Alcohol Poisoning Kills 6 Americans Every Day

Though college binge drinking is often the public health focus, 76 percent of people who die from alcohol poisoning are men, with deaths most common in men aged 45-54. And 68 percent of people who die from alcohol poisoning are non-Hispanic whites, with Hispanic people a far second at 15 percent.

The reason why we use most of the world’s supply of pain meds

Anti-drug advocates often quote the statistics regarding how much of the world’s supply of opioids are used in the U.S., which artificially inflates the problem.  The real truth is that a large portion of the rest of the world is more anti-drug than the U.S., and many countries don’t prescribe pain medications at all, even for cancer or end-of-life care.

(2010) Access to pain treatment as a human right

According to international human rights law, countries have to provide pain treatment medications as part of their core obligations under the right to health; failure to take reasonable steps to ensure that people who suffer pain have access to adequate pain treatment may result in the violation of the obligation to protect against cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

America is actually number two in terms of per capita consumption of opioid pain medication (measured by dose equivalence between the various opioids)—contrary to recent CDC claims citing old data; these days Canada wears the crown. Canadians take 812 mg of morphine equivalents per capita, compared to 748 for the US. Other high-consuming countries include Denmark and Australia.

But high per capita consumption for pain treatment doesn’t automatically translate into high rates of misuse and addiction. Canada has an annual prevalence of prescription opioid misuse of 1%; the rate for the US, as noted above, is just over five times that, despite our lower levels of medical use.

Another important fact to note about our elevated levels of medical opioid use is that it comes in the context of extremely low levels of use in the rest of the world. Around two-thirds of the world’s population live in countries where even if you are dying of cancer, strong opioids are basically unavailable. Only 7% of the global population is believed to have adequate access to appropriate pain relief, according to the World Health Organization. Compare that to the US, which has only 5% of the world’s population but consumes 80% of its opioids. We surely overprescribe in some cases—but everyone else’s cruel under-prescribing needs to be taken into account, too.

Some trauma patients don’t receive adequate pain relief

Pain management is a critical part of trauma care. Untreated or inadequately treated pain intensifies the effect of trauma on respiration, hemodynamic stability, and renal and gastrointestinal function, leading to an increase in complications and deaths. It can also cause disabling chronic pain syndromes — the result of changes in the nervous system in response to repeated stimuli…

The Epidemic of Chronic Pain

October 2013
UNM Health Sciences Center
Joanna G. Katzman, MD, MSPH
Associate Professor, UNM School of Medicine
University of New Mexico
Director UNM Pain Center and Project ECHO Pain Program

Problem——————————-Number Affected, Costs

Chronic Pain————————–100 million, $635 billion
Diabetes——————————-17.5 million, $174 billion
Cancer———————————11.7 million, $264 billion
Heart disease, stroke,
congestive heart failure————-27.1 million, $197 billion

Prevalence of Addiction in Chronic Pain Patients:

•Structured review of available studies of development of aberrant behavior/addiction in patients on opioids for chronic pain.
24 studies with 2,057 patients with rate of 3.27% for abuse/addiction.
•Rate of abuse/addiction in patients with no past or current SUD was 0.19%
•Fishbain DA. Pain Med. 2008;9:444-58.

Why painkiller addicts turn to heroin

My comment:

I’ve suffered from intractable pain for almost 30 years, and after 10 years on prescription drug therapy, I was left without access and had to detox on my own — it was a special kind of h*ll that I can’t begin to describe.

But never, not once, did I contemplate switching to heroin, needles, or other illegal drugs. (With the exception of cannabis.) In other words, it’s not chronic pain patients who are fueling this drug abuse problem, and everyone involved in creating the criminalization of pain patients and doctors knows it.

“All these drugs trigger “tolerance” — the need to take higher doses for the same effect — and a craving for the drug in its absence.”

And guess what? I don’t have any left-over “cravings” for the drugs in their absence. What I have is unmanaged and and under-treated chronic pain. What I have is a medical cannabis program in my state that I can’t afford. What I have is constant, unrelenting, debilitating pain. What I have is suffering for the purpose of suffering.

(If you’re a pain patient and you need more information, find me at