When pain patients attack each other (and the CDC)

You’ll have to be patient with me, as it appears I’m not quite done ranting against the CDC…

http://www.buzzfeed.com/danvergano/cdc-opioids-guidelines

“We know of no other drug prescribed so frequently that kills so many patients,” said CDC Director Thomas Frieden, at a briefing for reporters.

Statements like this are so generic that they could be true, but that would depend on a lot of things, including the CDC’s definition of “drug” — which doesn’t appear to include alcohol or cigarettes, as these drugs are not prescribed by doctors. (Alcohol and cigarettes are drugs that are mainly used by poor people to self-medicate, although the recreational market for these two drugs is obviously very large.)

And to put it into context, MRSA infections kill about as many people as opioid-related deaths. Is the CDC panicking and holding press conferences about MRSA? (Freaking hypocrites.)

While hardly any of the media adds the “related” part to “opioid-related” when talking about overdoses, that is the correct term. And because the CDC includes both legal and illegal opioids in their statistics, it inflates the problem even more — yet the numbers still don’t rise to the description of an “epidemic.” And if they do, then the CDC needs to post a list of epidemics in this country, and let’s see where opioid-related deaths are listed in the overall picture.

https://painkills2.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/which-is-an-epidemic/

I think that opioids, by themselves, probably kill more people who are actually committing suicide than unintentionally overdosing, but no one can know for sure. However, since more people die from suicide than from opioid-related causes, why hasn’t the CDC declared suicide as an epidemic? (Freaking hypocrites, that’s why.)

Considering the media blitz on the opioid war, the CDC has had plenty of opportunities to talk about suicides, especially in connection with opioids and chronic pain.

Dawn Anewday · Magnolia High
What is the suicide rate in chronic pain patients now?

Hey, CDC, why don’t you answer this commenter’s question? (Because even if you did, you would be wrong. No one knows the answer to this very important question.)

“Almost all opioids on the market are just as addictive as heroin,” the CDC director said.

I guess the director is excluding opioids like methadone and bupe, as they’re used to treat addiction. (Hypocrite, hypocrite, hypocrite.)

This is just a bald-faced lie. If you’re talking about the population of the U.S. — at 318 million — then for over 90% of us, this is not true. Because about 90% of us will never suffer from an opioid addiction, so these drugs are perfectly safe to use. (Unless you have an allergy or suffer from intolerable side effects.)

If that was true, then many patients who’ve been given opioids in the hospital would have later turned to heroin. How many women are given opioids during labor and delivery? How come the majority of mothers don’t turn into heroin addicts?

There are only 47 comments on this article right now, which partially illustrates how the CDC (and FDA) have been able to join the opioid war — there are more people fighting on the drug-war side, and they have much more money and influence. The voices of pain patients are too little and very easily overlooked. And it looks like a lot of pain patients are just giving up, not even bothering to comment anymore.

Sure, the media pretends that patients have a voice through advocacy groups, but there are only a handful that do good work — and they all have their own agenda. Currently, there is no lobby for pain patients. Now, compare that to the anti-drug lobby that includes the federal government (and now Big Pharma). Seriously, we never had a chance.

Pain patients who commented on this article are very angry (and you can use swear words on BuzzFeed). I get that. But it’s no excuse to attack other pain patients:

Susan Carnes · Western Illinois University
Hydrocodone for BOWLING TOURNAMENTS? Are you kidding me? Your doctor is one of the reasons legit chronic pain patients have to fight for their medicine. I don’t think I could even pick up a bowling ball.

No, the doctor is not to blame for the opioid war. You’re obviously believing what certain media sites are telling you (which are just regurgitating the government’s view). And there’s no reason to compare each other’s pain levels — as if we should be judging who deserves adequate treatment. (In other words, stop being a dickhead.)

Maggie Karabel Christy · Indiana University Northwest
Why are you taking opiods for migraines?

Why are you asking this question? Let’s learn more about Ms. Christy, shall we?

