Chronic Pain Health — 09 May 2012

In the lunacy of the over-prescribing of opioids for all levels of pain in the U.S. and Canada, there is now a large dose of sanity.  That sanity is an organization called Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP).  Their mission is to reduce morbidity and mortality from opioids and to promote cautious, safe, and responsible opioid prescribing practices.

The president of PROP is Andrew Kolodny, MD, chairman of the department of psychiatry at Maimonides Medical Centerin New York City. PROP gives some hope to families who are dealing with the death and addiction of loved ones.

I would like to introduce you to Dr. Kolodny and his thinking and ethics regarding the treatment of pain with opioids:

“For years now, many of us have waited for the day that a major media outlet would expose the American Pain Foundation’s relationship with Purdue and other opioid manufactures. Thanks to two Pulitzer Prize winning journalists, that day has come,” Kolodny wrote back in December.

Kolodny is referring to a series of reports in ProPublica that revealed that pharmaceutical companies promote and market their opioids through industry funded pain society organizations, such as the American Pain Foundation (APF).  Some of the APF’s board members have extensive financial ties to drug makers, ProPublica found, and the group has lobbied against federal and state proposals to limit opioid use.

“Thanks to these reporters, APF’s ability to continue lobbying on behalf of opioid manufacturers has just been considerably weakened… and as a consequence, I suspect many lives will be saved,” Kolodny wrote.

It turns out the ProPublica stories were far more damaging to the American Pain Foundation than any of us imagined. The foundation announced May 8 that it has ceased operations because of “economic circumstances” — coincidentally the same day it was sent a letter by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee asking about its industry ties.

Recently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made a powerful statement that the increase in the prescribing of opioids has resulted in a rise in overdose deaths.

Another federal agency, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), could also take a firm stand against the marketing and overprescribing of opioids. But the FDA allows it to continue — at the cost of tens of thousands of addictions and deaths each year. The regulation of dangerous and highly addictive opioids for severe pain only would save countless lives. Why does the FDA not take the lead and have a conscience by ending this prescription drug epidemic?

The FDA will be holding what it calls a “workshop” on May 30 and 31 entitled Assessment of Analgesic Treatment of Chronic Pain. The focus of the workshop will be on the use of opioids and other analgesics in the treatment of chronic non-cancer pain.

Hopefully, members of PROP attending this workshop will bring studies proving to the FDA that we are in a tidal wave of deaths and addictions due to the over-prescribing of opioids. Everyone in the U.S. and Canada seems to recognize this fact — everyone but the FDA and the American Pain Foundation.

Marianne Skolek is an activist and investigative reporter who lost a daughter to prescribed OxyContin in 2002. Marianne writes from the perspective of families devastated by the prescription drug epidemic.

The views, opinions and positions expressed in this column are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of American News Report, Microcast Media Group or any of its employees, directors, owners, contractors or affiliate organizations. American News Report makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information in this column, and is not responsible or liable for any errors, omissions, or delays (intentional or not) in this information; or any losses, injuries, and or damages arising from its display, publication, dissemination, interpretation or use.

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About Author

Marianne Skolek, Columnist

(21) Readers Comments

  1. It’s the true pain sufferers who get hurt in all this. Dishonest people and hopeless addicts, legitimately enraged mothers and lawyers trying to make a name, pharmaceutical companies making money:


