Tag Archives: statistics

DEA’s Targeting of Doctors and Pharmacies

Opinion: A Reaction to DEA’s Efforts to Target Pharmacies with ‘Unusual’ Opioid Prescription Rates

In response to “Sessions: DEA to Target Pharmacies, Prescribers in Crackdown” as published in The Hill, it should be obvious to responsible medical clinicians that Sessions and colleagues are naïve to the complex and biopsychosocial, medical, and pharmaceutical paradigms that are actually driving the opioid epidemic.

The article states that in 2016 there were “at least 66,000 deaths from overdoses reported, including 42,249 deaths from opioids. Opioid overdose deaths now kill more Americans every year than breast cancer, according to the latest statistics from the CDC.”  

Adding together 1. prescription medication use and 2. illicit drug abuse in the same number hides which of these two is causing the problem. Continue reading


Columnist Needs to Get Her Opioid Facts Right

Washington Post Columnist Needs to Get Her Opioid Facts Right | Cato @ Liberty – Dec 2017 – By JEFFREY A. SINGER

Though he writes for a “conservative/libertarian” organization, the Cato Institue is “dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace”, Mr. Singer has emerged as an advocate for a more rational response to the “opioid crisis”.

In a December 28, 2017 column for the Washington Post entitled, “Opioid Abuse in the US Is So Bad It’s Lowering Life Expectancy. Why Hasn’t the Epidemic Hit Other Countries?,” Amanda Erickson succumbs to the false narrative that misdiagnoses the opioid overdose crisis as being primarily a manifestation of doctors over-prescribing opioids, goaded on by greedy, unethical pharmaceutical companies.  Continue reading

Postsurgical Patients Rarely Addicted

Study of Postsurgical Patients Shows Addiction to Pain Pills Is Rare – Hit & Run : Reason.com – Jacob Sullum|Jan. 22, 2018

Mr, Sullum here takes apart one of the latest opio-phobic articles and shows that all the talk about “increased risk of addiction” is actually only referring to a tiny portion,  1%, so a dramatic 20% increased risk is only .02% – almost too insignificant to be concerned with.

A new BMJ study of patients who received opioid analgesics after surgery, touted as evidence of how risky such prescriptions are, actually shows how rarely people become addicted in the course of treatment for acute pain.

Tracking 568,612 opioid-naive patients who took prescription pain medication following surgery, Boston surgeon Gabriel Brat and his colleagues found that 5,906, or 1 percent, showed signs of “opioid misuse” during the course of the study, which included data from 2008 through 2016.   Continue reading

How the DEA Changed the Overdose Numbers

How the DEA Changed the Overdose Numbers — Pain News Network – October 25, 2017 By Pat Anson, Editor

The 2017 National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA) has both good and bad news about the nation’s worsening overdose crisis. But like other federal agencies, the DEA has a disturbing tendency to massage statistics to make the role of opioid pain medication more significant than it actually is.

This is not the first time the DEA has lumped opioid pain relievers with other drugs. In the 2016 NDTA, the DEA combined opioids with anti-anxiety drugs, but not stimulants or steroids. 

A year earlier, in the 2015 NDTA, prescription opioids were in a category all to themselves. The effect of these changing and broadening definitions is significant Continue reading

The CDC’s Crooked Numbers and Methods

Pain management, prescription opioid mortality, and the CDC: is the devil in the data? – Michael E Schatman, Stephen J Ziegler – Oct 2017

This article picks apart the data selected by the CDC to create the opioid prescribing guidelines.

These are excerpts from the full article:

Transparency, freedom from bias, and accountability are, in principle, hallmarks of taxpayer-funded institutions. Unfortunately, it seems that at least one institution, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), continues to struggle with all three.   Continue reading

The Myth of an Opioid Prescription Crisis

The Myth of an Opioid Prescription Crisis – Oct 2017 – by Jeffrey A. Singer

…many have called for stricter regulations on prescription opioids. But are doctor-prescribed drugs truly the cause of the increase in overdoses?

At a Capitol Hill Briefing in June, Arizona surgeon and Cato senior fellow Jeffrey A. Singer argued that regulators, in their rush to interfere in the patient-doctor relationship, are actually causing more problems than they’re solving.

This is something pain patients know only too well, as our pain relieving drugs are taken away even while overdose rates are skyrocketing.  Continue reading

Statistics mangled and misused even at Harvard

Working on addiction in the workplace – Harvard Health Blog – Harvard Health Publishing – June 2017 

I’m shocked at the garbled and misleading language used in this article published by the prestigious Harvard University.

When unaddressed, alcohol and other drug use disorders in the workplace are costly and dangerous for organizations, as well as individuals.

There are many good examples of successful programs and resources available that can help, and with over 22 million Americans currently in recovery from alcohol and other drug use disorders, creating a drug-free workplace is entirely possible.

If there were “many and good examples of successful programs” we wouldn’t be having an overdose crisis.   Continue reading

Harvard “Chocolate Study” is Junk Science

Harvard “Chocolate Study” is Junk Science  By Jamie Wells, M.D. — July 11, 2017

Somewhere along the way critical reasoning and a healthy dose of skepticism were supplanted by tacit acceptance as fact press releases and publications generated from academic institutions, those “perfectly” credentialed and arbitrarily deemed scientifically “pure.”

Yet, with the current competition today, it is no surprise corner-cutting and mastery of how to get published has evolved statistical tricks for those in the know to optimize their chances.

The latest example from Harvard will be discussed here. Since publishers are enabling these behaviors, arming the media and public with tools to separate the wheat from the chaff is essential.  Continue reading

Statistics and the Rise of Medical Fortunetellers

Statistics and the Rise of Medical Fortunetellers – Tex Heart Inst J. 2009 – free full-text PMC2801944

There was a time when the foretelling of future events was an undertaking of prophets, palm-readers, and weathermen.

In recent years, however, the medical profession seems to have embraced this activity with a great deal of enthusiasm.

A prime example is the use of the term “predicts” in the titles of journal articles dealing with human subjects.   Continue reading

The Importance of Understanding Research

The Importance of Understanding Research — Pain News Network

As people living in pain, our arguments and comments are more effective if we show that we know what we’re talking about.  

It may not change someone’s mind if they are opiophobic or dislike and distrust people in pain, but it’s important to try.

These are some of the terms the public and people in pain need to understand:   Continue reading