The Opioid War Doesn’t Make Economic Sense

The Opioid War Doesn’t Make Economic Sense

By Steve Ariens.

As the debate grows over the impact of the opioid “crackdown” on chronic pain patients, a frequent contributor to the National Pain Report, Steve Ariens, P.D. R.Ph., has weighed with an interesting perspective.

While the accepted data report there are 100 million-plus chronic pain patients, I believe that in reality there are some 20-to-30 million who are opiate dependent. The intensity of their pain requires a 24 hour 7 day a week dosing.

Some and/or many of the rest are able to get by with NSAIDs or “as needed” opiate besides the NSAID.

Steve Ariens

I believe these patients should be leading the charge for change.

They may not be ready for the challenge.

That’s because they are probably failing to realize that as they age the deterioration that comes with aging and the progression of their health issues and the aging itself will move them up the ladder to having a need for increased opiate use.

Ultimately, they may become a patient who is, at least, dependent on opioids every day and all the time.

Behind every new and crazy opiate restriction, you will probably find a politician/bureaucrat who knows someone – or a friend of someone – who has overdosed on opiates.

It is unlikely that you will see these same bureaucrats or elected officials feeling sorry for someone who has died because they smoked most of their life or someone who dies of liver failure from drinking too much.

Let me suggest why.

Because state and federal coffers are enriched by tax revenues that come with alcohol and tobacco consumption.

Here’s another data point.

The legal opiate prescription market (think chronic pain patient is abut  $10 billiona year while the illegal substance abuse market is valued at $100 billion.

Gambling was illegal is most states, until the bureaucrats discovered how much money could be gained from taxing it-and now many states have multiple casinos and lotto games. And wait until sports gambling is legal!

But I digress.

Let’s stick to the math.

The bureaucrats are going have a $10 billion year market reduced –while ignoring a $100 billion market that could be legalized and TAXED.

Yeah…the government has it figured it out.

Let’s step over a dollar to pick up a dime.

Sound familiar?

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gryfalcon

We are doing it all wrong. I have a simple solution to the opioid crisis. GIVE IT AWAY FOR FREE. Now, it may sound crazy, but maybe not, if you consider this… – people who are truly addicted, and must have it in order to survive in the short term, will no longer have to commit a crime in order to survive. – there will no longer be “drug deals gone bad”. Transactions can take place in a well lit area with good security, with sensible rules such as not providing it to minors. In the meanwhile, we’ll be putting many illegal drug operations out of business. – Many deaths from overdose are due to the fact that the user did not have accurate information about what their dose contained, or how strong it was. An experienced opiate user, provided with a product that is accurately labelled and is at a consistent dose, will be better able to be estimate the correct dosage, significantly reducing deaths by overdose. To further reduce risks, we can offer a narcan kit to users. – By offering free opiates, we can incentivize behavior that can reduce other harms associated with opiates, such as requiring everyone who wants free opiates (men and women) to make use of a long term birth control measure as a condition for the free opiates. For those with children, we c, an sign them up for Headstart or put them on public transportation programs to reduce the likelihood of unattended children or DUIs, and require some level of ongoing supervision of the family situation as a condition of getting the free drugs. – By offering free drugs, we can set a limit on the strength of the product. We would be flooding the market with drugs that are inherently less dangerous, so that a drug user would need to consume significantly larger amounts to reach a deadly dose. Since such a program would have a social stigma and involve many restrictions, it would be unlikely to attract non-addicts. But, people who are in a desperate situation would be tempted by such an opportunity, and by engaging with them, we can help steer them in a more positive direction. Supply side economics does not work for drug addiction. We cannot lock up all the drugs in the world, as a method to stop drug addiction for the simple reason that economics is like gravity. If there is a demand, then there will be a supply. Since we cannot stop drug addicts from getting drugs, then we have to find a way to make the addict want to stop using drugs. First, we must give the addict a reason to engage with us. The way to do that is to figure out what matters most to them, and use that as a way to engage with them. And, the thing that matters most to an addict is the drug.

