R.I.P. Olivia Newton-John

Singer and Actress Olivia Newton-John, who has suffered from cancer for 30 years, has died at age 73. She died peacefully at her home in California, surrounded by her family. All the U.S. obituaries I've read focus only her career.

One article, The brave words with which Olivia Newton-John faced death and reassured her family, from InfoBae, google-translated, adds these details from her niece:

"It wasn't just the cancer, but other complications, being in a hospital and having a very sensitive immune system ," Totti Goldsmith told an Australian channel. “ She had secondary infections. She fell apart in the last five or six days.”

The woman shared that Olivia had turned to medical cannabis to cope with the illness before her death, but her pain level continued to escalate and the medication provided little relief by the end. “ It really helped her, but then it wasn't enough ,” she explained. and she added that Olivia " really struggled through a lot of pain."


Aware of her aunt's continued discomfort, Totti said she wa.s not surprised to learn of Olivia's death. " It wasn't a surprise, we knew how sick she was ," he noted, " especially the last five days."

....Didi Conn, Olivia's cast partner in "Grease", gave an interview in which she told how the singer's last days were . In dialogue with the Good Morning America program, the actress revealed that her great friend “could no longer walk. Her husband John and her daughter Chloe were by her side the whole time.”

Her family asks that contributions be made to the alternative cancer treatment foundation she created, the ONG Cancer Center which has helped so many people.

It may be that Olivia Newton-John did not want to be treated with opioids. That's her decision. But for severe pain, most people do require opioids. Strong ones. That doctors now tell you to take ibuprofen after a root canal or minor surgery is a joke. What is not a joke is that today Endo, the Irish company that makes Percocet, announced it was going bankrupt due to the massive number of lawsuits brought against it by state and federal government entities, over its now-discontinued drug Opana. Purdue Pharma LP and Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals have done the same thing due to the pressure of lawsuits accusing them of fueling our so-called opioid crisis.

If the DEA had its way, prescription opioids would be limited to those in an emergency setting, hospice or dying in hospitals. That's absurd. The restrictions on prescribing opioids make people turn to dangerous street drugs. They ask for oxycontin and think that's what they are buying, but many times pills are not oxy at all, but aspirin laced with fentanyl or fentanyl laced with heroin, or some other dangerous combination, which can be fatal.

Bring back the pharmaceutical companies, get the DEA off its back, and let people in pain stop suffering. If we have to choose between people, especially the elderly, being able to continue to live a meaningful life through effective pain medication, and keeping young people, who don't have pain, from abusing fake pain pills (because they can't get ahold of real ones), I vote for letting the pharmaceutical pills stay on the market and be prescribed in any amount the doctor orders, with no interference from the DEA. Free the doctors, free the pharmacies, and free the people suffering from pain, as needed.

R.I.P. Olivia Newton-John. You were a true star in the best sense of the word. I'm sorry for the pain you had to endure.

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    When I worked at the Hawaii legislature ... (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Aug 10, 2022 at 09:14:44 PM EST
    ... and we were considering the "Death with Dignity Act," which was a bill legalizing assisted suicide for the terminally ill, I had a long discussion with a representative of the Roman Catholic Church's Honolulu diocese.

    He admitted his own frustration with the public debate, and he offered his honest opinion that assisted suicide's public appeal rested primarily in our society's utter failure to deal reasonably and adequately with the subject of pain management.

    I tend to agree with him. From my perspective, assisted suicide wouldn't be a rational or attractive choice, if we were at all rational ourselves about managing the chronic and debilitating pain that frequently accompanies diseases like cancer.

    And as you noted, pain management should not just be limited to people with terminal illnesses. I have a friend in Honolulu who survived a four-story fall in the 1990s and is still dealing with the residual effects of that accident, which includes severe and chronic back and leg pain.

    A strictly managed opioid regimen would probably do wonders for him, but that's not possible until the feds change some of the laws. In the meantime, he seeks his relief from the black market, which as you again noted can be entirely problematic.

    Personally, I blame the greedy Sackler family of Purdue Pharma, who really screwed things up for a lot of people. Thanks to them, we're now judging and overregulating an entire industry by virtue of the truly abhorrent behavior of its lowest common denominators.

    I don't know if I necessarily agree with your call to allow "the pharmaceutical pills stay on the market and be prescribed in any amount the doctor orders, with no interference from the DEA." But I will keep an open mind about it, because it's pretty obvious that the reins need to be significantly loosened and doctors ought to be able to treat their patients as they see fit.

    Perhaps a better system of physician peer review and sanction, much like you have for the legal profession, is in order. As always, law enforcement should be the last resort when there are bad actors clearly abusing the system, rather than the initial call upon mere suspicion of something amiss.

    Mahalo for shining a much-needed light on this subject. Aloha.

    The business and economics schools (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by jondee on Thu Aug 11, 2022 at 03:52:17 PM EST
    still pump out Sackler wannabes on a regular basis.

    We've tolerated the creation of a socio-economic pressure cooker that's gotten to the point that young people are literally willing to risk their lives for a couple of hrs of relief from the stresses of life.

    The socio-economic pressure cooker is the result of 19th and 20th century social darwinist thinking not suitable for the 21st century - and not because "people aren't tough anymore" as meatheads like Rogan and embittered old dinosaurs like to spout.

    So, the rampant self-medicating creates "the opioid crisis," which creates the regulatory backlash, which creates a scenario in which those in dire need of pain relief and their caregivers now have to jump through hoops.


    Agreed. (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Aug 12, 2022 at 07:33:18 PM EST
    At its heart, the opioid epidemic is rooted in racketeering and greed which went terribly awry, resulting in a major public health crisis and tragedy. To quote Deep Throat (Hal Holbrooke) in "All the President's Men":

    "These are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand."

    90% of the economy (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by jondee on Sat Aug 13, 2022 at 12:35:02 PM EST
    is rooted in racketeering and greed and runaway materialism.

    And a lot of the rampant self-medicating is a reaction to it.


    Honestly, I agree in many ways. (none / 0) (#3)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Aug 11, 2022 at 04:42:00 PM EST
    My kids (early 20's) have so many things they feel guilty and sh1tty about. As humans, Americans, men, non-POC, non-immigrant, educated, etc., etc., etc.

    They like the weed, but thankfully, afaik, they have not resorted to opioids.