  2. If not each of us at least we know of a child who has died. But I’ve known of suicide because of untreated/uncontrolled pain and that is every bit as sorrowful as deaths by other means. We can’t help those who chose to do drugs for recreational use for whatever reasons…guilt, depression, to get away…and even because of peer pressure. They are using bathsalts now to get high. But people aren’t going to stop bathing and using things to have an enjoyable bath…salts, oatmeals, etc. These two things are unrelated…ODing on drugs means the person needed mental health counseling and medication. Taking meds away from those in pain so bad many kill themselves too is not the answer. If one method disappears, another will appear. I knew someone who did it with exhaust from a car. Two who were trying to sniff glue and it blew up and burned them to death. Burned alive. The only way to stop this is to get counseling and constant help from the CAUSE of their depression…wanting to escape. THEY WILL FIND ANOTHER WAY TO GET HIGH OR DIE. SO why make thousands if not millions in pain suffer? Get to the SOURCE of what made them DO the act! Be it suicide…or getting high. It is not the medication that killed them…it was the amount they CHOSE to injest. Teens make dumb mistakes. I’ve never known one that didn’t..even me. I’ve seen lives ruined from LSD! ALOT of lives of friends of mine. Some did die! There are more people who die from medical errors than od from prescription drugs. BY FAR! But the news has made this into some hype and now pain patients are killing themselves. And I GET IT. I understand pain. No need to take away THEIR care…it won’t stop the abusers. Alcoholics will continue to drink til it kills their livers and their lives. No one is outlawing that. Bathsalts is illegal but is being sold and injested all the time according to the news. If people can’t get pills or patches of pain meds they will do about anything to get high…not all but alot of people who abuse drugs aren’t going to be stopped because all pills disappear off the face of the earth. I know it’s hard to realize this and when someone close to us dies, we want someone to blame. Blame the doctor that supplied them. But only him. Not EVERY doctor. As that causes MORE deaths from pain/suicide. No one wants that either!!! Attack the problems of youth. That will help them not seek til they find a way to get lost in their own little world. Our kids need our help. God comfort the parents and family of these children…and the families of those who couldn’t take the pain another minute. Because docs are afraid of prescribing. This doesn’t save the lives…if they want to do it they will. Get to the source of the person’s mental pain and get them help. That is the only way to make this work. Even then it will happen because kids are hard to control. But you have to try. So you can know you did all you could. But don’t take your anger out on others, causing THEM to die. That isn’t fair. It’s too extreme and that never is a good answer. I know alot of people have not committed suicide because they were Christians but in the end they just couldn’t take it anymore. Please before you try to stop drugs like Canada barrimg one drug…think of the people who die because they can’t get help with pain! And why? because of forums and blogs of parents grieving for their own loss. God help us ALL. But God please don’t allow people to suffer to be forced to end their lives because they can’t get medical help. They can’t choose. An abuser of drugs can choose. They do have a choice to take or not to take. But people in pain have no choice.

  3. I agree this went way beyond the death of your daughter and in no way was I saying that your daughter caused her own death. I know nothing of her, her pain issues, nothing. I apologize for my inadequate and horrid verbiage to be taken that way.

    You state that you believe opioids have a place in treatment of severe pain yet you continue to give somewhat misleading information. You state “Recently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made a powerful statement that the increase in the prescribing of opioids has resulted in a rise in overdose deaths.” This study was done in 2007. That was FIVE YEARS AGO. Studies I have read only 20% of overdose deaths were attributed to accidental.

    What other drug on the market provides the same pain relief as oxycontin? There are none. There is fentanyl which comes close, but again there is a chance you will go to sleep and not wake up. I agree these drugs in the past were being prescribed for the wrong type illnesses and to the wrong people. Purdue was wrong. I agree with that.

    I believe there is a place for oxycontin. If not oxycontin is banned should fentanyl not be banned? I’m just trying to understand your reasoning and what you hope to accomplish at this point. I suppose I will never understand and you will never understand my point.

    There has been a drastic change in the prescribing of opioids over the last ten years, even the last two years. From my perspective, what you are doing now is crossing over from getting physicians to be more cautious in prescribing to terrifying physicians to the point that they can not do their job and treat their patients. There seems to be a huge fear among doctors who prescribe pain medication. It has went from a war on drugs to a war on pain patients.

    At what point will you feel you have succeeded? The information is out there, the pharmaceutical company has been punished – probably not nearly as much as they should have been, but that does not change the fact that they were punished and they no longer operate in that manner. Oxycontin does have a place and activists are making it impossible for pain patients to receive the adequate care that it provides. There is no medication that exists that is comparable to it without the risk of death or addiction. I believe it should only be prescribed to people who will remain on pain medication for the rest of their lives, but I do believe it has a place. When you hurt so bad that you would rather die than take another breath you would take anything to make the pain stop dependence/addiction or even death are not even remotely important to you.

    Neither you, nor I, are capable of being unbiased and advocating for, or against, the use of any strong pain medications. Physicians should be unbiased and capable of making these conclusions without government interference. They now have the information about certain strong pain medications (thanks to advocates such as yourself) and most do pass along that information to patients so that the patients can make an informed decision. There will always be a few bad doctors, there will always be addicts looking for the next high, and there will always be people suffering in need of relief.

