This is an editorial written by Larry Golbom of Prescription Addiction Radio. All viewpoints are welcome here at US Recall News. If you would like to write an editorial response please use the comment section below or contact us with your proposal.
FDA: Please Stop Oxycontin! By Larry Golbom:
In February 2009, the FDA announced that they would begin the process to require Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) to help curtail the misuse of the drugs referred to as opioid pain products. The FDA has been negligent in not responding to the crisis sooner. In response, the companies and organizations that benefit most from the unencumbered distribution of oxycodone, fentanyl, hydromorphone, methadone, morphine, and oxymorphone have started to react.
In my state, Florida has the most detailed public statistics available concerning drug related deaths and 2008 was a banner year for the drug companies. In Florida, the deaths implicated with oxycodone, the active ingredient in OxyContin, increased 25%, fentanyl 19%, and Hydrocodone 8%. Heroin displayed a 20% increase, the drug most closely interchangeable with oxycodone. As the over marketing and over production of the addictive narcotics continues to flood every community in the country the response from the drug industry is becoming more refined. There was recently a well organized effort directed at the FDA to continue the status quo on the prescription narcotics and many people in the Hospice industry responded. It is interesting that people who help the terminally ill and see the suffering an end of life disease can bring have been lead to believe by an organization partly funded by the drug industry that the FDA is considering curtailing pain relief to those who are in the most need. The evolving response by those who claim to be advocates for pain relief is to exploit those in our society who need the most compassion and caring. A rational discussion to curtail addiction and death must include professionals who take care of the terminally ill, but not to include representatives who profit from an over proliferation of proven products that have been proven to be dangerous.
My previous writings have been detailed in connecting the increased production of legal narcotics under the guise of pain relief. The mantra that “millions of people in pain are being undertreated” has helped drive the excuse to allow “pain management clinics” to proliferate around the country. With every pain management clinic more potentially addictive drugs will reach our streets. The silence from our medical professionals, public officials, elected officials and medical boards, along with the lack of understanding by the major media allows the silent and growing epidemic of death and addiction to continue.
The literature defines three basic forms of pain: Terminal, Acute and Chronic. Terminal pain needs little explanation. An end of life disease may cause excruciating pain prior to death and the World Health Organization addressed this issue over 20 years ago. The literature and health community should be well versed on treating a terminal patient without limitations.
Acute pain is generally thought of as short term. A day surgical procedure, dentist appointment and procedures that require hospitalization all fit into this category. The pain has a limited time frame and intensive narcotic pain therapy, if necessary, is warranted. However, we still have practitioners who don’t understand that 40 to 60 Percocet may be the first step to a world of dependence and/or addiction.
Chronic pain is the form of pain that has become the most susceptible to the exploitation and misunderstanding of “pain therapy“. It has started with the medical establishment forgetting that pain is a symptom and not a disease. Ironically, most of the wisdom in the medical literature concludes that addiction is a disease and we now have thousands of medical practitioners creating a disease from treating a symptom. The disease of addiction has become a growing phenomenon as a result of medical incompetency. We try to avoid cardiac disease, diabetes, HIV, etc. but, continue to condone the dispensing of products, with few safeguards that have been linked to creating the disease of addiction.
If an individual cannot stop taking a drug due to suffering adverse consequences from discontinuing the drug, I believe that is addiction. Contrary to my analysis, the “experts” have created the differentiation of addiction, dependence and tolerance. Addiction is a mental instability that creates a craving beyond the scope of rational medical use. Only addicts smash through front windows or point guns at people to get more drugs. Addiction is defined with psychological shortcomings.
Dependence and tolerance are simply outcomes from “rational medical care”. The reality is those who are dependent or tolerant cannot stop taking the drugs without serious physical and mental complications (withdrawal). Whereas addiction is defined as a psychological problem, dependence and tolerance are only defined as physical complications. The latest literature indicates a strong correlation that depression may predispose an individual to being more sensitive to pain. The psychological effects of those consuming the opioids daily is conveniently avoided in the discussion for those defined as tolerant or dependent by the drug companies.
There is presently a site on the internet requesting the FDA to immediately begin to stop the distribution of OxyContin http://www.banoxycontin.com. With only one local TV station and with the help from two newspaper publications it has garnered thousands of signatures and comments asking our public officials to stop the proliferation of OxyContin onto our streets. The public is beginning to understand that OxyContin is simply a controlled release form of oxycodone. Oxycodone has been available to medicine for over 60 years and it was Purdue Pharma starting in late 1995 who apparently realized that marketing a product similar to heroin would be highly profitable. The FDA is well aware of OxyContin’s limitations in the use of medicine, is aware of Purdue’s marketing tactics, and is aware that the question of the risks exceeding the rewards for the use of OxyContin is long overdue for review. The comments from independent sources is bringing the long term use of opioids for chronic pain into serious question. Betts Tully, a “pain patient”, in part, submitted this to the FDA on June 30, 2009:
* “This is not, nor has ever been a complicated issue. The benefits do not outweigh the risks. A medical examiner in 2002 stated that “it does not take a rocket scientist to connect the dots, where OxyContin is concerned, even if poly-drug use is involved, in these deaths. The common element of OxyContin in all these deaths, speaks volumes“.
* “The scientific evidentiary basis for OxyContin, as well as aggressive narcotic prescribing practices for the treatment of moderate pain, is flawed if not outright junk science, designed to drive profits only. Real studies are needed for dangerous products before these drugs and new practices are unleashed on the public.”
* “The claim that severe and chronic pain is or was “undertreated” is unfounded and scientifically inaccurate. Accepted scientific evidence, based on rigorous study has never been conducted.”
The tobacco companies successfully thwarted the legal community for many years. Everyone knew tobacco was dangerous and it has only been recently in which the tobacco companies are losing lawsuits to the victims do to the misrepresentation of tobacco. I remain hopeful that the media and legal community will begin to look more closely at the cause of our loved ones being hurt and our communities suffering from the continued growth of the growing distribution of the legal narcotics. Our wait for the FDA to react continues.