Opinion: Kaiser and Media Escalate Opioid Abuse and Death Narrative

Opinion: Kaiser and Media Escalate Opioid Abuse and Death Narrative

The latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll has generated significant media attention, further inflating the narrative about opioid abuse and death.  If all you see are the numbers that hit the press, you’d be misinformed.

The headlines paint a clear picture of the story-line:

“Prescription drug abuse plagues U.S., stymies policymakers” (Washington Times)

“Painkiller Abuse Hits Close To Home For A Majority Of Americans” (Huffington Post)

“One in Four Americans Has Been Addicted to Painkillers or Is Close to an Addict” (Bloomberg)

“Half of Americans Know Someone Addicted To Painkillers” (Mirror Daily)

Here are the data points from the Kaiser Poll that fueled the headlines:

  • 6% of those surveyed said they had abused painkillers
  • 25% know a close friend or family member who has abused painkillers
  • 45% are acquainted with people who have used these medications without a prescription
  • 39% know someone who became addicted
  • 16% report knowing a person who died from an overdose of pain medication
  • 9% said they’d lost a relative or good friend to an overdose.
  • 56% of Americans touched by prescription painkiller addiction.

Mark Twain famously said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.”

I’m no statistician, so I can’t question the validity of the findings, but I do know headlines, and a powerful narrative that government, media and public policy groups are advancing at great speed.

Sixteen percent of Americans “know a person who died from an overdose of pain medication.” That’s a big number.  Can it be true?

I’m sure it’s true. I know someone. Do you?”

But what is raised is the bigger issue of public perception. Is the whole opioid debate being warped by folks with an agenda?

One of the National Pain Report’s important contributors thinks so.

“We have a responsibility to work very hard to protecting others from our beliefs – and because every person has unique needs, we just don’t have the right to further our personal agendas at the expense of persons who can be easily harmed by our pronouncements – and they are being harmed, make no mistake about it,” said Terri Lewis, Ph.D., an expert on Rehabilitation Medicine and contributor to National Pain Report who has been very critical of the Center for Disease Control Guidelines on opioid prescription.

“Building a survey to confirm the story you want to tell is so easy,” Dr. Lewis continued. “Most people will respond based on what they’ve heard circulating in the media, not according to their personal experience. A surveyor can make a ham sandwich tell any story they want.

And, here’s Kaiser’s “ham sandwich:”. 

The Poll asked respondents, “To the best of your knowledge, which of the following is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States?  Falls, drug overdose, or car accidents?

(Notice the question asks about “drug overdose” and not “died from an overdose of pain medication,” which is one of their major headlines.)

The Kaiser Tracking Poll states definitely that “Drug overdose ranks as the leading cause of accidental deaths in the U.S. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, yet 4 in 10 (40 percent) Americans are aware of this fact. A larger share instead names car accidents as the main culprit (50 percent), 6 percent say falls, and the rest are unsure or volunteer another cause.

Accidental Death Chart

What are they trying to say?  I’ll let you answer that.

Do the numbers they cite really work, or are they “statistics?”

Kaiser tells you, the reader, that the CDC says “drug overdose” is the leading cause of accidental death.  That’s got to be true, right?  It is, in a Twain-like way.  The Kaiser citation shows that the CDC states there were 43,982 drug overdose deaths (all drugs) and 16,235 related to opioid painkillers in 2013.  The CDC also cites that there were 33,804 motor vehicle deaths in 2013.

“The entire discussion is patently misrepresented when ‘prescription drug overdoses’ are lumped together with non-opioids, heroin, and opiates prescribed and taken as prescribed,” Dr. Lewis said. “And of the 16,235, a portion of those are opiates taken as prescribed by compliant patients – and death may have well been the result of factors beyond the prescribing, including underlying illness.”

