Clinton Adds His Voice to the Opioid Crisis – Ignoring Chronic Pain Patients

Clinton Adds His Voice to the Opioid Crisis – Ignoring Chronic Pain Patients

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?

No.

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.

Here’s the Alkana op-ed.

Do you have a message for President Clinton?

Leave a comment.

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

There are 28 comments for this article
  1. Becky .Q. at 5:00 pm

    All this talk about overdose on opoids and down grading people with real chronic pain going through hoops to get our medication, which okay, its understandable however were these people prescribed the opoids or just bought off the street? There’s a big difference. Insurances and Dr’s are not communicating over the patients care of just stopping opoids just like that. There’s a lot of different circumstances involved but patients who do what their asked with no red flags are paying the price of all this opoid overdose but what else is not being reported in their system. All these high ranking people making speeches about the increase of not just opoids overdose but heroin and others, who are they looking at? Keep it real !!! Every time someone famous or rich o.d. then its made into a oh we have to do this or we need to go into the after the fact it happened. There’s a lot more to this.

  2. Jim Gibson at 4:49 pm

    Mr. Clinton,
    Walk not even a full day, just a half of a day in my shoes, dealing with what I deal with, every kriffing day. Walk in the shoes of just a few of us who suffer and attempt to deal with chronic pain. Then speak. Until then….

  3. Nancy at 3:50 am

    To Calypso who posted 3 days ago —and wondered what would help with the pain if not opiates. I’m sorry to see that you too have this dreadful disease which is not Compact RSD, but called “Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.” It’s also formerly called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy and Causalgia. The people who share this disease that I have met along this painful journey call it HELL! I have CRPS Type 2 In both feet. Many of us take oral Gabapentin. Myself and others do inpatient, (there’s also outpatient) IV Ketamine infusions for 5 days while staying In the Wonderful Stanford hospital and I have a great pain team of MD’s and fellows who are always on the cutting edge with their treatments due to all the research they put their lives into. The Ketamine infusions I have every 6 months. I went in for my week long treatment on Oct. 9th and my pain has gone down and usually remains that way for months. With the occasional flare ups. Booster infusions are also available. Where you get IV Ketamine for about 6 hours then go home. People come from all over the world to be treated there. I’m just lucky enough to be in Northern California as well. I also have what’s called a “left common peroneal nerve block” or “right” depending on which side is affected to which they shoot steroids down into both affected feet from behind my knee while I lay on my stomach. After a couple little sticks with Lidocaine,they also put in a numbing med which goes straight to the affected area guided by ultrasound for proper needle placement in the correct nerve. I also have what’s called a “sympathetic nerve block” which is done with a needle on both sides of my spine. Before when I had just the left foot affected, they would only do the block on my left. The goal is to block the sympathetic nerve from allowing pain from the diseased area to the brain. While I’m having the Ketamine infusion I have the the Common peroneal block done while I’m there in the hospital. They Doc , fellow, student perhaps will come into my room and the procedure is done in my bed while I lay on my stomach. Having both procedures done at the same time I get the best results. I imagine they would do the same thing for you by injecting at the base of your neck or close to that.Ketamine is not for very one, but all who I have come to know have had positive results with the Ketamine infusions. There’s the ability to do Ketamine on an out patient basis as well. Drs. must be trained in this area and patient supervised at all times and hours after due to the psychological effects the drug can have on the patient. It wears off hours after treatment. There is also oral Ketamine available but I’ve not had very good results with those. They take the painful edge off if I have any flares. If you have not been to the CRPS/RSD website. I highly recommend it. Very informative. Go to rsds.org . Then click on RESEARCH/MEDICAL… then EDUCATIONAL PRESENTATIONS…Scroll down to Pradeep Chopra MD’s presentations.. Starting with CRPS Diagnosis and Managment (Power point presentation) and make sure to watch the (Video) Dated June,14th 2015. He’s amazing. Many of the women and some men I have come to know have met him and the varying conferences. He’s even allowed those who sent requests to add him on Facebook and he would write back and forth with them with questions they had when he was available. I have met so many people with this disease in person at treatments and in CRPS support groups on Facebook. It’s nice to be able to connect with others who share the same experiences you do when so many don’t or can’t understand the true nature of our unrelenting pain. I do take opiates as well as I also have Fibromyalgia and advanced facet joint disease and advanced degenerative disc disease. I’m only 57. If there were no opiates available. Those treatments that I mentioned may get you relief.
    I wish you luck. 😊

