescription treatments require repeated sessions, raising the costs for insurance companies who much prefer paying for a bottle of monthly generic opioid pills instead of weekly therapy sessions for a lifetime.

By now, I expect everyone who can do without opioids has been tapered, along with countless others who cannot do without and are hunkering down waiting for this country to regain its senses and stop this misdirected, ineffectual, and cruel prohibition of pain medication.  Continue reading

How to find doctors still prescribing opioids

I received what I believe to be excellent advice from Richard A “Red” Lawhern for anyone looking for doctors still prescribing opioids:

I very often receive inquiries from patients who have been deserted by their doctors due to concerns for malicious persecution by DEA, DoJ, State Medical Boards or State drug enforcement authorities.

It is hard these days to find any doctor who is taking on new patients for the treatment of chronic pain. But a medical professional associated with the Alliance offered this insight: talk to your local independent pharmacist and ask which doctors they know who may be treating patients for pain.   Continue reading

Touching opioids extremely unlikely to cause symptoms

Research: Illness from accidental opioid exposure ‘extremely unlikely’ – By Laura French – Mar 2020

A recent scientific review and editorial published in a medical journal found no credible cases of first responders experiencing opioid poisoning from accidental exposure and warned of the negative consequences of misinformation in the media.

This is what I’ve been saying and posting all along – see Fear, Loathing and Fentanyl Exposure.

The researchers found that none of the reports provided credible evidence of opioid intoxication, such as a plausible route of exposure, symptoms consistent with opioid exposure or laboratory results showing that opioids caused the first responder’s symptoms. Continue reading

Minnesota bill allowing opioids for intractable pain

A bill for an act relating to health; changing intractable pain provisions; amending Minnesota Statues 2018 

I’m thrilled to see that one of the states that legislated some of the earliest and most extreme anti-opioid rules is now realizing that intractable chronic pain sometimes *does* require opioid medication indefinitely.

Section 1. Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 152.125, is amended to read: 152.125 INTRACTABLE PAIN.

Subdivision 1. Definition.

For purposes of this section, “intractable pain” means a pain state, that includes but is not limited to noncancer pain and rare diseases, in which the cause or causes of the pain cannot be removed or otherwise treated with the consent of the patient and in which, in the generally accepted course of medical practice, no relief or cure of the cause of the pain is possible, or none has been found after reasonable efforts.   Continue reading

A Key Truth About Avoiding Addiction

How a Famous IQ Study Revealed a Key Truth About Avoiding Addiction – Filterby Stanton Peele – Feb 2019

What makes you live longer? What makes life more satisfying? What enables people to resist addiction?

These three questions have an answer in common—a remarkably good piece of news about which we should continually remind ourselves.

The answer is certainly not simply to stop taking opioids for chronic pain, when no other treatments have been able to relieve your pain.  Continue reading

Opium, Opioids And A Pendulum Of Pain

Opium, Opioids And A Pendulum Of Pain – by Hayley Sperling  Wisconsin Public Television – Feb 2019

The story of opioids in the 21st century is one fraught with urgency, pain and heartbreak. To understand how opioids came by their contemporary and often-negative reputation, it’s crucial to examine their history.

The earliest reference to opium use was in about 3500 B.C.E., Dahl said. By 1300 B.C.E., the Egyptians cultivated the opium poppy plant, and its use spread when in 330 B.C.E., Alexander the Great introduced it to Persia and India.

Because they’ve been used for millennia, we know more about opioids than any pharmaceuticals developed by modern science. In some ways, this makes them much “safer” than any of the alternatives suggested.  Continue reading

Stopping Rx Opioids Associated with Death

Study: Stopping Long-Term Opioid Prescriptions Associated With Veterans’ Deaths – Filter Magazine – By Staff – Mar 2020

For years, pain patient activists have been sounding the alarm about the consequences of abruptly halting people’s access to opioid analgesics…

And we have not just been whining and complaining about our increased “biopsychosocial” pain. The physical and mental impact of experiencing unrelieved, constant, chronic pain can be overwhelming. The danger of forced tapers is an extremely serious and urgent problem, which is increasingly…

…supported by much research.   Continue reading

Truth About the Consequences of Opiophobia

A Dose of Truth about the Consequences of Opiophobia | HCPLive – 2010Joel S. Hochman, MD – Jan 2010

In this old article, the author picks apart a study from 2003 which became the backbone of the claims about hyperalgesia. It’s outrageous that a study from 17 years ago is determining our pain care (or lack thereof) today.

As this decade has progressed, some legal experts assumed that as a consequence of certain tort actions (cf. Bergman v. Chin), physicians would be compelled to treat pain effectively in compliance with the community standard of care.

The “community standard of care” no longer exists for pain control because opiophobia is preventing the use of the most effective medication just because some “street drugs” of the same chemical class, like heroin or illicit fentanyl, are being abused by people who then overdose.  Continue reading

Clinical Challenge: Opioid Tapering

Clinical Challenge: Opioid Tapering | MedPage Todayby Judy George, Senior Staff Writer, MedPage Today March 1, 2020

Too much focus on the pill and not enough on the whole person: that’s a key piece missing in the movement to reduce opioids among chronic pain patients, said Beth Darnall, PhD, of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

Some agencies and companies used the 2016 guideline to push hard dose limits and abrupt tapering, which the CDC later said was inconsistent with its recommendations

I notice that this hasn’t changed any of the “wrong” laws, which may be enforced long after the truth is known.   Continue reading