The following is a compendium of articles and op-eds I have written since 2013. It is an updated version of "Analyzing The Opioid Crisis: 65 Articles By Dr. Josh Bloom," which was published in 2019.
ACSH advisor and pain patient advocate Red Lawhern has been at the forefront of efforts to undo the damage done by the 2016 CDC Advice on Opioid Prescribing. He wants the abomination thrown out and has spent countless hours trying to reason with the CDC (and others). Here is the result of his hard work.
It has long been known that different people react differently to opioid drugs, and by a wide margin. This means that the same dose may be too high for one person and too low for another. The difference can be due to genetic differences in metabolism. Can science be used to determine not only the dose but also the best opioid for an individual?
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.
Purdue Pharma will pay an $8 billion fine and shut down. Finally, justice has been served, though far too late for the thousands of addicted or dead Americans whose problems began with OxyContin.
The term "opioid" has become a dirty word. "Synthetic" is also dirty. When putting them together you get something that is dirty but also confusing -- and probably intentionally so. There's no scientific reason to categorize a drug as a "synthetic opioid" or a "synthetic anything," as you will read here. To see how silly it is, let's perform the same exercise with antibiotics and see how that works out.
Methamphetamine has made an unprecedented comeback, surpassing even fentanyl in drug overdose deaths in certain parts of the U.S. It hasn't shown up by accident; it's an offshoot of the misinformed anti-opioid movement. But it took two different government screwups to cause this latest mess: one that gave us pure, cheap meth and another that gave addicts the reason to use it. Nice going.
Heroin is like a box of chocolates. And it wasn't invented in Germany. And it's (technically) harmless. To make sense of all this gibberish you better read the article. A bunch of stuff you might not know about H.
In a press release, the American Heart Association sensationalized research presented at its meeting, then included a disclaimer that the research may not be accurate. And the association doesn't necessarily endorse it. And then the Surgeon General posted it on Twitter.
It's quite easy to make any drug look bad. Even those with limited intellects, such as the leaders of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, have done a splendid job in making prescription analgesics look like the personification of death. Let's apply PROP's standards (such as they are) to some other drugs and see what that looks like.
ACSH advisor Dr. Wolfgang Vogel was not pleased about how the 1998 settlement money between the tobacco industry and state governments was spent. Little of the $246 billion actually went to smoking cessation programs. Will we see the same irresponsible use of funds obtained from lawsuits against opioid makers?
It's no secret that the CDC's 2016 Advice on opioid prescribing, by any measure, has been an unmitigated disaster. Dr. Red Lawhern, ACSH advisor and pain patient advocate, spares no one in his discussion of the egregious mistakes that the CDC made -- and continues to make.