Bruce

They’re trying to kill us. How do you lead a charge against that? I had the same experience that Nancy Garcia had with the pharmacies refusing to fill my prescription. I had to leave Florida and move to Nevada, and eventually found a pain clinic to give me some help. I still don’t get a high enough dose, but I manage. I am renewing my passport so that I can go to Mexico in case my meds get cut off. There are pharmacies just across the border who likely would be less difficult to deal with. Of course, there’s the local hard drugs dealer down the street. We’ve got legal pot, but cannabis makes my nerves vibrate (neuropathy). Lucky me. Although I am lucky to stay below the “90 mg morphine equivalent” (per day) – look this term up, because this is what they use to harass pain doctors with. If you are below that, you should point this out if they try to reduce your meds. If you’re over that, you are probably in danger. I take 40 mg oxycodone, and that converts to 60 mg morphine equivalent. At least they will be aware that you know what the parameters are.

Malinda

Because of medical problems I also moved: from Portland Oregon where all my surgeries were to Boise, Idaho to Springfield, Mo. I experienced the same problems. In Idaho it was “we are not accepting Medicare patients.” (not “currently ” not accepting but NOT ACCEPTING.”) Iam senior. I HAVE TO USE MEDICARE primary. Here we go again.

In Boise, I had a denervation without any post procedure prescription. The nurse suggested I go check in and wait for an appointment to see if doctor would prescribe them….GO NEXT DOOR AND WAIT AND SEE???????????? THEN GO TO A PHARMACY???? HAS THIS DOCTOR EVER HAD HIS SPINAL NERVES ELECTROCUTED? IT IS DAM PAINFUL.

In Springfield I had an appointment to investigate why I had just been in the ER. Instead of an examination this fine doctor sat down and lectured me for 10 minutes on what she would NOT PRESCRIBE. The why was simple to her. “IT IS NOT INDICATED.” she said after each rx name. When I asked her if she was going to investigate why I had been so sick she told me “that has resolved itself.” (it has not)

I am now on a waiting list and have an appointment with a doctor (an internist) for JULY 3RD. Only 7 months to go. I have not seen other than an er doc since October 5th in Idaho. I have had a rough time- been in the ER 4 times and have lost 25lbs. This is getting old.

Here we go again.

Nancy Garcia

I just moved from Texas to Maryland,DID NOT KNOW IT WAS GOING TO BE SO HARD TO FIND ANOTHER DOCTOR,that would keep me on the same regime that the doctor in Texas had me on.It only took about 2years and I don’t know how many doctors to find doctor that was able to manage my unbearable ,suicidal pain. After two months in Maryland and only third doctor I saw ,said okay I can keep you on the regime you have been on for 18 months .So I cannot believe ,doctor fills pain pump and hands me a script,finally back to having a quality of life after being sent home to die,3 years prior.Finding a pharmacy to fill the prescription seems to harder than finding doctor,true story these are the EXCUSES I’ve been given not to fill rx.Your two zip codes away from pharmacy,I need your medical records,we are not accepting “New patients?”,The sun needs to be out,”I only filled 20 scripts today we are slow here”,”I only have 44″,these are only a few of very many !!!Now if I go in in my pajamas because those of us in chronic pain very well know bad days outweigh good days that’s with medication,your judged as a drug seeker,IF your having a real good day and are dressed and presentable now you don’t look in pain,you just can’t win with some pharmacist.Ive actually had a pharmacist tell me the doctor should change my meds?now after 5 very long painful years of trying everything for pain a pharmacists wants to change my regime,am I going crazy from pain?Or are the pharmacists are doctors now?I’m truly sincerely sorry for everyone that has lost a loved one to an opiate overdose,however how is me being denied the medication that lets me have a descent quality of life and be able to eat,I’m unable to eat because of the nature of my chronic pain,going to help?I’m just so in disbelief,that someone that has a legitame pain problem with a legitame prescription not be able to it get filled?THIS is barbaric and inhumane,IF an animal is in pain ,it’s not allowed to suffer,but people,humans are left to be in a hell,trapped in a body that just hurts,with no compassion,empathy.The judgements from some pharmacist,nurses and others is just unbelievable!!!!,IF I could clap three times and make my only body again be without pain,just to not have to beg,first a doctor,then a pharmacist to get me out of pain,so I can get up and shower(it hurts so much to just stand),brush my 8 year old daughters hair,brush my teeth,get dressed,eat and on a really good day ,get out of house!!!!SO please some doctors and a lot of pharmacist ,ask yourselves would you let your dog suffer like this?

