Summary: 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.
I was just thinking about how much fun it would be to leave a daily message for the CDC. Something like…
Hey, CDC, my name is Johnna Stahl. I’ve suffered from intractable pain for 30 years. Your opioid rules may help a few people who could suffer from addiction in the future, but what are you going to do, right now, to help me and 40 million other chronic pain patients?
Hey, CDC, it’s me, Johnna from Albuquerque. I’m back again to remind you that everybody knows the drug war is a failure. Your opioid war is an even bigger failure. How many people have to suffer and die before you come to your senses?
Yes, it’s me again, Johnna from the Q. When will the CDC approve assisted suicide for chronic pain patients?
Hey, CDC, where did you find Kolodny from PFROP? Are all of your “experts” as ignorant as Mr. Kolodny about the treatment of pain?
Hey, CDC, how does it feel to ruin people’s lives? To make them feel like outcasts and drug addicts when they suffer from constant pain? What’s the CDC’s position on creating stigma? Seems like that should be against the law.
Does anybody want to join me in hounding the CDC? I don’t mind being the only one, but maybe I should wait until after payday (budday). I use too many swear words when I don’t have my bud. Just 3 more days…
I used to read articles at Vice until they published an article about cannabis that was ignorant and wrong. Let’s see what Vice is getting wrong today, shall we?
This article is full of incorrect statistics and biased conclusions that are endemic in the media. And guess who Vice chose as their addiction “expert”?
The CDC insists it isn’t trying to create barriers to legitimate treatment. The new guidelines, the agency says, are the result of extensive input from “experts” and a thorough review of the available “evidence.” They don’t explicitly rule out opioids for chronic pain, but they do send a clear message that opioids should not be considered a first-line treatment…
I’m sure everyone’s experience is different, but my experience has been that doctors don’t consider opioids as a first-line treatment for anything except acute pain, if then. This makes it sound like chronic pain patients just want an easy fix, the pills. That’s very wrong (as my bank account can attest). In other words, the CDC didn’t need to create regulations because of this issue. I’d say that about 95% of doctors already practiced that way. But wait, we need to punish that 5% of doctors who aren’t following the rules, just like we’re punishing pain patients for those who suffer from addiction. Because drug war.
Alternatives do exist. For instance, the CDC says exercise therapy has been shown to improve physical function in some patients. Non-opioid medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can be useful for conditions like arthritis and lower back pain, and some antidepressants and anticonvulsants are also effective.
Tell me, how are people in pain supposed to exercise without any pain relief? Sure, exercise will improve my physical function, but why would I want to increase my pain levels without anything to relieve the increased pain? That would make me stupid. Or a masochist. And speaking of masochists…
Hey Kolodny, are you going to treat the conditions that arise from taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen on a long-term basis? Even the CDC advises against that. How about when an antidepressant causes suicidal ideation? Do your addiction centers treat that, too?
In 1996, the American Pain Society launched its influential “fifth vital sign” campaign, giving pain equal billing with blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and rate of breathing… Just as the “fifth vital sign” campaign encouraged physicians to prescribe opioids indiscriminately…
The media and the medical industry love to place blame on the fifth vital sign. Tell me, what does monitoring pain levels (along with blood pressure, etc.) have to do with drug addiction? No, no, no, the fifth vital sign campaign did not encourage doctors to prescribe opioids indiscriminately. That’s doctors talking, blaming overdoses and addiction on pain patients.
That same year, Purdue Pharma released OxyContin, a powerful painkiller sold as a slow-release pill, which the company aggressively marketed as a godsend for pain patients, often to doctors with little knowledge of abuse-disorder warning signs. OxyContin was a blockbuster, reaching sales of over $1 billion by the end of the decade. But it turned out the drug was also pretty easy to crush, snort, and inject for a high — and Purdue downplayed the risk of patients becoming addicted. In 2007, the company and its executives agreed to pay fines of $635 million for misleading the public.
Sure, blame Purdue. Don’t blame doctors, who use ignorance of treating pain and addiction as the reason for Oxy’s popularity. Bullshit. Doctors have always known that Oxy is addictive. All painkillers can be addicting in a small percentage of patients and doctors know that.
