Tag Archives: outrage

Paraplegic Drug User Victim of Involuntary Commitment

How a Paraplegic Drug User Became a Victim of Involuntary Commitment by Christopher Moraff – Feb 2019

New laws make it easy for anyone accused of having an addiction problem to be committed if they don’t agree to whatever treatment is recommended for them.

Involuntary commitment for people accused of having an addiction and not actively participating in treatment for it is becoming more common as more laws are being passed to make this legal.

Barely a day passes on my beat without my meeting someone with a harrowing story about the impact of zero-tolerance drug policies on their lives. But few of these stories have impacted me personally as much as that of a young man I’ll call “Jay.”

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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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Diagnosing Hyperalgesia to Limit Care

Misuse of Hyperalgesia to Limit Care | Practical Pain Mgmt | By Donald C. Harper, MD, BSc March 2011

John (not his real name) is a 51-year-old chronic pain patient that I have been seeing since 2003. I had begun carefully titrating him on oxycodone, Oxycontin® and Dilaudid®, which had been started by another doctor and, ultimately, settled on a dose of Oxycontin 640mg B.I.D., 32mg hydromorphone q 4 hrs prn breakthrough pain and Xanax® 1 to 1.5mg q.i.d. prn muscle spasms and anxiety. On these medicines, he was content and functional and denied any deficits or side-effects due to his medicine.

His insurance company was concerned about the expenses of his medicine and asked me to arrange for a second opinion. Given the complicating factor of his end-stage lung cancer, I arranged for an evaluation by the pain clinic of a major cancer center.   Continue reading

Pain patients suffer from efforts to reduce addiction

Chronic-pain patients suffer as agencies try to regulate addiction – by Wendy Sinclair – Jan 2019

I’m encouraged to see our side of the opioid story published in the mainstream media like this. We must expose more of the public to the nightmare experienced by pain patients, one they are only one accident or misfortune away from landing in themselves.

Opioid. For many, the word elicits images of addiction, but that’s only one side of the story.

This is our side, the one that’s no longer socially acceptable, that shatters bias and stigma. It’s the side of the story that I live — that of the chronic pain patient (CPP), not the addict.   Continue reading

Pharmacy tells doctors how to practice medicine

I’m shocked at how imperious this pharmacy is, sending a form letter to doctors, casually overruling professional medical judgment about individuals’ doses and demanding that certain patients be tapered to an arbitrary number.

They are practicing population health on individuals, which is completely inappropriate and often gets confused. (see ‘Population-Based,’ Meet ‘Patient-Centered)

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Structural Iatrogenesis leading to “Opioid Misuse”

Structural Iatrogenesis — A 43-Year-Old Man with “Opioid Misuse” – Scott Stonington, M.D., Ph.D., and Diana Coffa, M.D. – February 21, 2019

Here’s a quick summary of a terrifying story:

“When he gets tangled in new restrictive policies on opioid prescribing, a factory worker with severe rheumatoid arthritis, whose pain must be managed for him to perform his job, ends up buying oxycodone from a friend.”

(I’ve quoted almost all the text of this case study because the NEJM is now behind a paywall with only 3 free articles a month, suddenly restricting our access to what our doctors are reading and upon which they base our treatments – just another screw being tightened on patients.) Continue reading

DEA says prescription records not private

The DEA Thinks You Have “No Constitutionally Protected Privacy Interest” in Your Confidential Prescription Records – By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project – Sept 2013 

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) thinks people have “no constitutionally protected privacy interest” in their confidential prescription records, according to a brief filed last month in federal court.

That disconcerting statement comes in response to an ACLU lawsuit challenging the DEA’s practice of obtaining private medical information without a warrant.

The ACLU has just filed its response brief, explaining to the court why the DEA’s position is both startling and wrong.   Continue reading

Toradol, substituted for opioids, kills woman

Now here’s the real “prescription opioid crisis”, happening in hospitals across the country:

After a 2 wk trial, a Las Vegas jury today awarded our legal client $16 million in damages & $32 million in punitives. We alleged a lovely young mother w/ Sickle Cell Disease was fatally overdosed w/the NSAID ketorolac (Toradol), to avoid treating her pain w/ appropriate opioids.

from @DanLairdMD on Twitter – Jan 2019

Las Vegas hospital ordered to pay nearly $43M to family of dead woman – by Jessie Bekker – Jan 2019   Continue reading

Rx insurance denials without viewing patient records

State launches Aetna probe after stunning admission – CNN – by Wayne Drash, CNN – Feb 2018

This is no surprise to me, except that the medical director relied on nurses to collect data and make recommendations. Even that work will soon be automated to save money.

California’s insurance commissioner has launched an investigation into Aetna after learning a former medical director for the insurer admitted under oath he never looked at patients’ records when deciding whether to approve or deny care.

“If the health insurer is making decisions to deny coverage without a physician actually ever reviewing medical records, that’s of significant concern to me as insurance commissioner in California — and potentially a violation of law,” he said.   Continue reading

Cutting back on opioids too much and too quickly

Are doctors cutting back on opioids too much and too quickly? – Healthy Debate – Author: Paul Taylor – Date: March 27, 2018


I suffer from a rare and very painful genetic disorder.

For a decade, my family physician has prescribed opioid drugs to me to ease the pain. But he recently retired and I had to find another doctor.

Well, any pain patient knows what’s coming next. There are very few doctors taking new pain patients and continuing their opioid therapy, no matter how well it has worked or for how long.   Continue reading