HAZZY

UNCLE SAM SCREED ME UP, THE VA WON’T GIVE OPIODS, AND MY PAIN MANAGEMENT DOCTERS KEEP CUTTING ME BACK AND MY BLOOD PRESSURE IS GOING UP AND UP, SO I GUESS THEY WANT ME TO HAVE A STROKE !!! THAN THE DR’S WONT HAVE TO DEAL WITH ME

Maureen M. Sending Caring Support

OOOO Dear Beth, I so wish I could make it completely better for you! Your situation breaks my heart. Hang in there and I will be praying for you and your med fill issue, your pain levels and the life you/we have to suffer in pain with. God bless you and keep you strong, one min at a time. Hugs!!!!

Craig TROUTMAN

Next month Feb 1st are more changes to Rx plans that came from the Federal Government. They lumped in all the herion addicts that died and that affects real people in pain.i too use to use the 3 month script.. being far shouldnt make a difference. Someone is a liar. Don’t do anything to harm yourself . Call your Dr. And tell them. They may have to wright it different. Also call you local health Dept and explain your situation. Everyone is different and calls to your Congress and Senate reps will help .. we have that blond in the Whitehouse that’s in charge of this opiod war. I forget her name but she doesn’t have a clue !! Please keep us posted. There’s some good groups for support on Facebook also. Look for failed back surgery syndrome closed fourm and click join.

Beth

I’ll soon be dead because I can’t get my pain meds filled. I’m opiate dependent and the pharmacy I used in CA is under fire. I tried the mail order pharmacy three-month insurance lame
Excuses that I’m too far from my doctor! The pharmacies where I live day they will not fill a rx that comes from outside of the area so many mines but will not tell me how many except mine is TOO many. Truth is they don’t want to fill scripts for high levels of opiates PERIOD…I’M HAVING SUICIDAL PAIN. I will not make out another week. I’m so sad but out of answers. I’ll still praying something may change.

Steven Smith

The real savings is realized after there is no one left to treat. We have all expired.

Notasheep

Amen Dr. Oberg, amen.

C

Thanks sir for all your effort, but for me, having to fight fentanyl and oxy withdraws after being on these for 10 + years, and getting no help from the doctors to wean me down At least just left to fend for myself, that’s real professional, way to go Doctors, well I have lost all respect for a doctor, a drug dealer on the street treats you better than they do!!! and then told need to try yoga classes and therapy or your on your own, basically what I was told, so I didn’t bother to show up to next appointment, what’s the point, oh ya I forgot the 238.00 office visit, well sorry not milking and bleeding me dry then throwing me out to die!!!, but hey it ok, I now take a bottle of 250 ibuprofen a month, I sleep 3 hrs a night, on a good night, eat once a day, life was much better when I had a pain pill to help ease the terrible pain I am in, but I understand that my 25,000 salry isn’t nothing to your 250,000 salry so I guess I would break my oath to not help anyone if the goverment threatened to take my big easy life away, a little secret I wouldn’t, I would help these poor lost hurting souls that I was helping, no matter what!!!! But that just me………

Maureen M.

Another thought… Steve, you also made an excellent point of all about the Economy part of this issue. I’ve often wondered how the pharmaceutical companies are reacting to it all, and especially if/when they will be forced to stop producing all opioids, such as what happened with Opana. It will also effect the income of pharmacies.

Stephanie Scarbrough

Thank you Steve, we chronic pain patients appreciate your tireless work for us! This whole thing is a great travesty; playing with our functionality, our quality of life, our entire lives. We have to advocate for ourselves, because no one else will. Without my prescription opiates, I would be a bedridden lump of skin. I’m still able to work full time, barely, but I’ll take it. I can parent my daughter, as her father passed away when she was 2 and I’m the only surviving parent she has. I have minimal help, but I manage because I am being appropriately medicated. I’m grateful every day for an incredible physician who gets it. However, what I am not, is an addict. Not a junkie, not a drug seeker, as we are often portrayed. I’m so thankful for National Pain Report and people like Pharmacist Steve who stand up for us. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!

Steve, I agree with your premises & I also think that others are reading into what you said. If I am correct you support medical/recreational maraijauna, as well as continued support for opioid therapy for chronic pain which has not responded to other treatment regimens.
My concern seems to be that the media & some congressional delegates are unaware that opiate statistics include Heroin! Which to me is a different conversation all together.

Maureen M.

