The Media Reporting About Chronic Pain and Opioids is Changing

The Media Reporting About Chronic Pain and Opioids is Changing

It has taken some time, but the evidence that the nation’s media are beginning to hear and cover the ‘side” of the chronic pain patient in the opioid debate is mounting.

This weekend, the New York Times—the nation’s most influential newspaper—ran an opinion piece by Maia Szalavitz who is the author of “Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction.”

She argues:

“By working to reduce prescribing, government regulators, insurers, law enforcement officials, legislators and other policymakers have ignored the genuine dangers of leaving people in agony, including suicide and increased risk for heart attacks and strokes.”

To read the piece in its entirety, click here. (And make sure to comment to the New York Times)

New Hampshire Series

The opioid argument, while federally inspired (CDC Guidelines/DEA crackdowns) is really being fought on a state by state basis. In New Hampshire, the debate has been spirited. Manchester Union Leader reporter Shawne Wickham wrote a series of articles—links to each can be found here.

One of the articles, entitled Chronic Pain Patients: the baby w/ the bathwater features Dr. David Nagel, a frequent contributor to the National Pain Report. Here’s how the reporter described what Nagel told a group of medical leaders in his state.

“When Dr. David Nagel gave a presentation on pain management last fall for the New Hampshire Medical Society, he put up a photo of an unhappy baby sitting in a bathtub. It’s an analogy for what he sees as an unintended consequence of the battle against the opioid epidemic, he explained: the negative impact on chronic pain patients.

“The title of Nagel’s talk was: “The Opioid Crisis: The art of creating one public health tragedy out of another.”

(Dr. Nagel is writing an analysis of the NIH Draft Report for the National Pain Report)

Fox News Series on Chronic Pain Continues to Resonate

Last, but certainly not least, there is the series by Foxnews.com reporter Elizabeth Llorente which ran late last year was a comprehensive review that featured five different stories. I personally had several conversations with the reporter as she worked hard to understand the issue—particularly from the point of view of the chronic pain patient.

Part One spoke about how the reduction in opioid access was driving many to suicide.

https://www.foxnews.com/health/as-opioids-become-taboo-doctors-taper-down-or-abandon-pain-patients-driving-many-to-suicide

The Second part spoke to the pressure on doctors from law enforcement.

https://www.foxnews.com/health/doctors-abandon-opioid-prescribing-as-state-and-federal-authorities-step-up-enforcement

The third part included a story which focused what might be done going forward.

https://www.foxnews.com/health/undoing-the-harm-of-the-response-to-the-opioid-overdose-epidemic-health-experts-suggest-solutions

Not surprisingly to those of who cover pain, the Foxnews.com series generated a lot of response from readers and the reporter wrote on that as well.

https://www.foxnews.com/health/readers-respond-to-special-report-about-the-opioid-crisis-unintended-victims-pain-sufferers-losing-access-to-painkillers

Editor’s Note: If you haven’t read the stories linked in this article, we recommend that you do. As always, if you are inspired to comment, let us know what you think.

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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Dar

It is clear that certain people simply do not care about other peoples pain. Some things will never change. As long as life is goodfor them, and their loved ones, they seem to think it will always be that way. Imagine the shock and despera7tion when they realize the horrifying truth about what happens to a family when something haappens, thrusting an individual into relentless pain that nobody will help them with. Quality of life is gone. In the blink of an eye just anyone can be cast into a nightmare of agony. I would never wish this on anyone. For some strange reason people do not put themselves in others’ shoes. They seem to think “it will never happen to them”. It can happen to anyone at anytime. The ‘holier than though’ syndrome kicks in, and it is easy to lecture about things that happen to other people. Scare tactics are utilized, and these ‘bullies’ make it seem as if they are going to change the world using force, and intimidation to win. What do they win? fame, fortune, and a combination of factors committed to scare the public. It does not really hit home until it happens to them. Take away their power, and 6heir money, and they are stll mere mortals. By the time they realize what they have done, in the name of justice, it will be too late. Only then it will be too late, but the injustice will be done. It seems we are living in a society that does not want to base facts on any form of compassion. Why? Compassion is humane, and does not ‘make money’. Since we can not rely on compassion, it looks as though legal actions will need to be in place to protect ourselves, and our lovedones. Regardless ot where the injustice begins; congress, poloticians, and even the medical community in itself, those involved in the torture of people in pain must be held accountable.