One study the CDC looked at showed that dependence among patients on opioid therapy was as high as 26 percent…
Actually, there are studies that show the addiction rate for pain patients at about 3% to 10%, but the CDC wasn’t interested in any information that was contrary to what their “experts” wanted. Why would the CDC base the treatment of pain on this one study? And why is the CDC making regulations according to 26% of the population? What about the other 74%? I can’t be sure, but I believe that constitutes a majority.
But if the evidence doesn’t support opioid treatment for long-term pain, why are so many chronic pain patients convinced they need the drugs to function? Andrew Kolodny, an influential substance-abuse expert and one of the country’s most vocal critics of opioid overprescribing, thinks he has a pretty good answer. Those patients, he says, are probably dependent on the drugs and may be addicted.
Actually, the lack of “evidence” to support opioid treatment for chronic pain has more to do with who funds the research. No one wants to fund research for chronic pain, even if they could find volunteers who would agree to treat their pain with a placebo. Those funding research on pain are connected to addiction, like the NIDA. And when others perform research on pain, if it doesn’t comport with the government’s program on addiction, the research is buried or not even published.
Kolodny doesn’t waver when I mention the desperation I’ve heard from sufferers. “You’ve found a group of very vocal patients who are convinced that everyone is trying to take their opiates away from them,” he said. “They believe that the CDC guidelines — that advocacy groups like mine — that what we’re really after is stopping drug abusers, and that they’re being made to pay the price. That’s totally not what’s going on. What’s motivating us is an understanding that opioids are lousy drugs for chronic pain.”
Pain patients are having their medications taken away from them — not just opioids and not just pain patients. Doctors don’t want to treat any kind of pain because they’re scared. No, doctors would rather blame pain patients, stop treating them, and move on. How many pain doctors have switched to treating addiction (see the first link following my rant)?
Kolodny reminds me of people who think that addiction doesn’t exist. I think he believes that chronic pain doesn’t really exist. For Kolodny, only addiction exists.
Anyone who says that opioids are lousy drugs for chronic pain has never suffered from chronic pain — and is an ignorant asshole. This is who the CDC used as an “expert.”
For consensus, Kolodny says to look to the country’s leading pain clinics. The Cleveland Clinic, the Mayo Clinic, and the Washington University School of Medicine are a few of the institutions whose experts now say long-term opioid treatments are ineffective and risky. But there are still pain specialists who disagree…
Why doesn’t the media talk to patients who’ve been treated by these allegedly illustrious clinics? I want to hear from them. Actually, I do hear from patients who’ve been treated at these clinics, in comment sections all over the internet. And it’s nothing good.
“The language that they’ll use to describe how they think opioids are helping them is the exact same language my heroin-using patients use,” Kolodny told me. “I’ve been treating opioid addiction for about 15 years. They use the same exact language: ‘Doc, imagine what it feels like every morning — feeling like you’ve been hit in the chest with a baseball bat until you take your first dose.’”
First of all, Kolodny is neither an addiction expert or an expert on the treatment of pain. He’s a dickhead with a lot of power and money behind him, hoping to move up to bigger and better things, probably in politics.
How much has Kolodny’s income increased since he joined the opioid war? How many patients have died while being treated at one of Kolodny’s addiction clinics? Why isn’t he being held responsible for these deaths, like pain doctors are being prosecuted for their patients’ deaths? Why doesn’t the media include the crimes being committed at these clinics when using Kolodny as an “expert”?
Kolodny says he’s been treating addiction for 15 years. Has he ever suffered from addiction or chronic pain? I’ve suffered from intractable pain for 30 years and I think I know more about addiction than he does.
In Kolodny’s view, these patients are feeling better from opioids not because the medication is treating an underlying pain problem but because it’s treating their withdrawal pain. And his view holds a lot of sway….
