Chronic pain is a major public health challenge. The reason is that the treatment of chronic pain has become, in part, a political issue. And that's to the detriment of 20 million high-impact chronic patients, who are disproportionately women or poor people.
Self-injury mortality, albeit by suicide or lethal intoxication, spans a continuum that represents two sides of the same coin.
In a trend described as shocking, people desperate to obtain narcotics are intentionally injuring their pets to divert and abuse the veterinarian’s painkiller prescriptions. While terribly sad this is no surprise: After all, this is addiction.
The strategy that our government is employing is ridiculous; we are fighting the wrong enemy. Pain medications, like Percocet and Vicodin, on their own, kill few relatively few people while illicit fentanyl and its monster analogs like carfentanil are responsible for the carnage we see daily on the news.
Can the FDA's tactics – to impact the current opioid problem – also predict its successor? The goal is to head off escalation before problems are crises, and the move is a departure from the status-quo, reactive nature of prior policies.
Physicians are beginning to modify their prescribing habits. The new consensus is practical, it can be started today and it doesn't involve Congressional hearings, lawsuits or new regulations.
A recent JAMA paper which concluded that opioid drugs are ineffective for long-term pain relief is flawed, perhaps intentionally so. American Council advisor Richard "Red" Lawhern explains.
The media often uses the words "opioid" and "opiate" interchangeably. However, there are subtle but important differences between them.
In response to soaring opioid addiction and deaths, the U.S. is cracking down hard on the prescription of these painkillers. Aric Hausknecht, M.D., a neurologist and pain management specialist, speaks about pain control at a time when opioids, and the people who depend upon them, are being ostracized.
For some, opioids aren't just painkillers; they serve as a lure into an addictive, self-destructive lifestyle. The sense of euphoria that opioids can cause proves irresistible to some addicts. For this reason, pharmaceutical companies are seeking to discover and develop non-opioid, non-addictive drugs to treat pain.
The Trump Administration has convened a panel to address America's opioid epidemic. Its first mission should be to find convincing data to identify the actual cause(s) of the problem. That will be much harder than it sounds, since ideologues are always in plentiful supply.
It is impossible to estimate how much suffering that the CDC has caused with its asinine "guidance" on opioid prescribing for doctors. So, let's just listen to one voice. It says plenty. And she could be you some day.