Trump on Opioids – Short on Specifics

Trump on Opioids – Short on Specifics

By Ed Coghlan.

President Trump decided to say something about opioids this week after all, calling the nation’s opioid epidemic the “worst drug crisis in American history,” and declaring it a public health emergency.

The President as recently as Wednesday said his announcement would come next week—but when it came it fell short of many health advocated had urged and had no funding tied to it.
And, as has been the case for the past two years as the opioid story grew to hurricane proportions, there was no mention of chronic pain—for which millions of people use opioids as therapy-only discussion about addiction and substance abuse.

Trump earlier had said he would declare a more sweeping national state of emergency that would have given states access to funding from the federal Disaster Relief Fund, as they would after a tornado or hurricane.

Pain Advocates and physicians, we reached out to today had little comment because there was little detail in the President’s much ballyhooed and anticipated announcement.

Some of the details of the announcement include:

  • Allow patients further access to “telemedicine” so they can receive prescriptions without seeing a doctor.
  • Make grants available to those who have had trouble finding work due to addiction.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services will hire more people to address the crisis, particularly in rural areas Allows states to shift federal funds from HIV treatments to opioids, since the two are linked as drug users often share infected needles.

The lack of emphasis on chronic pain and what advocates call “responsible users” of opioids was notable by its absence.

Meanwhile, speaking of no action, the implantation of the National Pain Strategy continues to dawdle, 18 months since it was adopted.

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

There are 25 comments for this article
  1. Janice Snyder at 6:23 pm

    From one who is now looking over her shoulder for the Opiod Nazis, thank you.

  2. Ibin at 10:33 am

    NOT surprised by the failure to address “chronic” pain and the crisis being caused in the attempt to curb drug abuse. Prescription medications can be abused also but, how to make DOT/GOV realize and distinguish beteween the do’s and dont’s of the populous of those of us with lifetime severe pain. I have gotten 23 years of being able to remain self sufficient, self providing through appropriate pain management. MANY patients have gotten the same, to their best ability………..through use as directed. Documented use. DOT/GOV just will not recognize and ackowledge this fact.

  3. Gail at 9:56 am

    I to am a chronic pain patient. After hearing what the president said and putting Gov. Christy in control of this so called epidemic blows me away. I to will write the White House. I have had all my pain meds taken away after being on them for the last 10 years. I have resorted to smoking weed before bed so I can at least get 3 hours of sleep. I’ve been using kratom during the day to get some of my pain to reside. My pain mgmt. has put me on gabapentin 800 and ibuprofen 800. As I know this is not good for me I try not to use it too often. I’m sorry but I almost had to laugh when the president said needles will be controlled. The illegal drug users will use their dirty needles over and over and have no problem sharing them im sure. This I believe will lead to a much bigger hiv and hepatitis problem. I have much more to say about this so called epidemic , as far as alcohol abuse and how many innocent lives are lost each year because of it. (Innocent people being killed by drunk drivers ) which a lot of times start at a very young age. The deaths every year from Tylenol, and ibuprofen so on and so on….thanks to this forum for all your research

  4. Deborah babcock at 9:56 am

    PRESIDENT TRUMP. !! PLEASE DO YOUR RESEARCH ON OPIOIDS ESPECIALLY WHERE IT CONCERNS THE CHRONIC PAIN PATIENTS..WE ARE NOT DRUG ADDICTS AND DONT LIKE BEING LUMPED IN THAT CATEGORY!! MOST OF US CONNOT EVEN GET A TINY BIT OF PAIN RELIEF NOW AND THIS IS INHUMANE !!!!! WE DO HAVE RIGHTS AND WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS..MOST OVERDOSES OCCUR WHEN ADDICTS MIX OPIOIDS WITH OTHER MEDS AND OR ALCOHOL..!!! HOW MANY LEGITIMATE PAIN PATIENTS HAVE OVERDOSED ON THEIR MEDICATION IN THE LAST DECADE. IF SO,WERE THEY ALREADY PREDISPOSED TO BECOMING ADDICTED AND OR AN ABUSER….? ITS BEEN WAY TO LONG AND THIS NEEDS ADDRESSED IMMEDIATELY..WERE IN PAIN BECAUSE OTHER PEOPLE CHOOSE TO ABUSE. !!!!! NOT FAIR…. I WONDER HOW MANY OF US HAVE HAD TO GO TO THE STREETS TO GET PAIN MEDICATION 5 OR 10 DOLLARS A PILL JUST TO BE RELIEVED FOR A SHORT TIME..? THOSE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE TTHEIR PRESCRIPTIONS,,THE ONES WHO DONT NEED IT SO THEY SELL IT. !!! NOT FAIR…..I SHOULD HAVE A SAY ABOUT WHAT I PUT IN MY BODY OR DONT PUT IN MY BODY. IM AN ADULT,NOT A DRUG ADDICT NOR HAVE EVER BEEN,IM RESPONSIBLE AND I NEED MY PAIN MEDICATION BACK..!!!! ITS NOT MY FAULT OTHER PEOPLE CHOOSE THE PATH THAT THEY TAKE !!!!

