The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) issued a press release this morning announcing that it has hired the famous author Stephen King as a consultant. Mr. King will create short stories and advertising messages for the DEA about the danger and horror of drug use.
“In 2015, Maine saw 157 deaths caused by heroin and/or nonpharmaceutical fentanyl and 111 caused by pharmaceutical opioids,” said Mr. King, who lives in that state. Mr. King went on to say that he wants to do something to help.
For many Americans, it looks like Stephen King has joined the drug war.
Mr. King has spoken publicly about his past addiction to alcohol and cocaine. Recently on Facebook and Twitter, Mr. King has spoken out about Donald Trump and Maine governor Paul LePage. He’s also spoken out against police violence about unarmed black men very recently, citing the Freddie Gray incident.
Now, many in the chronic pain community are wondering why Mr. King — who suffers from intractable pain — hasn’t spoken out about the new CDC rules on opioid prescribing. Could it be that he has nothing to worry about?
In 2000, the Irish Times reported that: “The impact with the van broke the writer’s left leg in nine places, gave him two fractures to the hip, broke four ribs, chipped his spine in eight places, lacerated his scalp and stripped all the skin from his collarbone… King survived the encounter, narrowly avoiding quadraplegia but still in constant pain.” It’s also been reported that Mr. King had 6 different surgeries.
While some of Mr. King’s injuries have healed, I have no doubt that he still suffers from constant pain. But as a rich celebrity (who says he grosses about $40 million in a good year), Mr. King will always have access to the drugs he needs to manage his pain. Must be nice.
Today is Stephen King’s birthday. He’s 69 years old. Bryan Smith, the driver who hit Mr. King, died on Mr. King’s 52nd birthday from an overdose of Fentanyl. Mr. Smith suffered from chronic pain and depression.
In April of this year, in Mr. King’s home state of Maine, the governor signed: “An Act To Prevent Opiate Abuse by Strengthening the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program.” The Act has a morphine milligram equivalent cap, set at 100 MME, which is slightly higher than the CDC’s 90 MME cap. Patients currently receiving opioid pain medication have a 300 MME cap until July 2017 to ease their transition to a lower dose.
Maine’s law also caps the maximum time for prescriptions to seven days for acute pain and to 30 days for chronic pain, and it mandates use of the state’s PDMP.
“Research shows opioids are ineffective and often counterproductive for treating chronic pain, leading pain physicians have told the Portland Press Herald… Four out of five new heroin users develop their addictions as a result of prescription opioids, according to the American Society for Addiction Medicine… With a state law setting a 30-day maximum for chronic pain, insurance companies may start requiring prior authorization before reimbursing for new prescriptions beyond the initial 30-day prescription, Smith said.”
“About 16,000 Mainers are currently prescribed high doses of opioids for chronic and acute pain, and the new law means many will have their prescriptions reduced.”
Does this new law affect Stephen King? Pain patients all over this country want to know why Mr. King hasn’t spoken out. Is it fear or does he just not care?
(Side Note: No, the DEA didn’t hire Stephen King. One hopes that the author would never sink so low. As a rich person, he doesn’t need to.)
If you want to write to Stephen King, he’s represented by Rand Holston of Paradigm. He’s on Twitter and here’s his Facebook page:
Today at 6:43am
About 16,000 pain patients in Maine will be affected by the new law signed by Governor LePage, “An Act To Prevent Opiate Abuse by Strengthening the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program.” Mr. King, as someone who suffers from intractable pain, do you agree with these new restrictions? How will they affect your pain management? Are you willing to use your voice to help other pain patients? Happy 69th birthday, from one of your fans in Albuquerque, New Mexico.