Tag Archives: suicide

Opioid crisis: Pain patients pushed to the brink

Opioid crisis: Pain patients pushed to the brink; Overdose prevention efforts have had unintended — and dire — consequences By Markian Hawryluk, The Bulletin, @markianhawryluk – Jun 5, 2017

Three weeks after her last appointment, Sonja Mae Jonsson got a call from her doctor’s office in Waldport, telling her she needed to come in. Her urine drug screen had tested positive for a drug she hadn’t been prescribed.

The doctor would no longer prescribe her any pain medication.

Linda Jonsson, a registered nurse, had taken over her daughter’s care after a traumatic brain injury when she was 32, and carefully monitored her daughter’s medications. She pleaded with the clinic they had made a mistake.

Without the pain medications, they would be condemning her daughter to a life of pain.   Continue reading

Parents Kill Child in Too Much Pain to Live

The Global Pain Crisis | Psychology Today – May 2017

Images and words of America’s opioid overdose epidemic have captured headlines and TV news feeds for the last several years.

But there’s a different image seared into my mind, a mental picture of a different little kid and two adults. This one never made it into the news, but it’s just as real. 

It took place in India, on June 1, 2014. The little boy in this scene had been suffering unbearable pain for most of his eight years, pain triggered by a severe genetic disorder. The hospital he was in, like most hospitals in India, had no morphine.

Eventually, the parents did the only thing they could think of to stop his pain.

They killed him. Continue reading

Warning to the FDA: Beware of “Simple” Solutions

Warning to the FDA: Beware of “Simple” Solutions in Chronic Pain and Addiction – Face Facts – by Richard Lawhern –  May 2017

On May 9-10, 2017, the US FDA held a workshop titled “Training Health Care Providers on Pain Management and Safe Use of Opioid Analgesics—Exploring the Path Forward.” I attended that Workshop in person to offer public comment on behalf of chronic pain patients. This paper is an expansion on the same theme.

“… If you are truly concerned with the safety of patients who are prescribed opioid analgesics, then your first duty may be to adjourn this conference with a public acknowledgment that you aren’t ready to train doctors because you have no viable or safe standard of medical care in which to train them.

This is true because the March 2016 CDC Guidelines on prescription of opioids are fundamentally incomplete, desperately flawed, and actively dangerous to the lives and health of hundreds of thousands of people.” 1   Continue reading

CDC Opioid ‘Guideline’ -> Pain Patient Suicides

Dr. Stefan Kertez posted a series of 18 tweets, supported by reference links, illustrating the many errors of the CDC opioid prescribing guidelines and how pain patients are being harmed to the point of killing themselves.

Patient Suicide Blamed on Montana Pain Clinic

Patient Suicide Blamed on Montana Pain Clinic — Pain News Network – May 26, 2017 – By Pat Anson

A 54-year old Montana man who apparently committed suicide earlier this month was a patient at a Great Falls pain clinic accused of mistreating patients and poorly managing their chronic pain. Bryan Spece was found dead in his Lewistown home on May 3.

“From what we know, about two weeks before his death, they had cut his pain pills back significantly. We’re not sure the exact amount. We’re trying to get ahold of his medical records,” said a family member.   Continue reading

Why do people kill themselves?

Why do people kill themselves? – KevinMD –  | PHYSICIAN

it is hard not to see the obvious pattern created by the number of people who come into the EDs and state to a staff member that they want to kill themselves.

Why do we all want to die?

Sure, the world has its ups and downs and stresses, but there seems to be so many people who are bent on their own demise that it is mind-boggling.

Allow me to posit some reasons for this disturbing trend:  Continue reading

The suicide rate is increasing. Why is that?

The suicide rate is increasing. Why is that? – KevinMD – Christopher Johnson, MD | Conditions | April 11, 2017

After years of declining, the suicide rate in our country has been increasing, now at about 125 percent of the rate of several decades ago.

This increase accelerated after 2006.  Although all age groups showed an increase, the rate among women, particularly adolescent girls, took a notable jump.

In 2012 suicide was the second leading cause of death in adolescents aged 12 to 19 years, accounting for more deaths in this age group than cancer, heart disease, influenza, pneumonia, diabetes mellitus, human immunodeficiency virus, and stroke combined.   Continue reading

’Deaths of despair’ fuel rising midlife mortality

‘Deaths of despair’ fuel rising midlife mortality for white Americans – CNN.com – March 23, 2017 – By Michael Nedelman

It’s a midlife crisis of a different sort: “Deaths of despair” — due to drugs, alcohol and suicide — are largely responsible for rising mortality rates among middle-age white Americans. And a new analysis by Princeton economists delves into what they believe is behind this trend.

The new analysis builds on their 2015 study that identified an upward trend in mortality for white 45- to 54-year-olds starting in 1998.

“It’s not just … the baby boomers,” said Case. “It really has spread into Gen X, as well.”   Continue reading

Suicide: The Epidemic No One Is Talking About

Suicide: The Epidemic No One Is Talking About – Ian McLoone – Medium

With all this attention being given to opioids, we are overlooking another silent killer that’s responsible for even more deaths: suicide.

In 2015, nearly 45,000 Americans took their own lives. Why aren’t we talking about this, and where’s the national public health campaign to start driving these numbers down?

Staggering statistics

Suicide rates in this country are on the rise, having recently hit a 30-year high.  Continue reading

Suicides in Rural America Increased More than 40%

Suicides in Rural America Increased More than 40% in 16 Years | American Council on Science and Health – By Alex Berezow — March 16, 2017

Rural America is facing an existential crisis. As cities continue to grow and prosper, small towns are shrinking.

The trend is clear: Rural America is literally fading away. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, therefore, that the opioid overdose epidemic has hit rural states, like Kentucky and West Virginia, especially hard. And the latest research from the CDC also shouldn’t come as a surprise: Suicides in rural America (labeled as non-core) have increased over 40% in 16 years.

From 1999 to 2015, suicide rates increased everywhere in America. On average, across the U.S., suicides increased from 12.2 per 100,000 to 15.7 per 100,000, an increase of just under 30%.

However, in rural America, the suicide rate surged over 40%, from just over 15 per 100,000 to roughly 22 per 100,000. Similarly, the suicide rate in micropolitan areas (defined as having a population between 10,000-49,999) went from 14 per 100,000 to 19 per 100,000, an increase of around 35%.

On the flip side, major cities saw much smaller increases in suicide rates, on the order of 10%.

The graph depicts a clear pattern: Suicide rates are highest in the most rural parts of the country, and they slowly decrease as urbanization increases.

What explains the difference?

The CDC suggests lack of proper mental healthcare, social isolation, the opioid crisis, and lingering effects of the Great Recession, all of which hit rural areas hardest. It appears fixing the suicide epidemic will require addressing very large societal trends and cultural problems.


Suicide rates are rising everywhere in this country and the opioid pain relief restrictions will undoubtedly lead to more.

Emergency Department Visits Related to Suicidal Ideation, 2006-2013 Jan 2017

Suicide is a major public health concern that causes immeasurable pain and suffering to individuals, families, and communities nationwide. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death overall and the second leading cause among Americans aged 10-44 years. 

In 2014, the suicide rate reached a 30-year high, accounting for nearly 43,000 deaths.

Suicide is preventable, however. Suicidal thoughts or actions are signs of extreme distress and require intervention.  

If this is true, then many chronic pain patients are in “extreme distress” since the government decided to decrease access to effective pain relief in order to stop heroin overdoses.  (Clearly not a logically reasoned policy) Continue reading