    There has got to be a better solution than banning medications that have proven to be helpful under certain circumstances no matter how bad Purdue Pharma was about marketing practices and lies they told. There are no lies anymore the information is out there.

  4. This goes beyond the death of my daughter — way beyond. I have never said that opioids did not have their place in the treeatment of “severe” pain. This deals with a pharmaceutical company, Purdue Pharma who lied about a very lethal drug called OxyContin and said it was less likely to be addictive and abused. They are the crininals. They pleaded guilty to the charges against them and were sentenced for their lies. Thank you Dr. Steve for your comments. You hit right on. Hundreds of thousands of victims of Purdue Pharma are grateful to you.

  5. Criticize her daughter’s death? I did no such thing. I am so sorry for her loss and how does one crticize a death? I stated that not knowing the circustances of her passing I couldn’t form an opinion on that instance to think opiods should be banned. I did not disparge anyone. I simply asked questions.

    I am speaking general statistics not one individual case. You can’t expect to put yourself out there to ban a medication that helps hundreds of thousands of people without having some opposition and disagreement.

    How many of these hundreds of thousands of deaths were intentional? How many deaths were accidental? How many shouldn’t have been prescribed the medication to start with? How dare I? I have just as much right to question trying to outlaw medication that helps many as does someone who wants it banned, if not more of a right.

    What medication on the market…any medication has not caused death? What medication is not marketed?

    How many deaths would there be if the medication is banned without another medication that helps as much as this one? How many parent’s would bury their child because the pain they endure was more than they could take?

    You are not taking into consideration the fact that opiods help quite a few people. Should they all become suicidal from the pa
    in because there have been deaths attributed to this medication? Name a medication that is not marketed and has not at some point caused a death.
    Criticize her daughter’s death? I did no such thing. I am sorry for her loss. I stated that not knowing the circustances of her passing I couldn’t form an opinion on that instance to think opiods should be banned. I did not disparge anyone. I simply asked questions.

    I am speaking general statistics not one individual case. You can’t expect to put yourself out there to ban a medication that helps hundreds of thousands of people without having some opposition and disagreement.

    How many of these hundreds of thousands of deaths were intentional? How many deaths were accidental? How many shouldn’t have been prescribed the medication to start with?

    How dare I question why a medication should be banned? I have just as much right to question trying to outlaw medication that helps many as does someone who wants it banned, if not more of a right.

    What medication on the market (any medication) has not caused death? What medication is not marketed?

    How many deaths would there be if the medication is banned without another medication that helps as much as this one? How many parent’s would bury their child because the pain they endure was more than they could take?

    You are not taking into consideration the fact that opiods help quite a few people. Should they all be doomed to misery or to become suicidal from the pain because there have been deaths attributed to this medication? Name a medication that is not marketed and has not at some point caused a death.

  6. How dare you criticize the accidental death of another human being. What gives you the nerve to disparage the victims of this tragic circumstance, which was caused by a narcotic similar to heroin and marketed for profit to be extensively prescribed for any type of chronic pain in the absence of scientific evidence for this dangerous practice. As a result, hundreds of thousands of innocent victims are now dead while the manufacturer of OxyContin has pocketed billions since introducing this drug. No one is trying to deny opioids for the minority of patients who really need them, including those with the chronic pain of cancer or select cases of severe intractable chronic noncancer pain in low risk patients. But to say that a mother and nurse who lost her daughter to OxyContin and is trying to prevent others from meeting the same tragic fate, is hurting pain patients, is not only ignorant, but is an unjustified, egregous attack on the innocent victims of this growing public health epidemic. To make excuses for these deaths by saying that the victims did not follow instructions or chose to abuse their drugs is insulting to their memories and is a gross misrepresentation of the facts, which indicate instead that many victims have died after taking their opioids “as prescribed”, or may have first become unknowingly addicted prior to misusing their narcotic prescriptions, while being given little or no information about the risks of addiction and death. The major problem has been the documented widespread lack of awareness about the real dangers of OxyContin and other opioids by both physicians and patients. This has occurred as the result of the irresponsible marketing and sales of these drugs by the opioid industry, including a drug company that was already convicted in Federal Court of lying about these very real risks. And you think the goverment should not have a role in protecting the public from further harm by trying to reduce the continuing mounting toll of addiction and death from prescription opioids? How many more deaths have to occur in order to change such distorted perceptions?

