Former Drug Czar Opines on the Opioid Issue

Former Drug Czar Opines on the Opioid Issue

Is the government looking at the wrong source in its vigilance to reduce opioid abuse?

A former U.S. Drug “Czar” says yes.

William Bennett, the nation’s first drug czar, said this week on Fox and Friends that the debate about the opioid overdose epidemic wrongly focuses on prescription drugs.

(Here is Elizabeth Llorente’s story about the interview on Fox News.)

“The nature of the problem has changed in the last two or three years,” said Bennett, who served as Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under President George H. W. Bush. “It’s now fentanyl, it’s now heroin” that account for most of the overdoses.

“Most people, the vast majority of the people, who are prescribed these [painkillers] do not abuse them,” Bennett said. “The CDC had to come back and issue another kind of guidance, saying a lot of people who need pain pills are not getting them.”

Both the CDC and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned doctors last month not to abruptly stop prescribing opioid painkillers to patients who are taking them for chronic debilitating pain, generally lasting more than three months.

This is an interesting week for Bennett’s comments—given that the HHS Pain Task Force will release its final recommendations this week. This will be the latest federal guidance on how to best treat pain—and the use of opioids is certainly part of that prescription.

Since the Task Force—which has been receiving good marks for the thoroughness of its efforts—began its work, we’ve seen some backpedaling by federal agencies—notably the CDC and FDA—who believe efforts to curb opioid abuse is inadvertently hurting the chronic pain patient and others who use opioids to manage pain.

The recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine was cited by Surgeon General Jerome Adams recently.

It said in part, “We need better evidence in order to evaluate the benefits and harms of clinical decisions regarding opioid prescribing, including when and how to reduce high-dose opioids in patients receiving them long term.”

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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C. Sieving

While high dose fentanyl is dangerous, I used to be on the 100mcg patches for years and then slowly reduced to the 25mcg which is equal to 30mg morphine a day. The patch was great! I never had to take pills or worry about overdose issues. Fentanyl is not the answer always but , drug Co’s Should make hydrocodine in patches of different strengths so the medication is automatically delivered and no issues with pills.
What happens to those of us who were abruptly taken off our meds.? It’s been 8mths now! What about the Dr’s & LPN’s who put pride before patients and have the power to write in your records that you’ an addict after years of being a model patient? What do I do now? When my Dr moved, the LPN that temp took my case, admittedly never reviewed my med history and just because I was on pain meds & for NO OTHER REASON but to avoid having to refill my meds , tainted my reputation and records that will follow me forever! B4 my Dr left, he told me how much he trusted me and what a good patient I was. Now suddenly I’m an addict! I went to a pain clinic and was subjected to painful injections and a nerve ablation gone horribly wrong and was refused any medication! I went from happy, productive & active to depressed inactive and miserably in pain. My patient history should speak for itself, not a LPN whom I’d never even seen the misused her power and destroyed my life! GOD, please help us all 🙏! What do I do now? Hit the streets or die?!!

Susan Daley

Yes, but NOTHING is actually being DONE about these truths, that millions of us knew all along when NO ONE would listen to us! Talk is very cheap. If people had only listened to us when we told you the truth we could have saved thousands of lives! Now, please DO something about this ASAP, before more of us die. I’m hanging by a thread and I, like millions of other suffering patients and wounded veterans, need my opioid medication dose restored ASAP before I go insane from the pain and kill myself too! Please repeal the federal dosage limits and call on the states to do the same. Show them the new data and the CDC retraction on tapering and dosage restrictions. Get the CDC to revise it’s 2016 guideline now! Please act now before any more people in pain die!

David B Kester

Finally!

Gary Hancock

FINALLY, someone with a clear viewpoint said it for the record: responsible, self-moderating patients are NOT dying from overdoses of prescribed meds. Heroin and Fentanyl users ARE dying. You can’t lump everyone into one group and point fingers unless you live with crippling pain and have found some secret way to control it. That’s because there ISN’T any kind of secret.

Holly

I will agree that many Dr.s have no idea how to get you off pain medication! This includes anesthesiologists. I was in the hospital for 2 months on the PCA pump. The day before discharge I was taken off the pump and given oral pain medication. When I was released the following day I was given a piece of paper with directions on how to wean myself in 2 weeks time! When I told the Dr.s I was so sick, and in so much pain ( had a 10 hour surgery reconstructing my common bile duct)and withdrawing I was told to go to rehab with addicts.

One major thing is that the DEA MUST leave the GOOD Dr.s alone and concentrate more on the drugs coming in the USA! Our Dr.s will still be fearful now if this doesn’t stop!

