A recent article in The Washington Post demonstrates that when opioid medications become less available to veterans, suicide rates go up. And not by a little. This only serves to further show the extent of damage done by foolish U.S. drug policies.
Indisputable evidence shows the absence of a correlation between the number of opioid prescriptions and opioid abuse or addiction. This has not, however, dissuaded practicing physicians from buying into the false narrative that prescribing opioids for pain is fueling the overdose crisis.
Richard Lawhern of the ACSH Board of Scientific Advisers points out that US national policy for regulating prescription opioids doesn't lack for data. It instead drowns in persistently biased anti-opioid misrepresentation of the data we already have.
New data from the CDC shows a 57% increase in drug overdose deaths between 2013-19, the time during which the war on prescription opioids was arguably at its apex. A colossal failure by any measure.
Canadian pain patients may have it even worse than those in the US. Our northern neighbors are buying opioids on the dark web (shudders) because they can't get them from their doctors, just like here. Perhaps we need a "Borders Without Doctors" group.
Drs. Jeffrey Singer and Josh Bloom just published an op-ed in the Philidelphia Inquirer about the pointless and inhumane treatment that pain patients must endure in the name of fighting the "opioid epidemic." Except it's nothing of the sort. We are having a "street drug epidemic." This is why people are dying, not from prescription analgesics.
The false narrative that prescription drugs caused the opioid crisis has been relentlessly undermined by evidence to the contrary, yet it remains. It may have suffered a ding here and there, but it's still mostly intact. But if evidence really matters, Dr. Jeffrey Singer just gave it another ding. Maybe even a dent. From 2019.
Hey, pain patients: You've got company. Me! Thanks to a herniated disc in my neck I'm going through some of the same stuff I have been writing about for years. Stuff that you're well aware of. With one exception. You did not wake up with a bowl of blueberries in your bed.
In a recent interview, Andrew Kolodny maintained that pain patients don't hate him. Some would disagree. What would it look like if they sang their displeasure rather than voiced it? With apologies to Leonard Bernstein.
I've been writing about the barbaric war against pain patients since 2013. Despite the hundreds of desperate emails I've received, and the stories I've read, it has never entirely hit home. Until now. My very elderly mom is being put through the wringer, in order to get some tramadol for back pain. If this doesn't demonstrate the colossal stupidity of our drug laws, nothing does.
We're a decade into the "opioid crisis" and some people still cannot understand that prescription pain pills are, at worst, minor contributors. Yet the war against prescription analgesics goes on. This time it's Elizabeth Warren (and colleagues) who just don't get it. The Massachusetts Senator is pushing the DEA to allow partial refills of pills to reduce overdose deaths. What a ridiculous idea.
Although pain patients in the U.S. continue to struggle mightily to get the prescription opioids they need, at least they -- finally -- have the American Medical Association behind them. But in Canada, patient advocacy groups are also fighting the Canadian Medical Association, something that can be seen in an open letter to the CMA from the Chronic Pain Association of Canada. Here are some of the letter's highlights, especially those involving contributions from ACSH.