With the headlines focused on abuse and death related to prescription painkillers, it’s deceiving that Kaiser chose a figure that relates to all drug overdoses.  Why?  Perhaps it is because 16,235 is about half as small a number as 33,804.  It seems that the headline, “Death Due to Prescription Pain Medicine Is Only Half That of Motor Vehicle Accidents!!!” wouldn’t do much for reinforcing the message.

The number of deaths and overdose due to illegal, misuse of prescription pain medication IS alarming.  It IS worthy of great attention. But, what’s happening is similar to what we see with other national issues – it’s the positioning of everything being either good or evil while throwing the law-abiding sufferers under the bus.  Sadly the bad guy in this story is the person who takes pain medication legally, responsibly and with great need.

What did they ever do wrong?  Nothing.

But, now they don’t just fight their pain, they are fighting the effects of a propaganda war waged against them by the government (CDC, DEA, Administration, HHS, FDA…) and policy groups (Kaiser, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Clinton Foundation), with air bombardment from the media.

National Pain Report would like your opinion on the issue.

Doug Lynch is a former chronic pain patient who worked in the pain industry for ten years. He is a partner in the National Pain Report.

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Authored by: Doug Lynch

There are 24 comments for this article
  1. LouisVA at 12:05 pm

    To John S. and others – there most certainly can be unusual reactions to different medications on different people. I do not doubt at all your experience with Trazadone just as I do not doubt that someone can be deeply affected by one Norco; however, the opposite can also happen. I have a genetic defect (CYP2D6) that causes me to be a poor metabolizer of opioids. That’s why I am on an ultra-high-dose of opioids that is the equivalent of 2500 mg. daily morphine dose (the gold standard by which opioids are measured). Needless to say, I am very concerned when the talk goes to capping doses at a certain level. I’ve seen some recommended caps that would be less than 5% of my daily dose. Each person needs an individualized treatment plan. It is folly, and frightening to me, to even think of McDonaldizing doses.

  2. Dorian W at 10:39 am

    scott
    you are so right, i have read so many of your comments. when paul said a lady took her 1st pain pill in her life.
    if thats the case why was she driving! until you k ow your opioid tolerant you dont drive. im like you i take about 900 mg eq of morphene daily. I could drive cross country, in a blizzard. the medicine only takes my apin away.
    for the guy on the hathroom floor, YES that what muscle relaxers do . RELAX ALL MUSCLES. NITEY NIGHT.
    Its people like those in the general public or even very young doctors. theve been told so many times from so many angles pain medication will kill you. Evenyually they buy in. thats until they need it. Tell the world the earth is flat, they believe it, until proof is thrown in their face. there are a billion people world wide that arent dying and overdosing because they are not drug addicts. they read the bottle before taking anything.

  3. Scott michaels at 10:25 am

    to john s and paul
    you took a non narcotic medication. thats the problem. the 1 time my dr prescribed soma to me same thing happened. same with vallium. thats the doctors fault. lack of training. he was so afraid of giving you a pain pill like norco. he gave you a very strong nonnarcotic muscle relaxer. if anything needs to come off the market, its muscle relaxers and diazipans. THEY KNOCK YOU OUT. IN THE 60S MAMMA LITTLE HELPER IN THE ROLLINg STONES SONG was valium. hey valium on their own are fine, oxycontin on its own is fine for an opioid tolerant patient, the two together, especially if your looking to get loaded will do the trick. you can easily die because the valium doesnt help the pain so you take another and then its like your drunk. then you take 3 instead of 1 pain pills. THESE ARE GENERALLT ACUTE PAIN PEOPLE NOT CHRONIC. CHRONIC PEOPLE KNOW WE NEED THESE MEDS FOR LIFE SO WE TAKEAS DIRECTED. I would bet my left arm that with most of the non heroin opioid deaths, muscle relaxers ALCOHOL or valiums were included in the blood stream.
    I actually spoke to that kaiser doctor again, it turned out the driver did not take a norco. she was on heroin. she thought the blood test wouldnt tell the difference.
    people that need opioid thereapy for life are started with very low doses and monitored. the only thing i agree with the guidelines is that primary doctors should be trained on prescribing opioids, have a contract with patient and urin tests. or send the patient to pain management. but a painanagement that is not hindered with dosage caps and politics. every patient is different. KAISER PAIN MANAGEMENT IS SET UP AS A NARCOTICS ANNONOMYS PROGRAM. KAISER AND FACEY ALIKE ARE LOOKING ONLY TO SAVE MONEY ON PAIN MED PURCHASES AND KEEP THE COPAY THE SAME. THIS WOULD ADD HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS TO THE BOTTOM LINE.