An interesting perspective it sure is…
Steve, Thank you for always giving your input. I appreciate your recognition that there are others who live in pain that aren’t as severe as others, who ought to step up and help, and especially suggesting their realty of worsening pain will happen as they age.
Many of us (I, for one) are in that ‘worsened with age’ category.
And it comes down to majorly ‘just surviving’ our days of life in pain, with our life sustaining meds and {God willing…with the support of others} who are in somewhat better condition.
I can relate to all of the prior posted comments.
@CAN’T ANYBODY SEE… I absolutely agree with you… there is no ‘opioid epidemic’ per say. I’ve been saying that for a long time.
My life in pain has also been greatly/wrongly effected by the tragic atrocity of the ‘fabricated, so called’ falseness of the opioid epidemic.
There is an ADDICT epidemic.
I had friends I grew up with die of heroin overdoses back in the early 70’s.
It’s simply the same, although worsened by these days.
The studies ought to be more so about the ‘why’s’ of that issue and not all about the increased overdoses that are now negatively effecting us who have positively and responsibly been treated for many, many years for our conditions.
I pray that the noise that we all continue to make in 2018 will turn it all around.
This insanity has got to stop.

Handrewsmom

I believe that most people know someone who has died of an opiod addiction, not just politicians or government buearocrats. But in turn I believe that they all also know someone who uses opiods to treat chronic pain.
What’s the difference? When someone overdoses and dies it’s usually acknowledged publicly by family and/or friends. Everyone says it’s such a tragedy and then they contact community and government officials to express their outrage and ask for help so it doesn’t happen to
anyone else.
Most chronic pain patients do not share that they have to take opiods around the clock in order to have some semblance of life. Why? Because of the stigma, the biased media reports, fear of theft/robbery, losing their job, being called a drug addict…the list goes on and on. I’ve spoke with many people about the opiod crisis and how it affects me. Many are empathetic and make some attempt to understand, but then refer to all the information that they have heard through mainstream media. It’s difficult to defend my treatment when the general public never hears from people like me.
My own mother calls me a drug addict!
I really don’t know what else to do to ensure that I, along with millions of others like me can do to continue to receive treatment for intractable pain.

I have bilateral knee replacements , bilateral hip replacements, both shoulders need to be replaced and I was crushed by a car three years ago. I can barely function with the little bit of pain medicine Iam given. Iam afraid to ask for anything else. What can I do. The pain will benthe end of me

Shirley hinton

All while i have cut my function in at half .. all because morons decided whats best for me … just suffer lady . Though youve never broken laws never sold a drug never had a bad test in sixteen years . My worst sin ? I let that toxic fake pain manahement clinic what I though of their GORILLA NURSES ..AND THEIR PEE TESTS AND BEING TREATED rudely FOR YEARS ..ME A WOMAN WHO RAISED FOUR BEAUTIFUL EDUCATED CHILDREN AND LIVES A LIFE OF DIGNITY ..HAD A BUSINESS I STARTED TILL I WAS GIVEN SURPRISE OF FIBRO . MARRIED FOURTY FIVE YEARS ..
I GOT TO THE POINT THAT SUFFERING COULDNT BE WORSE THEN HAVING TO BE HUMILIATED BY MORON WITH NO BACKBONE COWARD DOCTORS .
I SEE ONE NO WITH JUST TRAMADOL MED GIVEN BUT ITS HELPED AT LEAST .WHAT A RACKET THIS HAS BECOME ..
Every other commercial is a Rehab center telling you to CALL NOW , or spinal center ..oh please ..wish I had dollar for every injection that didnt work .
I chose my dignity before they removed all of it .. and I suffer but honestly its on them ..my life that Ive lived they cannot take away .so many in that industry are such incompetents. Cant wait to see how this turns out .. when its common knowledge how badly they have screwed up .people suffering ..for no good reason not to mention how they have violated our civil rights .and YES THEN WITH AGING ..OH WHAT MESS THEY HAVE CREATED . HASNT CHANGED ONE ADDICTS CHOICE FOR US TO SUFFER .

Richard Oberg M.D.

