Among the contributions to honest science of the American Council on Science and Health are their efforts to set the record straight on the bull-headed government’s war on opiate drugs. This narrow war, of course, is part of the larger, life destroying war on drugs, which has long been shown by the Global Commission on Drug Policy to be devastating in its effects on individuals and communities. With permission of the author, here are some on-the-money thoughts by ACSH’s Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Josh Bloom.
All I Want For Christmas Is For People Not To Hurt
I could never have imagined that I would ever see the cruelty that is now being inflicted upon pain patients – people who have to live their lives under conditions that are so horrible that the rest of us can’t possibly fathom the level of suffering they must endure.
It was bad enough a decade ago when chronic pain patients had two choices, both bad: 1) powerful opiate drugs, which can be very unpleasant to take in larger doses and have addiction potential (1) or 2) suffer from intractable pain that can be so bad that they become housebound. Suicide is not uncommon in such cases. And all of this was going on before our government fabricated a war against an unfortunate and powerless group of people under the faulty premise that it would diminish the devastating outbreak of overdose deaths from fentanyl and heroin that now claims tens of thousands of lives every year. (2)
If this meant withholding or forcibly cutting back doses of opiates from people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, spondylosis or chronic neuropathic pain (to name a few) so what? They’ll get by on Advil, yoga or acupuncture (3). I firmly believe that the CDC, DEA, politicians, and NGOs which all stood to gain from this phony war, knew damn well that their “war” was based on false information, something I have written about countless times. This is even worse than ignorance. They knew and just didn’t care.
So now we live in a pharmaceutical police state where doctors are prosecuted for caring for pain patients, and states are setting arbitrary (and scientifically bogus) daily limits on opiate doses, regardless of whether the pain patient has been doing “well” on these doses for decades.
What I want for Christmas is to give back whatever relief pain patients had access to before our own version of Kristallnacht hit them. Leave them and their doctors alone. They didn’t cause the problem.
And just for good measure, let’s leave a lump of coal in the stockings of the CDC, DEA, and Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP). Or maybe a turd for PROP.
(1) As I have written many times, one review after another has concluded that addiction of pain patients to opiates is rare, estimates ranging from 0.26% to 10%, mostly on the lower end. Pain management physicians who I have interviewed unanimously agree that addiction of pain patients is rare. There is a very big difference between dependence and addiction. And good luck finding a pain management physicians. They are fleeing in droves.
(2) It did no such thing. Opiate prescriptions are down. Total deaths are up. By a lot.
(3) Here’s how bad this has gotten. The FDA has suggested that physicians learn about acupuncture as an alternative to drugs in pain management, despite the fact that it has been thoroughly debunked. (“Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine.” Paul Offit, M.D., Harper Collins, 2013)