Millions of Americans who rely on opioid medications for pain are in anguish because of government pressure and media reports to reduce prescriptions. George Knapp recently produced an investigative series for KLAS on opioids, and the people who truly need them. For his C2C special, he delved into the world of pain relief, big pharma, and government intrusion, with a variety of physicians and professionals.
First hour guest, pain management expert Dr. Lynn Webster acknowledged that of the some 64,000 drug-related deaths in the US in 2016 most were opioid-related, however only 25% of those were tied to prescriptions, and when they were, the drugs were not from their own prescription. All across the country, physicians have been frightened into scaling back pain prescriptions to patients in need, Webster reported, because they might face investigations by the DEA that could unjustly ruin their careers.
Research chemist Josh Bloom talked about the "war on pain patients" that's been taking place in recent years. The pharmaceutical industry bears some of the blame in their drug development and lack of warnings, he remarked. But the CDC has twisted statistics in creating their guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain-- as addiction for pain patients is relatively rare, he stated. President of the International Pain Foundation, Barby Ingle, shared her years long struggle battling chronic pain. We're advocating, she said, for open access and life saving medications for patients, "and protection for providers that are willing to help us."
Pain researcher Stephen Ziegler (related study) lamented that the CDC's guidelines were developed in secrecy-- they should have invited a variety of stakeholders to be part of this process, he argued. 11 out of 12 of their recommendations were based on very weak evidence, he added. Advocate and research analyst Richard Lawhern pointed out that there are now hundreds of suicides each year by patients who are deprived of the pain relief they need to function. The government has no business imposing itself on the doctor-patient relationship, he declared. The public is encouraged to voice their views here.
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