1,000 signatures reached
To: American citizens to contact their federal representatives
Insist that the CDC rewrite and revise its 2016 opioid guideline.
I want citizens to contact their federal representatives to please have the CDC revise it’s 2016 guideline on the medical use of opioids to clearly state that it is not appropriate to forcibly taper any compliant patients with chronic pain or other serious pain, off of their doses of opioids against their will, because even the CDC has recently stated that this will or may harm them.
There is new information out that shows that these restrictions have been seriously harming millions of patients suffering from chronic pain. There have been over 600 suicides and patient deaths caused by the stress of withdrawal, all of whom had been forcibly tapered off of all of their opioid medications or tapered to a much lower and ineffective dose. Also, the CDC needs to revise this guideline and recind their unscientifically based maximum dosage reccomendations because each patient must receive an individualized dose of opioids in order for it to work properly due to individual patient metabolisms. One size fits all dosing with opioids does not work. Those patients who are now suffering because their opioid doses have been involuntarily tapered, reduced, or eliminated must be allowed to reinstate their dose back to an adequate dose of opioid medication that treats their pain at their request.
Also, as there is no maximum dose for opioids, and since it all depends upon the needs of the individual patient, then doctors must be free to prescribe opioid medications in doses that are in the best interests of each individual patient according to their need for adequate pain relief without these doctor’s having any fear of undue legal or regulatory scrutiny or threats of prosecution. The DEA needs to be told to back off and the regulation of medicine must return to the State Boards of Medicine. Our doctor’s must feel free to treat pain as needed by their patients, not to be forced to refuse to treat patients with any opioids at all or to have to dose patients only with very low or ineffective doses due to what have become very well founded fears of the DEA or other government agencies threatening or intimidating them out of fear of prosecutions or loss of medical licenses if doctor’s ever treat any of their patient’s pain adequately. This has caused millions of innocent medically ill patients years of untold suffering, injury, and death and has caused hundreds of often innocent doctors to be prosecuted and/or feel forced to leave the practice of medicine. Also, the CDC should recommend that opioid blood levels be taken each time opioid doses are increased so that should the patient die due to natural causes it can be more easily proven that their death was natural, and NOT caused by their use of opioids. This measure should help to protect doctor’s from overzealous prosecutions when opioids are found in the bodies of their patients at death. If patients were not overmedicated with these blood levels before death, then blood levels that do not exceed that of what the patient had when they were alive, after death will confirm that opioids did not contribute to the patient’s death in this litigious era of opiophobia.
The CDC must revise this guideline ASAP because millions of chronic pain patients in America, including many of our wounded veterans are now suffering and dying of suicides due to untreated and under treated severe pain that was once controlled with adequate doses of opioids, but whose doses were involuntarily reduced or eliminated due to federal and state laws made based upon what the CDC now says was a misunderstanding of their 2016 guideline. Therefore, this guideline must be rewritten to clearly correct this misunderstanding, and the dosage limits need to be eliminated as chronic pain patients were NOT the cause or the victims of any opioid overdose epidemic, as further evidence has revealed. And because these draconian restrictions are harming and even killing people in severe pain and causing massive unnecessary suffering to very vulnerable patients and to our wounded veterans, the federal law limiting or eliminating the doses of opioids used to treat our veterans pain, must be withdrawn and these patients’ use of adequate doses of opioid medications as needed for pain must be reinstated as soon as possible before any more veterans commit suicide or turn to twenty times more dangerous street opioids for pain relief. We especially need to treat our wounded veterans pain appropriately as they have made the ultimate sacrifice of their life and limbs in service to our country and deserve much better treatment than they have been receiving ever since unwise laws in this regard have been passed. Once this change is made to federal law for our nation’s veterans, hopefully this will provide a catalyst for those states that have also passed draconian laws which have overly restricted opioid dosages to treat severe chronic pain, so that they then will withdraw and revise these laws accordingly.
Why is this important?
