Why Drugs Are Hurting More People Than Ever – And What to Do About It – Dan Bier -March 18, 2019
America’s drug overdose problem is severe, persistent, and still deteriorating.
For years, states and the federal government have taken drastic action to curb drug deaths, from restricting painkiller prescriptions, to cracking down on drug cartels, to cutting the overall production of legal opioids.
But the problem is only getting worse. Continue reading
Is the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Overreaching Its Authority? – 4th May, 2019 – By Lynn Webster, M.D. – (This article, in a slightly edited form, first appeared on Pain News Network on May 5, 2019.)
Why Is the DOJ Conducting Criminal Investigations?
This is an excellent question because:
Medical practice is regulated by the states,
not the federal government.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) does not have the authority to determine which health care activities constitute a “legitimate medical purpose” under Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) regulations. Continue reading
Drug Safety and Availability > FDA identifies harm reported from sudden discontinuation of opioid pain medicines and requires label changes to guide prescribers on gradual, individualized tapering
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received reports of serious harm in patients who are physically dependent on opioid pain medicines suddenly having these medicines discontinued or the dose rapidly decreased. These include serious withdrawal symptoms, uncontrolled pain, psychological distress, and suicide.
It’s strange to read this acknowledgment of “harms” from forced tapers after three full years of seeing these “harms” implemented very deliberately as a consequence of the disastrous CDC opioid prescribing guideline.
While we continue to track this safety concern as part of our ongoing monitoring of risks associated with opioid pain medicines, we are requiring changes to the prescribing information for these medicines that are intended for use in the outpatient setting.
“We continue to track this safety concern” implies they’ve been doing this all along, which they have not. Continue reading
Are Pain Doctors Wrongly Taking the Blame for the Opioid Crisis? – By Megan Hadley | Dec 2018
Dr. Bamdad is serving a 25-year sentence on a federal charge of distributing and dispensing Oxycodone, an opiate pain reliever, in Federal Medical Center (FMC) Fort Worth, a Texas prison.
Dr. Bamdad, believing he was innocent, had refused to take the plea deal he was offered, or to admit guilt, which is why the judge gave him such a high sentence.
The journey he took from clinic to jail is one of hundreds of similar, but little-known, footnotes to America’s struggle with the opioid epidemic. Continue reading
4 disturbing trends in health care – Praveen Suthrum | KevinMD | Aug 2018
I agree with the author that health care is changing dramatically and not necessarily in a good direction. This article points out some fundamental issues that must be addressed before any “progress” can be made.
It’s easy to get excited about technological advances such as nanobots that swim in blood to deliver drugs or 3-D printers that print human tissues. However, in our enthusiasm to find the next fix, we are failing to notice the ground slipping underneath the health care industry.
Here are four trends that are changing health care but on the surface are too unsexy for us to care about. Continue reading
Diversion of opioids from supply chain – by Alex Kacik | September 16, 2017
For years, opioid tablets in the pharmaceutical supply chain have been diverted in massive batches of hundreds of thousands of pills.
This brings to mind that when Slick Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks (as opposed to bank customers), ihe said: “because that’s where the money is”. The pharmaceutical supply chain is where the most opioid pills are.
there has been a major push to pinpoint the vulnerabilities in a fragmented pharmaceutical supply chain to stem the flow of illicit prescription drugs. Continue reading
Games without Frontiers: How the Fed Used Opioids as Scapegoat & Diversion for the Nation’s True Crises – by Matthew Giarmo, Ph.D. – Sept 2018
Here’s a guy who lays it out as he sees it, remarkably similar to the view of pain patients. This could be because he took time off to take care of a family member with cancer – he saw firsthand the full destructive force of their pain.
- The problem is not opioids. It’s heroin.
- The problem is not painkillers. It’s pain.
- The problem is not prescription. It’s diversion.
To all those sanctimonious crusaders, self-aggrandizing careerists, and shameless opportunists looking for a piece of the opioid pie, I say that you are more addicted to the opioid crisis than we are to opioids. Continue reading
Who Is Telling The Truth About Prescription Opioid Deaths? DEA? CDC? Neither? | American Council on Science and Health – By Josh Bloom — November 5, 2018
In this article, Mr. Bloom takes apart the DEA’s exaggerated counts of supposed “prescription drug overdoses”, revealing how the DEA conflates, distorts, and inflates numbers using illogical groupings and obscure details of definitions.
“Controlled Prescription Drugs (CPDs) … are still responsible for the most drug-involved overdose deaths and are the second most commonly abused substance in the United States.”
– 2018 National Drug Threat Assessment. Drug Enforcement Administration, October 2018.
A newly-released 164-page report just issued by the DEA maintains that controlled prescription drugs are killing more Americans than any other type of drug (1); even more than heroin and fentanyl.
But if you’ve been keeping up in this area this sounds very strange. Can it really be true that drugs like Vicodin and Percocet are killing more Americans, especially when one report after another lays the blame on illicit fentanyl and its scary analogs? Continue reading
Pain Patients and Doctors Have Civil Rights Too — Pain News Network – By Richard Dobson, MD – November 2018
Dr. Dobson makes the point that pain patients’ civil rights about being violated because we and our doctors are being criminally punished for crimes committed by others.
In a recent column, I described the diversion of blame for the opioid crisis as an example of “Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another,” [See previous post Diversion of Blame and the Opioid Crisis] a psychiatric condition in which a person imposes an illness on someone who is not really sick.
Recently, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a plea deal in which a former police chief in Florida pleaded guilty to violating the civil rights of innocent people by making false arrests “under color of law.” I think there are some striking parallels between the way these innocent victims were treated and the way that chronic pain patients and their doctors are treated today. Continue reading
DEA: Foreign fentanyl a greater risk than diverted pills – By Eric Scicchitano The Daily Item – Jun 3, 2018
Even the DEA knows that it’s illegal fentanyl that’s fueling the overdose crisis, but any outrage about fentanyl is being co-opted by the tired old war on the entire drug class of “opioids”.
This assures that all critical distinctions between prescription medication and injected heroin/fentanyl are carefully hidden so the combined “opioid overdose” numbers are large enough to get attention (and money).
Prescription opioids are the only aspect of the overdose crisis that the DEA *can* restrict and regulate, even though it’s proven to be ineffective. They continue prosecuting doctors because they 1) can find them and 2) they don’t shoot back. Continue reading