Maureen M.

Over the past 4 years of commenting on the NPR I have said numerous times… This is not an ‘Opioid crisis, it is an ‘addict’ crisis. The Government needs to begin to look at the socio-economic,emotional disturbances and the state of children being raised in this country without God, good parents and morals,
There is far too much distress and stressors governing homes and life in general these days.
I’m proud of all of those who are seeing it through our eyes and working on our behalf…the CP AND CHRONIC ILLNESS WARRIORS who do the right thing and simply want to live our lives the best that we can with proper treatment for our illnesses.
I just read the NY Times article and cried where it talks about the man who shot himself while holding his wife’s hand because of his wrongful suffering. It’s just One of many horrific stories.
Our blood is on them…those who are governing this disaster.

Lynne Hall

Rich, I think you are right. My mother said, I think they just want us you to die!
Then I see where Oregon is going to a total cut of opioids. I also see a lot about PAS in Oregon. IS IT LEGAL FOR YOUR DOCTOR TO ASSIST YOU IN SUICIDE IN OREGON? And if so what other states allow PAS and what is their corresponding laws on opioid pain management treatment?
Rich, maybe someone could investigate this. YOU MIGHT BE ON TO A REAL TRUE STORY HERE!
If they won’t help us and just want us dead, wouldnt it be cheaper for them to allow us to just walk into a hospital and say ok, I’m here for you to put me down.
Be more humane then what is happening now.

Dawn Wilson

@Terri James, what you wrote said Everything I’ve felt and thought, but in a more Perfect way than I could have written it!!
Exactly what you wrote here needs to be made into a Million Copies and sent to Every Politician and Government Office there is!!!!!!!!
Bless You…….Bless All us CPP 💛💔💔💛

Rich Reifsnyder

Good Morning, Amen Steven.That nauseating picture at the top of this post is Kolondy and he was personal friends with X-CDC Director Freiden.Dr. Houry,a Women’s Abuse Counceler helped draft the unscientific,Fictitious,Biased 2016 Opiod Guidelines.With that said,how can a Government Agency,CDC,have a secret meeting with a Psychiatrist and Women’s Abuse Counceler to write this Fairy Tale,Fictitious,Unscientific Opiod Guideline.Moving forward the Washington Legal Foundation asked the CDC for the names of people on the secret panel who wrote the Biased,Fictitious 2016 Opiod Guidelines,The CDC never responded and a Freedom of Information Act petition was filed to get all names of all Anti-Opiod Zealots On Panel with Zero Pain Patients/Advocates or Pain Specialists.This isn’t about Addiction it’s about Money.This Government has been Skimming/Tapping the Social Security Fund for 60 Years to the tune of 200 Trillion Dollars from what I read.I truly believe this Government wants to “Thin the Herd”because there isn’t enough money in the Social Security Fund for us Baby Boomers And Intractable Chronic Pain Patients.What else could this travesty and Worst Human Rights Violation in our history be?We have our troops in Afghanistan guarding the poppy fields,Heroin,CIA,Money for USA Black Operations.Opiod Medication has been used since 7th Century China.Opiod Medication is Cheap,Effective And Safe And gives millions of Intractable Chronic Pain Patients and Wounded Veterans a Stable And Less Painfull Quality of Life.I don’t buy into all the Bull(edit) about this country saving the world from addiction and the rest of BS from Media etc.Bottom line 50-100 million Intractable Chronic Pain Patients and Veterans suffering for no other reason then,Money.When you keep poking a Wounded Cornered Grizzly Bear with a stick over and over usually real bad things will occur and you might not have a Good Day!Gottleib stated on record,we are not addicts or addicted,due time for better QOL,Now!!

Steven

RE: Debbie Nickels Heck, MD

“I’ve been upset with those who have had no patience at all with the time it takes for situations such as this to reverse themselves.”

Try to have patience when your writhing in pain 24/7 because of government corruption, not a prescription pill crisis.

