The government solution to the opioid crisis is causing an epidemic of suffering

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The government solution to the opioid crisis is causing an epidemic of suffering

In response to the over­whelm­ing and tragic spike in over­doses caused by var­i­ous opi­oid drugs the, Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol released the CDC Guide­line for Pre­scrib­ing Opi­oids for Chronic Pain. The goal of the guide­lines was:

Improv­ing the way opi­oids are pre­scribed through clin­i­cal prac­tice guide­lines can ensure patients have access to safer, more effec­tive chronic pain treat­ment while reduc­ing the num­ber of peo­ple who mis­use, abuse, or over­dose from these drugs.

The pur­pose of the plan was:

…to pro­vide rec­om­men­da­tions for the pre­scrib­ing of opi­oid pain med­ica­tion for patients 18 and older in pri­mary care set­tings. Rec­om­men­da­tions focus on the use of opi­oids in treat­ing chronic pain (pain last­ing longer than 3 months or past the time of nor­mal tis­sue heal­ing) out­side of active can­cer treat­ment, pal­lia­tive care, and end-​of-​life care

Like all gov­ern­ment plans, these guide­lines pro­duced tragic unin­tended
con­se­quences which were doc­u­mented in this Fox
News arti­cle
.

In the arti­cle Dr. Thomas Kline, for­mer Har­vard Med­ical School pro­gram admin­is­tra­tor, informs us of the dire con­se­quences of these guidelines.

We have a ter­ri­ble prob­lem; we have peo­ple com­mit­ting sui­cide for no other rea­son than being forced to stop opi­oids, pain med­ica­tion, for chronic pain. It’s mass hys­te­ria, a witch hunt. It’s one of the worst health care crises in our his­tory. There are 5 to 7 mil­lion peo­ple being tor­tured on purpose.

The arti­cle chron­i­cled sev­eral vic­tims of these guide­lines. Here is the story of one of them;

Lawrence, who was 58, became one of an unde­ter­mined num­ber among the nation’s 20 mil­lion chronic pain suf­fer­ers who chose sui­cide after being cut back or denied pre­scrip­tions for opi­oids. The sui­cides have moti­vated many of those who con­tinue to suf­fer from pain — and fam­ily mem­bers and advo­cates of those who took their lives – to call for a re-​evaluation of the rush to reduce opi­oid dosages for those who most need them.

The author of the arti­cle dis­cusses the scope of the tragedy caused by the CDC
guidelines.

The CDC doesn’t have num­bers of those who com­mit sui­cide after hav­ing their pain med­ica­tions cut. But most of the doc­tors who spoke to Fox News said they knew of between one and six patients who took their life after los­ing access to opi­oid treat­ment, and being turned away from other doc­tors who now see pre­scrip­tion painkillers as a hassle.

Sev­eral promi­nent doc­tors and pain patient advo­cacy orga­ni­za­tions said they have heard from hun­dreds who say they have been left in debil­i­tat­ing pain and are con­sid­er­ing sui­cide. The issue ear­lier this year came to the atten­tion of Human Rights Watch, which launched an investigation.

The epi­demic of suf­fer­ing caused by these guide­lines is a
nation­wide tragedy because:

Either in response to the CDC guide­lines or as proac­tive mea­sure to deal with the opi­oid cri­sis on their own, at least 33 states have enacted some type of leg­is­la­tion related to pre­scrip­tion lim­its, accord­ing to the National Con­fer­ence of State Leg­is­la­tors. Health care providers and pain patients who have Medicare pre­scrip­tion plans are brac­ing for Jan­u­ary, when the fed­eral insur­ance pro­gram will give its insur­ers and phar­ma­cists the author­ity to reject pre­scrip­tions that devi­ate from CDC rec­om­mended dosage.

The CDC is not entirely to blame for the suf­fer­ing. Included in the guide­lines was a
dis­claimer. A CDC employee dis­cussed the
dis­claimer in the Fox News article

We believe every­one deserves effec­tive pain man­age­ment,” she said. “The CDC guide­lines are not a reg­u­la­tion or a law – it’s guid­ance for providers.”

It never made a rec­om­men­da­tion to take peo­ple off med­ica­tion invol­un­tar­ily, or to taper down invol­un­tary,” she said. “It was meant to pro­vide updated guid­ance about the ben­e­fits and risks of opi­oids for chronic pain so that the provider and the patient – together – could make decisions.”

Gov­ern­ment bureau­crats at var­i­ous lev­els are respon­si­ble for
the suf­fer­ing because they have mis­di­ag­nosed the cause of the opi­oid cri­sis and
have pre­scribed the wrong cure. This
quote from the Fox News arti­cle alludes to the actual cause of the opi­oid
crisis:

Many pain patients say they under­stand the urgent need of polit­i­cal lead­ers and gov­ern­ment agen­cies to fight the drug over­dose epi­demic. But tar­get­ing the mil­lions who legit­i­mately suf­fer from chronic pain is grasp­ing for a solu­tion that doesn’t address the pre­pon­der­ance of ille­gal drugs, they argue — or the rate of over­doses caused by them.

