The Pendulum Swings for Opioid Prescribing

von Gunten Charles F. and Editor-in-Chief. Journal of Palliative Medicine. April 2016, 19(4): 348-348. doi:10.1089/jpm.2016.0079.

Published in Volume: 19 Issue 4: April 1, 2016

I am about to turn 60 years of age. During my professional life as a physician, I have seen the pendulum of attitudes about the role of opioids for treating pain swing its full arc and back again. I only graduated from medical school in 1988! Why does the pendulum need to swing from one extreme to the other? Why can’t it settle in the middle, at rest, where it belongs? …

But now, a generation has passed. The newspapers are full of stories of the number of deaths from prescription opioids rising precipitously. It seems to me they are making the same mistake—looking at those abusing the drugs and falsely imputing causation: the drugs caused the addiction. The numerator and denominator are wrong again. The politicians are in a hurry to be seen to be “doing something” and new laws and restrictions on prescribing are multiplying. I see the chilling effect on all prescribers every day. The meta-message to physicians is clear—be very afraid if you prescribe any opioids to anybody or you will cause them to be an addict and die. Better to let the patient suffer than be suspected of causing a rise in the number of addicts and opioid-related deaths. The pendulum is hurtling back to the place it had in 1940.


Profusions Of Purples

I’ll bet you thought it was going to be another boring Monday, right? Well, this time you’d be wrong, because it’s Purple Week here on All Things Chronic.

As part of the recovery from my move, it’s gonna be a week of art and music therapy, all to rest my very weary soul. I’m going to spend the week thinking about nothing more than the beauty of Mother Nature. So, please join me, throw all your worries into the hands of fate, and enjoy the magic and wonder that surrounds us.

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Sometimes you gotta look for it.

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Thanks for viewing and sharing my therapy. (smiley face)

George Clinton Has a Gnarly Reason for Using Medical Marijuana

Funk musician George Clinton has a gnarly reason for using medical marijuana

American music icon George Clinton, the leader of Parliament and Funkadelic, has a gnarly indication for using medical marijuana. As he details in this interview with Smell the Truth‘s affiliate podcast The Hash, Clinton has battled a lifetime of addiction, and cannabis has become part of his recovery…

The somewhat controversial practice is widespread, studies show. A Canadian survey of medical marijuana patients showed “80.3% reporting substitution for prescription drugs, 51.7% for alcohol, and 32.6% for illicit substances.”

Clinton just announced a 2016 tour stop at Oakland’s The New Parish on April 14…