Really? Seriously? Well, Mr. Kolodny, I haven’t taken opioids to treat my intractable pain for about 6 years now. Why am I still in a suicidal amount of pain? Because the “pain problem” is not an underlying condition — it is the main condition. And it deserves treatment, just like any other medical condition.
Even Kolodny concedes that some patients have been on opioids so long that they may never be able to function without them. Long-term use can cause physical changes in the brain that are potentially irreversible. “What we don’t want is for primary care doctors to just start firing these patients,” he said. “That would be really bad. It’s a problem that we need good solutions for.
Chronic and intractable pain can also cause physical changes in the brain that are not “potentially” irreversible, but always irreversible.
Thanks to the CDC and the media, Kolodny is the #1 enemy of pain patients. And I think he enjoys being seen this way, as it makes him look like a hero to all of his followers. If he can diagnose me as a drug addict because I suffer from intractable pain, then I’m diagnosing him as a masochist who enjoys seeing people suffer. That’s probably why he got into treating addiction in the first place.
Hey, Kolodny, pain patients are being abandoned left and right, and have been for years. Where the fuck have you been? I know, your only interest is addiction. You care nothing for pain patients, yet you claim to be an expert and the CDC and the media treat you like one. But I know what you are. I know you’re partially responsible for an immeasurable amount of suffering and many deaths. How the fuck do you sleep at night?
I have had reflex sympathetic dystrophy since I was 13 I am now 39. My left leg was amputated due to complications from the RSD. Unfortunately it spread to my right leg about ten yrs ago and again I’m have major complications. I was in fentanyl pops along w Oxy contin and both were helping me make it through the day . The insurance company or drug company changed the label on the fentanyl to cancer patients only and took out chronic pain sufferers. So now my insurance co will no longer cover it bc I do not have cancer. I was on this drug for years , I didn’t abuse I didn’t sell it I used it bc I’m in extreme pain and it helped, but now that was taken away. My legs keep getting worse I have terrible phantom pain in addition to the RSD pain in both legs and my right arm spread to…
I had my right hip replaced in 2014. DDD, osteoarthritis, and avascular necrosis on top of rheumatoid arthritis disease. During the surgery the muscle tore off the bone creating an avulsion fracture. Discharged home with a prescription. I went 2 weeks not being able to do my physical therapy or anything for that matter all because non of the pharmacies in our area that accepted my insurance would fill the prescription. Talk about torture.
Doris W. from Lyman, SC writes:
My son is a dialysis patient with a severely deteriorated body. He has severe and very painful bone disease, osteomylatia, with bone forming throughout his body. He currently has open wounds on his legs and scrotum that won’t heal. His health is being undermined because he is in so much pain that he can not complete his hemo dialysis treatments, yet we can find anyone who will provide him pain management. All his doctors say they no longer write opiods. They are AFRAID to do so or it’s against their corporate owner’s policy. He is only 37 years old and doesn’t want to give up treatment. This is terrible malpractice and a real shame in a first world country.
Sharon S. from Wilmington, DE writes:
I am a cancer patient; stage 2 lymphoma and the chemo drugs have left me with peripheral neuropathy. Not finished with this devastation yet. The pain from this condition is with me every day now. After several requests to my doctors for pain meds, I was prescribed Gabapentin. Doesn’t work. After reading through the comments here on this site regarding the failures of the American Medical system and the many people who are suffering as a result, I have to say, I am not at all surprised but I am scared.
Malinda S. from Memphis, TN writes:
Yeah I asked my doctor about the First Do No Harm. He told it wasn’t my license on the line. That was when I truly no longer wanted to live. I felt nothing. With no insurance and trying to get my disability, I am no longer per my neurologist allowed the take pain meds over the counter or prescription. So I have to live in pain 24/7. I have to smile when I want to cry but one of my diseases keeps me from psychically crying. I am in constant pain in my bones, joints, muscles, & chronic migraines. I may be in pain everyday and night, the constant is that I keep loosing friends and family. They just don’t want to deal with me anymore.
Mark N. from Brookfield, IL writes:
For the pain I’ve been put through and the way that I’ve been treated since the beginning of this year, I will, as long as I live never trust or respect Doctors again.
