DEA Wants to Cut Production of Painkillers

The DEA wants to replace your doctor.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on Friday proposed a 20 percent reduction in the manufacture of certain commonly prescribed opioid painkillers as well as other controlled substances for next year.

Just say no.

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    the most obvious outcome (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Aug 04, 2017 at 02:10:34 PM EST
    being an increased usage of the illegal black market ones.

    after all, gotta fill up those for profit prisons.

    job creation n all that.

    Isn't it the black market versions (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Aug 04, 2017 at 02:15:06 PM EST
    Killing everyone?

    If cannabis were legal everywhere for pain, who would take the poison?


    Maybe (none / 0) (#4)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Aug 04, 2017 at 02:19:59 PM EST
    Colorado can open up pain clinics and become a mecca for pain sufferers.

    ... in the country to legalize the use of cannabis for prescriptive medical purposes. Unfortunately, that's as far as it got. The quick and consistent intervention by federal law enforcement officials at our legislature has long since turned the State's efforts to draft and adopt rules governing its distribution and sale into a prolonged and frustrating exercise in political kabuki.

    Personally, I washed my hands of the entire matter six years ago, and have refused to get involved in the policy discussion ever since, save for those occasional moments when I was asked about my opinion on the subject by state legislators with whom I've maintained an active acquaintance.

    In each instance, I told them that they and their colleagues either need to grow a pair, defy the DEA and finish what they started, or else repeal the law that's already on the books, and allow DEA officials to take a well-deserved victory lap around the State Capitol building while our lawmakers humbly genuflect in political deference and their own public humiliation.

    Finally, legislators summoned up the nerve this past session to authorize the State Dept. of Health to draft rules. Not surprisingly, it was the arrival of Trump and Sessions on the scene which finally spurred them to act.



    Or the addicted users will opt (none / 0) (#5)
    by Peter G on Fri Aug 04, 2017 at 04:10:09 PM EST
    for fentanyl instead. Available on the street without a prescription, so to speak. Cheaper and stronger, too. Who cares that it is also more likely to kill you?

    it seems to me (none / 0) (#7)
    by linea on Fri Aug 04, 2017 at 08:00:39 PM EST
    this is part of american puritanism where drug adiction is viewed as morally wrong and a moral failing. those with this perspective, view the 'sin' of adiction to be worse than chronic pain. to me it seems a cruel thing to assert: it is better for people to live in pain, than be addicted to medication.

    in my opinion.

    The Junkie and the Addict: The Moral War on Drugs [Harvard Politics; February 27, 2017]

    In particular, the United States has distinguished itself from others in the scale and enforcement of efforts to curb public drug use-extending a mere dislike to a full-on war.

    People view drug use and abuse within different frameworks, with intensely social, political, medical, and historical implications. In particular, drugs are not only viewed within a schema of facts, but of morality--an ideology that views psychoactive substances as fundamentally wrong.

    I agree with you, that the "moral" (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Peter G on Sun Aug 06, 2017 at 12:54:37 PM EST
    perspective is part of what makes drug policy a big challenge, both in the U.S. and internationally. Even the campaign for alcohol prohibition, which was viewed in part as a moral crusade, with its early promoters very much intertwined with anti-slavery and pro-suffrage forces, also emphasized legitimate sociological impacts -- domestic violence, deleterious health effects, reduced productivity, etc.

    ... the plain and bald fact of the matter is that Prohibition simply didn't work. Its implementation as public policy gave rise to a whole host of new and very serious issues, the resultant consequences of which were frankly either unforeseen or ignored outright by many of that policy's proponents.

    It's not an exaggeration to think of late 19th century / early 20th century American society as somewhat besotted and awash in alcoholic spirits. The deleterious socio-economic effects of mass alcoholism that you cited above were all very real, and public concerns expressed at the time were quite legitimate.

    Ironically, the successful passage on the 18th Amendment by Congress, as well as its summary ratification by the 36 of the 48 states themselves, was greatly facilitated by the April 1917 entry of the United States into the First World War on the side of the Allies. The declaration of war against the Central Powers had the immediate and practical effect of marginalizing politically the country's large German-American population, which had been a significant and particularly stubborn source of opposition to prohibitionist policies.

    Proponents of temperance quickly seized upon the moment to avail themselves of the opportunity to recast the 18th Amendment's passage as something akin to a patriotic duty. The banning of alcohol was cynically equated by Prohibition's advocates with somehow striking a mighty blow against the Teutonic Hordes, and members of Congress soon succumbed to this political siren call in relatively short order.

