By Angelika Byczkowski
I’m starting to burn out from the relentless onslaught of anti-opioid propaganda. I started my blog about chronic pain years ago, before the anti-opioid groups had become so vociferous and aggressive. Now, those seem like “the good old days”.
Every morning I dread what I’m going to see on my Twitter feed, which is focused on pain. I follow many of the outspoken patient advocates and doctors in pain management, and my feed has become a continuous stream of bad news.
The only positive news seems to be coming from scientific research. Every few days I’ll come across some promising studies that are pertinent to this blog. But even the most effective discoveries will not be available on the market for years (up to a decade) and that won’t save us from the ongoing opioid witch hunt.
The anti-opioid folks are using a well-known psychological tactic: if you repeat a falsehood enough times, it is perceived as true and then vigorously defended. It’s been proven that believers will react to any questioning of their new views by doubling down, digging in their heels, and closing their minds.
We all become defensive when we feel attacked, but it’s even worse when a belief has no rational basis, like these:
Everyone who chronically takes opioids is addicted,
We can solve the heroin overdose problem by restricting the supply of opioids prescribed for pain, and
A daily dose of more than 90mg morphine equivalent is extremely dangerous.
It’s sickening how the US government has taken sides against pain patients. The CDC allowed the PROP anti-opioid group to practically dictate policy by using their opinionated arguments throughout the CDC guidelines, even without much or good scientific evidence.
The PROP folks are wily. They started feeding the media their opioid addiction propaganda many years ago. It’s almost as though they were planning on this “opioid epidemic” because they are now so perfectly positioned to profit with their pricey (and mostly ineffective) recovery programs.
As more and more people are forced to stop taking opioids, PROP members are poised to reap financial benefit from their suffering. In this time of desperation for so many, they just happen to have two lucrative solutions to the problem they have created with their all-encompassing definition of addiction:
For pain patients, they offer much more expensive and dangerous invasive treatments (PROP doctors are mostly interventional pain specialists).
For addicts, they provide recovery facilities (the PROP president is the leader of the notorious Phoenix House recovery facilities).
The PROP folks are now trying to make money from my suffering, and that infuriates me.
This whole debate is sickening. Many healthy people have the idea that almost any pain can eventually be tolerated and that anyone taking opioids will become addicted. This simplistic black and white thinking has taken over many policy debates lately.
The anti-opioid propaganda has permeated and warped the public consciousness. When even a doctor spouts unscientific hype and tells me “opioids are bad” it breaks my heart for all of us pain patients.
And it’s this heartbreak, over and over, that makes writing about it so painful.
Though I’ve intended to stop on multiple occasions, I’m compelled to keep writing my blog because I feel I must in some way protest this huge injustice.
As little influence my insignificant little blog has, for my own sake, I have to keep going even when I don’t enjoy it. Blogging to inform others is one of the few activities that still give me a positive feeling of accomplishment.
Until she was disabled by progressive pain and fatigue from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, Angelika was a high tech IT maven at Apple and Yahoo, and a competitive endurance athlete.
When her pain allows, she spends her limited energy researching and blogging about Chronic Pain, EDS, and Fibromyalgia at http://EDSinfo.wordpress.com and writes poetry to sustain her sanity.