  4. M wagner at 10:31 pm

    Good old boys , the Clinton’s are a good example of people who have never held a real job that ends up with multi millions in the bank, and we are to believe anything they say, They do not care about anyone but them selves, There is too many like them making rules for us,
    They don’t follow any rules.

  5. Karen Warner at 6:47 pm

    I have had a dozen surgeries on my spine 10 on my lower lumbar which has cause such severe pain due t the last 3 which caused were labeled as failed fusion on the surgeries. I am unable to have any further surgeries on my lower lumbar without causing paralysis. The remaining 2 were done on my cervical area and up till my pain meds were cut back in December I was able to function in the home. Now I am in severe pain daily 24hrs a day unable to sleep, I can’t do housework, laundry or grocery shop anymore without severe pain so bad I lay in a ball in bed all night and day wondering when I will get relief from this pain. All I know is without my previous dose of medications I am unable to continue on with my life as it is. I miss the days when I was on my higher dose and could sleep and get housework done a little each day and get out to get groceries without the severe pain I now constantly experience. Christie, Clinton and Trump have no idea what it is like to live in pain so severe you pray you don’t wake up another day. Someone help us get our lives back to a tolerable amount of pain. I’ve had my meds cut back 6 times since 12/17, always pass drug tests, and set alarms to take my medications at the proper time everyday. Unfortunately the pain meds have been cut back so far that I have no relief from the daily pain I must live through.

  6. R.D at 5:43 pm

    I remember Public Service Announcements on TV in the ’60s that warned about what to do if you found a blasting cap, were outside during a thunderstorm, if your clothes were on fire, if there was an earthquake,.. They were serious and aired frequently so the rules got into your brain. A few years ago there were a few anti-drug messages on TV, but they were not serious or informative. They were silly like “This is your brain on drugs”. The mother rapping “Don’t do drugs” was so entertaining I downloaded it so I could watch it when I needed cheering up! Why don’t we inform young people that drug addiction is when the effect of taking the drug makes it very painful when you don’t keep taking it and this can only happen if you START taking an addictive substance. Have ex-addicts tell us how they started, how it messed up their life, how some of their friends were messed up and DIED from their addiction, and how hard it was to get off drugs. Have them tell us SERIOUSLY, DON’T START because they will take control of your LIFE! Show us famous people who died from drugs, or famous people who’s life improved after they quit. I’ve had Fibromyalgia for over a year and I don’t take opiate pain meds because I want a non-adictive pain medicine. I probably couldn’t get a prescription anyway (it would be easier to get it on the street). Smart idea to make opiates more scarce on the street, you aren’t smart enough to know another street drug will take its place? I’m still trying to find an informed doctor who knows about low-dose Naltrexone so I can try to reduce my pain safely, but it is currently only FDA approved for opiate addiction in a much higher dose. LDN needs more clinical evaluation before the FDA will approve it for chronic pain although some doctors will prescribe it off-label for chronic pain in very low doses and it has helped a lot of people.

  7. LouAnn Livengood at 5:31 am

    Why do these politicians seem to not look at or care about the whole picture!! Why is it so hard for them to understand that there are people with real chronic pain and that we rely on those medications to be able to get out of bed everyday! That we are NOT overdosing drug addicts!!! So damn frustrating!!!!!