Terry

This is what I’ve been commenting about. We need some public exposure for our problem of not having enough pain medication to deal with our daily chronic pain. Maybe this will start to change things and bring exposure to the millions of chronic pain patients who are suffering needlessly. We need to also talk about the real opiate epidemic which is heroin and Fentanyl. And not to mention the math epidemic. Meth is killing our kids daily. My sun was addicted to heroin at an early age, together we kicked his habit and he never went back. But just the fact that he was even shooting up heroin was a shocker, he was not that kind of a kid. The cost of heroin being about $10 for one hit makes it affordable for anyone out there. Unfortunately it’s when you need more and more and more that kids turn to crimes to pay for their addictions. The drug dealers lace the heroin with fentanyl because it is a lot cheaper for them then doing straight heroin so the heroin addicts are overdosing on heroin and fentanyl, which is a deadly mix. I don’t know how to get our chronic pain problem in the mainstream media but this looks like a good start. Everyone please write your Governors congressmen and Senators explaining the problem and how it is affecting you personally. I write them once a week without fail. We need a public spokesperson to take our cause and let our voices be heard. God bless all of my chronic pain brothers and sisters. Never give up, never surrender.

Almost three years now and the truth is just beginning to hit deaf ears? No one, but no one can tell me that the president along with the DTF, the CDC, the FDA, senators and congressmen among others didn’t know what the consequences of taking prescribed opioid medication from chronic pain patients would do. I’m thankful articles are now being printed, though imagine if they would have been printed from the beginning and those in prestigious places would have fought for what was right, instead of leaving “us” to do so. Imagine the lives that could have been spared versus those that took their lives because they felt as though they no longer had one. All of this due to the hideous chronic pain they were left to live with and not much of anything to longer manage it with. Imagine if you can, all of those who’ve lost their jobs, their families, their ability to simply go to the grocery or clean their homes, not to mention their will to live.To think they could do this to their own veterans who fought so very hard to keep and make this country what it is. What an unnecessary tragedy this has all been. I will continue to pray with faith that God will intervene in this hideous mess that our very own government has created for those who are less fortunate. I no longer have words left for what they’ve done to us….

Heather

It is hopeful to see balanced coverage. I feel as though my friends are more inclined to believe articles than they are to really listen to my personal point of view. Pain is so isolating. Articles on addiction and the opioid epidemic have saturated the media. I would love to see more and more of articles explaining how complex of an issue opioids truly are, and showing our side. I want the AMA to speak out loudly and clearly and often. I want the DEA to be reigned in by the FDA. I will be commenting on the FDA Task Force Guidelines. I just need to get my thoughts together. It’s a lot of reading to do, and I appreciate the guidance I’ve received from the National Pain Report.

Thank you for all of your hard work!

Matt Smith

I am glad to finally see some positive stories about what has been happening to us CPPs, including the recent NYT article, and the AMA FINALLY chiming in on this atrocity of torture. However, the number of standard fair opiod crisis articles with the prerequisite photo of a spilled Rx bottle STILL vastly outnumber these few rays of hope, and to date, no prominent spokesperson or Political representative is taking up our cause in ANY KIND of substantive way…… If this genocide is to reverse, we are a LONG WAY from undoing the destructive inaccurate PROPaganda narrative that the govt has managed to get to take hold within the population at large….The correction, if it comes at all, will be too late for many of us who won’t live to see it….

F.S.T.

Thank you Dr. Heck, as well as the other commenters here. Besides writing and emailing my Senator and Representatives, and calling Congress directly (202-224-3121) and commenting on the government’s call for the public’s comments by April 1 on the (I’m sorry, Fibro fog here but it was a government call for comments on a government site you posted some time ago), I need to advise that what I predicted as fallout from this government overreach in curtailing or driving down our needed meds as a “one dose fix all” debacle has come true.

The collateral damage done to the chronic pain community is unreal, evidenced by (and I’m not going to be specific for obvious reasons, to protect identity) some patients I know in certain online pain groups are turning to the streets, going underground to obtain what the government had no right to take from them. They don’t need to be told the dangers of this, both medically and legally. But they feel the government has forced their hand.

Fifteen years ago, in my healthy, pre-chronic pain days, I would have been appalled at this. Now, as a patient who lives in bed every day and sees a bleak future, I’ve become a cheerleader for them.

This is CRAZY.