  7. I am so sorry you lost your daughter, but there are so many unanswered questions surrounding her death that I can’t make the assumption that it was because of oxycontin. Was her pain real? Did she take more than prescribed? Did she take it longer than prescribed? Did she have psychological issues that should have been discovered during her appointments with her physician? Did family step up and speak to the doctor if she was abusing her medication? There are so many circumstances that I don’t know or understand where your anger at pharmaceutical companies is coming from.

    I commend you on your conviction to improve the way pain medications are dispensed, but to say that someone with a herniated disk should not be prescribed oxycontin is simply ignorant. I agree that medications are over prescribed, but not for unrelenting back pain, spinal cord pain, or any other degenerative condition that causes chronic debilitating pain.

    Have you ever had a herniated disk that is pressing on your spinal cord and damaging nerves that run throughout your entire body? Do you know the pain of nerve damage? Without living through pain yourself I do not believe that you are qualified to advise doctors, insurance companies, pharma companies, or the government on what to do. While some herniated disks do little to no damage, and cause little to no discomfort, others can be life altering and even life threatening. Statements that someone with a bad back shouldn’t be prescribed x, y or z is NOT the answer. You can NOT remove medications that work for millions of people in pain because of the abuse or over prescribing by a handful of patients and doctors. You should not attempt to stop new medications from being approved for pain management because of the few that do not follow instructions or choose to abuse the medications. I do agree that strong medications are, at times, over prescribed. Especially in regard to conditions like fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, etc. but when there is evidence of a true condition that causes pain why should that person continue to suffer when there exists a means to ease that suffering? Because there is a kid down the street that might get his hands on the drug and overdose? Because the patient may decide to take more than prescribed? It is time for people to start being responsible for their own lives, own problems, own misfortunes. Should I decide tonight to take four of my pain pills rather than the one that is prescribed, who is to stop me who should be authorized to stop me? NO ONE. That is on ME. Should the government take away everyone’s medication just because I alone decided to hurt myself? The government needs to stop trying to protect people from themselves. People should be educated on what a drug may do to them, that it may cause addiction, and the side effects of the drug. Other than that the government needs to stay the heck out of my health issues and let my doctor do their job.

    I truly am sorry your daughter died. I have two daughters and it would be heartbreaking to lose one of my own. I can’t say what I would or wouldn’t do because I have not lived that horrid experience, but I would hope that I wouldn’t take their death and use it against other human beings that are being helped by the same medication that killed mine. I like to think that I would make sure people were educated on the risks involved, but as far as pushing to have the drug removed, or the government more involved in healthcare? No. I do not believe I would do that.

  8. It’s truly terrible that people misuse medicine that God put on this earth to help people. But people die of drinking too much also. It isn’t fair to keep people in pain just because someone lost a child. There are more deaths from medical errors than from prescription deaths. And what about the commercials that tell side effects of lymphoma and death? I believe there is a prejudice here. Americans have always prided themselves on being rational and middle road…helping without hurting. Now pain patients are being hurt. I hope the druggies are happy.

  9. PROP seems to have quite a funding base for its extensive PR push. Where does this organization receive its funding? Is it perhaps related to interests determined to slash expensive reimbursements for opioid therapies, no matter what the harm to patients? This piece is not not journalism but propaganda.

  10. The APF AND government are doing all they can to protect the innocent with appropriate treatment while trying to stop the guilty abusers. It’s sad when a parent loses a child to drugs or anything else.
    AARP article gives this info:
    HHS study of Medicare patients:
    1 in 7 suffered serious or long term injuries or died as a result of medical care. Researchers said about 44% of problems were preventable.
    In Health Affairs: researchers examined patient carts at 3 America’ leading hospitals and found 1 in 3 ademissions included some type of harm to the patient. Mistakes…suggeon nicks a healthy blood vessel, nusre administers toxic does of meds, staff fails to adequately diinfect a room causing ‘superbug’ contractions. # patients die in preventable hospital errors is = 4 full jumb jets crashng each week.
    How many die of OD from prescription drugs? See CDC article:
    These drugs (opiods) were involved in 14,800 overdose deaths in 2008. Why was the article dated 12/2011 for stats in 2008?
    Also cdc reports 100 people die from drug overdoses every day in the United States
    US NEWS reports: December 30, 2011 RSS Feed Print The United States will enter 2012 with a population of roughly 312.8 million people (or exactly 312,780,968 people, if you want to be pedantic), according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s end-of-2011 estimate. That is .00003% of the entire population die from drug overdose.
    The CDC reports: and many as 98,000 Americans die each year due to medical error.
    That is .03% of the entire population. That is one thousand times MORE than the people that die from drug overdose!
    Why don’t we fx the medical problems? That is FAR worse than drug overdose!!!!
    With THAT in mind, while re all hate to hear of ANY deaths, especially young people, let us FOCUS ON WHAT THE REAL ISSUES ARE….THE WORST ISSUES!