Maggie Karabel Christy · Indiana University Northwest
I understand people are mad about this. I have chronic migraines and neck and shoulder pain because of a genetic fluke in my skeletal system. I was addicted to painkillers for 7 years. Having come out of the other side, I understand this.
Painkillers cause rebound pain. You go to the doctor and ask why they aren’t working. He or she ups the dose. It still doesn’t work. You switch medications. The new pill works for a while and then the same thing happens. I almost died of an accidental overdose so I had a medical withdrawal and went to rehab. It’s a shock to find out how much the pills that you think help you get through the day are ruining your life.
I get the Harvard Botox Migraine Treatment once a year now (you start doing it once every three months) and aside from maybe a month of slightly droopy brows each time I get it, I have no complaints. It’s funny, they use roughly the same amount of Botox recommended for each smile line, but there are 32 places on the head and neck where you get tiny amounts. Creepy to think about how much of that a woman can legally get injected with.
I had two surgeries and although half of my shoulder pain remains, physical therapy and massage help me deal.
These pills are SO DANGEROUS. I’m 8 years sober and still recovering from Seratonin Syndrome. Synthetic opiods can make your brain lazy and stop it from knowing how to make seratonin. It’s hell and I’m still on medication to help. That’s just one example of what they do to you.
GO TO A PAIN SPECIALIST. A doctor (legally) has to give you pain medication (not kidding) when you complain of pain. Pain specialists want you to try everything under the sun along with small monitored doses of painkillers.
There is always something else to try. Try it.

For one thing, obviously a doctor is not legally bound to give you pain medication when you complain of pain. (Not kidding.) In fact, this article is all about how the CDC is giving doctors support (and a legal defense) so that they can refuse to prescribe pain medication. (Duh.) (As if fear of the DEA was not enough.)

Along with hyperalgesia, serotonin syndrome is used as part of the rhetoric in the opioid war to scare the public. But doctors often put a label on medical conditions before they understand them, which I think is the case with these two conditions. Caused by over-use of opioids? Could be, at least in some patients. Perhaps in those who build up a sensitivity to opioids, or perhaps it has to do with changing hormone levels or a mental illness.

Ms. Christy is also putting forth the argument that opioids can “make your brain lazy and stop it from knowing how to make serotonin.” Actually, I think chronic pain patients have a lack of serotonin — the constant pain either sucks it all up, stops it from being created, or both. And opioids also treat that part of chronic pain, affecting serotonin levels. But just like antidepressants have negative effects for many patients, opioids can also have negative effects on some patients.

And really, is injecting a poison like Botox better than opioids? Perhaps, at least if it works for you. (And you can afford it.)

Maggie Karabel Christy · Indiana University Northwest
How often do you go to physical therapy?
Chronic pain sufferer and former prescription drug addict here. Long term use of painkillers causes rebound pain. Your back probably wouldn’t hurt as much if you STOPPED the drugs. You’d still be in pain for sure. But you’d be motivated to try other methods that aren’t causing brain damage and stopping you from producing seratonin naturally.
You have options. Hopefully you won’t almost die of an accidental overdose like I did before you figure it out.
I have been in your shoes. Life seems impossible without the pills and I feel your anger. I remember it. I hope it stops.
Please don’t take this as condescension, if you feel I was rude I apologize.

Some pain patients advocate to stop all drugs, claiming that pain levels will decrease after doing so. I’m sure this happens, but it’s rare. And then there are the patients who stop taking prescription medications, preferring to suffer rather than jump through hoops and be treated like a drug addict again. Some will switch to alcohol or bud (if they can find and afford it), some will choose stoicism, and some will distract themselves from the pain with gambling, sex, and/or food. Other patients will give up on life and just stop eating, and some will engage in risky behavior to hasten death, including suicide.

Pushing patients into a desperate state so that they’ll “try other methods” is one way to treat pain (which the CDC has chosen). I don’t know if these patients didn’t try other options first (before opioids), because they obviously don’t understand that most pain patients have already tried all the other options, paying for them out of their own pockets. Health insurance doesn’t cover much for the treatment of pain, and the CDC has now been instrumental in the removal of one of the most successful treatment options.

I believe that affordable access to all options is the solution, and even the CDC agrees that pain is best treated with a combination of therapies. But when you take away the pain relief that allows patients to participate in a lot of these other treatment options (if they can afford it), you’ve basically taken away just about everything.

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