My Doctor took me off everything.then every other month .give back after taking to him.my somas was first.i got put back on federal ..from peracet to hydro 10. I take xanax because I have a bad panic attacks.cant drive or anything.now he cut me off permanently..none for next month so I can find a doctor..he says from what he gives me I can DIE AFTER 30 plus year’s…

MALICHIA HORTON

Was doctor DR.Mahan. INTERAL MEDICINE…MERCY CLINIC
THIS WAS A INHUMANE ACTION

It is the heroin and Fentanyl that’s causing these deaths and overdoses.I’ve never personally seen heroin but I know it’s easier to get than aspirins at the dollar store.

James Robert De caro

This post that indicates that the cdcs directors son od’ed on a fentenayl concoction show that he should remove himself from the post for this is a conflict of interest and he is biased in his decisions against pain patients write your Congressman tell him about it don’t pass the buck tell your congressman get on the phone man all of yous

Carl Dunn

Yesterday I went to my pharmacist and tried to refill my tramadol and was told my insurance will only allow a 7 day prescription to be filled. Or they could call my doctor and ask for a pre-approved authorization or some such B.S. Now the state of Florida is again trying to cure the pain issues of legal, law abiding pain patients by forcing us to get a refill every seven (7) days! Another cluster-f**k by big brother! Instead of using tax money and resources to stop fentanyl, the real culprit from China and Mexico, we CPP’s must jump through more hoops created by the mindless morons in the legislative branch who create stupid useless laws in the guise of appearances such look! we are actually doing something about the “opioid crises” we created in the first place! They allowed pharma companies to push their product saying it wasn’t THAT addictive! Doctors made money, congress made money, the senate made money, everybody involved made money, YOU got dependent to the point you had to have the drugs to function and go to work. Now, they got you so you have to suffer because young idiots wanting to get real high, and drug dealers who are greedy as hell sell fentanyl and lace everything they can sell with it as make a ton of money too. A kilo of heroin is 30K, fentanyl is 3K. See the difference? It is all about the money. Dependent on drugs to work is something that should be honored and allowed without question. All of you who are DOD to work need to voice your outrage by writing to congress and the senate until you can’t write no more. This injustice must stop!

Submit

I ,,hopefully with your permission, Copies thei,and want to paste it.
“Most people, the vast majority of the people, who are prescribed these [painkillers] do not abuse them,” Bennett said. “
Let me say this guy has taken many stances to up the war on drugs many many times.
But give credit where credit is due.
Thanks for your trying to say what pain patients have said for years.

Jody Hoffman

It would be nice if they would prescribe the medication as quickly as they cut it off. That won’t happen overnight though and it will take an educated informed discussion with the proof in your hands with your providers to get them to listen and even then there will be some that won’t listen. I know this much and I know some CPP will disagree with me but I am speaking from personal experience many people were on massive dosages of opiates & I know that a person’s body becomes used to a dosage and it ceases to work as well & you have to increase it. Instead of reducing the medication slowly and then prescribing a different medication most Dr’s just kept on increasing the same drug. I have read story after story from people that were cut off or down suddenly & they all said thankfully they had some stockpiled. If you are able to stockpile (which is against the drug contract I signed) then you are prescribed to much medication. I was never able to stockpile, I would have a good week and not have to take 6 pills a day but the next week I would be in bed with pain and have to take an extra pill a day, it evened out & if there was a hold up on my refill I have a day or two of a buffer. Now people are going to be able to ask for an increase and their provider will hopefully increase it slowly and carefully and if it gets out of control reduce it slowly and carefully back down and try a new one. Be smart people & understand that nothing will ever make you pain free but you can be comfortable. Nobody and I mean nobody needs to take 300 20mg oxycodone pills a month like I read that one man was taking & that wasn’t enough so he overdosed himself.

WHY DIDN’T THEY SEE THIS PROBLEM FOR WHAT IT WAS IN THE BEGINNING YEARS AGO BEFORE CREATING HAVOC AND SUICIDES. ALL RESPONSIBLE SHOULD BE FIRED AND PUT IN JAIL FOR MURDER of countless innocent patients in intractible pain. we’ve all been mugged with the worst weapon, DOORS SLAMMED IN OUR FACES.

Phil

I’m amazed at how many experts understand this issue, yet it is still so poorly defined by media outlets and politicians.

Is there a sinister motive behind their ignorance or are they just plain stupid?