  11. Pat,

    I understand that and am so very, very sorry. Sorry for ms Skolek, for her family and for the daughter who I am sure was a beautiful spirit. It is a tragedy what happened to her.

    All I’m saying is, it’s just as much a tragedy to force other people to live in agony as a result.

    I’m a good person, I work hard at living with my in curable genetic illness that ruins my life and leaves me in agony all the time. I do my best not to be a downer and to contribute to my family and the world in general. I do not think its right that because I’m taking a certain kind of prescription to survive I’m treated like a criminal or like a weakling or a drug seeker or a quitter and that is what is happening in this country as a result of the current thoughts on opioid treatments today.

    I was in pain for eleven years before I even started taking NSAIDs to help the pain. I’ve tried acupuncture, chiropractors, meditation, injections of all sorts of stuff into my spine, into my nerves, I’ve allowed people to implant electrical devices inside me, used TENS units, did massage therapy, tried Reiki healing, tried every drug on the marked that even only occasionally helps for pain, I’ve done and am still doing myofascial therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, water therapy and psychological counselling. But the only thing that has ever helped consistently and significantly is an opioid. However, because of the preconceived notions of our society and campaigns like this I’m not able to find a doctor in my new state that will prescribe for me.

    I know that it is not the intention of these people to take this treatment away from people in my situation and those like me, but that is what is the actuality of what is happening and its not okay.

  12. Anna, Marianne Skolek’s daughter was taking OxyContin prescribed for her for back pain at the time of her death.

  13. I have been on the same low dose of an opioid pain med for five years now. It is the only that has helped me. I was in so much pain for so long before I found this drug treatment that I was planning suicide.

    Quite frankly, I don’t understand where the people like this author’s daughter gets the drugs. I wish I did know, if I could get the drugs I have to have to live that easily!! What a farce!

    I have X-rays, and MRIs and all sorts of evidence out the wazoo, including six metal pins in my spine showing loud and clear how bad my spine is thanks to my genetic condition and yet I can’t find a pain doctor that will work with me and continue the treatment path I’m on. I had to move after a nasty divorce from a man who was “sick of me being sick” and now I’ve tried five “pain doctors” so far in my area and not ONE would prescribe anything for me! They all want to shoot steroids and drugs and stuff into my back then send me on my way, and that is a valid treatment option for many, but I’ve tried that and a million other things and my current opioid treatment plan is the ONLY thing that has ever worked.

    The problem is that we seem to be an all or nothing society, y’all want to put the fear of God into doctors not to over prescribe, but what ACTUALLY happens is that most of them then decide not to prescribe at all so they don’t bring a opioid drug witch trial down on themselves.

    Maybe instead of inserting yourselves into the doctors office and saying what should and shouldn’t be prescribed, y’all should invest more in getting help and treatment for addicts. With my last pain doc I peed in a cup every single month so they could monitor what I was and wasn’t taking and how much. I have no problem with that. It makes me feel like a criminal, but oh well, I can handle hurt feelings, what I can’t handle is the soul crushing pain of my spine slowly but surely falling apart that I’ll be facing soon if I can’t find a pain doctor brave enough to stand up to crusades like this!

  14. I also am sorry you lost your daughter by the means that you did, but please realize that by legislating doctors be even tougher on prescribing for pain medications is going to be a death sentence for many others. I share a disease common to some of the other posters that I see here and it is one of the most mis-understood diseases that you can imagine.

    It is invisable and uncurable, the only real hope we have is by holding the pain to endurable levels by prescription opiates for the most part. The medical community estimates there are 1.3 million of us and yet 95 percent of us go undiagnosed because the medical community has not learned how to properly find us.

