Are you lonely?

Sure, I get lonely. Doesn’t everybody? But it’s not something that bothers me too much. It appears that my intractable pain eclipses many things that might otherwise bother me.

It’s normal and natural to get lonely. Human beings are social animals. Why do you think Facebook has 1.79 billion monthly active users?

http://www.zephoria.com/top-15-valuable-facebook-statistics/

Talk about a crowd. How do users hear anything in all that noise? Anyway, if you’re feeling lonely, here are some links:

http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/10-ways-cure-loneliness/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/66458-cure-loneliness/

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-science-success/201010/the-cure-loneliness

Even better, here are some things to laugh at:

You gotta love American humor. 🙂

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Goodbye, Vicodin

http://www.publicintegrity.org/2016/12/15/20544/drugmakers-push-profitable-unproven-opioid-solution

“…crucial efforts to steer physicians away from prescription opioids — addictive pain medications involved in the deaths of more than 165,000 Americans since 2000.”

How much more effort will it take? How much more fear can be instilled in doctors and patients?

Pain medications are not addictive for the majority of people who take them, so to describe them as such is just pure ignorance. Let’s see the number for the amount of Americans who have taken pain medications since 2000 without becoming addicted. Because believe it or not, opioids provide benefits to tens of millions of Americans. And while it’s easy to throw around huge numbers like 165,000 (within a 16-year period), the truth is that the percentage of Americans who suffer from an opioid addiction is very low (0.6% of the population).

“An estimated 78 Americans die from heroin and prescription opioid overdoses every day.”

For comparison, according to the CDC, in 2013 there were 113 suicides every day.

The CDC also says that “firearms are the most commonly used method of suicide among males (56.9%).” When will the government force gun manufacturers to make an abuse-deterrent gun? When will they force gun owners to buy a more expensive, abuse-deterrent model?

“The FDA already has begun moving in the direction suggested by companies, mapping out a process for removing older opioids from the market when newer versions are shown to be more effective at thwarting abuse.”

How many other drugs are considered effective only because they’ve been shown to thwart abuse? Is that the purpose of these medications, or is their purpose to treat pain? Has the FDA determined that it’s not important to show how effective the abuse-deterrent opioids are at treating pain? Because as a 30-year intractable pain survivor who’s taken almost every prescription opioid, I find it hard to believe that these new formulations work better, or even as well as, ubiquitous painkillers such as Vicodin and Percocet.

http://www.publicintegrity.org/2016/12/15/20549/drugmakers-set-gain-taxpayers-foot-new-opioid-costs

Some drugmakers aim to replace ubiquitous painkillers such as Vicodin and Percocet with harder-to-abuse formulations that are patent-protected and command higher prices — a plan that could cost government-funded health programs hundreds of millions of dollars in higher medication expenses…

http://www.facebook.com/CDC

#DearCDC: A basic principle of medical ethics says that when you have an intervention that works, you don’t introduce alternatives unless there are significant advantages. Please share with the public which alternative treatments for chronic pain show significant advantages over opioids for a majority of patients. In other words, prove that the CDC’s guidelines are in compliance with the basic principles of medical ethics.

Without industry backing, pain patients are screwed

I can’t help but look at successful advocacy work and compare it to the fight of pain patients against the opioid war.

Marijuana advocacy is backed by its own industry and heavily-funded groups like the Drug Policy Alliance, so it’s no wonder that the movement has been successful. While I was surprised at the success of the Standing Rock protectors against the Dakota Access Pipeline, I think it was when the veterans got involved that some success was reached. I’m also thinking about the long-term success of gun rights advocates, which also include a lot of veterans, as well as powerful industry backing.

And then there’s the recent success of kratom.

As an intractable pain survivor, I’ve kept up with the news on kratom. In fact, another pain patient even mailed some to me. I haven’t tried it yet because I’m afraid of the nausea, as I’ve read that this side effect can be severe, depending on dosage. And who knows the right dosage for me? Not me. And I don’t have the money to experiment.

When we look at the success that kratom advocates have achieved so far — against the DEA, of all foes — we have to wonder why. What have they done that pain patients have failed to do?

For one, even the kratom movement has industry backing. Which industries would back pain patients? Not the medical industry, that’s for sure. No, in fact, there are very large industries working against pain patients, including the addiction industry and the federal government.

