Big Brother’s Here! Feds Launch Interactive Map to Further Agenda against Opioids

Big Brother’s Here! Feds Launch Interactive Map to Further Agenda against Opioids

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has proudly launched an interactive map of opioid prescriptions to “allow the user to see both the number and percentage of opioid claims at the local level and better understand how this critical issue impacts communities nationwide.”

Critical issue?  There they go again.  Opioids only = evil, drug pushers, addicts and death.  So, hey, let’s pour money into making a map to further fuel this one-sided government position against legal prescriptions and the importance opioids play in millions of people’s lives.

“The opioid epidemic impacts every state, county and municipality.  To address this epidemic, while ensuring that individuals with pain receive effective treatment, we need accurate, timely information about where the problems are and to what extent they exist,” said CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt. “This new mapping tool gives providers, local health officials, and others the data to become knowledgeable about their community’s Medicare opioid prescription rate.”

So, Andy, let me ask.  How does this map “ensure that individuals with pain receive effective treatment?”  How does this map help anyone in pain?  Come on, Andy, we’re smarter than that.  But it was cute of you to include “individuals in pain” in your big announcement, as if you can check that box.

It does appear that the government cannot break its own laws – particularly when it comes to the security of patient data.  The interactive map does not include names of patients.  I wonder if they could have found a way around HIPAA laws would they have done just that?

But, they did realize they can list the doctors who prescribe opioids.  So, they conveniently allow the public to look up the healthcare providers who prescribe opioids and how much they prescribe.  Go ahead, check it out here.  We all know the answer as to why CMS does this.

Don’t think CMS is the only government agency excited about positioning opioids as evil, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, had this to say about the interactive map:

“The opioid abuse and overdose epidemic continues to devastate American families. This mapping tool will help doctors, nurses, and other health care providers assess opioid-prescribing habits while continuing to ensure patients have access to the most effective pain treatment. Informing prescribers can help reduce opioid use disorder among patients.”

Hey!  There’s that same near-parenthetically placed phrase Andy used.  Tom.  Um.  I don’t think these words came out of your mouth.  But, you and Andy are really good at sticking to talking points.  And trust the National Pain Report readers – they’ll believe you.

So, Tom.  We’ll ask you what we asked Andy.  How will “this mapping tool help providers continue to ensure patients have access to the most effective pain treatment?”  How, Tom?  How does a satellite image of a zip code in red representing a high volume of prescriptions help ensure access to treatment?  Wouldn’t it be safer to assume that just the opposite will happen?  It already is happening.

Finally, in its press release on the topic, we see exactly how important the real epidemic – the epidemic of pain – is to the broader Administration.

“The Administration has made addressing opioid abuse, dependence, and overdose a priority, and work is underway within HHS on this important issue.  The evidence-based initiative focuses on three promising areas: informing opioid prescribing practices, increasing the use of naloxone (a drug that reverses symptoms of a drug overdose), and using medication-assisted treatment to treat opioid addiction.”

That’s a lot of focus, time and energy on a small population of people, and not a word about people in pain, other than both Andy and Tom reassuring us that all this work will ensure patients have access to the most effective pain treatment.  Can we see that plan, fellas?

Editor’s Note: Doug Lynch is a former chronic pain patient who worked in the pain industry for ten years. He is a partner in the National Pain Report.

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Authored by: Doug Lynch

There are 18 comments for this article
  1. BL at 11:46 am

    Scott michaels, unfortunately, that will never happen. Chronic pain patients and their families choosing to be invisible and silent in the ways that count is what has gotten things to this point. They aren’t going to write less restrictive laws and guidelines. The objective was to reduce the number of deaths and those becoming addicted to opiates and that is being accomplished. What is going on how has been goiing on for a number of years, it didn’t happen overnight.

    Personally, I think that it will become harder and harder for chronic pain patients to be treated with opiates as time goes by. The drs of tomorrow are being taught that opiates lead to addiction and death and there are other ways of managing chronic pain long term. The younger drs also don’t have the experience that the older ones do that have treated patients with opiates for chronic pain with success for years. The new drs also don’t spend their time communicating with their patients because they are too busy looking st the computer screen. It’s not just the treatment of chronic pain patients that has changed it is health care in general. The quality of care that most of us in our 60’s have always known is evaporating like water. We were fortunate to have known when health care always meant quality, but I think it makes it harder on us now because we know first hand how good health care use to be compared to what is frequently referred to health care in 2015.

  2. Scott michaels at 8:12 pm

    Seriously…
    How can we Protest the Government and CDC. they need to see thousands of us up close and personal. Im ready to buy a ticket.

  3. Kimberly Cornilsen at 7:46 pm

    This is such an unscientific process. My area of Oregon is mainly retirees. Old people have more medical problems. Medical problems cause pain.

  4. Teresa at 4:41 pm

    So could we, as chronic pain patients, start filing law suits or civil suits? Our right to pain relief and fair necessary treatment is absolutely being violated. I have chronic intractable pain. My meds have been reduced to about a third of what i was on and need.