    It is so dramatic that 20 percent of the states at last count have signed resolutions pleading with the medical community to try harder to find us and end the suffering, most likely the statistics for accidental deaths by overdose and suicide are directly related to our disease but since these unfortunate people do not even know what haunts them themselves they stumble onto street drugs or are prescribed an opiate pain medication for a legitimate purpose and then find the screaming in their head becomes quieter and since they do not know they have a legitimate need for them start trying to obtain them by other means.

    Imagine this, due to the poor genetic makeup that we are born with most of us have joints that do not work properly although they look normal, but science says it requires about three times the effort for us to do the same tasks that everyone else does. So in my case I was the only child of four who inheireted this monster and struggled as hard as I could each day to keep up with my other healthy siblings. The cost was devastating, most nights I prayed to die so I would not have to keep fighting and pushing to keep up, I cannot even think back to my childhood without being engulfed by the darkness from all the pain my little body endured, but I always just assumed I was a failure I did not know there was a mechanical fault that made it the equivalent of trying to run a marathon every day of my life just trying to do whatever everyone else did.

    I did not find out until doctors would operate on me and I would never ask for any pain meds and they were left confused on how I endured the pain, my response was “what, this is supposed to hurt?… I hurt more than this everyday” and when we found out the real problem it all finally made sense, but what if your daughter would have been one of us? would you want her living in constant pain every day of her life say sixty or seventy years, or would you prefer a somewhat less painful death while being able to hold the pain down some?

    We see a lot of us die from our disease, some from the disease itself, some from suicide because we cannot tolerate the heavy toll it takes on us each day, and yet I never regret their passing knowing they have finally escaped the beast.

    I am sure you probably think oh no, it could not possibly be that someone could be in that much pain and others never notice, but yet for example I am a mailperson that has thousands of customers and only a handful know the truth. If you were to ask them what they know about me they will tell you I am always so freindly and smiling that they could never imagine that I was hiding that much pain behind such an infectious smile, and yet I do.

    But I propose this, if the government truly wishes to only treat cancer pain with opiates they need to also pass a bill to allow euthansia for those who do not want to be forced to live in a society that would prefer to see them suffer than offer the only treatment that has shown to effectively reduce their suffering, and when my thousands of customers ask where I went just let them know it was to a better place.

  15. NO ONE who lives with severe pain WANTS to be dependent on opioid pain medication. For many of us, it is the only treatment that allows us to function enough to have some semblance of a life. My heart breaks for families who have lost loved ones to addiction and/or overdose deaths. Unfortunately, limiting access to pain medications will simply cause the pain sufferer to endure a torturous life, or die, while those who are abusing the drugs go elsewhere to feed their addiction. The current climate against the use of opioids for non-malignant chronic pain, is NOT rooted in science. It is fueled by misdirected anger, fear, misinformation about opioids, and politics. There are no easy answers. However, blaming the victims of pain, and the limited amount of doctors who are willing to treat them, is NOT the answer! Of course opioids should only be used for severe pain, should be monitored, and carefully prescribed. Of course there should be safe guards in place, to prevent “doctor shopping”, abuse, and diversion. These are the type of systems that should be employed to make sure these medications don’t fall into the wrong hands. That is VERY different than blaming a foundation who’s mission was to educate and offer hope to pain sufferers, cutting off access to needed medications, scaring doctors into not treating pain, making villains out of pharm companies, and blaming victims of severe pain for the problem of abuse, overdose, and diversion. People have NO idea how difficult it is to live a life in constant severe pain. Having access to opioids for legitimate life altering pain should NOT become even MORE difficult for people. Like others have said, it can be the difference between suicide and death, or HOPE.

  16. This is insane. The lunacy lies with people such as yourselves. I see you refer to the BIAS reporting of Publica dollars for docs? Perhaps you should read this article- JOURNALISTS FOR DOLLARS:

    which offers another point of view Who are the beneficiaries of the war on drugs?