There’s also the issue of who these advocate are — what positions they hold in this society. Most pain patients are disabled and poor. It’s hard to get anyone to listen to you when you’re disabled and poor, unless you’re supported by funding from… somewhere.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2016-12-12/is-kratom-a-deadly-drug-or-a-life-saving-medicine

Kratom gained popularity in the U.S. over the past decade or so, as its availability spread online and in head shops. Two or 3 grams of powdered extract steeped in hot water or whipped into a smoothie offers a mild, coffee-like buzz; doses double or triple that size can induce a euphoria that eases pain without some of the hazardous side effects of prescription analgesics. Preliminary survey data gathered recently by Oliver Grundmann, a pharmaceutical sciences professor at the University of Florida, found that American users are mostly male (57 percent), white (89 percent), educated (82 percent with some college), and employed (72 percent). More than 54 percent are 31 to 50 years old, and 47 percent earn at least $75,000 a year…

At the time, the DEA seemed less worried than the FDA. The DEA had listed kratom as a “drug of concern” for several years, but spokeswoman Barbara Carreno told the trade publication Natural Products Insider in March 2014 that kratom had “not been a big enough problem in the U.S. to control.” That posture changed several months later. On the afternoon of July 16, 2014, according to the Palm Beach Post, a 20-year-old Ian Mautner drove to an overpass in Boynton Beach, Fla., left his Isuzu Trooper, removed his sandals, and threw himself to his death on Interstate 95 below. Police found packets of kratom in his vehicle. Lab tests showed mitragynine, as well as prescription antidepressants, in his blood. He hadn’t left a suicide note.

Ian’s mother, Linda Mautner, blamed her son’s death on kratom addiction, telling the FDA that her son had ingested the leaf frequently, causing him to suffer from weight loss, vomiting, constipation, and hallucinations, among other problems. He had dropped out of college and entered rehab, but relapsed the month before he died.

Five weeks later, the DEA asked the FDA for a recommendation on whether to name kratom a controlled substance…

In the U.S., the kratom business consists mostly of retailers who buy raw leaf product from overseas farmers or a distributor. There are also wholesalers who package and encapsulate the stuff, though some retailers contract this out themselves. A recent survey by the Botanical Education Alliance, a business lobby group, counted about 10,000 vendors with annual revenue slightly over $1 billion…

The DEA issued its formal notice about kratom on Aug. 30, calling it “an increasingly popular drug of abuse readily available on the recreational drug market.” By law, the DEA’s final ruling wasn’t subject to court review. Nor did it require public comment…

Within a week, the Botanical Education Alliance and [Susan] Ash’s association hired a lobbyist, a public-relations company, and the Washington law firms Venable and Hogan Lovells, where Rosenberg had once been a partner…

More than 200 of the 660 kratom-related calls to poison centers had also involved alcohol, narcotics, or benzodiazepines, Hogan Lovells said. “Never before has DEA invoked its emergency scheduling authority to take action against a natural product with a long history of safe use in the community,” the letter read. It was signed by David Fox and Lynn Mehler, former lawyers in the FDA’s Office of Chief Counsel. According to Ash, the letter cost her organization $180,000…

Thinking of you, Curtis Gearhart

http://www.whotv.com/2016/11/10/another-iowa-veteran-suicide-after-family-says-he-was-told-to-wait-for-treatment-by-va/

Then nearly two months ago Curtis went to the V.A. because of recurring headaches. Valesca said, “He previously had a tumor. He was worried about it and they told him it would be five to six weeks.” He couldn’t wait any longer and took his own life Monday, November 7th…

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After a doctor sells out to industry, credibility is lost

http://www.acsh.org/news/2016/11/22/trumps-wall-and-opioid-crisis-10450

My comment:

I’m a believer in science and logic. I’m also a believer in questioning everything, like who is Dr. Josh Bloom of the generically-named American Council of Science and Health? The internet does not have very nice things to say about your group, Dr. Bloom, but I suppose you know that. I figure your group gets funding from industries like Big Pharma, so really anything you say is tainted, even if it’s scientifically sound and logical, like this article.

Google showed me your recent Reddit thread and an article from CBS News in 2014:

“But Dr. Josh Bloom of the American Council of Science and Health says these chemicals have been used in the U.S. for at least 60 years and pose no risk. ‘There are so many hundreds of things more dangerous in everyday life than this that it is not even worth thinking about,’ Bloom said.”

