-Kelly F. Merrill
The problem isn’t addicts.
Here’s some food for thought. First off, the overdose “epidemic” isn’t an epidemic at all according to Josh Bloom in an October 30 interview with Cameron English to take a critical look at a wave of cruel opioid-related public policies – based upon statistics that are largely fabricated.
The numbers estimated aren’t in the tens of thousands, says Bloom, they’re about 5,000; not an epidemic any more than death by bicycle is an epidemic (6,000 deaths per year), he said.
Bloom, Senior Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the American Council on Science and Health, says the overdose deaths themselves are being caused by a new and lethal kind of street fentanyl.
It’s easy to make, smuggle into the US and dogs can’t sniff it out, says Bloom. In 2014 overdose deaths spiked. That’s when fentanyl hit the states. Bloom claims the reason for the increase in death “[isn’t] necessarily because people are taking more heroin, but because heroin is a death sentence now. Because eventually you’re going to get a vial which has too much simulator – and it can be a milligram – and that’s all it will take to kill you.”
It’s why, for example, one pain patient from Canada, who’d safely taken opioids for 30 years to control a pain-generating disease, overdosed twice in six months. When new prescriptions limits were instituted he was abandoned by his doctor and resorted to finding pain relief in the streets. The last time he overdosed, it took 9 doses of naloxone to revive him.
And of course you’ve heard about the controversial efforts to limit the number of life-saving naloxone application someone dying of an overdose can have. Before you say, “so what,” remember that it could be any one of us. Every person is just one injury, one step away from being desperate, from needing to face impossible choices as a pain patient in today’s climate.
Would you just give up, lay down and die, abandon your families and children or would you take the risk?
I know what my answer is.
That source material for that story, by the way, has been shared 2,257 times. Pain patients are suffering on a scale that has never been seen before.
Addicts didn’t “do” this. They’re dying just like pain patients. The government is getting away with terrorizing patients and the doctors who treat them and NOT helping the issue meant to be addressed by the recent rash of Draconian public “health” policies; instead they’re creating an entirely new epidemic of suffering tantamount to torture…of people who are infirmed and disabled and riddled with pain.
Again, these public health policies have not served their intended purpose. Though numbers of opioid prescriptions have been reduced drastically, overdose deaths continue to rise. And pain patients, who have enough challenges to contend with, are now being abandoned to their diseases.
They have been thrown out the door without the tools to combat life-threatening symptoms. Unable to endure around-the-clock, agonizing pain, patients are killing themselves due to the unending agony of untreated illnesses, the inability to find a physician willing to treat them or a pharmacy willing to fill their prescriptions…for medications that have treated their illnesses effectively for decades.
Many patients turned to plants for relief, utilizing cannabis and Kratom, a safe and effective alternative or adjuvant therapy for treating pain. And now the FDA and DEA are working in tandem trying to ban the leaf, related to the coffee plant, saying it’s claimed 36 lives worldwide over the span of five years. Thirty-five of the 36 involved other substances, like alcohol and benzodiazepines.
And in some areas, the exodus of pain management physicians from practice has left tens of thousands displaced without treatment. Though the CDC Guidelines (“The Guidelines”) that started all this were recommendations intended only for Primary Care Physicians, fear-mongering and media-hype have fed the illusion that the Guidelines are not voluntary.
In practice, the overwhelming majority of pain management physicians, physiatrists and physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists, pharmacists and nurses alike are feeling intimidated and terrified of losing their practices and livelihoods. They are being unjustly held responsible for circumstances beyond their control and are now expected to sacrifice the wellness of all their patients for the poor decisions, or even the whisper of scandal, of one.
It seems every politician has taken up the anti-opioid mantle. Nothing gathers support like a good ol’ witch hunt. And media have run with sensational stories that have eclipsed the invisible casualties of the war on opioids…not just pain patients, but their families, communities and the doctors who treat them.
Pain patients are the most marginalized patient population this country has ever borne. But all patients should beware. Our civil liberties are being trampled on by the opportunistic and the ignorant; by politicians and authorities alike…our liberties as patients and the liberties of doctors to fulfill their Hippocratic oath and treat their patients based upon years medical school training and applied science.
We should take a look at the HIV/AIDS movement for inspiration. They too were severely underserved, marginalized, vilified and dying for years before gaining ground. We should take a look too at the Tea Party Movement for the speed and efficiency with which it proliferated.
And we should band together with all the advocates who can fight this because we are too sick to fight for ourselves. We are too sick to stand alone. We need each other…pain patients, physicians, those in recovery and the American public.
Change their minds about the treatment of pain patients and opioids. Change their minds about Kratom. Educate them and inform them that their civil liberties are being trampled on; and that your healthcare is no longer in the hands of your doctor. The landscape of healthcare has been forever changed.
Who is to say where this ends? Who decides what American patients are deemed worthless? Who decides which conditions are too complicated and expensive to treat?
No one should. And that is the point.
Keep Government out of the doctor’s office. Keep corporate greed from assigning a dollar value to a person’s life.