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.
Last year the American Medical Association directly challenged the CDC's disastrous Guidance for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, which was issued in 2016. Not surprisingly, Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP), a group that was (for some mysterious reason) directly involved with the CDC, responded defensively. Here are my comments on PROP's disingenuous rebuttal.
The FDA has at this time received 79 comments for its "Morphine Milligram Equivalents: Current Applications and Knowledge Gaps, Research Opportunities, and Future Directions; Public Workshop." Here is the 80th.
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.
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.
Is sticking your finger down your throat a pleasant experience? How about sticking it down there and leaving it for three weeks? You probably wouldn't want to be awake for that, but a shortage of IV hospital drugs is causing some real problems for intubated patients on ventilators. And guess what drug they're out of? Fentanyl(!). And if you read on you'll get that, plus a bubble bath with Kim Jong-un, all in one idiotic article.
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.
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.
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.