Steve – you accurately described me as a patient. Bad psoriatic arthritis for 25 years, initially requiring prn hydrocodone to survive before and during the advent of very helpful biologics (the latter of which weren’t effective forever). Eventuating in hydrocodone 24/7 which kept me in practice for an additional decade – not too bad – worsening disease, disability, and now able to get about half the dose of what I was on before due to other’s insanity. As a pharmacist you’re a better physician than most. You are correct of course. But let me add something even more pernicious – my ‘profession’. If Medicare cut reimbursements for some subspecialty group, individual members would howl while their group political appointees would battle and negotiate. When it comes to patient care they capitulate. Money has a LOT to do with it but there’s much, much more. They’re the only ones who could put a stop to patient abuse – but won’t – at least for now. Contrary to the opinions of many vocal healthy advocates here (not you) the healthcare establishment (i.e.: physicians and healthcare systems) is the only way this can be fixed – not by patients or some mythical rising up of the seriously ill masses. It just won’t work. I’ve spent 30 years fighting in-house battles (healthcare within the limited sphere of hospital practice) along with full-time practice and been reasonably successful on a number of non-related fronts. But not with this issue. Opioids work fine for chronic pain – my anecdote aside – and are easy to prove as safe and effective in that group. Many including myself have written about this over and over with statistical DATA. Yeah, the CDC is off the rails and everyone here knows the players. So what? We end up in a self-help group and talk to ourselves. It hasn’t worked, has it? Like not at all? Three years ago I was still healthy enough to want to do my part in helping only to find myself (and my disabled physician wife) seeming to do battle more with advocates than getting anything useful done. We attended statewide physician meetings with officials in charge of opioid regulations in our state (Tennessee). One of these was open to the public – hardly anyone showed up. Did they make it easy to attend? – of course not. However, we did receive a positive response from physicians there who agreed with the basic issues I briefly spoke about and then returned to their busy lives. Things my wife and I have said and written about are either ignored or forgotten like so many who’ve accurately identified the problem. I knew, with the best of efforts, this was going to get much, much worse before it got better. It has, hasn’t it? I don’t write anymore because I don’t do this type self-help that isn’t helping and have to attend to me to survive. I don’t do administrative babble, psychobabble, or other babble though I’m fluent in… Read more »

Micki Bradshaw

I agree completely with your article, however I don’t believe they will be losing that much money. Why? Because of the new “guidelines” they released shortly after the war on opiods started, The one where they changed the definition of high blood pressure,
The impact was huge. Overnight, more than 30 million adults with a systolic blood pressure (the top number) of 130 to 139, or a diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) of 80 to 89, got a new diagnosis: stage 1 hypertension, Now doctors will want to put all those people on blood pressure meds! Personally I believe someone did the math on the money they’ll be losing on the opiods so they figured out a way to mitigate it, Boom! Now 100 million more people will have to buy blood pressure meds, Money problems solved!
This was my very first thought when I heard the new BP guidelines,

Fuchsia

And as pot gets more legalised state by state. You know these crooks sorry politicians. They have their calculators and are counting the money pot brings in .I believe their tax benefits will be highly underestimated. Especially as the reefer madness stigma goes away. And also as more quit booze and try a better alternative.

Lynda

The bottom line is we don’t make anyone enough money to have any value & the words empathy & compassion are no longer words with any value because the people in this country have over time become so consumed with only their selves that anyone else suffering is just not their problem & could careless. By the time it does effect some of the people & pain will it is unavoidable every has at some point in life but it will already be long too late for the many chronic pain patients being tortured this very moment just trying to survive the rest of today.

Nana

I am sorry that you are completely correct.

There is no tax on a living breathing Chronic Pain Patient.

After my last doctor appointment I fully see that to be true. I asked this diagnostic doctor in Springfield, MO: what, do you want CPPs to just die? [The Doctor] just grinned at me. Enough said.

Thank you for your input.

Thank you Steve for all you do! Great article and so true!

Alan Edwards

I fight pain everyday and can barely move- since 1962 when I was born with DDD, spondylyitis, etc. Had migraines growing up and could not figure out why doctors were allowing me to suffer in so many ways when I knew a weak opioid could stop the pain and theoretically prevent future nerve and skeletal damage. So all the battle against a natural molecule is moot to me. They and I know opiates are not dangerous. Acetaminophen has caused more deaths by far and so have many other drugs. Antidepressants are now the evil king of medicines.
One thing is certain. I will and am already suffering because of oral dosage drops of a weak opioid. Now I need crutches and a walker. Pain and spasticity are so intense my own weight crushes me and my spine. The doctors, pharmacists, and pain experts who are denying Chronic Pain exists, HAVE NO CHRONIC PAIN. Have you tried to fill a script for opioids lately? Did the pharmacist scream that you were going to die? Or try to block your refills? This is reality for me. The experts are creating a new problem combating an opioid epidemic which does not exist. Not a single doctor, pharmacist, or policeman has seen a death definitely caused by opioids in my 50 year lifetime in Carroll County, VA. That is reality. But pain and suffering have been reduced tremendously and sometimes all but eliminated by opioids.
-until they are banned. And the pharmacists, policemen, politicians and pharmacists are already working on benzodiazepines, an even more effective, safe and versatile molecule. My ancestors lived in a saner world.