Christopher Marlowe

At this very moment I’m lying on my back in bed staring up at a commuter monitor suspended above my head, in writing this post using a mouse in my right hand, and voice recognition software that I purchased for about 300 bucks six months ago. It’s a little wonky so I have a keyboard laying on my stomach and use it only sparingly. I mean I could get up and walk to the kitchen no problem, but I definitely can no longer sit the length of time that is required to communicate meaningfully to a group of equally desperate unknowns: The Mother of Invention and what not… Since that day when the very small man who was my boss fired me, I have been without medical coverage. Because I lost my coverage, and because I’m a disabled person who had only five years ago resumed his career, I didn’t have any assets to fall back on. So I’m sick, with a very complex constellation of associated illnesses, and no doctor. I immediately got a lawyer to help me get back on Social Security, but that’s a story that’ll wait for another day. Suffice it to say that I am told that even as early as tomorrow morning when I wake up, that I will finally be back on Social Security disability. But it has taken a year and ½ and a few strokes, the last one being in the early morning hours of January 4, 2019. And you won’t believe what happened to me in the ER. But then I forget my audience, maybe you will…
Knowledge is power. Power polluted with ignorance murders the innocents.
Christopher the Slain

Christopher Marlowe

Hyperbole? Maybe, but I hope to serve us all to the best of my ability as I believe that I accidentally stumbled upon having something no one else on earth has: Since the summer of 2005 and the abuse that I received at the hands of a doctor who should’ve never have been allowed to become a doctor, I began to record her words as she abuses me. Over time and up until the present, this has resulted in me beginning to record every single office visit, pharmacy visit, etc., conversations with the Social Security Administration, the Center for Medicare services, et al., and all of the entities listed earlier. And in all of this hellish circumstance there has only been one good guy, and he is my primary care physician. He has been there since the beginning, since late 2005. He has struggled with being my doctor just as I have been struggling as his patient.

Christopher Marlowe

For me, I lost my job on Monday, July 31, 2017. I was an IT project manager in the DC Metro area. I’d fight my way back off of disability to restart my career in October 2012, only to be failed on every level by the doctors, lawyers, insurance agents, claim representatives and companies, the laws of the states of Texas, Virginia and New York, and to find myself being fired for reasons contrived because I had put in a request for medical leave of absence. I have proof of everything that I say here and I will be publishing my story over the next months, and I do hope to be able to one day testify before Congress about everything that is happened to me in the 30 years since I fell off of that building. It’s a disgusting story and no American no decent human being should ever have been treated the way we have all been treated-any of us reading this blog that are patients.

Christopher Marlowe

This new pain management patient had never even considered that anything was wrong with them “mental health wise.” The first inkling they get that something may be wrong is when after 15 months and four surgeries they are told that they will now begin to wean themselves off of the medication. Since the day they reached that saturation level necessary to manage their pain, all the way through to the end of their ordeal, they’ve only seen these medications as a relief of their pain. It’s only in the weaning off (the first time) that they realize that they feel better on the pain medication each day than they have felt since they suffered that day of loss. For some, nay for many, they feel better than they have felt since they were a child, and not once had they ever believed that they had a mental health issue. They had always thought of themselves as good decent people. The only have maybe two traffic violations in their entire life. They’ve always been a good father, a good mother or a good brother or sister. They never smoked weed, they’ve never popped pills and they work as a CFA and have a PhD in economics. Addict?!! So now they are extremely anxious and they don’t know how to deal with it because in our country it has become a big Scarlet Letter: A is for addict… So what does this person do? What does the doctor do? What does the pharmacists do? It’s absurd what we’ve done.

Christopher Marlowe

Drug addiction is a response to the initial receipt of pain medications that is out of the realm of pain management, broken bones and crushed spines, and ensconced fully in the realm of mental illness. In one need not be bat shit crazy to find themselves dealing with that type of addiction. They been working really hard their whole life to do the things that they either feel they must be doing for whatever reason or maybe they suffered a loss a few years back, and they just really haven’t been the same yet since that day of loss. Sure, they’re much better than they were that day, but they know they’ve not really returned to “normal,” yet anyone with whom they are close in their lives may think that they are. In reality, they’ve only become much more alone. Then one day the rushing out the door to drive off to work only to slip on some ice and break their leg in three places…