  5. Oregon at 8:25 am

    I’ve been reading this post over the last several months-my husband has CP. I agree that the CP patients are being discriminated against (big time) by being lumped in with addicts. Heroin is the issue and addicts will find a way to keep on using. It appears that the “witch hunt” will soon be in full swing and innocent folks will pay the ultimate price for ignorance once again. I will write letters if that will help however it sure feels overwhelming and I can only hope for my loves sake that we don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.

  6. Mr Marty at 6:38 am

    We can all start by emailing our representatives in the House and Senate. Most importantly we need to voice our opinions by the millions, to the White House. I’ve done all of the above and here is the White House email. (ppo@who.eop.gov)
    This is a great forum that brings all of us together. We as cronic pain patients MUST have the right representation in Washington if we want to be heard. Inform the president and your representatives that we demand to have representation on the council that includes chronic pain specialist doctors around the country. We don’t need drugs zars on that Council to represent cronic pain patients. It’s absurd. I’m hoping someone here on this forum knows of any planned marches on Washington DC in the future(.!? ) We need to show our numbers. We must combat this infringement on our freedom to take control of our own bodies.

  7. Joan Hamm at 3:37 am

    Mr.President…you cannot murder the sick people who need medications to live. CRPS disease is a disease the pain Can get worse than Cancer pain. Cancer is terrible but the DISEASE CRPS has to be on the top list of sick people to be able to get medications. The pain from CRPS a nerve damage disease spreads too. The pain is unbearable. The Government will be blamed to many many deaths due to needing medications to survive. The medications goes right to the pain damaged area. It never makes one high so to speak. The body knows where it needs help. This is a Worlwide disease. You can get it just by falling..tripping..twisting your ankle..a car accident with impact. Any age..anyone can get it. CRPS is a horrifying PAIN DISEASE. Check into it yourself. Talk to people who have it..they will verify the above. With medication that eases the pain for hours..one can still contribute to society. For only a few hours a day..no more than thst.but much good is done in helping others by CRPS RSD disease. Medication is needed every day. One will perish without pain relief. Thank you.

  8. J.A. martin at 3:28 pm

    Thank you Ed, and for the support of chronic (responsible use of needed opioid analgesics) pain persons.
    National pain report is great.
    We need to continue to stay strong and loud. The government view is very bleak.

  9. William Dorn at 2:07 pm

    If our goverment can not tell the differance between illegal drug use and legitimate chronic pain patients we are putting the wrong people in office.This is a simple problem to solve.Defeat the illegal drug trade leave pain patients and their doctors alone and give treatment to addicts that want it.Is this to hard for our goverment to handle.If so heaven help us.