  5. Brenda Myers at 10:32 pm

    this will ensure more docotrs will be uncomfortable treating a patient in pain-shame on our government ,the FBI,DEA and CDC.I have tried everything to treat my pain-only morphine works. If they take that awayI just

  6. Margo at 6:43 pm

    Take my medication away, take my life. These people really believe we pain patients are all faking it. I will make sure all these “do gooders’ know that instead of “helping ” via a fake “opioid epidemic” they are causing unbearable pain and loss of quality of some sort of life. I am not an addict. I want my life back. I am very scared. I will end up dying and not one damn politician or drug rehab gives a damn. Thank you America for abandoning me. I have a law degree and want to work. I paid years into the system. I get Medicare, nothing else. I can barely get enough meds to keep me functioning. This is a violation of my right to choose & receive treatment. Shame on the CDC, DEA, doctors, pharmacies and corporate rehab centers who refuse to hear us. May you never end up in chronic pain and be told to meditate it away. God help us.

  7. Pharmacist Steve at 4:28 pm

    Interesting CMS has started a STAR RATING SYSTEM for all those in the healthcare system focus on pts’ increased medication compliance.. and a healthcare provider that gets enough complaints could get lower reimbursement allowables and/or they get booted from being a Medicare provider.. However, subjective diseases ( pain, anxiety, depression, ADD/ADHD, mental health) are currently not part of their STAR RATING SYSTEM. When can we expect to see a map outlining the sales of alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine ?

  8. Deb at 3:05 pm

    i took a look at the map. supposedly there is a huge drug problem in Columbus, OH but in looking at this map there is just one tiny part of Columbus that seems to be out of wack and i don’t think those figures actually contribute since there are only 2 doctors in that area and only 88 scripts written for pain meds.

  9. Kurt W.G. Matthies at 3:05 pm

    Thanks Doug.

    People need to know the depth and breadth of the coup to usurp pain management in these US by a determined group I call the “anti-analgesia cartel”.

    They are going so far as to ignore the process of dialog and debate in an open society by plotting their coup behind closed doors and using a federal agency to support their agenda.

    Big brother knows best, in total disregard of the broad medical evidence that show minimal linkage between treatment of chronic pain with opioid analgesics, and the psychological and social problems of addiction that plague our society.

    The truth remains – opioid analgesics are so important to the health and well being of the millions who live with daily intractable pain, that they are too precious for we who are prescribed them to spare a single dose to diversion or abuse.

    Get Up, Stand Up for your right to treatment, and to support the men and women who have the courage, compassion to treat us.

    These docs have the intelligence and clinical wisdom to know that the under treatment of pain leads only to more pain, suffering, abuse, and death.

    @kwgmatthies

  10. Deb at 2:54 pm

    people wake up. i tried to see a new pain dr 2 weeks ago. when she came into the room to see me she had a piece of paper in her hand that told her all the scheduled meds i’ve had filled in the last year. if a dr that is brand new to me has this info then it is available to the government. btw i live in OH. i don’t know what the answer is. i’m wondering if finding a way to move to another country might be an option. i really can’t stand the pain i’m forced to live in every day.

  11. Pam at 2:02 pm

    And one more thing too,,,i am sick and tired of hearing about the overdose rate…if the government cared so much then why are they not targeting alcohol and tobacco whose overdose rates greatly exceed that of pills. Alcohol 80,000 per year, tobacco, 440,000 per year and yet, its accepted, regardless of the damage it does to not only ones body but to those around that person.. WE NEED TO PROTEST NOW !!!!