Steve is mistaken to believe that economics are driving pain care. Naloxone manufacturers companies doing udt addiction centers pain researchers are profiting handsomely from the crises capitaliasm in pain care. It is the end result of planned obsolescence in pain care. Failure is rewarded. Dr collins of nih asked congress for 500 million to develop opioid alternatives.
Pain care is an American tragedy where greed moral and mental laziness thrive at the expense of humanity and sanity.

Craig Troutman

The can’t anyone see past their nose post reminded me of what I went thru. I made a comment to my Dr. Of 17 yeas Over the phone , maybe I should find a new Dr. And he just jumped on it.. I had to scramble to 4 different pain mgnt places. The 1st. Said we’re getting out of the business.. the 2nd said we’re going to take your 7.5 mcg fentanyl patches and that 1 5 mg Norco per day for Breakaway pain and cut your patch to 50 mcg then to 25 mcg then we will burn the nerves above your rage cages ( where there is no pain btw ) and then give you 6 norcos . This is without any of my records also. The 3 Rd place I sat and waited at 10:15 am. Went in each place to do my urine test.. wait wait wait.. now it’s 1:00 pm I told them I had to get home and get my dog out then drive to work.. I understand was all I was told. So at 1:15 pm I said I have to go.. they said I understand. I walked out and went home and then to work. The 4th place I went in and the dr.looked at me and said.im going to tell you right now
I’m not your buddy ,I’m not your friend , I’m not your pal ! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing ! Then he yelled at me because I wear my patch below my breast.. that’s where it works for me.with sleeping and pealing off. So I left without meds that day. Called back and asked to see another Dr there.by this time they had my records gave me meds and the trip a month later I’m in the room and in comes that Dr. With the bedside manner of a rock again . He gave me my meds squinting from doin his nerve burns. I called back and said I don’t want to see that Dr. Again. Tomorrow I go back for my 4th time to see the other Dr. And we will see how things go.. there are real people with real pain out there and we need the help of these Drs. Please help us someone. Pain mgnt people don’t abuse their Medicine. They are the ones that know the true value of it

Diahn Escalante

Permission to post by my wonderful doctor. Dr. Daryl George. He is doing all he can, but not getting any responses from our esteemed gov’t.officials

When the 2016 drug overdose data becomes available, you will again see another increase due to fentanyl and heroin deaths. All the federal "guidelines" that are being enforced by states as "regulations," are forcing most medical providers to quit prescribing any pain medications to their patients who did not abuse their medications and received them from licensed providers and pharmacies. When you cut them off needlessly, you just encourage them to turn to the black market to get their medications. Some people will  resort to alcohol leading to more health issues. While some will unfortunately lose all hope and choose suicide to remedy their chronic pain that no one seems to care about. Laws are hurting legitimate chronic pain patients while favoring the illegal drug abusers. It's high time to prosecute the drug dealers with the death penalty. And while we're at it, the "legal" drug dealers (CEO's and other high-ranking officials) at McKesson Corp. and the pharmaceutical companies should be held accountable for all the deaths they have caused, all for the sake of profits.

K Hines

What exactly is the author proposing here? Something about patients not being up to the challenge of legalizing/taxing ilicit drugs? What? Opiates are indeed legal for pain management. And by the way, one of the main rallying cries by those naive to chronic pain is that the PHARMA lobby is responsible for every opiate death b/c all opiate deaths are the (somehow) the result of pain medication. Which is it? Is Pharma all-powerful, or completely without agency?

My Congressman tried to help me. He sent my medical records to the DEA. A couple of weeks later his office called me to see if I got a response. Nothing! I help lead the charge. Where do I go from here?

Suzanne Calhoun

I am beginning to believe that it has a lot to do with money for the big pharmacy companies. My pain has been controlled with a medication that was less than $30 a month and now has been changed to one that’s over $300 a month! And we still haven’t found a dose to control my pain yet!