As many times as I try to release my anger, it comes back. Reading about the suffering of other pain patients brings back painful memories for me, but I can’t stop. Maybe I’m the masochist.
I’ve seen a lot of comments recently about the extreme difficulties that pain patients in Alabama are experiencing…
DAPHNE, AL (WKRG) — The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted a raid operation at a pain clinic in Daphne on Friday morning…
As WKRG reported last year, the FBI raided Physician’s Pain Specialists of Alabama (PPSA) in Mobile, one of the largest pain clinics in the state.
The raid was part of “Operation Pillution,” an expansive, multi-state effort to investigate large pain centers accused of excessive prescription practices. Dr. John Patrick Couch and Dr. Xiulu Ruan of PPSA were arrested and charged for “dangerous” painkiller prescribing practices. Couch and Ruan were charged with the deaths of four people in connection to their practice…
It appears that the DEA has enlisted the FBI to help fight its war against opioids.
How many patients was this doctor treating? How many are now going through tortuous withdrawal without any medical assistance? When will the DEA learn that you can’t close down a pain clinic without providing resources for the abandoned patients? How many heroin addicts did the DEA just create? How many suicides? Who can answer these questions? Apparently, not the media.
It’s estimated that approximately 8% of the world’s population has blue eyes.
Researchers in Denmark concluded that every blue-eyed person in the world right now is related in one way or another. They say that blue eyes are a result of a mutation that took place at some point during the last 10,000 years. Before that, a majority of all people had brown eyes whereas only a few displayed light colored eyes.
According to a study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh, light-eyed women handle pain better than women with dark eyes. Unfortunately, nobody really knows why this is or how this applies to men with similar eye color. As a matter of fact, there is quite an urban legend associated with the fact that women with blue eyes go through childbirth much better than women with dark eyes.
People with blue eyes are known to be more attractive on average, but they are also more hesitant than people with differently colored eyes. People with hazel eyes, for example, are known for taking initiative more, while also being more impulsive by nature. Blue-eyed people, on the other hand, have time after time displayed a hesitant nature, which interestingly enough, is believed to be a result of how rare they are in society.
According to a recent study that involved more than 12 thousand Americans, it was revealed that people with blue eyes are more likely to be alcoholics. Many of them have also shown signs of suffering from at least one psychiatric illness like schizophrenia or bipolar disorders.
I have blue eyes. I don’t drink and I don’t suffer from bipolar or schizophrenia. As to whether I handle pain better than people with different colored eyes, I just find that hard to believe — especially after the 36 hours it took to bring my son into the world, which I assure you, was pretty damn painful. But I do believe that if you have blue eyes, our ancestors are probably related. Hello, cousin. 🙂
Hedberg suffered from stage fright throughout his career; he often performed in sunglasses, with his head down and his hair in his face or his eyes closed, and sometimes stood upstage or with his back to the audience…
On March 30, 2005, Hedberg was found dead in a hotel room in Livingston, New Jersey. He was 37 years old. Hedberg was born with a heart defect for which he received extensive treatment as a child. It was initially speculated that this condition may have played a part in his death, but the New Jersey medical examiner’s office reported “multiple drug toxicity” in the form of cocaine and heroin as the cause.
“I like to take a toothpick and throw it in the forest and say, you’re home!” Mitch Hedberg
Even though Dr. Tennant will never see this letter, I’ve got to release some of this anger…
Dear Dr. Tennant:
About 6 years ago, after my pain doctor of 8 years passed away, I flew from Texas to California to see you, because I couldn’t find a doctor in the huge State of Texas to continue my treatment. After a few months of treating me like a drug addict, you abandoned me to a cold-turkey detox. Torture. Six days without sleep. I remember it like it was yesterday.
Dr. Tennant, I think you gave me PTSD. Nightmares of people wishing to do me harm. You should be grateful that I’m not a litigious person.
I know you currently treat other out-of-town patients. I don’t know why you thought I deserved to be abandoned, but I’ll never forgive you for it. Even now, so many years later, I’m still angry. I’ve been unable to let go of the hatred in my heart that I have for you. In fact, it seems to have grown.
