(Article) The Opioid Epidemic in 6 Charts Designed to Decieve You

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skeye
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Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3043
   Posted 10/12/2017 3:20 PM (GMT -6)   
Thought I'd share this article that I came across on Facebook. It is a really good, interesting read about how prescription pain medication is not the driving cause behind the opioid epidemic here in the USA (which I think we all knew), but how PROP made it look and sound that way (which then resulted in the stringent new regulations we chronic pain patients are now subjected to).

/www.acsh.org/news/2017/10/12/opioid-epidemic-6-charts-designed-deceive-you-11935

Skeye

Post Edited (skeye) : 10/12/2017 9:30:20 PM (GMT-6)


skeye
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3043
   Posted 10/12/2017 4:31 PM (GMT -6)   
Another good article written by the same author: Heads In The Sand — The Real Cause Of Today's Opioid Deaths

/www.acsh.org/news/2017/08/16/heads-sand-—-real-cause-todays-opioid-deaths-11681

Tirzah
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Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2312
   Posted 10/12/2017 8:32 PM (GMT -6)   
Great article. Should be a must-read for every medical professional and politician.

I do wish, however, that he distinguished between deaths from pharmaceutical fentanyl and made-in-somebody's-basement "fentanyl". Since the implementation of the REMS program, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence as well as small data sets from individual communities that the "fentanyl" that is now causing so many (perhaps 50% or more) of these deaths is not being diverted from legitimate sources, but rather is being sourced either from home-based manufacturers or other countries. Unfortunately, law enforcement and the government refuse to track by source, so its hard to know.

I am by no means suggesting that patients can't/don't die from taking either fentanyl patches or IR fentanyl either as prescribed or in excess. It happens. So too do anesthesiologists sometimes abuse the various fentanyls they are supposed to be giving to their patients during surgeries. But a lot of these deaths are being caused by people taking something they bought off the street with who knows how much fentanyl or heroin or cocaine or whatnot mixed into it. It is endlessly frustrating to me that a medication that worked great for me for over 10 years -- with zero side effects after the first couple of months -- has now been demonized to the point that I've had to switch to much riskier medications with serious side effects that provide less than half the therapeutic benefit of the lowest dose of fentanyl/fentanyl citrate.

At some point maybe our country will realize that the only way to treat addiction is to actually TREAT addiction. I hope perhaps this next generation will do better than ours at treating both pain and addiction.

skeye
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Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3043
   Posted 10/12/2017 9:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Tirzah,

I agree with you about the fentanyl. It also seems that so often it is carfentanyl and other more potent (essentially non-medicinally used) versions of fentanyl that are the problem.

I also agree with you about the need for treatment. Addiction is a disease just like any other. Though access to treatment alone may not be enough if heroin and other illicit drugs continue to be so rampant and easy to access in our communities. Sad to say that many of us probably know people who have been affected by heroin (either directly or indirectly) -- I know I do. I just hate that pain patients are unjustly being made to suffer while very little is being done to address the real/bigger problems behind this epidemic...

Skeye

Post Edited (skeye) : 10/13/2017 12:10:42 PM (GMT-6)


Tirzah
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Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2312
   Posted 10/13/2017 2:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Actually, I'm no longer completely convinced that it's necessary to change the supply in order to address the drug problem. I saw something on the TV not long ago about Portugal, that -- who knew?! -- apparently was facing a much worse drug problem that what we are currently facing in the US. They decriminalized drug use (just the use -- not selling or manufacturing) and poured the money they had been spending on law enforcement (police, DA's, wardens, parole officers, cost of room/board in prison, cost of court time, etc) and spent that same amount of money instead on community programs, mental health, job creation aimed specifically at former users/high-risk individuals, and the like. They addressed the social-emotional risk factors for addiction and saw a huge decrease in drug use as a result. As demand fell, supplies eventually fell to roughly match the demand.

It actually kinda makes sense to me. The AA/NA model is quite similar, just on a much smaller scale. Yes, heroin & versions of fentanyl are both highly addicting ... and I, too, sadly have had friends lose their battle with addiction ... but there are people who are able to either avoid trying drugs in the first place, or able to somehow avoid temptation and win their battle day by day. So I can't help but wonder what we could do as a nation if we started spending the amount of money we currently spend on the "War on Drugs" to instead help build people up and care for them in their time of need. What if instead of trying to eliminate the illegal drug trade, we could eliminate many of the factors that drive people to use in the first place?

skeye
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3043
   Posted 10/13/2017 5:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Interesting! We definitely have a lot to learn about how to best deal with this problem. Clearly (and not surprisingly) this country's current methods of control are not working. Too bad the people in charge of this thing don't seem to be open to listening to anyone but those telling them that prescription medications are the main driving force behind this epidemic & that limiting access to them will solve all our problems. :-p I don't disagree that prescription medications can (and occasionally do) lead to addiction/be gateway drugs -- no one does -- but those in charge really need to read the articles I posted & then start thinking about other solutions, like those you propose...

Skeye

Post Edited (skeye) : 10/13/2017 7:14:50 PM (GMT-6)

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