60 Minutes continued its indirect assault on pain medication in a segment aired Sunday.
It featured Michael Botticelli, the so-called federal drug czar (director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy), who is himself, an admitted “12-stepper”.
Addiction…or disorder as he likes to call it…is an isolating event in the lives of people who need. He calls the 12-step meeting of Alcoholic Anonymous “miraculous”.
“We need to reduce the magnitude of opioid prescription,” said Botticelli, who also argued against the legalization of marijuana. “One in nine people who use marijuana become addicted to it,” he added.
Botticelli, and notably 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley, didn’t talk about the pain medication issue (except from the point of view of addiction). No mention was made of chronic pain sufferers.
Here’s how some of the dialogue went:
- 60 Minutes Correspondent: Scott Pelley: “What do you say to those who argue, and there are many, that if you lock down the southern border, you solve the drug problem?”
- Michael Botticelli: “I think it’s overly simplistic to say that any one single strategy is going to really change the focus and change the trajectory of drug use. We know one of the drivers of heroin has been the misuse of pain medication. If we’re going todeal with heroin and heroin use in the United States, we really have to focus on reducing the magnitude of the prescription drug use issue.”
60 Minutes did a story in October that spoke to the connection between opioid pain medication and the increase in use (misuses) of heroin, particularly in Ohio.
It spawned a number of follow-up stories and responses from National Pain Report readers about the difficulty that the nation’s oldest news magazine was having in connecting the distinction between the responsible use of pain medication and those who misuse it.
As the Centers for Disease Control have reopened their public comment opportunity for people on new opioid guidelines, and pain sufferers continue to make the case that more sensibility needs to be ingrained in how we view the role of opioids in helping pain sufferers navigate their lives, it’s interesting that 60 Minutes – the nation’s best and most respected news magazine, continues to miss the big story…which is how narcotic pain medication can help many pain patients.