Has Olympic Medical Physicians joined leading American media outlets, like the NY Times, and CBS 60 Minutes, in obfuscating the distinction between Chronic Intractable Pain and Substance Abuse with the “Opioid Epidemic”?
Opinion by Bryan Frazier with excerpts, under Fair Use Doctrine, from National Pain Report http://nationalpainreport.com/dear-cnn-8830460.html
Just this past week, Olympic Medical Physicians (OMP) Primary Care Clinic and the Clallam County Health Officer have declared that every patient using Opioids for non-cancer related pain are addicts requiring an intervention in their treatment regimen. They state; “we will no longer routinely prescribe opiates for non-cancer related pain.” They refer to the patients “Opioid Dependence” and “Opioid Use Disorder (some refer to this as addiction)” claiming “that many people who have opioid use disorder started out by receiving prescriptions from their health care providers for ACUTE or CHRONIC pain.”
It has been my experience that doctors DO NOT prescribe Opiates as a first line treatment for transient pain (pain that tends to go away in about 10 days) like the pain from a sprained ankle, tooth extraction, broken bones, etc. Their first line has always been (in my experience) Ibuprofen, Toradol (ketorolac) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).
(Ketorolac works by reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body. Toradol is used short-term (5 days or less) to treat moderate to severe pain) or other non-opiate anti-inflammatory medication along with ice or heat packs to reduce swelling and pain.
None of these folks from OMP or Clallam County, who made this declaration, appear to be suffering from Chronic Intractable Pain and have made this declaration based on faulty CDC studies that lump all opioid related deaths into one category along with heroin and other illicit drug related deaths. The Chronic Intractable Pain patients that I am acquainted with are on a Pain Maintenance Regimen and have taken the same Maintenance Dose for years, in some cases DECADES, without ANY increase. They are NOT “addicted”, they DO NOT “crave” the medication or “have trouble controlling drug use”.
There is a VAST difference between the “addicts”, the med seekers who use for recreation or who are self- medicating and those who are on a pain control regimen.
They completely ignore ANY studies on Chronic Intractable Pain and the need to treat it with Opiates. “They have insulted and disheartened patients who live with Chronic Intractable Pain and maintain a semblance of normal behavior only because of access to effective and safer chronic opioid therapy.”
“The medication doesn’t take away all of our pain because of opioid tolerance, but the pills do provide enough relief to allow a semblance of normality in our day to day life.”
They blame opioid-related mortality on the “wise and compassionate physicians who understand why pain must be treated, often with chronic opioid therapy in many cases.”
What have these people done to counter the 800,000 annual deaths in America attributed to the use of alcohol? NOTHING!
“More Americans die each year from medical error than those deaths now attributed to opioid overdose. Certainly these deaths are preventable.”
In 2011, the Institute of Medicine published a revealing document — Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming, Prevention, Care, Education, and Research, which states:
“Every year, about 100 million adult Americans experience chronic pain, a condition that costs the nation between $560 billion and $635 billion annually.”
“Here’s the real epidemic, ladies and gentlemen — the pain epidemic that results in the daily suffering of millions of Americans, and that is responsible for more medical spending than heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, combined. Chronic Intractable Pain is a disease that causes disability and destroys lives and families, yet CNN and the other above-mentioned guardians of our society have ignored this devastating disease.”
“Where is your reporting on America’s Pain Epidemic?”
Don’t be so quick to pass judgement until you’ve lived a year or more in the shoes of someone suffering with Chronic Intractable Pain.