    No doubt, Prohibition-era policies did effectively curb the country's per capita rate of alcohol consumption by well over half during the 1920s and further, those rates of consumption didn't recover to their former levels until well after the Second World War. However, there was nevertheless a rather astonishing level of outright civil disregard and contempt of applicable Prohibition-related law by a substantial portion of the American populace. And as noted above, this had consequences.

    Even as states and local municipalities lost a significant portion of their tax revenues which had heretofore been derived from the sales of alcohol, the continued public demand for alcoholic beverages after the federal ban took official effect in January 1920 soon gave rise to a flourishing underground economy and its accompanying distribution network for beer, wine and hard spirits.

    Much of that illicit trade quickly fell under the control of well-organized and often ruthless criminal elements. The often shocking waves of associated criminal violence spiked accordingly, sharply and often, as those extra-legal elements constantly jockeyed for turf position and battled and market share. For the most part, Americans were repulsed by the resultant bloodshed and carnage.

    Further, it should be noted that America's wealthy and well-to-do classes had availed themselves of the two-year window between the 18th Amendment's passage by Congress in December 1917 and its effective date of January 16, 1920 to accumulate some rather astonishingly vast stockpiles of alcoholic beverages for themselves.

    But because nobody else really enjoyed any such luxuries of wealth, subsequent efforts by law enforcement agencies to implement and uphold Prohibition-era policies effectively and disproportionately targeted the country's poor, working and middle class communities. Not surprisingly, there soon developed a very serious and consequential backlash as opposition to these policies in those communities grew and organized.

    There are any number of effective contemporary lessons which could be derived from our country's political and legal experiences during the Prohibition era, if only our country's public policymakers and law enforcement authorities took the time to study its history and come to understand the myriad of reasons for Prohibition's eventual failure and collapse as public policy.

    From my own perspective as a student of American history, the foremost of these reasons is the constant historical evolution and progression of social attitudes in the United States. Simply put, the genesis of Prohibition was the Victorian Age, and the 19th century-era values of a once-primarily agrarian U.S. society had become increasingly quaint and obsolescent by the prevailing standards of the 1920s, as the country rapidly industrialized and urbanized.

    In that regard, most progressives similarly offer that current drug policies, which are rooted primarily in the national experiences of the first half of the 20th century, have no practical relevance in our modern 21st century society, and therefore ought to be substantially amended to both reflect and meet the demands and contingencies of the present era.

    Because just as much now as it was back then, morality has little or nothing to do with it. We need to live in the here and now, and not continue to dwell and wallow in the there and then.



    nice summary Donald. (none / 0) (#22)
    by cpinva on Tue Aug 08, 2017 at 10:57:08 AM EST
    as some wag once remarked, "Those who fail to read history are doomed to read Santayana, over and over and over again."

    the current (since the Nixon administration) "War on  (some people, using some) Drugs", certainly fits the prescription of history repeating itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. it has long since turned from an (possibly sincere) effort to reduce the negative effects of unregulated use of unregulated drugs, to a strictly revenue generating operation, for those involved on the Gov't end. Thousands of jobs, private prisons, ostensibly civilian police forces turned into para-military units, using weapons of war against our civilian population. a little something for the whole family.


    thank you (none / 0) (#12)
    by linea on Sun Aug 06, 2017 at 04:06:39 PM EST
    De nada. (none / 0) (#18)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Aug 07, 2017 at 05:13:45 PM EST
    I just find it very frustrating that we have a rather rich and detailed historical perspective about public prohibition policies which we can easily reference and study, yet time and again our elected and law enforcement officials refuse to learn from the often bitter experiences of their forebears in government.

    As the philosopher / poet George Santayana once admonished us 112 years ago in his 1905 book Reason in Common Sense, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."



    The last time they did this (none / 0) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Aug 07, 2017 at 11:46:43 AM EST
    It affected the availability of some drugs used for anesthesia and the early hours after surgery.

    They did warn me that they were having to use a different drug for Josh with a higher incidence of respiratory failure. But nobody was really worried.

    It happened after midnight to Josh. Skeletal staff. All of his alarms were screaming when they awoke me. I was screaming and shaking him (after he had had a back surgery), he wasn't breathing, I was able to revive him before the nurse got to his room. His surgeons during early morning rounds were very shaken over what had occurred overnight.


    I don't do painkillers myself, ... (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Aug 04, 2017 at 05:57:34 PM EST
    ... so the issue of pharmaceutical supply chains for opioids / opiates doesn't affect me directly. However, speaking as someone who's long been something of a stickler for adhering to institutional protocols and due administrative process, it sounds as though the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency is seriously overstepping its boundaries here.