  4. John S at 8:20 am

    After my treating Dr. gave me Tranzodone I was hesitant to take the entire tablet. It was scored and I took a 1/4 of the pill.

    An hour later I was on the bathroom floor, passed out after hallucinating and vomiting. Had I taken the entire pill perhaps I would have jumped out the window. We all react in different ways to medication.

    Pain meds are a useful tool that work but the world is being told they don’t work for whatever reason. Now people that need pain meds are stamped as an addict and there is a good chance those meds will be taken away from us one day.

  5. paul at 5:11 pm

    1 comment about the doctor getting rear ended and the person taking 1 Norco and being out of it. You stated 1 Norco can’t do this. I’m guessing that was from your personal experience, but I assure you it can happen with 1 Norco and does happen. I had a woman in my office (healthcare provider ) hit the side of the bridge and was found out walking around very confused while taking the first pain pill of her life. Norco 7.5/325

  6. Kim Miller at 11:56 am

    The obvious main intent of this joint effort by Kaiser and the media was to shock and awe their audience, pain patients be damned! The spin of the questions, followed by the further spin of the reported “results”, makes it worthless, if the truth is what you seek.

    The truth is chronic pain patients taking drugs properly and not dying doesn’t get anyone to read your report/survey results or your article. The truth is now what has been misrepresented in this pack of lies for the general, unknowing public who read it and is thinking, ” Wow, those opioids have got to go!”

    Pain patients NEVER get a story unless this publication does one. We are ruining the country by being sick. It doesn’t get much crazier than this!

  7. Elsbeth webb at 4:05 pm

    Scott Michaels, you are so right. The Kaiser stats are bogus, making a cardinal fault by lumping several significantly different factors into one group. Their other mistake is to tout that “the use of opioid painkillers have increased a lot 1997-2010” – DUH! of course it has, as the population has aged significantly during those years and seniors definitely have more aches and chronic pains. This is just stoopid.

    It seems to me that the FDA told Kaiser to stop prescribing opioid painkillers, Kaiser said “Yessir” – and decreased their prescriptions by 95%. No mention of how the patients of these 95% are doing. Kaiser suggests only clearly woo-woo alternatives like “meditation, guided imiagery, hypnosis” – none of which has ever scientifically been shown better than placebo.

    With no prescription of painkillers anymore, Kaiser has NOT increased the personnel and space of Physical Therapy and Pain Management. Kaiser West LA has a grotty place for PT, and they do not do PT, just showing back exercises that are also on their website. Cheap. And Pain Management still has only ONE doctor, no increase. And my Kaiser family physician never mentioned Pain Management, and refused to do x-rays of my bad back for 3 years, i.e. ever since the FDA came down on Kaiser for prescriptions.

    I do not care if I get opioid painkillers or not, only that my chronic back pain stops. For 3 years, my Kaiser doctor had no alternative, just treating me like a drug addict little old lady. I am a scientist, but could not get anything sensible out of him. Finallly, after 3 years, he sent me to Pain Management, I got an epidural steroid injection, and I am on a constant high from being painfree. Lots of other health problems just stopped. What is the big secret about not providing alternatives at Kaiser????