  10. Renee E Mace at 12:53 pm

    I wish I could do this but couldn’t we all sign a petition and ask all of the National News people to do a roll of showing both sides of the so called opioid epidemic? Meaning if we could get a reporter to show the people of the USA the other side of the coin, people like us whose very life depends of opioids. I know that my friends and family have never heard of such a thing as what we have to do to get some pain medications for our chronic pain diseases. They can’t believe that we have a sign a pain contract with our doctor and our state to get pain pills and we have to take a pee test, have a pill count and if we use pot, alcohol or benzos, we have broke our contract and will not get our life saving medications. Think about it, here is the USA with all of our freedoms, that we have to be treated as drug addicts and have to do all of the above as I have stated, when I tell my friends, they say that has to be illegal? But know, it is what we have to do. I want the entire American People to know what the opioid epidemic has costs us. For most, it has taken away the life we once enjoyed and has cause us to have very dangerous pain flare ups, which raise our blood pressure to unhealthy numbers every day between doses, which in itself can cause a heart attack or a stroke. Also we can no longer be with our family because we hurt so much, we isolate ourselves so we won’t be a burden on them. The Media needs to cover the other end of the opioid epidemic and maybe the President and the CDC will listen and stop the madness. GOD HELP US ALL! So if any of you who are good at writing or calling the National New Outlets and ask them to report the other side of the coin on the opioid epidemic, that I as well as my entire family and friends will sign a petition demanding a story on us.

  11. Christine jacoby at 11:59 am

    Separate drug abuse from intractable pain.
    Separate addiction from intractable pain.
    Stop the murdering of intractable pain patients.
    Uncontrolled pain kills.
    Those of us needing help are being ignored and murdered.
    We are all US citizens, And those of us in our weakened state have been forgotten and left to die.
    Agony is 24/7.
    Please help please help please help.

  12. JoDawn at 9:50 am

    How about giving an option? Like taking cannabis off as a Schedule 1 drug with “no medical benefit”?
    STATES that have legalized medical use have a 25% less overdose (suicide?) level compared to other states.
    Honestly. How complicated is that??

  13. Carl Dunn at 9:21 am

    The prohibition of alcohol created the organized crime rings called the mafia. What, pray tell, does our leaders expect when they prohibit pain medication by limiting prescriptions at pharmacies and pain management centers through legislation? One, you cannot legislate morality, and as we now realize, the problem is illegal drugs and co-morbidity, (Xanax with heroin or opiates). Putting the squeeze on doctors prescribing pain meds to chronic users may reduce the number of overdoses by a percent of a percent, but isn’t the most of those dying because of fentanyl and Xanax type drugs used at the same time? It is a shame that those who forget (or ignore) the past are condemned to repeat it! This just makes us aware of our leaders limitations and intelligence. We must threaten them by with-holding our vote and writing or calling our legislature and warning them that getting on this bandwagon outlawing prescribers from helping the truly needy alleviate pain to work and survive daily will NOT be getting our vote re-election time! This is the only way to sway the vote on these destructive bills headed by those using public policy to garner votes by an apathetic and ignorant voting public so easily swayed by the “Kardashian” mentality perpetuated by the mass media. Sheeple, I mean people, are easily wooed by the negligent media who never reveals the whole truth, only viral headlines intended to urge lemmings to rush to the cliff’s edge and jump before it’s “too late”. Quick, mass hysteria is the order of the day! Tell the lemmings to rush to judgement and vote for me cause only I can save us because the end is near! We need a business-man to run our government and clean out the swamp! You se where I am going with this. So, let us organize a movement that centers on persuading legislatures to make sure mass hysteria and ignorance does not sweep us all over the edge. Call or write you congressman or senator and urge him/her to insure chronic pain medication users are not included in the federal health emergency to reduce opiate overdoses. Remember, we are not the problem here! Don’t punish the innocent victims who are the easy targets of mass hysteria and ignorance! We must fight back or suffer the consequences of stupidity and politicians grand-standing to get votes who just couldn’t give a sh=t about the truth and reality of the issues, they just want re-elected by any means possible. It’s easy to use the wave of mass hysteria to get people to move on issues, especially if you are only telling half-truths and misdirection!

