War on Pain Meds Leads Man and Wife to Suicide

The mainstream press sells the DEA's story: Opioid deaths and suicides are up among seniors. Time to rachet up the war on pain doctors.

That misses the point, of course, which is why? VICE News gets it right in This Couple Died by Suicide After the DEA Shut Down Their Pain Doctor. Millions of people live in chronic pain, and only strong opioids, including fentanyl patches prescribed by their doctors, brings them down from a pain scale of 10 to something livable, like a 5.

There are millions of chronic pain patients suffering just like me," Danny Elliott wrote before ending his life. "Nobody cares."

It's the war on pain doctors that needs to end, so they can exercise their judgment without fear of intimidation. Prosecutors, legislators and drug agents don't have medical licenses. They shouldn't be making one size fits all rules for what type of pain medicine and how much of it a chronically ill patient is allowed to have.

Just like with lethal injection, you wouldn't do a dog this way. Chronic pain kills. It killed Prince. Leave the pain doctors treating seniors and others with chronic pain alone.

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    Failure of Law Enforcement Solution (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by john horse on Fri Dec 02, 2022 at 08:36:55 AM EST
    As a senior citizen who recently had surgery, let me give a shoutout to pain drugs.  For the first 24 hours after surgery, they were giving me fentanyl.  They then cut off the fentanyl and gave me oxy.  These drugs were essential to my recovery.

    Regarding the problem of addiction, great article in Salon Their children struggled with addiction. Now, they're fighting against the war on drugs.  As one of the mothers in this article says "To throw money at going after the supply side and building up criminal justice, it's appalling. It didn't work, it hasn't worked. Drugs are still there.  People are still dying. We need a compassionate, tolerant, science-based approach to this issue." Lets try kindness and decency for once.

    This drives me (none / 0) (#1)
    by Zorba on Thu Dec 01, 2022 at 02:07:12 PM EST
    Up a wall. Because some people may abuse prescription pain killers and some physicians may over-prescribe, they're going to frighten all doctors into way under-prescribing, and punish all seniors and others with chronic, debilitating pain.

    Same. (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Towanda on Thu Dec 01, 2022 at 02:23:12 PM EST
    Childhood polio shortened one of my legs, which eventually -- about a decade ago -- caused me to endure back spasms for months, until I finally was referred to a physiotherapist who figured it out, and I had surgery.  

    But during those months, the pain was so ferocious that I decided that if it was not fixed, well . . . I understood why someone would resort to suicide.

    And now with postpolio syndrome, in addition to warnings that the back spasms could recur, this medical mess better be fixed fast. I never again want to endure those months of agony.


    I'm with Johan Hari (none / 0) (#3)
    by jondee on Thu Dec 01, 2022 at 02:53:02 PM EST
    and Gabor Mate on this issue..

    There's something disasterously awry in this country psychologically and spiritually, when we have so many younger people without physical pain who are self-medicating and ODing at the alarming rates that they have been in the last few years..

    I live in one of the ground zero areas for opioid ODs, and there's been a huge amount of distressed flailing around and finger-pointing centered on who to blame for the current state of affairs..

    Simply blaming Big Pharma and doctors doesn't get to the root of the problem, imo. And in the meantime, as everyone's saying, people who have to live with debilitating chronic physical pain are now being made to suffer.

    My general practitioner was the only (none / 0) (#4)
    by fishcamp on Thu Dec 01, 2022 at 05:15:13 PM EST
    pain management doctor in the keys, which meant he could prescribe more pain pills than the other doctors for severe pain.  The Feds started inspecting his records and coming down from Miami every week to bug him.  Then they started visiting some of his patients at their homes.  He finally told them he no longer wanted the job.  Now seniors with severe pain have to go up to a pain management clinic in dreaded Miami.  Too much power in the wrong hands.

    I love when we all agree! (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Dec 02, 2022 at 06:30:31 AM EST
    Three things to keep in mind about the young people who OD: They are probably poly-drug users, and the autopsies can't always tell what drug caused the death. Under federal law, the feds have to prove the person died from the opiate drug, not the alcohol or speed or valium he also took. It's a "but for" test, see the case of Burrage v. U.S., available here.
    The federal penalty for giving one line of heroin to someone who OD's is a mandatory minimum 20 year penalty, no probation or suspension, and you know that in the feds, you do 85%. So you and your buddy buy a dime bag, you each take a snort, you are fine, he dies, you go to jail for 20 years unless he was so packed with other drugs they can't tell whether he died from the drug or the combo of drug cocktails he was taking.

    Next point: There are no fentanyl pills. There is iv fentanyl that you get in the hospital for outpatient surgeries along with some injected Lidocaine and some properol, and if you really are in chronic pain daily, you can get some fentanyl patches prescribed for you.

    But with one exception, that's not why people are overdosing more. They are overdosing because they are buying blue oxys with "M 30" imprint made by Mallencourt. But, they are buying them on the street and don't know that the pills are made in Mexico, with some Chinese made fentanyl power mixed in with other stuff. Here in Colorado and the southwest, they mix it with acetominaphine. Not a lot of deaths. But in New Hampshire and on the East Coast they mix the pills with a combo and fake oxy and real fentanyl powder. That's dangerous.

    The third group that is susceptible to dying is former addicts who recently got home from treatment. They relapse (as almost all drug users do) and go back to taking these phony pills. What they forget is that after 4 weeks in rehab off the pills, their tolerance level has plummeted ,. They no longer need anywhere near the amount they injested before heading off to rehab. And they take their nomal dose and it can kill you.

    So lets say you wanted to plan ahead. You'll never get to legally stockpile in a saft spot where it will be available when you need it.

    I guess I'm lucky (none / 0) (#6)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Dec 02, 2022 at 07:58:54 AM EST
    My young Dr is a specialist in joint pain like arthritis.  It's pretty much all he does.  Many Drs locally will not prescribe opioids.  Don't even ask.  He will.  Rather freely.  At least to me.  He has never refused a request.  He knows me and knows I'm not going to become addicted.  Currently I have a big ole bottle of Hydro 10s in the bathroom.  I have arthritis and it's getting worse.  In fact I'm seeing him about exactly that in a few minutes.

    So I just learned (none / 0) (#8)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Dec 02, 2022 at 09:03:26 AM EST
    My Dr is leaving in Jan

    Not a surprise really.  He was to smart to be here long. I being referred by him to another Dr here I've heard good things about.


    I have spinal stenosis (none / 0) (#9)
    by jondee on Fri Dec 02, 2022 at 01:55:17 PM EST
    that flares up horribly at times. The Fear of God has been put into ALL the doctors around here, so I really have to tone-down the rakish Keith Richards vibe I sometimes put-off with people when I go to the doctor..

    Heaven forbid and Saints preserve us if you need the pills sometimes And actually enjoy the buzz a little bit once in a while. We can't have that.


    SITE VIOLATOR (none / 0) (#11)
    by jmacWA on Sun Dec 04, 2022 at 02:18:02 PM EST

    thank, it's been deleted. (none / 0) (#12)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Dec 07, 2022 at 06:44:35 PM EST
    I appreciate all the "site violator" posts. If you don't see yours, it's because after zapping the violator's account, I delete them. But I do read them and act on them!