By Ed Coghlan.
Dr. Andrew Kolodny has criticized the National Pain Report for what he calls “its unfair and false reporting” on him.
He said it is “absolutely false” that he is “aggressively pushing the idea of restricting or eliminating opioid usage” as we indicated this week.
“I have never pushed for a policy that would restrict or eliminate opioids,” he said. “I believe opioids play an important in both the treatment of pain and addiction.”
What he is for, he said, is responsible prescribing.
Kolodny also believes we should avoid referring to the crisis as an epidemic of drug abuse. As he said on the Brandeis University website: “Calling it an abuse problem suggests the cause is bad behavior—people abusing dangerous drugs to get high. While it’s true that some people got addicted from recreational use, many also became addicted taking opioids exactly as prescribed by doctors. Once addicted, people aren’t using heroin or pills because it’s fun. They need to keep using opioids to avoid feeling awful.”
Kolodny, who in addition to his work at Brandeis University is also executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, started working on the issue about 15 years ago for New York City’s health department.
Kolodny has been in the news recently urging the Trump Administration to move faster to address the issue of overprescribing and addiction.
“There really isn’t anything this (federal) commission is going to figure out that we don’t know already,” Dr. Andrew Kolodny, told the New York Times. “What we need is an enormous federal investment in expanding access to addiction treatment, and for the different federal agencies that have a piece of this problem to be working in a coordinated fashion.”
“Policymakers wanted to stop so-called ‘drug abusers’ but were ignoring the problem of overprescribing. It was all focused on preventing kids from getting into grandma’s medicine chest, but no one was looking at why every grandma now had opioids in her medicine chest.”
Kolodny indicated he would think about writing a column talking about opioids and chronic pain for the National Pain Report but said, “Had you approached me before you did this false reporting, I might have been more inclined to do it.”