    It's really not that agency's place as an law enforcement agency to impose production quotas on the manufacture and supply of otherwise legal pharmaceuticals, or even pursue such a policy on its own. That particular authority should properly rest with the Food and Drug Administration.

    Further, we need to keep saying the following until those who are in positions of authority finally get it: The serious individual and social problems associated with substance abuse need to be addressed primarily as a public health issue, and not as a law enforcement matter. The carrot-and-stick approach to enticing individuals to seek treatment is all well and fine, but it actually works a whole lot better with more carrots and less sticks, not vice versa.

    Oh, and speaking of law enforcement and Big Pharma executives who've made it their life's mission to exploit people in pain and / or make their lives even more miserable than they already are, it's just been reported over the late Sen. Ted Stevens' "series of tubes" known as the Internet that the infamously self-absorbed Martin Shkreli has convicted by a federal jury on three felony counts of securities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Couldn't happen to a nicer Pharma Bro.

    Have a great weekend, everyone. Aloha.

    in my opinion (none / 0) (#8)
    by linea on Fri Aug 04, 2017 at 08:23:40 PM EST
    medical doctors should be free to prescrible any legal medication. if a doctor is being irresponsible, the medical board can revoke his license to practice medicine. there shoudnt be law enforcement oversite.

    likewise with addicts. i likely see more drug users and heroin addicts every weekend than people can imagine. i believe addicts are better off on the streets than being abused in a prison and permanantly branded with a criminal conviction. this is my perspective from living in urban seattle.


    I agree with you. (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Chuck0 on Sun Aug 06, 2017 at 12:19:36 PM EST
    thank you (none / 0) (#13)
    by linea on Sun Aug 06, 2017 at 04:07:12 PM EST
    as i've stated on here many times before, (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by cpinva on Sun Aug 06, 2017 at 12:57:50 AM EST
    the DEA is the single most useless agency in the entire federal gov't. it is a total waste of scarce, allocable resources, and should be done away with in its entirety.

    it won't happen of course, because too many people have a vested financial interest in its continuing complete ineffectiveness, in performing its mission.

    There was a time, back in the day, (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Aug 07, 2017 at 12:29:32 PM EST
    when Imodium was "prescription only."

    I was on my way to S America and wanted to bring some with me, just in case, but could not get it as I did not have a prescription.

    The next morning, in Venezuela, I easily bought it over the counter from a pharmacy.

    Shockingly, I encountered no diarrhea medicine addicts on the streets of Caracas...


    It was fascinating for me (none / 0) (#17)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Aug 07, 2017 at 04:50:33 PM EST
    to see the pharmaceuticals you can just buy off the shelf in Mexico. Retin-A was one of them among others. I thought about "stocking up" but then our customs is kind of a stickler about bringing drugs and liquor back from Mexico.

    For that matter, (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Zorba on Mon Aug 07, 2017 at 09:00:39 PM EST
    There are meds that are prescription-only here that you can buy over-the-counter in Western Europe, as well.
    Not to mention the fact that even precription drugs tend to be way cheaper in Western Europe, Canada, Australia, etc, than what we pay here.  
    We subsidize the cost of those drugs in countries with some type of universal health care because they negotiate with the drug companies for the prices, whereas we legally cannot do so in this country.  So the pharmaceutical companies charge them less and charge us more, which amounts to us subsidizing them, as I said.
    We should negotiate with them, too, which would result in our paying less.  And yes, result in them paying more, but that's life.  
    We really need a universal health care/single payer system here.  What we have is not working.  Obamacare is better than what went before, but it needs to be improved.  Not as the Republicans have suggested, but something much closer to Medicare For All.  Or at the very least, a robust but very affordable (and subsidized where necessary) public option.

    I know on the Canadian (none / 0) (#21)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Aug 07, 2017 at 09:22:38 PM EST
    health system they don't cover prescription drugs but the drug companies are not allowed to over charge the consumers.

    My husband's uncle owned a drug store for years and always complained about how much drugs cost here. I wonder why some of the big drug chains like CVS don't bargain for their prices with the pharmaceutical companies.


    We buy our son's asthma inhaler from an RX (none / 0) (#23)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Aug 08, 2017 at 01:34:44 PM EST
    in Canada, who in turn buys it from India. Approx 1/4 the cost.

