Anyone who watches TV news will know that America has a major public health problem concerning drug addiction and opioid overdose deaths. In this context, we sometimes hear terms like “prescription opioid epidemic” and “over-prescribing” thrown about indiscriminately.
Hidden inside the hype and misinformation are several inconvenient truths. Public policy on the drug crisis cannot be remotely effective until we embrace such truths and act on them. Continue reading
A survey of more than 1,400 patients from Quebec and British Columbia made public Wednesday suggests that the extensive media coverage of the opioid crisis has had a significant negative effect on those suffering from chronic pain.
The survey showed some doctors have became reluctant to prescribe narcotics for pain relief.
Patients reported having trouble getting the medication they need to control their pain and that doctors are reducing their doses against their wishes. Continue reading
The powerhouse opioid fentanyl has drenched the drug supply in Greater Cincinnati, dwarfing the presence of heroin sold on the streets.
More than 90 percent of drugs analyzed at the Hamilton County crime lab through May 3 this year have had the synthetic opiate in them.
Fentanyl crept into the drug stream around 2012. By 2013, fentanyl-related deaths amounted to 24. Last year? 324.
In a speech on Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department is striving to “bring down” both “opioid prescriptions” and “overdose deaths.”
A study published the following day suggests those two goals may be at odds with each other, highlighting the potentially perverse consequences of trying to stop people from getting the drugs they want. Continue reading
Here is another horror story about the consequences of ill-informed, politically-driven, hasty, and mostly ineffective policy.
A recent story by Pauline Bartolone in the Los Angeles Times draws attention to some under-reported civilian casualties in the government’s war on opioids: hospitalized patients in severe pain, in need of painkillers.
Hospitals across the country are facing shortages of injectable morphine, fentanyl, and Dilaudid (hydromorphone). As a result, trauma patients, post-surgical patients, and hospitalized cancer patients frequently go undertreated for excruciating pain. Continue reading
Opioid epidemic or opioid shortage: The struggle is real | ASHA PADMANABHAN, MD | JANUARY 30, 2018
As a physician anesthesiologist, I use the opioid fentanyl every single day at work, and on almost every patient.
Fentanyl has been a constant in my anesthesia practice as one of the most potent pain medicines used intravenously during surgery, as it has for almost every patient going under general anesthesia in this country and most of the world. Continue reading
Stop Calling it an Opioid Crisis–It’s a Heroin and Fentanyl Crisis – January 9, 2018 – By JEFFREY A. SINGER
The National Center for Health Statistics reported last month that a record 63,600 deaths occurred in 2016 due to overdoses. Digging deeper into that number shows
- over 20,000 of those deaths were due to the powerful drug fentanyl,
- more than 15,000 were caused by heroin, and
- roughly 14,500 were caused by prescription opioids,
although it has been known for years that, in most cases of prescription opioid deaths, the victims had multiple other potentiating drugs onboard. Continue reading
Commentary: Don’t let the War on Drugs lead to untreated pain – The Salt Lake Tribune – Dec 23017 – By Perry G. Fine
“Pain is a more terrible lord of mankind than even death itself.”
— Albert Schweitzer, 1875-1965
If you’ve experienced excruciating and unremitting pain, or felt helpless observing someone else in the throes of such torment, you know exactly what Dr. Schweitzer was talking about.
Pain is the alarm that tells us something is wrong. It is the main reason people seek medical care.
When that alarm doesn’t turn off, such as with cancer, arthritis or especially with abnormal “short-circuiting” of the nervous system, soul-crushing despair takes over. Continue reading
New CVS Opioid Policy Raises Concerns Over Prescription Limits, Nonmedical Switching – Sept 2017 – Donald M. Pizzi
CVS Caremark’s announcement that it is adopting an “enhanced opioid utilization management policy” in early 2018 (see Public-Health Experts Are Skeptical of the CDC’s New Anti-Opioid Campaign) has some in the pain community concerned that the pharmacy chain is dictating medical [care] to and potentially taking important medication options away from those who need them.
Chief among its features is a seven-day limit on the opioid medications it dispenses “for certain acute prescriptions for patients who are new to therapy.”
Remember, this 7-day limit is only for *new* prescriptions and does not apply to long-term prescriptions for chronic pain. Continue reading