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.
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.