  8. Scott michaels at 12:56 pm

    its just amazing how stupid smart people can be. a doctor today told me he was rear ended. only about 4 mph
    very little damage. the women was very out of it he said. he asked if she were on anything. she said only a norco. i asked how out of it she was, he said totally wasted. thats when i asked him of he ever took a norco, he said no. when.I was done laughing i had to explain to a surgeon that 1 norco doesnt do that. she was most likely on something else too and or drunk. i told him that i take 20x that amount on a daily basis. he was shocked. he said i must not have taken any today. again i laughed. i told him 1 took 1 oxy 80 mg and 2 norcos 45 minutes ago and just drove 30 miles to see him. i had to explain that you cant believe people. she minimalized what she took so not to go to jail she was probably on heroin. he stared at me and said i should be out like a light. then I told him i take my meds.as directed and dont ever take valium or muscle relaxers.just the opioid therapy. i dont drink. i told him you doctors never take these meds so you really dont know how chronic pain patients react. i said with out the meds i would be in bed with excruciating pain.
    I asked him to please AS A KAISER DOCTOR PASS MY STORY ALONG. TOO MANY OF YOU ARE EXTREMENY SMART BUT KNOW NOTHING ABOUT CHRONIC PAIN AND HOW OPIOIDS GIVE US OUR LIVES BACK.
    ANYBODY OUT THERE THATS CHRONICALLY LIVING IN PAIN GET LOOPY AND INCOHERENT ONE 1 OR EVEN 2 NORCOS WHEN.TAKEN DAILY? I WANT TO SHOW HIM THE COMMENTS. HES A KAISER SURGEON

  9. jojordan at 11:23 am

    These statistics are so bogus! A few years back a women, that was being driven home from the hospital after having had major surgery, was broadsided by a truck. She died from her injuries. Since she had large amounts of pain killers in her system due to the surgical procedure. The coroner listed opioids as a contributing factor in her death. Many coroners that do not understand how opioids work. They don’t understand that some pain patients will build a tolerance to them and need more to control their pain. They make the assumption that everyone is opioid naive and therefore the amount in their system was fatal.
    My sister takes opioids for her chronic pain. If I took the amount she did yes I would die but her body is used to them and therefore creates no problems.

  10. Kristi at 3:25 pm

    I sent several tweets to the New England Journal of Medicine for all of us 🙂 I think I sent 7 tweets.

    I’m a huge advocate and I will not be hushed by the politics surrounding chronic pain and opioid use! I may not be able to travel or get out of bed, but I still have a voice and fingers to send plenty of emails, tweets and whatever else I need to do.

    What if they started picking on cancer patients and saying they don’t need opioids to help their pain and just learn how to meditate etc. I think that community would be heard if that happened. I don’t know why we are being picked on but it needs to stop. If they could just be in our shoes for 1 day, they wouldn’t be able to handle it! And with the Dr.’s not prescribing opioids because they are scared of the FDA, CDC etc the chronic pain community could be turning to the streets to get the pain relief they need. I’m definitely not saying they are buying heroin etc but just oxy or morphine. That picture scares me and makes me sad. And maybe the suicide rates would go up due to the chronic pain. All I know is this battle upon us is real and we deserve to be heard!