    A major beneficiary, of course, is the U.S. government, which has used the drug war as a pretext to shred the Bill of Rights and claim vast new powers over the American people. That the drug war would lead to the depredation of civil liberties and the erosion of the rule of law was inevitable, given that there is simply no way for the government to effectively enforce its drug laws while abiding by the Constitution.
    Washington’s drug war is illegal because the power to prohibit drugs has never been given to the federal government. Just as with alcohol prohibition, any federal law prohibiting or restricting the production, sale, and use of drugs would require a constitutional amendment. This is the result of their attacks against US citizens with chronic pain

    The war on drugs has created shared interests for the world’s largest banks, drug cartels, and the U.S. intelligence apparatus. This trade can only prosper if the main actors involved in narcotics have political friends in high places. Legal and illegal undertakings are increasingly intertwined, the dividing line between “businesspeople” and criminals is blurred. In turn, the relationship among criminals, politicians and members of the intelligence establishment has tainted the structures of the state and the role of its institutions.
    The drug war is not about squashing narcotics trafficking, nor is it about protecting Americans from the ravages of drug addiction. The ugly truth is the war on drugs is one of America’s most lucrative industries, funding police salaries and supporting the country’s vast prison system. It is apparently also propping up a bankrupt financial system and reportedly providing the spooks at Langley with cash to finance their black ops.
    Ending the drug war would require fundamentally rethinking decades of official policy, closing down multiple government agencies, as well as undermining the powerful, entrenched corporate interests that have developed over the last 40 years. Perhaps this is why U.S. government will make sure the war on drugs never ends. Meanwhile, civil liberties are violated, the Constitution is trashed


    Pain Medication when taken as directed has never killed or harmed anyone. Opiates have very little side effects.

  17. This is crap. Not every pain patient who uses opiods is an addict: Yes, there will be more suicides if people are forced to live in pain. There will be more loss of work and human productivity. There will be thousands who suffer in silence or vocally. Familes will suffer as well. And, addictive personalities will turn to alchohol or dangerous drugs like Heroin.

    And I’m saying this as an Ehlers-Danlos syndrome suffer AND mother of an Ehlers-Danlos syndrome sufferer, top of the scarel, who also has Fibro, and neither one of us like or tolerate Opiods. We use other stuff that may or may not be affected by this crap, but we know what pain is. We also know if something works for someone, you don’t take it away from them.

  18. I’m sorry. But you seem to have trouble distinguishing between pro-patient organizations and pro-pharmaceutical companies. I knew people at American Pain Foundation; they cared deeply about advocating for intractable pain patients, and not for drug companies. None of us think opioids are the best solution; they’re just the only solution in man cases, they’re the only thing that works. NSAIDs and the anti-seizure family do nothing with a lot of pain and have many bad side effects like opioids. We need better answers than we have, certainly. But that does not mean we have to allow people to suffer horrific pain while we wait for a company to see enough financial gain potential to research new avenues for pain control. There is a difference between tolerance, physical dependence and addiction; for those who live with chronic pain, the choice is simply dependence on medications, or dependence on pain, and many will choose death over the pain. I ask that we please listen to the science.

  19. Jan — I have never said or written that anyone suffering with severe pain should be denied pain medication. What I have said is that the push for opioids for mild and moderate pain has led to the epidemic of opioids addicting and killing people in every state in the country as well as Canada. This push for opioids for mild and moderate pain by pharma and their funded pain foundations has resulted in a financial benefit to pharma in the billions of dollars at the cost of human life. I wish you the best and hope that you continue to do well with your opioid regime of treatment. Tens of thousands of people have not been as fortunate as you say you are. This loss of life is not about grieving — it is about greed on the part of pharma in their well planned marketing of opioids for mild and moderate pain — not severe pain — and needs to be investigated.

  20. I am sorry for the loss of your daughter. However, I am a 73 year old grandmother who has been struggling with pain in my back, (spinal stenosis,) and flat feet with neuropathy from two failed surgeries. I have five screws and two staples holding my right foot together. Now I have chemo from ovarian cancer. Would you try to deny me my pain medicine because other people, sadly, abuse it? Life would not be worth living to me if I didn’t get some relief. I have tried all of that imagery, meditation, physical therapy.swim therapy, etc. It doen’t work. Without my meds, my family would probably be grieving for me as you are grieving for your daughter. Sincerely, Jan W.

  21. You are kidding yourself if you don’t think the rate of suicide will dramatically increase when you start taking away pain medicine from chronic pain patients. My very dear friend just recently committed suicide. She was a school teacher for a number of years had taken an early retirement due to severe arthritis in her back and hips. In her note she explained living with chronic pain and how her longtime physician had retired and her new physician was unwilling to provide her with a script for pain medicine. The next day, she took her life.