Tag Archives: doctor-advocates

Raising Alarm on Oregon Force-Tapering Opioids

Pain and Addiction Leaders Raise Alarm on Oregon Force Tapering Opioid Proposal – by Sean Mackey, MD, PhDMar 2019

On Mar 14th, the Oregon HERC Task Force was going to vote to make a rule for Medicaid requiring all opioids to be tapered to zero except in a few very narrowly defined cases.

At the last minute on the morning of the vote, HERC said they were postponing the vote due to a conflict of interest they had “just learned about”. That’s a pretty flimsy excuse because the membership and the whole process of this group have been driven by conflicts of interest (of the alternative medicine community) and a vast ignorance of medicine, pharmacology, and reality.

The extreme nature of this proposal has reached a level of such preposterous cruelty that protest by medical professionals is now required to preserve some limits on the government’s practice of medicine.

…it became clear that there are times when people of good conscience cannot blindly allow bad policies to move forward unchallenged.    –Sean Mackey, MD, PhD

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Since when does the government write prescriptions?

Opioid crisis — Since when does the government write prescriptions?By Dr. Henry I. Miller, Josh Bloom | Fox NewsMar 2019

federal and state agencies are focusing on the wrong target – legitimate prescribing of opioids – and have insinuated themselves into the doctor-patient relationship as never before.

Our governments are taking prescription pads out of the hands of physicians and dictating which, and how much, prescription pain medication may be prescribed for patients. This is chilling and unprecedented.

And nationwide, millions of pain patients, even those who were functioning well with long-term opioid therapy, are being forcibly tapered or having their medicines stopped outright, regardless of their wishes or those of their physicians.   Continue reading

Anger is Destructive when Expressed on Social Media

Below is a Twitter stream regarding the expression of anger and its consequences. Two of our best advocates are warning that “letting it all hang out” on social media may be counter productive.

Kate Nicholson – @speakingabtpain – Mar 2019

More people in #pain who are being tapered down or off of medication are reaching out & speaking of suicide.

I am sympathetic to the difficulty of losing access to pain medicine, but I am not a mental health professional. Some helpful thoughts from @StefanKertesz follow:   Continue reading

When the Cure Is Worse Than the Disease

Opinion | When the Cure Is Worse Than the Disease – New York Times – By Maia Szalavitz – Feb 2019

This opinion article is significant because it was published in the New York Times which has a *global audience*:

By working to reduce prescribing, government regulators, insurers, law enforcement officials, legislators and other policymakers have ignored the genuine dangers of leaving people in agony, including suicide and increased risk for heart attacks and strokes.

…while medical opioid use has fallen by nearly one-third since peaking around 2011 — and deaths associated with prescription opioids have stabilized — overall opioid overdose fatalities have recently hit a high as more potent, illegally manufactured opioids hit the streets.   Continue reading

Patient-Centered Care for Chronic Pain

My Take on the Biopsychosocial Model of Patient-Centered Care | Pain Medicine | Oxford Academic – Jianguo Cheng, MD, PhD, FIPP – September 2018

I am privileged to participate in the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Pain Management Inter-Agency Task Force (PMTF) and in the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) Action Collaborative on Countering the US Opioid Epidemic.

Promoting patient-centered care is what I believe to be the most important mission of our profession.

And patient-centered care should be the guiding principle of policy-making by federal and state agencies, health care payers, and professional organizations and societies.   Continue reading

The civil war over prescription opioids

The civil war over prescription opioids – by Lynn Webster, MD – Dec 2018

The war is between science and fact versus PROPaganda and media hype.

Over the past 10 to 15 years, attitudes towards opioid use for pain have shifted dramatically. In the 1990s and early 2000s, pain relief was front and center on the newsstands and in medical literature.

During that time, compassion for people in pain increased and permeated our culture and opioids became standard therapy for chronic pain, because few affordable and effective treatment alternatives existed.  Continue reading

Dr. Darnall now supports necessary use of opioids

National Spotlight: Congressional Briefing, and Advocacy for Patient-Centered Research and Pain CareBeth Darnall, PhD – Oct 2018

This is significant because Dr. Darnall was the main proponent of the “catastrophizing is causing your pain” movement. This idea is exactly what the anti-opioid zealots needed to blame patients for their own pain.

This idea became so widespread that most of the public, and even far too many doctors, believed that changing patients’ “bad attitude” was the only treatment necessary for pain management.

Though I think it took far longer than it should have, Dr. Darnall now seems to have realized that her studies were grossly misinterpreted (and outright weaponized) to prove the preposterous idea that opioids are not necessary to treat chronic pain.

To her great credit, she is now fighting against the very misconceptions that her previous work encouraged.   Continue reading

Medicine often involves a risk to the patient

The Tribune was wrong. Medicine often involves a risk to the patient. – By Lynn Webster, M.D. – Dec 2018

The Salt Lake Tribune published an editorial on Sunday Nov 12, 2017, “Medical professionals need to play a role in opioid crisis.” The first line reads, “First do no harm.”

According to the editorial, physicians who prescribe opioids to treat pain patients may be violating the Hippocratic Oath, because “a doctor’s first concern is to not do anything to make things worse.”

However, the editorial got it wrong. 

In all of life, it often happens that bad situations are made worse in the short run in order to improve them in the long run, for example, like painfully resetting a broken bone or going through labor to birth a child. Continue reading

Pain Experts Speak Out Against Forced Opioid Tapering

Pain Experts Speak Out Against Forced Opioid Tapering – Pain Medicine News – Dec 2018

The tone of this article is very pain-patient-centric and finally shows sympathy for our plight.

Appearing in a mainstream medical newsletter will give our cause far more visibility than what we publish on sites devoted to our cause, so I feel this is a positive sign that the media narrative is starting to shift.

I believe we’ll be seeing less of the outdated and outright wrong “innocent people getting hooked on prescription opioids” stories to more stories about Rx opioids denied to pain patients while others overdose on injected illicit opioids freely available on the black market.   Continue reading

Doctors Advocating for Pain Patients

While we’ve been thrown under the bus by most doctors, a few brave souls have been protesting since the unscientific and anti-opioid biased CDC Opioid Prescribing Guidelines were issued.

Each year, more doctors are speaking up and our medical professional advocates are publishing more and more studies poking holes in the guideline’s methodology and assumptions.

Below, I’ve listed these papers and articles in reverse chronological order so you can see the groundswell of opposition from medical experts (not self-appointed gurus) growing louder each year:   Continue reading