Christopher Marlowe

For the pain patient, the proper dosage of any pain medication is that saturation level of medication to blood where one’s pain is relieved to a manageable level, and not beyond the point of diminishing returns, i.e., to an excess where the simple act of talking or walking is negatively affected.
For the pain patient that proper saturation level, once attained, is maintained throughout the duration of the illness. This presupposes the FACT that the body has become acclimated to the drug. The body is in fact addicted to the medication, and the patient will have to wean themselves off slowly if they are to stop taking it. This is true whether it be an opioid or blood pressure medication. Try going cold turkey off of Toprol. And under no circumstances in any free country should this dosage, this amount of medication, this “saturation level” be decided by anyone other than the patient themselves. It is the patient who is responsible for his or her life and no one else. The doctor should always be our advocate; our counsel; our consultants who has our well-being first and foremost his or her primary concern. Whether our doctor finds us disagreeable or we find our doctor disagreeable, we are just as free to seek new counsel as they are to suggest the same. The doctor does not get to be the decision-maker, period. (I have obviously taken one too many hits to the head… 🙂 Time for more those salts.) What about the drug addict?

Christopher Marlowe

It is, unfortunately, too late for many of us. Our freedom, our lives and everything we had worked for and dreamed of has been taken away from us. The liberties allegedly afforded to us as Americans have been usurped by bureaucrats, special interests and the politicians steeped in the graft they are afforded by such entities. For myself, it has been since the Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day of 1989 when I awoke, briefly and not realizing what I was seeing, with nothing but dirt and work boots moving about… And then suddenly realizing in a sheer panic that I was on the ground, face down and looking to the side. And then sheer panic. All of that lasted for about a split second, and darkness again. The next time I awoke I was staring into the face of an EMT, smelling salts still in his hand and asking me what my name was: I had no idea, and in a panic that’s like the receipt of a sudden and massive jolt of electricity, I was out again. The rest of the day was more the same.

What it could not have known that day or the weeks that followed was that technically I would be a ward of the state for the rest of my life. What we have built in this country to date is a real Shit Show, but we all know it so I will simply skip to the relevant point: 99% of the medical professionals, so-called, who are prescribing these medications, filling these medications and opining about those of us who take these medications are 100% ignorant of what they speak. It is why this whole alleged opioid crisis was allowed faster and grow into what it has today. The difference between what it means to be a patient and what it means to be a drug addict has never once been adequately addressed, neither in the media nor by one of those said professionals screaming in my face (which has literally happened by the way.) And forget the politicians they are absolutely worthless. On to more of what we’re talking about here…

ElizabethR

I am appreciative for ANY voice of reason on behalf of individuals with long term, incurable pain caused by medical conditions. Overwhelmingly, CPPs have used opioid medications responsibly to maintain some semblance of functionality and quality of life. I have commented on previous articles and would do so on the NY Times article if I could (apparently, the NYT does not accept comments from non-subscribers). Although I’m generally no fan of Fox News, I very much support their reporting on the opioid issue and sent my thanks.

As more pain patients and their advocates speak out–which needs to happen–I hope that “our” government (the CDC, DEA, etc.) will make an effort to understand that placing CPPs in the same classification as “drug addicts” is just plain inhumane. It is causing immeasurable and needless suffering among those who did not cause and are not part of the “opioid crisis”. We are NOT the same!

Drug addiction, by definition, is destructive of lives; it often involves young people in their teens, 20s and 30s who start using drugs for non-medical reasons. I’m 82 and have several ongoing medical conditions, including severe osteoarthritis in my back and neck, degenerative disc disease, scoliosis and residual damage from 3 earlier back surgeries. I have been stable on a low dose of a mild opiate for many years. Responsible use of this medication as part of a physician-monitored pain management plan, has been life-saving for me.

As a younger woman I was super-energetic, active and involved in life. That person is gone now (and I miss her). Still, as an old person, my goal is to stay as independent as possible and not become a burden to my family or society. Achieving that goal depends on my ability to remain functional.

Caroline

It helped me a lot with knee pain and anxiety. Good luck! God bless you! https://www.cbdbiocare.com/?a_aid=vip

Victoria

Again we read these articles are they really going to finally understand that there our thousands of us that suffers daily do to chronic pain? I can only speak for myself, that I had to resort to buying my medication from the ones that are still able to get their prescription for lesser problems then I’m dealing with. I lost my PM doc to cancer and never had a problem getting my RX’s monthly. I’ve already had one neck fusion, and another I’m trying to a void. Also had back surgery and trying to avoid that one as well. Not to mention all my other health issues that cause extreme pain. I’m 90 percent home bound and have to depend on my husband to do everything for me. I hate this feeling of helplessness and sucide has entered my mind more than I want to count. People that deal with constant pain 24/7 how do you explain that to others you don’t because they don’t have a clue what chronic pain does to someone’s body and mind. I have severe depression with panic attacks daily. All do to pain. Why are we considered drug addicts? We just want help with pain so we can have some quality of life. This issue is completely bullshit as far as I’m concerned. I never abused my medication yet I’ve been driven to buy from others. It’s a damm shame that we all have to suffer or just check out of this world because we are refused the help that we are entitled to.

