But industry-funded groups like the U.S. Pain Foundation and the American Academy of Pain Management warn that the CDC guidelines could block patient access to medications if adopted by state health systems, insurers and hospitals. Such organizations often look to the federal government for health care policies.
“Could block patient access”? When will everyone else join pain patients in the real world? Patient access has already been blocked, patients have been abandoned by doctors, and these groups are still saying this “could” happen?
Which is better, groups funded by industry or those funded by the federal government? What about all of the people who don’t have the funds to pay for representation?
The CDC decision to delay its guidelines followed months of lobbying by physician and patient groups aligned with the pharmaceutical industry, who have almost always had a seat at the table in federal discussions on painkillers. As a result, they have had far more influence over federal policy than addiction activists, according to experts.
I can report that there are millions and millions of pain patients who are not “aligned” with anyone; do not have a seat at any table for discussions on painkillers; and have absolutely no influence whatsoever over federal policy. I can also report that there are thousands of drug addicts who similarly have no voice in this fight.
“They’re very well-funded and they have a lot of pharma money behind them,” said Dr. Lewis Nelson of New York University, an FDA adviser who is also advising the CDC on its guidelines. “And then you have the anti-addiction groups on the other side, which is clearly much less funded and organized.”
It’s funny how some people — usually those sitting in a seat of privilege — live in a bubble of their own made-up reality. Since Big Pharma funds both sides of this issue, and the federal government only funds the anti-drug side, which side is clearly better funded? And which side does the media report on?
CDC’s Frieden says more Americans are “primed” for heroin use because of their exposure to painkillers.
I call bullshit. There are hundreds of millions of Americans who have been exposed to painkillers with no problems whatsoever.
The CDC had not publicly disclosed the panel’s membership, but Twillman and other pain advocates identified several members, including two who are leaders with Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, a group working to reduce painkiller prescribing. That group is backed by Phoenix House, a network of rehabilitation clinics.
Also backed by the federal government, along with anonymous, right-wing, private donors (like ALEC and the prison industry).
I want to thank the AP for not describing Mr. Kolodny from PFROP as some kind of expert on pain management (as many other media outlets have done). Unfortunately, I can’t thank the AP for its biased reporting on these issues.
As a 30-year intractable pain survivor, I’m sad to say that my voice isn’t a part of the media’s reporting on the opioid war. But what’s really tragic are the millions of pain patients who also have no voice (or a seat at any table), silently suffering and fueling a suicide epidemic that everyone refuses to talk about. Because when up to three times as many people die by suicide every day than by drug overdose — and all the CDC (and the media) can talk about is how doctors are over-treating pain — then something is terribly wrong. Maybe one day, someone will figure out how to report on the difference between tens of millions of pain patients, and the thousands of patients who suffer from drug addiction. (And maybe one day, the word “epidemic” will have meaning again.)
Since I was able to recover from my addiction to the medical industry, I can only hope that other pain patients are able to do the same. I was very lucky to survive this addiction, but there will be many who do not. While almost everyone blames suicide on the victim, my own experiences have shown me that the blame doesn’t belong there. In fact, agencies like the CDC and DEA should be held accountable for every pain patient who chooses suicide as a last resort to manage their pain, and for every pain patient who ends up in jail for being forced to turn to the underground drug market.