This Con­ser­v­a­tive
Review arti­cle
doc­u­ments the true cause of the opi­oid epidemic.

Accord­ing to the CDC, the entirety of the increase in over­doses above the exist­ing base­line begin­ning around 20112013 was due to illicit fen­tanyl and then heroin, meth, and cocaine, often mixed with fen­tanyl. While deaths from heroin and meth tripled and fatal­i­ties from fen­tanyl sky­rock­eted nine­fold. The dis­pro­por­tion­ate focus on pre­scrip­tion painkillers by offi­cials respond­ing to the over­dose epi­demic, pain spe­cial­ists and pub­lic health researchers say, is in great part why the drug-​related death rate con­tin­ues to climb while legal opi­oids becomes less avail­able to pain patients.

In response to the overwhelming and tragic spike in overdoses caused by various opioid drugs the, Centers for Disease Control released the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.  The goal of the guidelines was:

Improving the way opioids are prescribed through clinical practice guidelines can ensure patients have access to safer, more effective chronic pain treatment while reducing the number of people who misuse, abuse, or overdose from these drugs.

The purpose of the plan was:

…to provide recommendations for the prescribing of opioid pain medication for patients 18 and older in primary care settings. Recommendations focus on the use of opioids in treating chronic pain (pain lasting longer than 3 months or past the time of normal tissue healing) outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care

Like all government plans, these guidelines produced tragic unintended consequences which were documented in this Fox News article.

In the article Dr. Thomas Kline, former Harvard Medical School program administrator, informs us of the dire consequences of these guidelines.

We have a terrible problem; we have people committing suicide for no other reason than being forced to stop opioids, pain medication, for chronic pain. It’s mass hysteria, a witch hunt. It’s one of the worst health care crises in our history. There are 5 to 7 million people being tortured on purpose.

The article chronicled several victims of these guidelines.  Here is the story of one of them;

Lawrence, who was 58, became one of an undetermined number among the nation’s 20 million chronic pain sufferers who chose suicide after being cut back or denied prescriptions for opioids. The suicides have motivated many of those who continue to suffer from pain – and family members and advocates of those who took their lives – to call for a re-evaluation of the rush to reduce opioid dosages for those who most need them.

The author of the article discusses the scope of the tragedy caused by the CDC guidelines.

The CDC doesn’t have numbers of those who commit suicide after having their pain medications cut. But most of the doctors who spoke to Fox News said they knew of between one and six patients who took their life after losing access to opioid treatment, and being turned away from other doctors who now see prescription painkillers as a hassle.

Several prominent doctors and pain patient advocacy organizations said they have heard from hundreds who say they have been left in debilitating pain and are considering suicide. The issue earlier this year came to the attention of Human Rights Watch, which launched an investigation.

The epidemic of suffering caused by these guidelines is a nationwide tragedy because:

Either in response to the CDC guidelines or as proactive measure to deal with the opioid crisis on their own, at least 33 states have enacted some type of legislation related to prescription limits, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. Health care providers and pain patients who have Medicare prescription plans are bracing for January, when the federal insurance program will give its insurers and pharmacists the authority to reject prescriptions that deviate from CDC recommended dosage.

The CDC is not entirely to blame for the suffering.  Included in the guidelines was a disclaimer.  A CDC employee discussed the disclaimer in the Fox News article

We believe everyone deserves effective pain management,” she said. “The CDC guidelines are not a regulation or a law – it’s guidance for providers.”

“It never made a recommendation to take people off medication involuntarily, or to taper down involuntary,” she said. “It was meant to provide updated guidance about the benefits and risks of opioids for chronic pain so that the provider and the patient – together – could make decisions.”

Government bureaucrats at various levels are responsible for the suffering because they have misdiagnosed the cause of the opioid crisis and have prescribed the wrong cure.  This quote from the Fox News article alludes to the actual cause of the opioid crisis:

Many pain patients say they understand the urgent need of political leaders and government agencies to fight the drug overdose epidemic. But targeting the millions who legitimately suffer from chronic pain is grasping for a solution that doesn’t address the preponderance of illegal drugs, they argue – or the rate of overdoses caused by them.

This Conservative Review article documents the true cause of the opioid epidemic.

According to the CDC, the entirety of the increase in overdoses above the existing baseline beginning around 2011-2013 was due to illicit fentanyl and then heroin, meth, and cocaine, often mixed with fentanyl.  While deaths from heroin and meth tripled and fatalities from fentanyl skyrocketed ninefold.  The disproportionate focus on prescription painkillers by officials responding to the overdose epidemic, pain specialists and public health researchers say, is in great part why the drug-related death rate continues to climb while legal opioids becomes less available to pain patients.