Rich Reifsnyder

Hello,With all due respect Dr.Nickles Heck,I disagree with your post.Your upset about our patience,Iam extremely upset of Wounded Veterans blowing off their heads on the steps of VA Hospitals from abandonment or severely under prescribed Opiod Medication.Thousands of CPP,S committed suicide.Thousands And Thousands of letters been written,including mine,to politicians about their torturous suffering the 2016 Opiod Guidelines have ruined their QOL,families destroyed,jobs lost,homes lost.With these so called uninformed politicians they sent me a form letter on Abortion or Addiction like the other hundred thousands of letters CPP,S wrote and received same form letter.Dr Red Lewhern,Dr Bloom,the AMA sent tons of data to CDC/FDA/DEA proving without a Reasona Doubt Heroin/Fentynal is the culprit causing all the OD Deaths only to be ignored,over and over.Maybe with your thinking we should have a picnic or singalong to get better acquainted.A lot of Congresspeople and Senators invested their personal money in Addiction Centers, Addiction Medication And Pharmaceuticals before the Fictitious 2016 Opiod Guidelines came to fruition.If you had a family member that needed a double bypass surgery on their heart would you go to a podiatrist,no a cardiologist most likely.How can you have all biased anti-Opiod Zealots that are,Kolondy a psychologist,Dr Houry a women’s abuse counselor and not a single Pain Specialist,Pain Patient,or Pain Advocate on that secret meeting to devise the fraudulent,fictitious,unscientific Opiod Guidelines.50-100 Millions Veterans And Intractable Chronic Pain Patients sent thousands of letters to the Media,Politicians,and were at the FDA meeting in Silver Springs,Maryland and the very next day the DEA cut Opiod Manufacturing by 20%.Patience gets thin,did you see the new panel members for CDC,all biased members again,round two,Kolondy father-in-law snuck in and guess what one Pain Patient/PainAdvocate Cindy Steinberg.CPP,s need help now,addicts have plenty.

To doctor Heck with all due respect. The waiting game is has run out for the patient. You as a doctor need to know what severe constant pain is like. No one is name calling or blaming we are being tortured. Keep that in mind as you see people going forward. Thank you

Thanks Ed, E for effort. Why no date on the links? Answer, THEY ARE OLD AND THIS IS RECYCLED NEWS BECAUSE IT IS ALL WE HAVE. They are killing us on purpose to further depopulation. Sorry to sound defeatist but this is the reality and any PP that are still alive know it is true because we are just barely hanging on. God help us!!!

Steve

Clearly no one in the position of making these “guidelines” has experienced chronic pain. The kind that myself and millions of others experience. It is one thin to break a bone or feel pain from a serious accident, but mostly these heal and cause no long term daily pain at the level pain sufferers refer to as Level 7/8-or worse. My spine is all titanium rods, cages, damaged nerve tissue, and ruined discs from the lumbar to the thoracic area. I too, have considered suicide as pain keeps me from any moderate exercise/activity I normally would participate in and also keeps me awake at night, where before my pain was adequately managed with opioids without any “euphoria” being present. It is a shameful, unchristian, and mean spirited policy that has ruined my otherwise acceptable level of pain and my ability to find any happiness in this broken body I have to live with.

Like you, Ed, I talk to a lot of journalists and medical professionals. I also supported Elizabeth Llorente’s research, and consider the time well spent. I just wish we could drag folks like PBS’ William Brangham into the light of day. Every time I see an article on “the opioid crisis’ which features a graphic of prescription pills, I shudder at the obvious propaganda.

That being said, the article in National Pain Report on “Tell the Task Force” is also having an impact. Draft recommendations of the HHS Task Force on Pain Management have gotten almost 1200 comments as of February 10th, 2018, and may well be headed into the several thousands. I’m also seeing scholarly papers that admit for the first time that further restrictions on availability of medical opioids will likely have little or no impact on opioid related mortality. We’re not “home” yet, but the narrative is at least incrementally changing.

