By Steve Ariens
Editor’s Note: Steve is a retired pharmacist who has written for the National Pain Report. Today he looks at some of the terminology that has evolved recently in chronic pain and reaches an interesting conclusion
Don’t bother looking up the term “blenderizing”. It is a made up term. Basically have you ever put ingredients into a blender and turned it on frappe and after a short period of time, who believes that there is any hope of identifying any of the individual ingredients that was started out with? Most likely, whatever is now in the blender is a homogeneous “blob”.
Some of the terms – and definition – normally used in the abuse of opiate drugs are:
Epidemic: a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time
Crisis: a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger
Abuse: the improper use of something
Misuse: use (something) in the wrong way or for the wrong purpose
Addiction: physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance, and unable to stop taking it without incurring adverse effects
Dependency: Dependence develops when the neurons adapt to the repeated drug exposure and only function normally in the presence of the drug. When the drug is withdrawn, several physiologic reactions occur (withdrawal)
Our previous Surgeon General stated that (all) addiction(s) are part of mental health disease(s) and not a moral failing.
Many want to claim that the overdoses from opiates are part of an epidemic, but if addiction(s) is a mental health disease, mental health IS NOT a contagious disease. So now, some are starting to address this as a CRISIS, but if we are dealing with a CRISIS. Are we dealing with the failure of our healthcare system to recognize and readily treat mental health disease issues? So we are now seeing the interchanging of the terms CRISIS and EPIDEMIC.
The war on drugs has always referenced “drug abuse”, but now it would seem that more literature is attempting to make ABUSE and MISUSE synonymous. If a patient’s disease issues goes into a “flair” and/or increased activity induce above average pain and over a month’s period of time take a few extra doses to compensate, that MAY be considered MISUSE by some, but some seem to be trying to change the nomenclature so that they could be accused as ABUSING their medication(s) ?
The CDC produced opiate dosing guidelines in early 2016 and created the term MME (Morphine Mg Equivalents) and even the websites that produce MME calculators ignored those same websites that clearly state that these conversion tables are highly inaccurate to calculate accurate MME’s. Here is an article on National Pain Report that elaborates on this When Equal Isn’t Really Equal
In 1917, our judicial system declared that opiate addiction was a CRIME and not a DISEASE. Now that we are in the 21st century and more and more experts – outside of the judicial system – are starting to realize that addiction is a symptom of a mental health disease. Should we start focusing on diagnosing and treatment?
Should we start looking at those we currently label as “drug addicts”, are mental health patients, whose undiagnosed mental issues became FULL BLOWN substance abuse when they were prescribed or experimented with some substance with abuse potential.
Perhaps all those patients suffering from any/all chronic diseases, especially those who suffer from subjective diseases and have a medical necessity for controlled substances. Ban together, and seek to declare the 1917 judicial system’s declaration that addiction is a CRIME is UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
There will be no more need for the declaration by many “… we are chronic pain patients … not addicts .”
There will be no more need for bureaucrats proposing to create a “opiate medication tax” to pay for treatment of those with a mental health disease and abusing opiates.
The drug cartels will lose their $100 billion per year illegal drug market, and massive opiate OD’s will be a thing of the past.
Other articles for the National Pain Report by Steve Ariens can be viewed here.