You’re a very old man, Dr. Tennant. You’ve already tried to retire once. Tell me, what are all of your patients going to do when you are no longer practicing? Because I know you will be unable to find another doctor to treat all of your patients. I should know. That’s what happened to the patients my pain doctor treated — most of them were abandoned, while a lucky and chosen few were transferred to another doctor.
(If you’re a current patient of Dr. Tennant’s, I would suggest that you start looking for an alternative right now. Today. Do not wait until it’s too late and you have few, if any, options.)
I do not discount the amount of advocacy work you’ve done for pain patients, Dr. Tennant. You are well-known within the chronic pain patient community. But I have to wonder how many other patients you have abandoned, and how many will be abandoned when you are no longer practicing. And when a doctor condones and facilitates torture, I can’t help but lose all respect, not only for you, but for your whole profession.
Yes, I thank you, Dr. Tennant, for teaching me to hate doctors. For finally being able to turn my back on the medical community. For teaching me that the only way to treat my intractable pain is through suicide. After all, I didn’t think about suicide until you abandoned me. If you could do it, then any other doctor can do it, too. I’m talking about a total loss of trust. Thanks to you, I’m just sitting around, waiting for something to kill me.
I’m sure you had your reasons for totally abandoning me. To be honest, I don’t care what they were. I don’t care about your opinion. I can only be thankful to you for allowing me to finally see the futility of “treating” my pain.
Let’s start with some balls.
I don’t understand what’s going on with gas prices. I’ve seen a difference of up to 20 cents between different gas stations. What’s up with that? Why does the price fluctuate so much?
Speaking of cars, I had to buy a new tire this month. Not because I had driven 30 or 40 thousand miles on it, but all due to the heat. Major bummer.
In Houston, Texas, where I used to live, we didn’t have any credit unions. But here in New Mexico, they’re everywhere. Seems to me that there’s not much difference between a credit union and a bank — they’ve both got more money than me.
Be kind to trees. We need them.
This is a cottonwood tree. Their leaves shine in the sun, which my cheap camera doesn’t like to capture.
This is what a cloud looks like when it’s singing.
Here I am, trying to get a shot of the balloons last weekend, at the end of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
Can’t see the balloons? Can you see them now?
As fast as someone cleans up the graffiti, it reappears.
Only lazy assholes litter.
I recently read that mice, given a mixture of an energy drink and alcohol, acted the same as if their brains were on cocaine. I’m beginning to think that mice aren’t really like humans at all. I suppose they have to use them for medical research, but the results shouldn’t always be applied to humans.
I’ve also read that the Iraqi Parliament just passed a bill banning alcohol, and it appears the Christians are upset about it. (I think they’re the only ones allowed to sell alcohol.) “The bill, passed late Saturday, imposes a fine of up to 25 million Iraqi dinars, or $21,000, for anyone violating the ban.” Maybe Iraqis haven’t read about the failure of prohibition in our country.
Does it ever feel like you’re stuck in a web?
I took this photo at dusk, while sitting at a red light.
Do you ever feel like a tiny ant, trudging up an impossibly high mountain? Or maybe just a tiny green bug, so much smaller than all the other bugs?
A Halloween edition of “What Do I See?” will be coming shortly. Please stay tuned. 🙂
While I remain disappointed in John Oliver’s take on the opioid war, I’m happy to say that Samantha Bee has never disappointed me. Her latest episode on the scary amount of mergers in the Catholic hospital system is something that also concerns me. But not because I’m personally concerned about reproductive healthcare — it’s end-of-life care that I’m worried about.
Sandra Nelson: As a former Catholic, I say this segment should be broadcast to all females everywhere. The Church has spent a couple thousand years hating women. They just keep getting better at it. Buying up all those hospitals means that they have plenty of opportunity to cause as much devastation and agony for women as they possibly can. Ladies, wherever you live, find out where the nearest SECULAR medical facility is. Make sure your family and your doctor know that you will NOT allow yourself to be taken to a misogynistic emporium of misery masquerading as a hospital.