Hmmmm, pesticides are not even worth thinking about? You have an interesting way of looking at this issue, Dr. Bloom. Why worry about something we can’t change? It’s not like chemicals are going anywhere, right? In fact, you’re now talking about opioids, which are also chemicals.

And speaking of the CDC and DEA’s war against opioids, perhaps you should look at their side. They believe that reducing the supply and creating regulations will prevent addiction in the future. This is more important to these agencies than the current grumbling of thousands of pain patients and a few hundred suicides. After all, pain doesn’t kill, right? Drugs can kill immediately, but it takes time for pain to kill you.

The opioid war is not about the treatment of pain — it’s always been about the treatment of addiction. And focusing on the real causes of overdoses doesn’t mean focusing on which drugs are being used. If that was important, then the drug war wouldn’t be such a huge failure and we wouldn’t be in the midst of this so-called opioid epidemic.

It’s nice to see your organization paying attention to the opioid war and the suffering of millions of pain patients, but I wonder how much good it will do. Who will listen to you, Dr. Bloom? Was it worth it to sell your education and knowledge to the highest bidder, as you’ve done in your career? You may be a doctor, but I think you’ve sold out your credibility. But thanks for trying.

Addition on 11/23/2016:

Alex Berezow [Mod] painkills2 • an hour ago
“The internet does not have very nice things to say about your group, Dr. Bloom…”

And like most of the internet, the comments section has no editorial standards, which is why you are uniquely qualified to write for it. After posting 11,871 comments, one would think you would have said something remotely interesting by now.

painkills2 Alex Berezow • 12 minutes ago
The internet is a big place, with both good and bad sources. What kind of source is this website? As a reader, that’s what I have to determine. And as someone who’s suffered from intractable pain for 30 years, I would think you might be interested in my opinion on the opioid war. No? Well, that’s your choice.

I’m sorry, did you have something interesting to say?

I blame religion

Democrats have been sliding right for decades. Instead of joining Democrats in the middle, Republicans ran to the far right. And now we have President Donald Drumpf.

Pundits will place blame for Hillary’s loss on things like fear, anger, and apathy. I’m sure there are a myriad of reasons that America voted for a racist, homophobic misogynist.

Some say that women voters were the reason that Obama became president. Some say it was black people who put him in office. Now it appears that men, as a voting block, are the reason that Trump is now president. But, there’s more to the story than that…

A large majority of Republican women voted for Trump. Does that mean these women are ignorant? (Like, do any of them even know who Angela Merkel is? Do any of them believe that a woman can be president?) Does it mean that party affiliation is stronger than common sense? Why would any woman vote for someone like Trump?

Chelsea Handler: The only person with more respect for women than Donald Trump is Bill Cosby.
7:57 PM – 19 Oct 2016

I’ll tell you why: religion. If you think about the divisions between Democrats and Republicans, all of them can be traced back to religious beliefs. The only groups that Americans dislike more than atheists are Muslims and Mexicans.

Funny thing is, I think Trump is an atheist, not that he’d ever admit it. He will always worship money and power over anything else. And perhaps that says more about the Republican party than anything else. It’s all about the worship of money. Not that the Democrats are any different.

Yes, the Republican party is full of racists and bigots, but it’s also full of people who don’t believe in science. People who believe more in their own religion than in the facts. Hypocrites who say they believe in individual rights, but not the right to smoke pot or the right to die. These people are now in power with no one to stop them…

Dude, that’s some scary shit.

The only thing I’m wondering right now is which group Trump will pick to shit on first. Is he coming for Mexicans or Medicare? Women’s or gay rights? Republicans voted him in, but will they have any control over him? (My stomach hurts.)

Donald Trump was declared the winner around 1am. He said in his victory speech that it’s time for us to become “united.” How long has he spent trying to divide us? That’s what you call hypocrisy at it’s finest.

I live in a state that voted for Hillary, but if I lived in a Trump state, I’d be looking suspiciously at my neighbors. Which one of them voted this asshole into the highest office in the land?

To everyone who doesn’t live in America, from this very sad American:  I’m so sorry.

http://www.nilzeitung.wordpress.com/2016/10/30/dont-worry-be-happy-playing-for-change-song-around-the-world/

I can understand how news like this might trigger someone who is depressed into thinking about suicide. If you’re thinking about suicide, please click on the candle widget on the right side of your screen.

Thanks for listening, everyone. 🙂