  11. Scott michaels at 11:12 am

    kristi
    i too have a fast metabolism. if you take a urin test within an hour or 2 of appt it will show. actually it will shhow for about 3 days minimum. just because the meds go thru you a nd we have a very short half life. it will still show in a test. too many people, especially elderly that need money are coerced by an addict or family member to get the meds from a doctor just to sell or use. the fda controlled pill mills and dr.shopping. WE NEED THESE MEDICATIONS AT THE DOSES WE NEED. We must be willing to take a urin test too.
    THIS MEANS WE HAVE DONE EVERYTHING NECESSARY TO CONTROL PRESCRIBED OPIOIDS FROM ENDING UP ON THE STREETS.
    WE ARE IN A POSITION BOW TO TELL THE MONEY GRUBBING ISURANCE COMPANIES AND GROUPS LIKE PROP TO LEAVE US ALONE! THIS DR BALLENTYNE AND OTHERS THAT ARE PAID SPOKESPEOPLE NEED TO SHUT UP. they should be prosecuted.. There is PROOF THAT LONG TERM USE OF OPIOID USE FOR.CHRONIC PAIN.WORKS. FOR ME 7 YEARS, FOR OTHERS DECADES. BOTH MY.PARENTS HAD MORPHENE PUMPS AND TOOK PILLS DAILY. THE LAST 20 YEARS OF THEIR LIVES WER BLESSED BECAUSE OF THESE MEDS. WITHOUT THEM, THEY.WOULD HAVE BEEN DEAD MANY YEARS EARLIER. PROBABLY SOME TYPE OF SUICIDE. I SAW THE PAIN 1ST HAND.
    NOW I HAVE IT. BEFORE I JUMPED INTO.THE OPIOIDS I TRIED EVERYTHING. I WAS BEDRIDDEN FOR A YEAR. NOW I GET AROUND SO MUCH BETTER. KITS NOT A CURE, THERE IS NO CURE. ITS NOT A BANDAID BANDAIDS DONT TAKE TUE PAIN AWAY. OPIOIDS ARE A STRONG MEDICATION THAT TAKES PAIN AWAY WHEN USED PROPERLY AND DOSED PROPERLY. IT WORKS FOREVER. SOMETIMES A DOSE MAY.BE ALTERED OR A MEDICATION SWITHCED FOR TOLERANCE REASONS. BUT EITHER WAY,FOR THOSE OF US IN CHRONIC PAIN THEY ARE A NECCESSARY EVIL.
    LIKE I HAVE SAID IN THE PAST THE GOVT DID THEIR JOB. KAISER SHOULD JUST LET THE DOCTORS DO THEIR JOB. PAIN MANAGEMENT IS A SPECIALTY PAIN COPING IS NOT. SINCE YOU ADVERTISE YOU OFFER PAIN MANAGMENT THEN YOU.MUST OFFER IT. YOU OFFER PAIN COPING. PT, PSYCHOLIGY, CHATTING, INJECTIONS, EPIDURALS ETC DONT WORK FOR ME AND MANY MANY.OTHERS. ONLY OPOID. THERAPY. WiTH THAT.SAID, you need to continue to let you Primary pgysicians do their job. If you truly offer pain management , then do so without Dr Au. judging patients, or telling them they take too much, when they have been using a medication for decades. He proposes a NARCOTICS ANNONOMYS BASED PAIN MANAGEMENT PROGRAM. NO OPIOIDS. OR A MAX OF 100 MG EQ. I SPENT 3 DAYS WATCHING AND LISTENING TO THEIR PROGRAM. AFTERWARDS I HEARD PATIENTS SAY THEY ARE LEAVING KAISER, SUINING KAISER, VERY UPSET WITH KAISER. THEY KEYS PHRASE I HEARD WAS WHY FIX WHATS NOT BROKEN
    KAISER HAS AN INCREDIBLE DATA BASE. THEY K OW IF A PATIENT IS CHEATING. SO THE ONLY REASON FOR TGIS CHANGE IS MONEY. THEY STAND TO SAVE BILLIONS IN PRESCRITPIONS, YET BECAUSE OF SUCH A LOW.DOSE THERE WILL BE.MANY MORE VISITS AND COPAYS.
    THE FDA APPROVED THESE MEDS. THEY WORK. WE AS CHROBIC PAIN PATIENTS HAVE ALLOWED YOU ALL TO PUT FEAR IN OUR LIVES, A FEAR THAT IS GENERATING ANXIETY AND MENTAL ANGUISH.
    DRUG ADDICTION HAS. BEEN AROUND.FOR TGOUSANDS OF YEARS, ITs IN MANY PEOPLES DNA.
    IF ANYBODY THINKS ADDICTION WILL BE REDUCED IF OPIOID PILLS.ARE.GONE THEYRE NUTZY CUKOO. PEOPLE GET HI ON BATHSALTS HUFF SPRAYPPAINT FOR GOODNESS SAKE. ADDICTS WILL FIND ANYThING TO GET HIGH ON. TODAY HEROIN IS CHEAPER THEN CIGARETTES THANKS TO THE WAR IN AFGANISTAN.. THE PHARM. COS. MADE OXY CONTIN UNABLE TO INJECT OR SNORT. THAT SAME GOES FOR OTHER DRUGS LIKE OPANA AND THE SUCH. THE AMOUNT OF VICODIN NEEDED TO OD ON FOR A HIGH TOLERANCE PAIN PATIENT IS ALMOST 0. yet the tylenol or advil they add to it WILL KILL YOUR LIVER. ITS TIME TO LET THE ACTIONS THAT HAVE BEEN TAKEN TAKE THEIR COURSE FOR AT LEAST 5 YEARS. THEN LETS REVISIT. BOTTOM LINE IS GOOD PEOPLE THAT LIVE IN EXTREME PAIN WILL BE THE ONLY ONES HURT IF GROUPS LIKE PROP CONTINUE TO HAVE PERSUASION OVER THE CDC. ACTUALLY THEY SHOULD BE INVESTIGATED FOR MISUSE OF FUNDS. THERE ARE TOOANY PEOPLE.MAKING MONEY AND ITS BEING DIVERTED TO COMPANIES THAT THEY PROFIT FROM.