  14. Signe Topai at 8:21 am

    Chronic Pain Patients we MUST FIGHT BACK. I was refused to even be seen, let alone prescribed break through pain meds at Kaiser Permanente in Denver Co. My doctor,
    when available, will prescribe 6-10 extra pain meds when I flare. He knows me and trusts me. But if he is gone no one will treat me. I now have a thousand dollar ambulance bill which could of been avoided if I would of been treated. I have asked Member Services, after filing a complaint, is this how doctors on staff and urgent care treat their heart patients? Due you refuse to treat your cancer or kidney patients? I subject myself to urine tests, and other discriminatory demands of Kaiser’s “CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE CONTRACT, that effects no one else but chronic pain patients. I tell my doctor everything about my med use, pain and symptoms. I have hired a Medical injury attorney to fight this discrimination. I know there our thousands of you out there too! It cost you nothing to hire personal injury attorney’s. We must say enough is enough!! If we don’t, Trumps poor leadership will make it impossible to be treated or prescribed life saving opiates . We must speak out, hire attorneys, write letters to News stations and join groups like National Pain Association were our voices are heard! If we don’t due it now, your treatment will be decided for you. God bless and DON’T give up!!!

  15. Anonymous at 7:44 am

    I have a responsible doctor and I get faucet joint injections for my arthritis in my back and I am scheduled for an epidural steroid injection on November 16th so I can get through Peak at UPS and yes I do take pain medication I take it responsibly because I need to work I need to eat they need to leave us alone they keep saying opiate epidemic but it’s more of a heroin epidemic people out there who just want to get high and put needles in their arm I just want to have a normal life and if you take away my medication I will lose my job I will lose my quailty of life I don’t like going to the doctor and getting these injections and I go every 3 months and I get piss tested and I have to go every mouth and pick up my prescriptions and I don’t live close to my doctor’s office so it’s quite a drive I do not like to have to go through all these things I would much rather be normal I wish I didn’t have fibromyalgia I wish I didn’t have bulging discs and arthritis in my back don’t take away what quality of life that I do have

  16. Kathy C at 7:41 am

    I had low expectations at the start. The part of the speech about his “Drunk Uncle Fred’ was no doubt mean to humanize him. It made it really clear that he has no grasp whatsoever on the subject. I don’t know why anyone expected any better. We all saw his rhetoric change, on the cost of Prescription drugs, when he had that meeting with the Pharma Execs.
    Perhaps the utter indifference and incompetence will highlight, how absurd the entire response has been. He believes he can fix this with some bluster, and obfuscation. Of course certain topis were clearly off -limits, like fining or suing the Pharma Industries parties responsible.
    He was fine with cutting off funding for sick children, so it is highly doubtful he has any more concern for the people impacted by this. Melania’s false concern was also telling, she is going with the same false narrative that has been running for years. At least her people had her appear to be in touch with the people impacted.
    They have made it very clear that it is already too late. No one noticed that there has been no attempt to describe the damage by Pharma Marketing, and this crisis, or to even look at the causes. No one has looked at the numbers, they inflated them by changing definitions. No Agency has cracked the impact of the “Crackdown” on Prescription drugs either. it is rather disturbing that no one notices where they lack the “Research.”
    The numbers of deaths are climbing in spite of the fact they removed a lot of Prescription Drugs. Yet there is no effort to track that either. The Drug Addicts are pretty likely blaming Prescription drugs becasue it gets more sympathy, and fits the narrative.
    We are in post fact and post Science America, we better get used to it.

  17. M.Billeaudeaux at 7:34 am

    Thank you for this informative article. I will write to Gov. Chris Christie (New Jersey) who will presumably chair this “emergency crisis” and I urge each and every chronic pain sufferer and/or the ones who support them to write also. If we do not start to do so we will begin to risk the fact that our effective medications will be restricted or even completely restrained. May I please suggest to not go into great detail about your particular disease or problem but to briefly in one or two sentences describe your problem and then stress that we are RESPONSIBLE USERS who follow the instructions of our physician and we do not abuse our medication but we have to take them in order to live and work as near normal of life as possible. Please do not delay doing this. Make your letter brief but to the point. May I also suggest writing to your own congressmen/women and representatives in your state. We must be heard, we must have a voice in this or I’m afraid we will face detrimental circumstances. I would also close your letter by saying that you support the efforts of the president to help those who abuse or are addicted and that trying to find alternative and affordable treatment, education, and physician education on drug abuse and that this is how the government should assist, not punish responsible citizens. Our medication is our lifeline NOT our “death line”. Thank you for allowing me to comment.

  18. Debra at 7:21 am

    Yes, absolutely no mention of chronic pain patients, there are no politicians who ever mention the CP community. This is beyond frustrating and shows a total lack of empathy for people who are suffering.