  8. Dee at 10:46 pm

    This is just another wealthy guy who does nothing but lie to the public, fund terrorist countries by taking billions of dollars from those countries then wants to say how important women are! Those countries treat women like dirt. He thinks he has the answers to our pain medicine for REAL debilitating PAIN that prevents one from living a normal life, working a job, dating, have money. only relaying on SSDI which is like death! I am so sick of all these political people tell the Pain patient communities what we can feel and have!!!!!! They and Clinton have NO IDEA what its like to live with a Chronic Pain condition and a narcotize is just one of the medicines we take. They are so ignorant as if they think they can do this some will die as they won’t be able to function or they will turn to heroin but they don’t even think about that. The thing is their so called “Opioid Epidemic” they are counting mostly the illegal opioids then just for kicks thrown in the narcotics real Pain Patients take to survival!

  9. Calypso at 8:46 pm

    President Clinton,

    Nearly four years ago I was diagnosed with Compact Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). This disease causes pain that is a 47 on the McGill Pain Index. The next lowest pain level is a 42 which is the amputation of a finger. Below that is childbirth and cancer pain. My CRPS is caused by the amputation of part of a finger.

    I have been through five nerve blocks, three surgeries including removal of the nerve in my hand and the implantation of a spinal cord simulator. I have changed my diet, tried holistic medicine, acupuncture and every suggestion the doctors have made. I have used opioids responsibly during these four years. I am still in severe pain. My pain management doctor can no longer prescribe pain medication for me. CRPS is not curable and little is known about the damage to the nervous system. It spreads throughout the body. The pain feels like my hand is on fire or the blood stops flowing to my fingers and they turn white. Sometimes I don’t have words to describe the pain which travels from my hand to my shoulder and jaw. The world’s foremost authority on CRPS Dr. M. Stanton-Hicks is on my care team. Nothing else can be done to ease my pain except opioids.

    My question to you is, What should I do?

    I want to remain a productive member of society. My work requires 98% typing and using a mouse. The touch of the keyboard and mouse is more painful than I can describe. What should I do without the pain medication that allows me to work?

    I would love to have a social life. I work, come home exhausted from the pain, sleep and go to work the next day. I don’t have the energy to even cook for myself. What should I do?

    CRPS spreads to other parts of the body such as other limbs, internal organs and eyes. It is starting to change my vision at times. What should I do as it spreads?

    Mr. President, there has to be a way to balance opioid use for those that are responsible and need the medications with the prevention of addiction. I ask you to find it and get it implemented. In the mean time, What Should I Do?

  10. Cyn at 7:26 pm

    Absolutely terrible for those who have chronic pain. Don’t make it worse by denying responsible people who seek some quality of life in easing intractable pain along with other ways to minimize its disruption to a quality of life. Taking pain medicine is not by choice to get high it is to remediate the level of pain. The absence of pain would be wonderful.

  11. Tom White at 5:41 pm

    I like many have had chronic pain for many years. I have lower back pain and the type problem I have is one that surgery can not help. Many people that I know that have had surgery on their backs end up worse than before surgery. One of my brothers had back surgery 6 times and still had pain all the time. I had a situation happen with me a week ago that still makes me mad. I take a very low dose of opioid pain meds. I have been getting the prescription filled at my local Walgreens for the past two years. When I carried my prescription to be filled the young Pharmacist would not fill it. She first asked why did I need the pain meds. I have never had a Pharmacist ask me why I need to take any meds so I was very surprised. I did explain the chronic pain that I had. She told me that I needed to have surgery or go build up some muscles so I would not need the pain meds. I did go to another drug store and got my prescription filled. I still do not understand how the least knowledgeable person in our process of getting pain meds can decide that I don’t need them. My quality of life sucks as it is taking the pain meds. They do not make the pain go away but just take the edge off of it. I did not chose to have chronic pain. I deeply resent being treated as a drug addict.

