http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2014/12/29/opiate-prescribing-crackdown-massachusetts-opposed-industry-backed-patient-group/aAjGBp2NTHkfPfTSZrhF9N/story.html

Locally, [Cindy] Steinberg has teamed with another powerful organization that also opposes some of the strictest narcotic prescribing proposals: the Massachusetts Medical Society, which represents the state’s physicians. This sort of organized resistance from the patient and medical community frustrates elected leaders and public health officials who are trying to devise measures to curb a wave of narcotic painkiller abuse and overdoses…

“There’s an imbalance, an unevenness in the view of the benefits of these products versus the dangers,” said Representative Bill Keating, the Bourne Democrat who has introduced a bill in Congress to require that opiate pills be manufactured in a way that makes them difficult to crush and then snort or inject.

Democrat, my ass…

Mr. Keating, weighing the benefits and risks of treatment is what patients are supposed to do, isn’t it?  Not politicians.  (You know, unless you suffer from chronic pain or addiction, then you don’t get to make your own medical choices.)

And Dr. Keating — oh, you’re not a doctor?  Then, Mr. Keating, I would ask that you do more research on this issue before deciding that politicians have a right to determine how drugs are made. Like looking up the information on these drugs you’re so in love with to see how they haven’t worked — either to help the drug abuse problem or as prescribed for addiction.

“What about the pain of someone’s spouse or loved one or daughter, and they are dead? That is a pain that doesn’t go away,” Keating said.

Hmmmm… What do chronic pain patients know about pain that never goes away?  Gee, Mr. Keating, I wonder who you’ve been talking to…

Law enforcement leaders say prescription opiates serve as a gateway to heroin, which has been responsible for a shocking surge in deaths in New England recently. Massachusetts alone experienced 58 heroin overdose deaths in the first half of December, State Police said.

Ah, the oft-used and easily debunked “gateway theory” — why do intelligent people still use that excuse? Oh, it’s law enforcement who believes in the gateway theory? Well then, that explains it — everyone knows you have to be a doctor before you’re allowed to work in law enforcement.

And can the author of this article guess why heroin has become a problem? Because I’m getting really tired of spelling it out…

She [Steinberg] also is a leader of the US Pain Foundation, a Connecticut-based nonprofit that received 87 percent of its $250,000 budget from prescription drug companies in 2012. Steinberg was paid $6,480 by the US Pain Foundation in 2012 for her role, according to tax records. She received the same amount from the group in 2013.

Oh my god, Ms. Steinberg made almost $7,000 in 2012 from the foundation… is she driving around in a Rolls?  Dining on caviar?

And why not mention that almost every anti-drug agency is funded by the federal government? That the amount of money and time spent fighting the failed drug war can never be compared to any efforts that oppose it?

Steinberg said the payments she receives from the US Pain Foundation do not influence the positions she takes as a volunteer advocate speaking to lawmakers and public officials: “Am I motivated because a pharmaceutical company told me to say anything? No.”

Like Big Pharma could influence any pain patient… Jesus.  And what, pray tell, are the motivations of the federal government?  Criminalization, incarceration, and what else?

Dr. Andrew Kolodny, president of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, a nonprofit group, would not name specific organizations but said the debate has been heavily influenced by “front groups” that “exist to take money from industry and [that] service industry needs.” The industry and its representatives, Kolodny added, “will support everything but reductions in prescribing.”

Kolodny and his conspiracy theories — this guy must be a Republican…

If Big Pharma wants to help pain patients fight back, what is it to you, Kolodny?  You’ve got the federal government backing you, so even with the multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical industry behind pain patients, it will never equal the power of having the federal government backing you (pulling your strings).

“As widely documented, these lawsuits are designed to enrich trial attorneys, not improve public health,” Purdue Pharma said in a statement. “Purdue actively discourages the misprescribing and overprescribing of our medications,” it added. In addition to partnering with patient advocacy groups, it said, it also has joined law enforcement officials and addiction experts to combat abuse.

Oh, Purdue, get your head out of your ass.  Of course your industry messed up with pain medications, just like it has with anti-depressants and a host of other drugs.

And see, Kolodny? Not only do you have the power and resources of the federal government backing your side, you’ve got Big Pharma funding a lot of these anti-drug “advocacy groups.”

What makes you so “clean,” Kolodny?  Your agenda and motivations so deserving? What, you think the drugs you push, like buprenorphine, aren’t made by Big Pharma?  That the industry you belong to — the addiction medicine and rehabilitation industry — has some kind of… status?

When the House bill emerged in the summer, requirements that insurance companies pay for treatment remained. The mandate that doctors regularly check their patients’ prescription histories for signs of abuse was gone…

The debate promises to continue. Governor-elect Charlie Baker, in a post-election interview with the Globe last month, said targeting prescription opiate abuse will be a major priority during the first six months of his administration. He said he was shocked that a doctor prescribed narcotic painkillers for his son after he broke his arm playing football. Baker said during his campaign that he supported a mandate that prescribers check prescription histories of their opiate patients annually.

The new governor can expect Cindy Steinberg to chime in. In fact, she already has, responding to Baker’s remarks in the Globe with a detailed post on public radio station WBUR’s website.

“What are people with pain supposed to do?” Steinberg told the Globe in an interview last week. “All they are asking is to be included in the conversation.”

Look, doctors and pain patients joining together to fight the federal government — I think I may cry.  (Happy tears.)

Hey Cindy — You Go Girl!

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