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 are 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.
Sometimes studies are full of bad data. Sometimes they are just based on stupid ideas. Here's one that manages to incorporate both flaws. Should elderly people with broken ribs be given Tylenol in pill form or IV for pain? Perhaps a salami sandwich is a better offering ... since this study is full of baloney.
A fact-checking site called PolitiFact weighs in on the validity of the claim that opioid deaths decreased in 2018, thus supposedly marking the first time we are getting control of the "opioid epidemic." Let's fact-check the fact-checkers. Plus, Andrew Kolodny dines on his own words.
Representatives Terri Sewell (AL) and David McKinley (WV) are trying to push through a new law, one that would ensure that Medicare patients have equal access to "non-opioid" therapies after surgery. If they succeed, then Medicare recipients will have earned the right to suffer along with the rest of us. Brilliant.
Summary: In the mad dash to remove opioids from modern life, some researchers are willing to try anything, even Tylenol to control pain. How well does IV Tylenol work for post-operative pain from spinal surgery? Although the data are not complete, it's safe to say that it's no better than moose urine.
The DEA, which has been merciless to pain patients in its misdirected war on opioids, just stepped it up even further. Thanks to an Oregon Representative, we now have SORS (yet another way to restrict prescription painkillers) and SUPPORT, the law that created it. Just plain (and pain) awful.
Followers of the opioid crisis know that nothing much makes sense. And if you follow Proposition 65 madness in California, you know that doesn't add up either. So if you're in the mood for something that puts the Crazyometer® needle in the red, here it is. You will not be disappointed.