  12. Kristen K at 5:23 pm

    I turn on the News this morning and this will come to no surprise that where I live in Rhode Island yet again another street Drug Bust!The Attorney general says 23 people have been taken off the street and we can’t even begin to imagine what would of happened to so many or how many would have died if it weren’t for the 45 Kilograms of Fentanyl,Cocaine,Marijuana or Mushrooms they have seized.Yet the AG says they are greedy and doing it for money.Hmmm Money yes but not one word of Addiction.They are the ones with the dangerous addiction that abuse drugs,steal,shoot up etc.These are the people who ruin it for us,the Chronic pain Patients.They are selfish and destructive.Makes me so angry that we are suffering enough real Pain and whenever I see News like this I lose more hope.We should not be even remotely compared to them.We take our medications to help us live somewhat of a good quality of life.I like many take my pain meds as prescribed,I do monthly urine test as well as I have a contract.I don’t use them to get high or for recreational use.I think the govt and CDC need to get their facts right about whats happening here,its a no brainer.I like many am so darn angry everytime these drug dealers get caught or someone ODs we are the ones who get punished.On top of my Chronic Pain I am now suffering more Panic and anxiety attacks because I can’t help but to think the days is gonna happen very soon that I am no longer going to be prescribed my pain meds than I know I will not have any quality of life at all.Behind this Bust will always be another.

  13. Carolyn Wooley at 5:06 pm

    Whenever this is addressed on the opiods misuse & crisis. The issue of chronic pain patients needs to be addressed patients that take opiods for chronic pain that > been lresponsible &take the medication as prescribed should not be punshised its not us thats putting drugs on the streets.we need our medicine &it being taken away from us . We take it because we need it for our pain its not fair to us to be punished. Because other people are putting bad drugs on the streets. It the carfentynal coming in from china
    These other dealers are making pills out of it.selling on the streets. &pain patients that have had thier medications taken away from them.are trying to get pain relief they go to the streets buy a Percocet &They die!!!!!!!! Cause it’s that carfentynal &herion made in t o a pill
    Now is this right ? No its not. We chronic pain patients have been taking our medicine as prescribed for years with no problems
    &tell me why are we being perscuritated im 55 yrs old i have a lot of medical problems &They keep reducing my meds every month.because the C.D.C. says we cant have it. It’s to much even though we have managed with no problems. every person is different.thier tolerance is different thier pain level is different. There is so much to take in to account . But the Drs.hands are tied.if the dr. Dosent do what thier told by the CDC. They can lose thier license tell me where is our rights as individuals to be treated by our Dr. He should be the one to say what we need. That’s why he went to medical school.i dont feel someone else should tell my Dr. How to treat me. &What to prescribe to me. & how much. We are being treated like second class citizens. Our right are being violated I have so much to say about this matter. I feel like all of us .Chronic pain patients needs to flood Congress with letters on our feeling about this matter &our rights. Please everyone let me know what ur thoughts &feelings are on this .It’s not right for us to have to suffer in pain because the CDC got it wrong on where the medicine is coming from thats overdosing all the people.i read an article other day where the CDC acknowledged that they went back & checked the overdose deaths for 2016 &over half of were overdosed on fentynal &herion. They admitted &said th at shows it not coming out of our Dr. Offices or our Pharmacies. (Carolyn wooley)

  14. Connie D at 1:41 pm

    What can we do as chronic pain patients? We are not being heard. I have rheumatoid arthritis. I take Norco 10 mg four times a day and depend on it to function. I’ve been on this dose for years, have never asked for more. I’m tired of being lumped into the same group as abusers. Their statistics are wrong. Please, someone tell me what each and everyone of us need to do to be heard!

  15. CRPSPain at 1:35 pm

    CRPS is rated in the McGill Pain Index as more painful than cancer. This non-malignant neuro-inflammatory disease, however, does indeed spread to other extremities. CRPS migrates worse than cancer’s spreading to other organs. Being that’s CRPS is one of THE most painful diseases known to mankind and is rated worse than cancer, why isn’t CRPS excluded from the 5-day opioid pill law that has been implemented for most Acute pain problems?

