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
Source: FDA Study Calls for More Aggressive Opioid Regulation — Pain News Network
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.
This war on “opioids” is actually a war on chronic incurable diseases. A war on chronic pain disease patients who benefit from opioid medications. Medications that enable millions of Americans relief of chronic debilitating pain associated with these diseases.
The fiction, widespread hysteria and distorted truths about this “opioid epidemic”, is killing legitimate chronic pain disease patients who use their medications responsibly. We are patients.
100 million Americans have one or more chronic incurable pain Diseases. As the CDC, DEA, FDA, Medicaid and Medicare, and numerous other government agencies, are blaming Doctors for the over prescribing of opioid medication. NOBODY, is looking at or reading the statistics from chronic pain disease patients. How about NOT addressing these drugs as dangerous and addictive. When all else fails: physical therapy, exercise, over the counter medications and numerous injections etc, we chronic pain disease patients, are left with one option to help us cope, opioid pain medication. Lets address this medication as lifesaving and medically necessary for the million of Americans with chronic diseases. Chronic pain is a disease. Chronic pain disease patients are now the epidemic. The addiction rate of chronic pain disease patients is .02-.6 %. We do not misuse or abuse our medications.
No other disease medication is scrutinized. We, as patients, are being denied, dismissed, overlooked and discriminated against, by our physicians, due to all the scrutiny associated with treating chronic pain disease with opioid medications. Our Dr’s are afraid to treat us humanely and adequately. We have a disease that medication is readily accessible and beneficial to us and we are being denied. We, pain patients, are being discriminated against, due to people who abuse illegal heroin and illegal fentanyl. This is a direct hunt for Doctors who prescribe life saving medication, for pain disease patients, that benefit from them. We have our privacy invaded, we no longer are able to have doctor/patient confidentiality. We now have insurance agencies, pharmacists, and other government agencies in our physicians offices, monitoring, prosecuting and policing our physicians.
Though the statistics show a reduction in, opioid medications distributed, due to the CDC guidelines, death rates of overdoses from illegal opioids is rising.
The specific causes of deaths also needs to be closely investigated. The opioid in the person’s system needs to be specified. Was it an illegal opioid, was it opioid medication specifically for that person, was there other drugs or alcohol involved? These statistics need to come out. These Government agencies do not want that information out, due to the fact that this “opioid epidemic”, would then be debunked.
Let’s put the shoe on the other foot. Restricting or taking away our medications is like FORCING people who do not want this medication to take it. One day those against these medications will need them but they will be denied.
We have a chronic disease. We want to be able to take care of our homes, our children, our selves, as much as possible. Without access to these life saving medications, we are unable to do so. We want to live, not just exist in pain 24/7.
We need the government agencies to look at the real statistics, not the hand picked. These agencies are not physicians. They are trying to doctor us, patients, without a medical license. They are also trying to police our physicians. This is a war on a disease, medications, physicians and patients.
We, chronic pain disease patients, need help. All the headlines, topics and stories on how opioids are bad and how people are abusing, misusing, overdosing, becoming addicted or dying from them. We need to look at the good they do and how they help our disease of chronic pain and the million of Americans who use them for some relief.
The government needs to put the focus on illegal drugs coming into, being manufactured and distributed in this country, illegal fentanyl, illegal heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and all other ILLEGAL DRUGS. Not the legally prescribed and medically necessary medications we patients need. We chronic pain disease patients need help, but we are helpless due to the government and government agencies. There is stigma, scrutiny and discrimination against us due to a category of medications we desperately need and benefit from, opioid medications.
WE ARE PATIENTS NOT ADDICTS! !
These people are out of their minds. They are destroying the lives of people who have ALREADY had their lives destroyed. The MAIN obstacle almost every chronic pain patient in america is fighting currently, IS GOVERNMENT REGULATION. They are blatantly over reacting to a situation which has already shown drastic improvement. They show absolutely no concern for people like myself who would have no reason to be alive without opioids. People who are so sick, that life without pain management would not be possible, muchless worth it. The ONE effective and realistic solution to the suffering they experience daily, is being held from them for “their safety”. This is disgusting and cannot continue. It is a mental block for them, rooted in their inability to fathom the quality (or lack there of) of life, we are actually talking about aiding. They feel it more important to approach a relatively uncommon problem at the expense of the tools needed to manage a fact of life. They DO NOT understand how these drugs work, they do not understand the ranges of effective dosing and they certainly don’t understand the immense danger which their reactive legislation has focused on patients. They will not listen to the most knowledgeable of sources on the topic; the pain patient. The person whos life RELIES, on the proper and effective management, of their pain. They have deemed everyone but themselves, incapable of managing/understanding something, of which they haven’t the FOGGIEST of ideas how themselves. There is no reason why the recreational decisions of a select few (no matter HOW dangerous), is taking president over the health and life, of the chronically I’ll. More people are dying because of our reaction to the “opioid epidemic”, that there are dying FROM. YOU HAVE FAILED , STOP DRAGGING US BEHIND THE CAR, THE RACE IS OVER.