  12. A Robertson at 11:48 pm

    I am naively, but sincerely, wondering why the media and the government are all over this topic lately? Is it safe to assume something bigger than these governmental and medicinal entities is at work? While proclaiming they care so much about our welfare… they want opioids to go the way of the dinosaur? Is there a new drug on the horizon? Are dividends up on drugs like Neurotin, Cymbalta, Tramadol (which I think should be OTC in low-dose form…just as codeine is in lower doses in Europe, Canada, Mexico, etc. ).
    If a drunk driver kills someone…or themselves tonight…will we blame the auto salesman…the bar man, manufacturer? If a gunman kills others, or someone commits suicide with a gun…do we blame the person who pulled the trigger, or the salesman, or manufacturer? No, we blame the drunkard, or the shooter. Therefore, if a person eats too many pills and drops dead is it the doctor or manufacturer’s fault? No! It’s the person who ate the pills.
    I am tired of the government overreacting and telling me it’s for my own good. It feels like the analogy of shutting a highway down because a person was driving irresponsibly and killed themselves or others. As horrible a tragedy as death is…to cause millions of people to suffer because a minority was irresponsible with a prescription means the government truly is too powerful.

  13. Margo at 6:22 pm

    Take away my only source of some minor relief of pain and I will not go on. End of story. I am tired, I am disgusted, I am nothing to my doctors. I am not necessary. I refuse to live the rest of my life…many years…in pain.

  14. Lynda Richardson at 5:08 pm

    I have read this and many more like it and what I find so disturbing is none of them went looking to speak to chronic pain patients to responsible patients that are benefiting from these medications. To find out how much their and their families lives have improved with the pain relief these medications have provided them. How their lives have improved since they are no longer suffering. How they are participating in life with the aide of these medicines. Of course they had no problem finding those to speak out against opioid pain medications because it fits their agenda. I am sure there are many like me that would happily speak out about the benefit these medications have been in their and their families lives without any problems of misuse or abuse but no one ever asks us. Now it is all being blown out of proportion without all sides being seen. So the general public only sees the worst of the worst and thinks it is that way for everyone. So who will truly suffer in this situation the people these medicines were designed to help. The very people being helped will suffer from it because as I have seen all too often the people abusing will do what they always do when it becomes to difficult to use something they will just find something else to abuse they are just looking for the next high. But because of them the powers that be will make continue to make it harder. The DEA, FDA, CDC, the worker comp.system will continue to make it harder and harder and have already. So for legitimate pain patients to get these medicines these kinds of stories are making it impossible out of fear because of the few that have abused. This has got to stop it is hurting people that don’t deserve to be hurt that haven’t and aren’t doing anything wrong. Our only crime being in pain. Making people going back to living in unbearable pain is absolute torture it’s inhumane and is unethical to force all to pay the price for the few that did it wrong.

