Government, media, and PROP especially continue to confuse the young addicts who shoot up heroin and snort fentanyl to get some presumed euphoria, with chronic and acute pain patients. There is no correlation between the number of opioid prescriptions and the number of overdose fatalities, period. No correlation means there is no causal relationship.
Worse, regions that have cut back hard on pain medication have driven up overdoses, as former pain patients are forced to resort to street drugs for analgesia or commit suicide due to unmanaged pain, thereby exacerbating the overdose problem, which in typical fashion causes more tightening of opioid regulations, and producing more deaths. Do these people belong to a secret drug cartel or something? It is purely speculative, but otherwise none of this makes any scientific sense.
Not only are such policies torturing legitimate victims of chronic illness such as sickle-cell anemia, terminal cancer victims, hospice patients, and those like me who inherited autoimmune disorders which destroyed my joints, fused my spine, and injured my spinal cord, such ill-conceived regulations are also not helping the addicts who are not effected by tighter government regulations, prescribing limits, and other ignorant measures to rein in overdose fatalities.
Locations that report success in reducing fatalities in large measure inevitably report that such success stems from making naloxone more available, not by reducing prescriptions for opioids.
Why not do something that actually works and without hurting anyone, instead of begging government to take over all health care decisions away from physicians, who actually have the training to know how to administer pain medications, as opposed to a group of ex-attorneys now turned bureaucrat who seem to not comprehend statistics. One DC politician recently claimed that 40% of Americans are not just taking opioids, but are actually addicted to them. This can of reckless commenting in our US Congress fuels the poor decisions that only do harm.
How about instead of imposing ever tightening restrictions on physicians and prescribed analgesics, we do two things that might actually solve the problem?
- require all insurers to make naloxone available free of charge to any pain patient, acute or chronic. It is a low-cost solution that many reports corroborate actually works.
- pass a national chronic pain patient bill of rights to prevent or reverse state legislation erroneously based on the federal government’s CDC “guideline” issued in 2016 that the CDC had to clarify on April 9th that the 2016 “guidelines” were never intended to apply to chronic pain patients, and any such use to was outside the scope of both the CDC recommendations and modern science. The FDA followed up the CDC announcement warning the next day of harm from acting erroneously on the CDC regulations and forcing chronic pain patients to taper or stop taking long term analgesics.
Since the federal government initiated this mess, they need to step up to fix it by protecting the people they have inadvertently harmed. Why do we have a government if it doesn’t protect those who cannot protect themselves, the fundamental supposition of modern society?
Jeff Edney is a chronic pain patient with ankylosing spondylitis, cervical myelopathy, and systemic generalized osteoarthritis that damaged every major joint in his body from the waist down. He also edits the Chronic Pain Patients News Source page on Facebook, which you can see here.