I especially recommend a public hearing scheduled Tuesday February 12th starting at 10 AM, by the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee, subject “Treatment of Pain During the Opioid Crisis” . One of the invited witnesses (for 5-minute testimonies) is Cyndi Steinberg of the US Pain Foundation — one of the participants in the HHS Task Force.

Your readers can tune in here: https://www.help.senate.gov/hearings/managing-pain-during-the-opioid-crisis

Theresa Negrete

I tell you they can’t help in time and I think most don’t care, Government or Doctors. It used to be we were the consumers, our welfare and concerns mattered. I can’t get quality medical service any longer, to many judging me an addict or weak minded. I, just like many of you, have been responsible with all my medications. Before the Doctors were warning not to take Opiods with benzodiazepines or muscle relaxants, I had already researched this and always took them seperately, hours apart. Now that the sadists have taken foothold, we’re expendable!

Dan Bolger

Debbie, it’s hard to be patient when your quality of life is being destroyed. Andrew Kolodny, Jane Ballentyne, the other members of PROP, The CDC, the DEA all need to be exposed for their biased “opioids=addiction” and the war on Rx opioids, pain patients, and doctors become front page news everyday. Conflating illegal drug use with Rs pain care medicines is wrong. The old adage of follow the money is especially appropriate with the forced injections in “pain” clinics as well as the massive amount of money being made by Indivior with Suboxone and their addiction centers. This hysteria was created by addiction people with zero care about chronic pain patients.

Marguerite

Now that the truth is coming out how many years and lives of innocent people need to be lost in order to right the wrongs and harm caused us? I have lost my faith in Good medicine and good healthcare, it no longer exists. I have seen and heard way too many horrible things to undo what’s been done. Shame on those so called experts at ther CDC. I no longer have the will to live like this and the thought of me becoming another statistic that they will get wrong robs me of my inner peace. Im no longer sane because of neglected pain. I have thought things no one should ever feel or think due to this crisis.

William

It is about time the media starts telling the truth instead of the lies the government puts out. What happened to the days when the press got all the facts before printing a story. Illegal drugs are the story not chronic pain patients just check the facts and print the truth. Thousands of lives are at stake.

Annell

I have tried everything except blooding letting and leaches. I just posted wanted to include

Annell

I finally got the store 4 days ago they r still sitting on table and in floor needless to say can’t clean or cook hate to say don’t know last time I had shower it’s hard just to type this don’t know how much more so tired of being in bed taking anything I can find sleeping pills would have some beer or rum but can’t sit to drink!! If I only had the meds that helped I wouldn’t have to have bad thoughts please for Gods sake and many others help us that want to live sorry for additcs but there has always been addicts baby boomers need help now! Thx

Chrys

So good to hear that common sense is making a comeback. In this day and age, when marijuana has been made legal for the purpose of getting “high” and alcohol is available everywhere in spite of the lives it can destroy, it’s unbelievable that using opioids for relief if severe, chronic pain is illegal!!!!

Debbie Nickels Heck, MD

I’ve been upset with those who have had no patience at all with the time it takes for situations such as this to reverse themselves as I KNEW it would take good reporting by the right people to start reversing the “media mythology” that began several years ago. Those who continue to do nothing but blame the “bad media” and “uninformed politicians for doing nothing” don’t see they are doing more harm than help. It’s by INFORMING those who have been misled that positive change occurs JUST as the MISINFORMATION caused the problem in the first place. Blaming does nothing but fan negative flames and close the ears that need to hear. I’ve been so thankful to the writers of the truth! The more they write, the more the ears that need to hear are likely to get the message and bring about the need changes for BOTH with an addiction problem and chronic pain.

Gary Raymond

Thanks for the article. When diabetics are in pain, adrenalin (epinephrine) is secreted to cause the liver to produce more glucose. This glucose is normally expended fighting the external cause of pain. Central nervous system pain is not external. The excess glucose has nowhere to go. Therefore, diabetics in chronic pain stay in a hyperglycemic state which slowly destroys the circulatory system, and eventually the kidneys, heart, and brain. Small amounts of opioids complement the opioid peptides in the brain offsetting many detrimental effects.