Cheri Furr

The government IS stupid. You’re right, there is never a politician leading the charge against dangerous chemicals that are banned in every country but the US, cigarettes (which cause so many cancer deaths), alcohol (which causes death from alcohol poisoning, cirrhosis of the liver and contributes to heart disease if consumed over years in large quantities—not to mention deaths of innocent people from drunk drivers), or even sugar, which causes diabetes in excessive use. Uncontrolled diabetes leads to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, amputations, blindness, and death. And here the AG is also going after marijuana, which has been proven to relieve pain and also be good for things like glaucoma. In my opinion, this has the greatest potential for chronic pain patients and state and Federal tax revenues, which they badly need! Look at the boom in revenue Colorado has had since marijuana was legalized there! If proper controls were made of this product, it could be safer than opioids and alcohol! There are edible forms and oils, which definitely have a large market and would help chronic pain patients denied opioids.

Robert Ivan

Steve,

Thank You! Finally someone cuts through all the BS and gets right to the point.

Marijuana was the gateway drug that led directly to Heroin when I was growing up. Does anyone out there remember John Sinclair? Sentenced to 10 years in a Federal Pen for what amounted to the remnants of a joint and a few seeds found in his car’s ashtray.

Now the Great State of California has legalized recreational use of the Cannibis plant. Pure jealousy of the huge hail Colorado has been making on Dope.
“Only a Dope smokes Dope” – government service announcement.

The state of Colorado pulled in nearly $200 million in tax revenue last year thanks to its $1.3 billion in marijuana revenue.

The Colorado Department of Revenue announced Thursday the state’s revenue had pushed past $1 billion. Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, along with Washington state, and this was its third year of regulated sales. In its first year revenue hit $699.2 million, followed by $996.2 million the second year.

Can you imagine how California is going to eclipse Colorado? The Cannibis plant is now fashionable. Let’s give the greedy government a reason to embrace the Poppy plant. There has to room for both!

I have posted numerous times on previous articles on the NPR under Robert Ivan, Robert, Mathew, FedUp (the original), and several others, that it’s not about saving us from ourselves. It’s all about the freak’n money.

Once again Steve, my sincere appreciation for writing this short and sweet, logical, direct to the truth article. You are my New Year Hero.

Can't anybody see past the end of their noses?

I seem to be missing your point I feel to understand what charge we are supposed to be leading. I fully understand that most of us are not up to any kind of a challenge since a lot of us have trouble doing things like feeding ourselves, bathing ourselves, doing really frivolous things like, oh, say, doing the laundry, or paying our bills. How we’re supposed to be leading the charge is completely beyond me. This whole new CDC opioids guideline was over and done with and I was cut off dead and kicked to the curb before I even really understood that it was going on. In October 2017 things were more or less okay at my pain management doctor where I’d been a patient for more than 7 1/2 years and the dual opiate medication regimen I was on receiving both oral and intrathecal opiates was moving right along and everything was more or less okay. One day as I’m walking out of the doctors office: oh by the way you have to decide to give up either the oral opiates or the intrathecal opiates, and long story short they cut me off of the oral opiates dead without allowing any time for adjustment in an increase in the intrathecal opiates to compensate for the loss of the oral opiates. No weaning off of the oral opiates, just cold-turkey, withdrawals and all. And when I spoke a word of protest I was kicked to the curb and out of their practice boom, gone, bye. If anybody should have been leading the so-called charge it should’ve been our pain management doctors who understand very clearly that they had a whole bunch of patients who legitimately need the opiates that they are getting and literally cannot live their lives without them because nothing else works. This CDC has got absolutely no business whatsoever creating guidelines for opiate usage they deal with infectious diseases,. opiates are not an infectious. As far as I am concerned this is another very obvious false flag tail wagging the dog distract the public from what is really going on by creating yet another boogie man with which to terrorize the public and get them all up in arms over nothing so that they aren’t paying attention to the really important things that are going on like new tax plans that rob the poor and give to the rich blah blah blah. Frankly your little article sounds to me like another blame the patient, blame the victim, blame the girl in the short skirt who had one too many drinks and got raped instead of instead of the sick [edit] that raped her. You sound like just one more person who is got this situation completely backwards and is blaming the people who need the medication he needs the opiates to simply survive the pain from the date of the night because nothing else works instead of blaming the bureaucrats who never should’ve been involved in… Read more »

Karl Zaremba

What a tangled web we are weaving. We will figure this all out eventually but many are destined to suffer, or even die needlessly, while we figure it all out.