Pain is the most common complaint for which a person will seek medical treatment. It is a part of life that can affect anyone throughout their lifespan. Pain, especially chronic pain, becomes much more common as we age. Due to our rapidly aging baby boomer generation America is suffering a super mega pandemic of chronic pain that makes the opioid epidemic look like only a sneeze. There are about 2 million opioid addicts and abusers in America, about one percent of our American population of 320 million. However, there are approximately 120 million people in America who suffer from chronic pain, about one out of every three American citizens! Approximately ninety percent of patients with chronic pain can be adequately managed with alternatives to opioids. Unfortunately, approximately ten percent, or about 18 million Americans, require treatment with opioids to treat their severe pain as there are no alternatives to opioids that work to relieve pain for this particular subset of chronic pain patients.
It truly is uncommon for well screened and properly monitored chronic pain patients under a doctor’s care to abuse their opioids or to become opioid addicts, even though all chronic pain patients maintained long term on opioid medications must be tapered off of them to avoid unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. This physical dependence is NOT addiction, even though it is all too often misunderstood and mistaken for opioid addiction. True opioid addiction happens regardless of withdrawal symptoms, as opioid addicts who use opioids nonmedically will usually revert to using opioids even after they have been successfully detoxed and no longer have any issue with possible withdrawal. The appropriate use of opioid medications to treat severe chronic, cancer, or other pain is not opioid addiction as long as the patient is under careful medical supervision and obeys all of the rules of their pain contract by taking their opioids only as prescribed. Opioid addiction is when a person does not follow their doctor’s instructions, or uses illicit opioids, exceeds the prescribed dose, and abuses other drugs or alcohol against medical orders and this abuse continues despite harm to the person. Another way to look at this is that the proper use of opioids by selected responsible patients to treat severe pain causes increased function and increased quality of life, but the improper abuse of opioids, especially by those who do not suffer from a painful medical condition, causes decreased functioning and a decreased quality of life. Chronic pain patients who use their opioids as directed under medical supervision are NOT the same as opioid addicts despite whatever radical anti-opioid fanatic Dr. Kolodney, an addiction psychologist PhD., who is NOT a medical doctor, may say. He ought to know better, if he truly is an addiction specialist, that the proper use of opioids by patients, even chronic pain patients is NOT by definition drug addiction, even according to the American Academy of Addiction Physicians.
Kolodney, and his radical group PROP, has been pushing a radical anti-opioid agenda on America at the very time when America is facing an unprecedented number of aging baby boomers who will suffer from pain as they age, and many will suffer from severe pain requiring the use of opioids. Opioid addiction is mostly a problem for the young, and not so much for older adults with painful medical conditions, especially if they never had drug addiction problems as a younger person. Unfortunately, after the FDA turned PROP’s request to severely limit opioid doses for chronic pain down, they formed almost the entire CDC panel that made the 2016 guideline, and excluded any pain specialist doctors, pain patients, or any doctors with expertise treating pain of any kind other than opiophobic general practice doctor’s from their panel. This panel was seriously biased against the use of opioids to treat almost any kind of pain at all, right from the beginnng, resulting in unscientific and unethical recommendations that were then made into federal and state laws which have harmed millions of very vulnerable and suffering patients, and has caused at least two patient deaths outright, as well as over six hundred well documented suicides directly attributable to their loss of adequate pain treatment with opioids. Many of these suicides were even among our returning wounded veterans!
These harms and deaths have been going on for the past three years despite protests from patients and from many doctors. Recently, however, after Human Rights Watch investigated, and the AMA finally spoke up about the serious harms caused by these draconian restrictions on opioid doses for patients, the CDC finally admitted that they had exaggerated some of their statistics and had written a guideline biased against the use of opioids with little to no scientific evidence to back it up, and they stated that they had never intended that chronic pain patients on higher than 100 mg MSO4 equivalents be tapered off of this dose to be at or below the 100 mg cutoff, because this might or would cause them harm, despite the fact that for the past three years both federal and state laws were made to reflect this supposed CDC mandate to lower these doses, over which the CDC had never objected or informed anyone that this was not their intent in the first place. Now that serious harm caused by these restrictions has been proven, they are stating that they never intended for any of this to happen. This is all rather convenient for them!
Therefore, the 2016 CDC guideline for the use of opioids for medical practice must be rewritten, revised and corrected for its mistakes, the misunderstandings must be addressed and the opioid dose limits for chronic pain must be eliminated. Patients still alive who suffer from chronic pain must be allowed to resume the doses of opioids that they previously were taking if still needed.