  15. Kristi at 5:08 pm

    Actually Scott, if someone is on opioids and when they do a urine sample and nothing shows up, then the first thing that should be done is to run a genetic test to see if that patient is metabolizing the medication too quickly……meaning it would not show up on a urine test because the medication goes out of their system too fast. So I would be careful calling a chronic pain patient a criminal prior to running this test.

    And being a chronic pain patient myself, I have no interest in trying heroin, cocaine or crack etc. Addiction and dependency are on the opposite ends of the spectrum. Do we suffer from withdrawals if we stop our meds or run out….yes, but that doesn’t mean we are addicts!

  16. Lisa Harvey at 3:37 pm

    The way it’s being presented in the media is what I call ” pretzel fact”. Because the facts are severely twisted. For one prescription medications covers a lot of different meds. Antidepressants anti anxiety antipsychotics. And so much more but when they report it it is reported to imply that all prescription meds were indeed pain pills. Not so. I have a Facebook and twitter called standup and it stands for standing
    Together
    Against
    Neglect
    Discrimination
    Untreated
    Pain.
    We need to standup other people are trying to make our health care desicions for us. It’s not right to deny people access to pain medication that helps them.

  17. Scott michaels at 1:35 pm

    kaiser, as an insurance carrier and medical provider is in caught between a rock and hard place. obviosly if opioids are limited to those like myself.that need a high daily.dose, my overall health will suffer. however if limits are endorsed kaiser stands to save hundreds of millions in prescriptions. the nombers are about money noy deaths and overdoses. i was proud to see that they admit that we need a plan for the millions like myself to get the opioids we need to live a better life.
    it is time for everybody to breath. there are systems in place for pharmacies and doctors to see in real time if people are doctor shopping. If not pain pills it will be heroin or something else. addicts are addicts. until they want to stop the monster will grow. taking medicine that helps millions off the table will not stop addiction, it will only raise the use of heroin and create.bootleg.pain pillls.
    i keep my medication secure in a lock box, my wife gives me my daily allowance. i am lucky
    for those that dont and jave a history of running out of meds too quick or loosing them. pharmacies can put in a system of daily or weekly pick ups.JUST FOR THOSE PATIENTS! For those that show negative opioids on urin tests they should be immediately cut off and arrested. THOSE ARE THE CRIMINALS THAT ARE SELLING THEIR DRUGS.
    the CDC FDA DEA AND PROP NEE TO SEE ALL THE GOOD THAT HAS BEEN DONE FROM 2008 TO 2012
    THE STATS FROM 2o12 THRU 2015 have shown a decrease in over prescribing, pill mills and illegal sales.
    If you are a legitimate patient lile myself please lock your pills and try to have a support system to make sure the opioids dont take control. i know how easy it is to take a few extra pills because the pain is so brutal. i also k ow what its like to run out 3 days early. for the last 6 years i have never ran.out, i havve never called my doctor with a lie for for meds.

  18. Pharmacist Steve at 10:34 am

    It is stated that 400,000 people die of medical errors every year… one can presume that all those errors are ACCIDENTS. Of course, Kaiser being a large healthcare provider… I guess they don’t want to go there…

  19. Parker at 10:26 am

    Thank you Dr Lewis for your never waving ability to tell the truth.

  20. John S at 10:19 am

    To finish my first post – I didn’t hit submit / that I know of.