Cindy

Until reading Gary Raymond’s below post, I had no idea that the CDC Director’s insane attitude towards opioids is b/c his son almost died from a cocktail of ILLEGAL opioids — cocaine mixed with fentanyl.

I googled it, and read in a 2018 interview that he said the issue is so personal for him due to what happened to his son.

Unfortunately for us, he’s too stupid to distinguish between legal Rx’s for pain patients and illegal street drugs for people looking for a good time — like his then 37 year old, not-a-kid, musician son.

So, all of us are being punished due to his son and him, both being morons.

I’d like to see him interviewed about all the suicides and other pain he’s caused.

How many of us have turned to street drugs after a forced taper or a total cut-off, in desperation to live, and then have died due to tainted drugs.

I wish that Dr. Robert Redfield’s story would be more publicized than it is.

As to the 37 year old musician son, all I could find was that he was arrested for drug possession in Maryland in 2016 and that the outcome of the case is not available in public records.

Again, it helps to be white and privileged. If he were black and poor and had just a tiny amount of crack, he’d be in prison for years and it certainly would be public record.

Terry

Halafrickinluha. It’s about damn time somebody got it right. When I think of all the horrible pain I’ve had to endure it makes me very angry. But even if they change the guidelines, do we really believe that pain management doctors are just going to reinstate our meds? The DEA put the fear of God into them. If there’s any legislation to come of this something has to be done to for chronic pain patients who really need their meds to function, and it has to contain language so the doctors won’t be fearful to prescribe enough pain meds again. I used to take 195 mgs of oxycodone daily, now I take 60 mgs. I don’t think my doctor would even put me on 100 mgs. This false hope that you’re feeling is well deserved, we’ll NEVER get our lives back again!!! Take care all, God bless.

I’m just scared it’s going to still take more damage being done to change a lot of the Doctors to start helping people again? I don’t know how much more taper I can take?My life has really went down.

Ed, thank you for this positive info.
Thank you to William Bennett for coming around and speaking on our behalf…God willing you will be taken seriously and a fast change will begin.
@Terri James… The last line you posted resonates with me… I still don’t understand why our Pain management doctors (at least the past few of mine) refuse to entertain any conversation whatsoever about my pain issues! It’s mind blowing. I can only hope that change will give them ‘physician confidence’ again and bring them back to who they once were…doctors who actually showed they cared!

T. Negrete

Hmmm! Just maybe some of us will see a future again. Where our pain is not the center of life.

Lauren Gilbert

Talk talk talk, so far that’s all we’re hearing. Now I agree that the talk is positive, and they’re definitely getting back on the right track, but as always my question is when are they going to put this talk into action and stop this insanity that has been foisted upon law-abiding rule-following pain patients?

Joe k

I was watching Bill Bennett live that day and my jaw nearly hit the floor. I couldn’t believe a former drug czar was telling it like it is and with conviction. He defended CPP like nobody else I have ever seen on mainstream media and he ACTUALLY knew what he was talking about. He must have a loved one that suffers from Chronic pain in my opinion because he knew our struggle so well and articulate.

It gives me hope with folks like Dr. Bennett(Phd Ed) fighting for us.

Gary Raymond

Revoke Dr. Robert Redfield’s license – do not taper it. How much jail time has his son served for purchasing, transporting, and consuming illegal cocaine laced with fentanyl? Dr. Redfield’s vengeance for his son’s idiocy has harmed and killed many innocent people in this nation. From all appearances, it is acceptable to use cocaine, but it is not acceptable to use pain-relieving opioids obtained through legal prescription process. Let’s not forget our wounded warriors who have been mistreated the most. Withholding effective pain relief is like starving a baby.

Jeffrey Joseph Sharp

Lord I hope that this is the answer…

Walter Strickland

I have to agree with Mr. Bennett, The CDC knows this as well .But like I have said many times,is much easier to go after the law abiding people as they are easy targets.

Marjorie Booker

Wish somebody would give us the government’s definition of “high-dose” opioid prescription. I do not believe Percoset 10mg 4 times a day is a high dose yet patients taking this amount to be able to work and earn a living and PAY TAXES (not get them back as a refund) are being cutback. It is a shame. I hope rational minds prevail. I wish we had a machine that could allow a person in piwer to ecperience our pain without causing damage, then we would be having a completely different discussion.

Well now, hopefully someone will listen to a “former drug Czar”; versus the millions of chronic pain patients who have indeed made their voice heard every way possibly known! Sadly, many by suicide. It’s not that our physicians don’t know what they’re doing, they do. They just can’t do it anymore and we can’t talk to them anymore if it’s about chronic pain!