    CRPS starts as an acute pain disease and then almost always becomes chronic. Opioids improve quality quality of life for chronic pain patients. Restricting these meds Is an act of torture and a violation of innate human rights to live with less pain.

  16. Marianne Skolek Perez at 12:58 pm

    The Clinton Foundation and “Facing Addiction” were part of this web broadcast — both are funded by Open Society aka George Soros. It was 2-1/2 hours of more talk — but they do support “safe injection sites” for heroin addicts. If you think this epidemic can’t get any worse, just you wait and see. Big money will be made for The Clinton Foundation and a “non-profit” named Facing Addiction.

  17. Scott michaels at 10:42 am

    CAN THESE PUBLICATIONS
    PRINT THE COMMENTS AND SEND TO OURSO CALLED REPRESENTATIVES AND TRUMP.
    OVERLOAD THIER MAIL BOXES WITHPROOF OPIOIDS WORK AND ARE THE GOLD STANDARD FOR PAIN RELIEF WHEN TAKEN AS DIRECTED ANS 99.999% OF THE PATIENTS DID BEFORE THE WERE CUTOFF FOR NO REASON

  18. D.kraus at 10:36 am

    RIGHT ON C.R. I think you and I know what needs to be done,and it is not crying on this site and writing letters that get tossed in the trash by laughing congressman or department heads.At some point in time we must relize this war was lost when they applied the CDC guidelines to our most sacred citizens first,the vets.Do you think they care about us if they do not care for our vets????? Wake up and smell the PAIN!!!

  19. Martin John at 10:17 am

    We need to differentiate those who use opioids as part of the chronic pain strategy to those who attain this medication for recreational usage.

    My medication is my responsibility I have a duty of care to use this as written by a doctor.

    We do not ban vehicles as those who cannot use them as requested, we educate with knowledge or reprimands if necessary.

    My quality of life is eased by the use of recommend opioids, this epidemic of misuse need to be addressed to prevent those who cause damage to themselves or others who seek financial gain from this trend.

    I live with pain all the time, for 25 years as do many of my colleagues who live with this life changing condition, tonight 100M Americans also endue this unseen and invisible plight.

    Thank you.

  20. Cora at 10:04 am

    I have very few words for such a supposedly intelligent human being and that is to but out of an issue he obviously has not thoroughly researched. Mr Clinton leave the medical decisions to my doctor and you stay in your area of expertise politics and pandering to the elite. It is people such as this with a large audience that are doing the most damage to chronic pain patients because they are ill informed and their people eats up whatever they are dishing out. The pet diagnoses is currently addiction and you will get everything you need and more. This is being achevied on the backs of chronic pain patients. Why can’t the medical community provide appropriate medical care for both without sacrificing one for the other?

  21. Jennifer P Cloward at 9:49 am

    It would be wonderful if the politicians that are “taking these matters in their own hands” could spend at least a month being a caregiver for someone suffering from a chronic illness and chronic pain. Perhaps if they could see what taking away all forms of relief from that patient does to the patient, it would give them a very inside look into what they are doing to the chronic pain sufferers and perhaps that would lead them to give some thoughts to those who are not abusing the opiates but need them to function. Some politicians -maybe even Mr. Clinton – could walk away from that experience unaffected but I’m sure there are politicians out there that would walk away grateful for their own health, the health of those they love and much more compassionate for the chronic pain community. Perhaps only then could our voices be heard.

  22. Jeanine at 9:35 am

    It almost amazes me….almost. The outright ignorance of these “informed” people that get to weigh in about the treatment of pain patients. Bill is not the first one to mention that they think that there are too many pain prescriptions being made. However, if it wasn’t for all the new guidelines, the DEA, & the CDC creating the policies for fewer days per prescription there would be far fewer scripts per patient. Then eliminating electronic scripts and requiring written only makes it even harder for legitimate pain patients to access their meds.