    The CDC has an AGENDA and it can make the numbers say what ever they need them to say. It seems most of the medical profession is on board with the CDC because of political pressure and the media.

    The DEA is coming to my hometown with their Operation 360 B/S – Heroin use is up and people are dying but its been that way for the last 100 years. The DEA has pot listed as a schedule 1 drug yet its use has never killed anyone that I know of and there is medical evidence that marijuana serves a purpose and saves lives.

    The DEA is in my town because of prescription pain medication, they believe it makes people turn to heroin. I must be the exception to that rule, heroin scares me. Pain meds put me back into the work force and gave me back my confidence. I pay taxes, I do not abuse my medication and I don’t share it or sell it. My monthly medication supply has a street value of over 15 thousand dollars and I wouldn’t sell it for a million.

    I’m sure that my doctor will get a visit from the DEA and I’m sure he is ready for them, but if they want to shut him down they need no proof of any wrong doing. The drug war is now focused on pain patients and their doctors and the government of the United States of America wants a victory.

    Thank you,

    John S

  21. John S at 9:53 am

    According to the CDC:

    Alcohol-Related Deaths:
    • Nearly 88,0009 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women10) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making it the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.9

    Health Benefits of Moderate Alcohol Consumption:
    • Moderate alcohol consumption, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, is up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men.33

    First they tell us ” yes alcohol does kill and then, yes it is preventable and the real kicker is – when used in moderation alcohol is good for you. So don’t drink too much but please drink some. The CDC endorses the use of alcohol when they know it kills 88 thousand people a year. How can they do this, by using the key word ( preventable ) and medical evidence that says in small amounts alcohol is good for the body.

    Its all in how the information is passed on to the public. Its legal so they don’t want to come out and scream – Its an epidemic in America ! Why, its legal and the tax dollars help fund public schools. Lets not forget that the government has already tried once to outlaw the use of alcohol in any form and that didn’t work – can’t beat them so lets join them.

    Cigarette smoking, I wont even go there because I know cigarette smoking kills and causes most forms of cancer. Its legal for now and the tax dollars help us build fighter planes that America needs.

    I

  22. Kathy Cooper at 8:39 am

    Thanks for putting it in perspective. I have been wondering “what the Heck Is wrong with people?” So I have been reading about confirmation bias, and something called “Astroturfing.” This mis-representation of numbers and sensationalizing is working very well on all sorts of issues. It is as if our whole System in the US has been undermined by this use of the Media, to sway public opinion. It is Orwellian. The phenomena is really scary, you can’t even talk to people anymore, they have a script in their heads about their version of facts! These are people who I used to think were either intelligent or open minded.
    The DEA is playing up the “Drug War.” to increase funding. The Pharma Industry is benefitting also, they have a number of useless but expensive medications to replace the things that work. It is frightening, whether it is International Politics, our Economy, or the heath care Industry, we have to read between the lines. The false Narrative we have been getting has undermined our Health, our compassion, and common sense.

  23. Dee Green at 8:37 am

    There is a propaganda war being waged right now and PR is the name of the game. In light of the fact that Chronic Pain has reached a Pandemic level and the addiction treatment centers (some of them) are looking for a bigger piece of the treatment “pie”. The UN is scheduled to meet next spring to address the chronic pain issue and it’s care as a fundamental right, hence the all out propaganda PR launch. Otherwise, the world might “decide” to treat chronic pain patients with compassion & care (opioids or no opioids) The Hippocratic oath (in the US) is being used to wage war on physicians who treat pain as well as their patients. They only ask for a quality of life “worth living”! Comparing opioids to heroin pills on national television is just one small example of how far they are willing to go! Opioids are in no way the supreme treatment for chronic pain (as they don’t reduce pain but 30% on a good day) but currently they are one of the best options. Until there is a cure for chronic pain, why try to limit or remove one of the better options?😊