  19. Maureen Mollico at 6:44 am

    Hi Ed, I watched Trump’s announcement, with baded breath…in hope that he would, in some sense, mention our CP Community.
    I came away feeling that he made this generalized announcement, under pressure, and that it gave the public very little…all in all.
    We’ve got to rev up and get our messages to the White House! We’ve got to continue to be hopeful and make noise. We cannot stop our momentum, whatsoever. My heart is broken over the many continuing CP folks suicides. It is sheer insanity that is causing it. God help us and this nation.
    Regardless, I choose to remain hopeful and faithful in the midst of my fear. I have no other choice…
    Thank you Ed/staff for all that you do on our behalf.

  20. Linda Throop at 6:10 am

    I am 62 years old. In 1995 I had a nasty fall from a ladder. The result was a ‘broken back and neck’. I was able,barely, to keep working for another 6 months before I had two surgeries to stabilise my spine. Because I worked hard, played hard, I also have damage to most of the joints in my body. I also have serious erosion of my right hip joint. In August I was informed my physian was no longer allowed to prescribe pain medication. I have to see a specialist.
    I waited 2 months. The specialist wanted me to get an MRI! I have metal supports in my lumbar spine and cervical spine, not to mention a IVC filter. I can’t have an MRI. I am now waiting another 2 months for the next ‘specialist’.
    Because of the tylenol content and the fact Narco makes me crabby, I take as little as possible. I don’t expect to not hurt. I just want it to be tolerable. It would be kind of nice to sleep for more than 3 hours at a time before pain wakes me up. I guess that’s asking too much. ( I am not sarcastic, wink)
    The rules seem to change weekly, nobody knows what is really required for me to get a simple medication that allows me to function. It is frustrating.
    If the goal is to have healthy productive Americans, this war on pain medication is counter productive.

  21. Jim Moulton at 5:55 am

    What is going on with the war on opioids is not helping the suicides and the flood of heroin in this country. The first big goal was getting Oxycontin off of the market and all would be well. OK, only one company makes this medication now, and it is too expensive for most real pain sufferers to get it. Now, the street drug is heroin again sometimes with fentanyl, a narcotic much stronger than oxycodone. Many people are having od’s from this mix, because of the strength of fentanyl. So now, we have many people with real pain suffering because their medications are being cut back or stopped. This is America, the land with some of the best doctors in the world. Why the War on Opioids now? Heroin has been a problem for years. Fight heroin, not legal pain patients.

  22. Sandie Hamilton at 5:12 am

    We can be the generation that ends substance abuse, but lets not be the generation that leaves people living in and dying from intractable pain!

  23. Kathleen Kaiser at 5:11 am

    If the federal government is transferring funds from HIV to opiate control because many patients get HIV from sharing needles then they have to admit that it’s not prescription drugs that are causing the problem. Because one does not shoot up prescription drugs one shoots up Fentanyl and heroin.

  24. Leigh A Peltier at 4:42 am

    I thought Trump acted far more presidential while discussing the opioid crisis. And it is a crisis and there are communities that sadly have been destroyed by the epidemic. I am happy that there is awareness. But I get nervous about all of it because I am a chronic pain patient. I’ve been able to get by without much in the way of pain pills of late, but that can change and I never know what my rheumatologist will be able or willing to prescribe. I appreciate the National Pain Report for always remembering the chronic pain community that everyone else forgets!

  25. Janice Snyder at 3:31 am

    As with many things, it is easy to make grand speeches regarding hard issues. However, once you get down to the actual solving of the problem, its complexities are revealed. As is generally the case, most issues have more than one area that needs to be resolved. The different facets tend to be intertwined with the others. So as you are begin solvingd one of the issues of the problem, you find that the other facets are being affected as well

    For example, making the use of opiods a crisis intertwines the two groups of users: responsible users and those who use the drugs merely as a conduit for getting high. One solution would be to limit the number of pills one can purchase during a month. While fewer addicts might not die because of the limitations, responsible patients who legitimately need higher dosages will be left to suffer. Also, the reduction of the opioids might cause both types of users to seek the drugs illegally which could cause a myriad of bad scenarios and, turn for many, a medical issue into a legal one.

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