  12. Pam at 1:57 pm

    I am FURIOUS!!!! What the hell is happening to our healthcare?!?! I am a chronic intractable pain sufferer. I have debilitating conditions that there is no cure for and are worsening day by day! My doctor, who I was with for four years is now turning his back on my thanks to the effing DEA and our government! He lowered my meds and I now suffer in agony. My quality of life has been taken from me..Its time the Chronic Pain community stand together as one and protest.WE NEED TO GET OUR VOICES HEARD LOUD, HOW DO WE ORGANIZE A PROTEST AT THE FOOT OF CONGRESS??? I AM SO SICK AND TIRED OF THIS SHIT.. I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR SOMEONE ELSES ACTIONS THAT CHOOSE TO ABUSE PILLS, WHY THE HELL AM I PAYING THE VERY HIGH PRICE WITH MY HEALTH AND LIFE?? THESE ASSHOLES IN THIS ARTICLE WHO CONTINUALLY LUMP CHRONIC PAIN SUFFERERS IN WITH ADDICTS CAN KISS MY ASS. YES I AM MAD AND I USE TO SAY I NEVER WISH MY PAIN ON NOONE..NOT ANYMORE..I WANT EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM RESPONSIBLE FOR FORCING ME TO LIVE A LIFE OF HELL TO FEEL WHAT I FEEL, TO FEEL LIKE THEIR SPINE IS BEING CRUSHED BY A STEAM TRUCK ROLLER, TO HAVE ELECTRIC, BURNING, SHOOTING, PIERCING PAINS SHOOT DOWN THERE LEGS, TO FEEL LIKE THEIR HIPS ARE BEING DRAGGED ALONG THE CONCRETE…I CANT TAKE THIS ANYMORE..I REALLY CANT..PHYSICALLY,EMOTIONALLY AND MENTALLY I AM DONE. AND READING MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS IS PUSHING ME OVER THE EDGE…OUR RIGHTS ARE BEING VIOLATED AND ITS TIME TO STAND UP AGAINST THESE TERRORISTS RUNNING THIS COUNTRY..THEY THINK BECAUSE THEY SIT BEHIND A DESK AND DELEGATE THAT THEY CAN CONTINUE TO TELL US WHAT WE CAN AND CANT HAVE TO EASE OUR SUFFERING??? THATS A CROCK OF SHIT..IVE CALLED MY SENATORS SEVERAL TIMES, GOT THEIR AIDES, WERE MY CALLS RETURNED?? HELL NO…THIS ABUSE, NEGLECT AND DISCRIMINATION IS ALSO A VIOLATIOIN OF MY RIGHTS DAMMIT… WE NEED TO PROTEST AND WE NEED TO DO IT NOW…PLEASE, IF SOMEONE KNOWS HOW TO START ORGANIZING THIS, TO GET THE MILLIONS TO STAND TOGETHER AS ONE AND FIGHT BACK, IT NEEDS TO BE DONE…I AM SO SICK AND TIRED OF SEEING ADDICTION ON TV AND IN THE PAPERS…WHY THE HELL DO THEY THINK THE HEROIN PROBLEM IS RISING???? THE DEA TARGETING LEGIT PATIENTS AND EVERY DOCTOR ACROSS THIS COUNTRY, STRIPPING US OF OUR LIFE SAVING MEDS IS FORCING LEGIT PATIENTS TO TURN TO THE STREETS FOR RELIEF OR EVEN WORSE KILLING THEMSELVES DUE TO INADEQUATE PAIN RELIEF. IF IT WERENT FOR MY KIDS, ID BE LONG GONE, ALTHOUGH I DONT SEE WHAT GOOD I AM TO THEM NOW… I AM NOT LIVING. I AM EXISTING IN A BODY THAT NO LONGER CAN EVEN TAKE A DAILY DAM SHOWER….WE NEED HELP,,WE NEED LEGAL REPRESENTATION AS WELL TO DO A CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT…HUMAN BEINGS SHOULD NOT BE FORCED TO SUFFER LIKE WE ARE BEING…MY DOG GETS BETTER TREATMENT !!

  13. Kirby Accardo at 11:08 am

    Bravo Doug Lynch!! You sure did see through the government issue. Why are they trying to lead druggie to Dr’s who prescribe meds. Real pain patients with multiple chronic pain issue are reduced to suffering because Dr’s get more afraid of government interference. What a waste of CMS resources, this map serves no positive issues for people they, CMS, are suppose to be helping. Worry about street drugs, except Medical Marijuana, and help us Chronic Pain Patients find peace in their miserable existence!

  14. BL at 11:00 am

    You can also see what meds drs wrote the prescriptions for in 2013 along with other data at their website.

  15. Kristine (Krissy) at 9:34 am

    I’d like to see the cost sheet. Are we allowed that? A map!

  16. John Vineyard at 9:21 am

    I just really can’t believe all this, well actually I can. We must get together, chronic pain patients, physicians and anyone else that might ever need a pain medication for even a few days. Of course there are problems with misuse of medications, that is a fact that needs to be addressed, but stigmatizing the pill is not the answer, education is the answer. Drug abusers will find something to get high on, we can’t take everything out of their reach. Responsible pain patients will be left suffering, getting more depressed, self medicating and even considering suicide. We’re protecting the wrong people and hurting the people who try to follow the rules. This is just very sad.

  17. Dee Green at 9:16 am

    This must stop! We number 100 million and are surely being discriminated against for being sick & in pain. Doesn’t the ADA or HIPPA protect our rights to be provided care- humanly? Are there any attorney groups or the ACLU attempting to address all of these propaganda claims? We must stand up & be heard! Until other medicines or treatments are available (with less side affects/adverse reactions) then, to attack the only currently affective treatment available and leave up to 100 million to suffer cruel & intolerable pain (possibly increasing preventable suicides). Are we risking setting medicine back to the 1800’s (you know pull up your boots & “suck it up”) Where is the compassion? Stand up and be heard, otherwise, you or someone you love will be sentenced to a life that frankly will be cruel and Inhumane 😞

  18. Lisa at 9:09 am

    They have bypassed being big brother. I would say they are now big daddy. Anytime the government and special interest groups can dictate to patients and their docs what pain medicines we can and cannot have they’ve gone too far. Anytime they can completely deny access to medications for innocent law abiding injured and sick citizens they have gone too far http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/05/07/11542417-how-florida-brothers-pill-mill-operation-fueled-painkiller-abuse-epidemic this is the reason for the problem. For several yrs a major organized criminal multi million $ operation pumped millions of illegitimate pills straight to the streets.