Tag Archives: media

Effect of chronic opioid therapy on pain and survival

UMN researchers study effect of chronic opioid therapy on pain and survival in sickle cell disease | EurekAlert! Science News Apr 2019

Though this article is specifically about Sickle Cell Disease, it can be applied to many other kinds of chronic pain.

New UMN research recently published Blood Advances, Kalpna Gupta, PhD, Professor of Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School, demonstrates the impact of opioids on the survival of humanized mouse models with sickle cell disease, compared to normal mice.

Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) affects millions of people throughout the world. The genetic disease worsens over time and can cause lifelong pain.

Given the often severe nature of the pain associated with SCD opioid use is a rule not an exception for treatment.    Continue reading

The media are getting the opioid crisis all wrong

The media are getting the opioid crisis all wrong | Washingon Examiner |by Gabe Weissman | Aug 2019

Last week marked yet another ill-conceived media attack on the drug distributors.In an attempt to paint the broader industry as a group of entirely bad actors, the press has yet again taken data out of context and pushed the false narrative that distributors knowingly fueled the opioid epidemic.

In this case, the public release of the Automated Reports and Consolidated Ordering System, or ARCOS, database spanning from 2006 to 2012 demonstrated that distributors document each order of prescription opioids and share that information exclusively with the Drug Enforcement Agency. 

So, the DEA is the only agency that had data for all opioids shipped, yet they stood idly by as bizarrely large orders went to tiny rural pharmacies. I don’t understand why they aren’t being blamed for allowing such massive shipments when they had both the data and the authority to curtail them.  Continue reading

Overdoses usually involve multiple drugs

Opioid crisis? It’s more complex than that: Study shows fatalities usually involve multiple drugs – The Boston Globeby Felice J. Freyer Globe Staff – June 2019

More of the media is starting to change their “heroin pills” stories to more realistic coverage of the overdose crisis.

It may be time to stop talking about the “opioid crisis.” Not because the crisis is over — some five people a day continue to die of overdoses in Massachusetts. But a new analysis reveals that opioids are far from the only problem:

The vast majority of people who died of opioid-related overdoses in the state had taken other drugs along with heroin and fentanyl, including stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine. Only 17 percent had taken opioids and nothing else.    Continue reading

Opioid Overreaction

Opioid OverreactionNYTimes.com – By David Leonhardt –  Mar 2019

I’m encouraged to see this very reasonable article in the New York Times, which has previously published some anti-opioid pieces of questionable accuracy. 

Some Americans suffering from chronic pain have recently lost access to medicines that helped them live normal lives.

Other patients have had to turn to invasive and dangerous treatments, like spinal injections. Continue reading

Blaming Rx Pills For Opioid Epidemic Is Fake News

Blaming Prescription Pain Pills For The Opioid Epidemic Is Fake News
How negligent media have helped inflate a deadly moral panic over prescription opioids and ignored the real sources of addiction while hurting people who live with devastating chronic pain.By Peter Pischke – March 26, 2019

Although opioid-related deaths are driven mainly by heroin and black-market fentanyl, you would not know that from most of the press coverage, which emphasizes pain medication prescribed to patients who become addicted, overdose, and die.

This narrative is “fake news.”

This is the fairytale the media has been pushing for years and years. Just by its incessant repetition, it has ingrained itself in our culture and remains stubbornly immune to facts.  Continue reading

The Other Opiate Problem

The Other Opiate Problem By Ted Noel, MD – March 2019

Dr. Noel shows us again that overprescribing isn’t the problem – it’s an “overdose crisis” from street drugs, often contaminated with deadly illicit fentanyl.

On February 24, 60 Minutes did a segment …  calling out drug companies for “corrupt,” “immoral,” and “depraved” actions in marketing opioids.

David Kessler, former Commissioner of the FDA said, “There are no studies on the safety or efficacy of opioids for long-term use.”

Case closed! We need to restrict opioids to two or three days at most. Anything longer than that is bad medicine and gets people killed. But…     Continue reading

60 Minutes Fails to Represent Pain Patient Perspective

60 Minutes Fails to Represent Pain Patient Perspective By Laura Mills, Kate M. Nicholson, and Lindsay Baran – Mar 2019

CBS heaved out another stigmatizing and inaccurate media “story” (didn’t qualify to be called a “report”) about opioids and those who must take them. Here is the response, which points out the “pain” side of opioids (instead of just the “addiction” side).

In a Feb. 24 segment, CBS’s 60 Minutes accused the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of igniting the overdose epidemic in the United States with its “illegal approval of opioids for the treatment of chronic pain.”

While the program highlighted the adverse consequences of misleading pharmaceutical marketing and lax government oversight, this segment failed to consider the perspective of patients who legitimately use opioids for pain, stigmatized them as drug-seekers, and propagated misconceptions about the overdose crisis, such as the idea that opioid treatment for chronic pain is indisputably illegitimate and is driving overdose deaths in the US.   Continue reading

Assumptions: Often Wrong, Never in Doubt

Often Wrong, Never in Doubt – Six Ways Assumptions Mislead Us – By Chuck Dinerstein — December 19, 2018

Facts are far harder to obtain than assumptions; they may require long periods of observations or expensive, sensitive measurement devices.

Assumptions can be made more easily, in the comfort of the office, frequently papering over or shaping missing data.

One of the unintended results of this approach is that given a limited set of facts, the strength of our conclusions is based upon our certainty in the strength of our assumptions.

Assumptions are just not as sexy as conclusions and are frequently overlooked in our haste to know or do – it is a variation of often wrong, never in doubt.   Continue reading

Can You Really Be Addicted After Just One Dose?

Can You Really Become Addicted to a Drug After Just One Hit? – VICE – by Matilda Whitworth |Oct 22 2015

The idea that one toke on a crack pipe destroys your life is popular, but it contradicts what we know about brain chemistry.

You know the story. The one that says some drugs are so enjoyable, so insidious, that just one try will get you hooked. And you’d be forgiven for believing this as the media really backs the theory.

  • “The Danger In Just One Hit of Cocaine,” reports the Daily Mail.
  • Official: 1-Hit Addiction to Meth No Myth,” announces the Times Daily.
  • “It Only Took One Hit to Get Hooked,” writes news.com.

But is it actually true? Can a person become addicted to a drug after using it a single time? Continue reading

Call for Retraction of Brookings Opioid “Research Roundup”

It looks like I’m not the only one upset by the severely biased report from the Brookings Institute:

Public Health Experts Call for Retraction of Brookings Institution Opioid “Research Roundup” – By Sarah Beller – Dec 2018

An article published December 7 by the Brookings Institution, a prominent Washington, DC think tank, is under fire for promoting the idea that harm reduction approaches—like syringe exchange and naloxone—may encourage “riskier opioid use” and increase rates of opioid-related deaths.

The focus of the criticism is the choice of which articles to cite—and which not to cite—by the authors of the Institution’s “research roundup.”   Continue reading