By Pat Anson, Editor
A new report commissioned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is calling for a sustained and coordinated national campaign to combat the opioid crisis, including more aggressive regulation of opioids by the FDA and a “cultural change” in the prescribing of opioid medication,
The report by a special committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine(NASEM) focuses primarily on restricting the supply of prescription opioids, not illicit opioids such as heroin and fentanyl, which are now driving the so-called opioid epidemic.
“The broad reach of the epidemic has blurred the formerly distinct social boundary between prescribed opioids and illegally manufactured ones, such as heroin,” said committee chair Richard Bonnie, a Professor of Medicine and Law at the University of Virginia.
“This report provides an action plan directed particularly at the health professions and government agencies responsible for regulating them. This plan aims to help the millions of people who suffer from chronic pain while reducing unnecessary opioid prescribing. We also wanted to convey a clear message about the magnitude of the challenge. This epidemic took nearly two decades to develop, and it will take years to unravel.”
The report estimates that at least 2 million people in the U.S. have an “opioid use disorder” involving prescription opioids — meaning they are addicted to prescription painkillers — and almost 600,000 have an opioid use disorder involving heroin.
Although opioid prescribing has been declining for several years and the number of overdose deaths from prescription opioids has remained relatively stable in recent years, deaths from illicit opioids such as heroin have tripled in the past decade.
Read the full article
Personal Commentary: “This plan aims to help the millions of people who suffer from chronic pain while reducing unnecessary opioid prescribing.”
How can it help the millions of people who suffer from chronic pain if opioid prescribing is reduced or denied for said chronic pain sufferers? Who chooses which patients receive or are rejected? The physician or the government?
“The report claimed that many people who normally would use prescription opioids have transitioned to heroin because of the declining price of heroin and the introduction of abuse-deterrent formulations that make opioid medication harder to snort or inject.”
Yet the report declines to mention the many people who have never transitioned to heroin or any other type of illicit drugs.
These reports never mention the vast majority of patients who remain compliant, who’ve never failed a scheduled or random drug screen, who’s quality of life however slight was a quality enough to stay alive for.
Perhaps it’s the people who aren’t in the chronic pain they claim to be that are abusing the system and heading for heroin and perhaps it’s easier to lump us all together for political gain and ulterior motives that have little to do with helping us and everything to do with you. Just you.