By Ed Coghlan.
Former President Bill Clinton had a media opportunity in Baltimore Monday and took advantage of the media attention on the opioid crisis by simply talking about it.
Here’s the Baltimore Sun story that speaks to Clinton’s appearance at Johns Hopkins University on Monday.
A report called “The Opioid Epidemic, From Evidence to Impact” — was a collaboration between the Bloomberg School and the Clinton Foundation in 2014 aimed at addressing at what the Sun called, “the staggering rates of deaths from opioids, which have only grown each year”.
The report offers specific actions that should be taken by public health officials at every level of government. The recommendations sound familiar and again ignore issues facing chronic pain patients.
It calls for seeking local policy changes reflecting national guidelines on reducing the number of prescriptions written for opioid painkillers; securing funding for better packaging to prevent diversion of drugs; expanding take-back programs for unused drugs; increasing surveillance of opioid misuse and disorders; boosting funding for treatment in high-use areas; developing easier-to-use naloxone formulations; establishing supervised consumption spaces; mandating participation in prescription drug monitoring programs that track individual patients’ pills; and changing language to avoid stigmatization and increasing public education.
Is there anything in this report that discusses the chronic pain issue?
Clinton – known to be a shrewd politician – went with the prevailing winds, which is to condemn opioid prescribing and all the avenues of access to opioid pain medication.
What the former President might have done is to listen to a woman named Linda Alkana of Seal Beach, California who shared her thoughts with the Los Angeles Times about the importance of listening to chronic pain patients when you address the opioid issue.
Do you have a message for President Clinton?
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