    A friend of mine (none / 0) (#3)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Aug 04, 2017 at 02:18:59 PM EST
    said her Lyrica had gone up to 800 bucks for a three month supply. Now we can't do anything about the costs of drugs but I guess we can tell them how much they can manufacture.

    I'm very po'ed right now (none / 0) (#24)
    by jondee on Fri Aug 11, 2017 at 10:12:41 PM EST
    to say the least.

    I have severe spinal stenosis that flares up to a debilitating extent three or four times a times a year, and this is the first time a doctor has ever denied me pain meds. During the most painful episode I've had yet.

    I'm no pill freak; the pain flare ups usually last a week or two and then gradually dissipate, with the pills giving me just a little relief from a pain that can be excrutiating - I'm talking not being able to dress oneself excrutiating - until whatever's going on in my lower back gets itself back on an even keel..

    Now, because of the flood of cheap heroin and all the (supposed) over-prescribing going on - as if American doctors were the only possible source of all the pills people are now abusing - I suddenly "fit the profile of the drug seeking person" even though all my schmuck doctor has to do is consult my numerous x-rays and past history.

    The upshot of all this being that now, instead of simply taking one pill three times a day, I'm forced to take 3000 mgs of Ibuprofen, plus Tylonal, plus muscle relaxers, and still not being able to comfortably walk across the room.

    i'm sorry (none / 0) (#25)
    by linea on Fri Aug 11, 2017 at 10:38:46 PM EST
    maybe if you can get a low dose of proper pain medication you could potentiate? or maybe adding something like xanax would help? or maybe pot with your other medications if it's legal in your state? im sorry. there is no good answer. it's cruel.

    I just find it incredible (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by jondee on Fri Aug 11, 2017 at 11:12:28 PM EST
    that someone like me could wind up in jail if I got desperate and reckless enough to seek out the illegal stuff. Not that I will, but on the other hand, if I happened to strike up a conversation with someone on the street and they happened to have 'on hand', say, some extra percocet or dilaudid or whatever, I'd be very tempted.

    Getting from a sitting position to a standing position is quite a drawn-out drama lately.


    i'm so sorry! i wish i could hug you. (none / 0) (#27)
    by linea on Sat Aug 12, 2017 at 12:13:23 AM EST
    thank you (none / 0) (#28)
    by jondee on Sat Aug 12, 2017 at 11:20:36 AM EST
    Jondee, I am so very sorry (none / 0) (#29)
    by Zorba on Sat Aug 12, 2017 at 02:50:51 PM EST
    As well.
    I don't even know what to suggest, except possibly changing doctors if you can, because yours sounds like a lazy and cowardly jerk.  Maybe a referral to a pain clinic might help.
    Is this person your primary care doc?  Because if so you may want to consult a specialist.  Maybe an orthopedic surgeon?
    Hugs to you, jondee.

    I had an immediate bad feeling (none / 0) (#30)
    by jondee on Sat Aug 12, 2017 at 06:43:11 PM EST
    when I walked into the examination room and saw a bulitten board with a very prominently displayed newspaper article tacked to it saying something to the effect of Doctors Told To Stop Prescribing
    Opiates For Chronic Pain. So my sense is I'd probably run into the same brick wall no matter who I went to around here. Plus, changing doctors is supposedly another telltale sign of "drug seeking behavior" according to these geniuses.

    Though, after all the damn pills, I'm feeling slightly better today. Hopefully the positive trend will continue. Thanks for your good wishes, Zorba. Peace


    I would offer a hug (none / 0) (#31)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Aug 12, 2017 at 06:53:40 PM EST
    But that would be weird

    Just a hug? I'm disappointed. (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by jondee on Sat Aug 12, 2017 at 07:00:22 PM EST
    Well, at least you feel (none / 0) (#33)
    by Zorba on Sat Aug 12, 2017 at 08:38:51 PM EST
    a little bit better.
    If it weren't so mean, I would wish that everyone in the DEA, and all the cowardly doctors like yours, would experience excruciating pain for weeks, at least, if not longer.
    Oh the heck with it, I'll be mean and say I do wish it.

    The part that bothered me (none / 0) (#34)
    by jondee on Sat Aug 12, 2017 at 09:27:18 PM EST
    was the sensed unspoken suspicion that I could possibly be faking my symptoms to get pills. So you have the actual pain, and then the added stress of knowing that you're seen has a possible junkie until proven innocent.

    This a really bad time for people with actual debilitating pain. I was just reading about a guy who'd had five spinal surgeries and was having trouble getting doctors to give him pain meds. Unreal.