  23. William Dorn at 8:34 am

    How can a country as great as america not care for its people that are suffering chronic pain.People are dying and no one in goverment cares.The last country to commit genocide on its sick and injured was 1939 Germany.Please help us we just want to live and be productive citizens.Mr President please look at the true facts and you will see that chronic pain patients are not the cause of the opiute problem.You are respected world wide and your voice could stop this war on the chronic pain patients.

  24. Peggy Coager at 5:31 am

    Dear Mr President, when you were in office in order to get a bill passed there were times when other things were added to that bill. Most times it would of been vetoed because of what was added. It would of been so much better if the bill was separated and went in on its own. That said its about time you and others started separating the addicts and the pain patients. They are both equally important but when you lump us all up together the pain patients get treated unfairly. I have been a pain patient for almost 18 years and yes I am on opiods to control that pain. I do not abuse my meds and never had. There are many of us out there that are going to get thrown under the bus because of the guidelines the CDC has put in place. We need to be separated from the people who suffer from addiction. We both need the help but not the same kind of help. My name is Peggy. I have been diagnosed with severe Interstitial Cystitis, Fibromyalgia, DDD, Migraines.

  25. HJ at 5:01 am

    It is not a simple issue and it’s being made into one. For chronic pain patients to have to fear losing access to medications that give them a quality of life, it’s just devastating.

    It’s not that I’m addicted. Untreated chronic pain would prevent me from working, which would mean I couldn’t afford health insurance, which would force me into a long wait applying for disability (I saw my mother go through it after aggressive arthritis was cutting her spinal cord – she’s had two back surgeries, will have two more). That’s not what I want for my life.

    I don’t understand why I should be punished on account of people who misuse a substance, when I’m following my doctor’s directions. I know my doctor is already being influenced by things other than her professional medical judgement in treating me. If my condition were to worsen, I’d be expected to continue to function with the same or less medication.

    I’m trying to get by. Right now, I feel like my doctor is telling me I have to start swimming or… or… or… what? My treatment seems to hang on increasing demands. The fact that I walk for exercise and that I go to the gym up to 3 times a week isn’t enough. I’m fortunate to do this much. I complained about fatigue and my doctor said, “you’re smart, figure it out.” I’ve tried, and that’s why I came to her. It’s all on me. Do more, do more. Prove yourself. Be worthy. You’re lazy.

    … what happens when I can’t push harder? I was on the verge of collapse last night at the gym. But my experience isn’t valid. We’ve got it hard enough, is what I’m saying. I don’t want to lose hope.

    We are getting lost in the shuffle. Doctors are having their medical decisions dictated to them by the government. They can’t afford to care or listen or treat patients as individuals. Pain patients are to blame for having pain — it’s criminal of them to want to have a better quality of life. How dare they?

  26. C.R at 4:28 am

    Ya I have one, I hope you worthless politicians need pain relief we’re your near your time to move to the other side, I hope you are treated like me after 15 years of treatmemt, and a recent accident that cracked my ribs and pelvic, you know what I got prescribed ? after being cut off and left to decide if a bullet was easier?? I got a sorry hope you feel better soon, suffer cause I can’t give you any meds for the pain ur in!!!, here’s your 23000.00 hospital bill, you can pay on your way out……. the hell with you doctors and politicians… I hope you suffer soon………

  27. marty at 3:41 am

    Just another example of homework not being done. Rattles on about the opioid addiction and all the changes that should be made . But in the real world the people that are getting their “medications” from doctors are not the opioid addicts who are out to get a high. We are the dependent ones who use our medication responsibility as it was intended to help us to live a some what normal life. Unfortunately my normal is now with a walker but without the aid of my medication which my doctor prescribes for me I would be bed ridden and maybe not here. My doctor has been seeing me for half my life and I think he knows best. Better to put your attention into the streets where many have to go now because of the bull of picking on chronic pain people. Do some home work. Go after the makers and the dealers. Doesn’t seem like much is being done to them when they are the real creators of opioid addiction.

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