Michael Bamford: How is it that more people don’t find it absurd that most of the time it’s men who make legal decisions and legislation about women’s rights? The Hobby Lobby supreme court case is a perfect example. ALL of the women on the court were in the dissenting opinion for that case because they actually realize the depth of liberty that’s being put in the hands of people who have no understanding of the issue. We need more female leaders.
Barry Kaine: Couple of things… it seems like denial of aid by a medical doctor is a major violation of their Hippocratic oath, and a non-profit organization denying help based on religion is discrimination, and should cause them to lose their non-profit, tax exempt status.
Jessica Lee: And their federal funding.
If you want to know how a medication is affecting you, you can always stop taking it. Having to go without will definitely show you if the medication was helping or not. And it will also show you how dependent you are on that medication.
I use cannabis every day to treat my intractable pain. So, when I don’t have it, I go through a type of withdrawal. I get really sad and cry a lot, often for no apparent reason. I smoke cigarettes like there’s no tomorrow. My insomnia gets worse. I see no point in making any kind of plan for the day because I have no pain relief waiting for me. I lose my appetite, even for chocolate. I don’t want to eat because eating hurts my jaw joints, face, head, and neck. Don’t even try to ask me to smile.
After 3 or 4 days without bud, the sadness dims and is replaced by anger. I’m always surprised at how much anger there is inside of me, so closely contained, just waiting to burst free. Anger, frustration, irritation, and sometimes, even hate. I absolutely hated having to depend on a doctor for my pain relief, and it’s no fun now, having to rely on an underground bud connection.
Yes, bud helps me control my anger. It helps to manage my dark and suicidal thoughts. It puts me in the mood to find just about anything funny. It distracts me from the constant pain. It makes chocolate taste better, if that’s even possible. And it even helps me cut back on smoking cigarettes.
Even though I’m a non-violent person, right now, without bud, I could seriously punch someone. Being poor really sucks, but being in unrelieved, constant pain sucks more.
But is this withdrawal, or is this just my normal, painful state of being? If it is withdrawal, it’s not that bad. Doesn’t last that long. I’ve taken a lot of different drugs to treat pain in the past 30 years, and I’d have to say that the withdrawal from cannabis is no big deal. As long as I know that I’ll have access to it again in the near future, I’ll be okay…
But seriously, right now, stay the fuck out of my way.
“How much pregabalin is needed to kill me?”
Is this a question about Lyrica or suicide? Unfortunately, I cannot reach out to the person who asked this question. But it made me curious as to whether someone can overdose on Lyrica.
Although it is not considered possible to fatally overdose on Lyrica, it is still possible to cause damage to one’s body and mind by taking more Lyrica than is prescribed or necessary. The symptoms of overdosing on Lyrica include:
Excessive mood changes
Symptoms of Lyrica Withdrawal
The symptoms of withdrawing from Lyrica are similar to symptoms of withdrawals from benzodiazepines and other classified drugs. These symptoms include seizures, insomnia, nausea, headaches, and diarrhea…
This website has a list of reported adverse reactions to Lyrica:
Rated Lyrica for Peripheral Neuropathy Report
(10/17/2016) Been on this med for a couple of years. Gradually increased the dose from 25mg three times a day to 150 mg three times a day. I would say that yes it is helpful with nerve pain. But, I have gained 30 lbs, just like the dr said I would. I am so forgetful these days, and sometimes cannot speak clearly or in a fluent manner. Its tough. It has helped with sleep for sure. I would caution going cold-turkey. I steady and slow taper would be best,…as there have been times when I go without and have the most awful withdrawal symptoms. I have been through benzo and opiate withdrawal and this one takes the cake for sure. As a chronic pain patient I have benefited from this med. But I am worried on how much I depend on it now.
Rated Lyrica for Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) Report
(8/23/2016) I was on Lyrica 600mg daily for 4 years. 4 years of absolute hell. took me six months to get off the drug, six months later I’m still nauseous, lightheaded and suicidal. this drug is a nightmare that offered no relief from pain.