2017 in review … what killed us

Today is 04/24/2019.. who will not be here tomorromw

2016 in review … what killed us

6775 Americans will die EVERY DAY – from various reasons


140 will be SUCCESSFUL – including 20 veterans

270 will die from hospital acquired antibiotic resistant “bug” because staff won’t properly wash hands and/or proper infection control.

350 will die from their use/abuse of the drug ALCOHOL

1200 will die from their use/abuse of the drug NICOTINE

1400 will contract C-DIF from Hospital or Nursing home because staff doesn’t properly wash their hands are adhere to infection control  

80 WILL DIE mostly elderly.

850 will die from OBESITY

700 will die from medical errors

150 will die from Flu/Pneumonia

80 will die from Homicide

80 will die in car accidents




Here is the list from the end of 2016 if interested in comparing
United States of America
from Jan 1, 2017 – Dec 31, 2017 (11:36:39 AM)

Abortion*: 1090465
Heart Disease: 613479
Cancer: 590862
Tobacco: 349505
Obesity: 306566
Medical Errors: 251098
Stroke: 132915
Lower Respiratory Disease: 142741
Accident (unintentional): 135861
Hospital Associated Infection: 98860
Alcohol: 99859
Diabetes: 76380
Alzheimer’s Disease: 93409
Influenza/Pneumonia: 55149
Kidney Failure: 42702
Blood Infection: 33417
Suicide: 42713
Drunk Driving: 33760
Unintentional Poisoning: 31713
All Drug Abuse: 24970
Homicide: 16775
Prescription Drug Overdose: 14979
Murder by gun: 11477
Texting while Driving: 5981
Pedestrian: 4993
Drowning: 3909
Fire Related: 3495
Malnutrition: 2768
Domestic Violence: 1458
Smoking in Bed: 779
Falling out of Bed: 598
Killed by Falling Tree: 149
Lawnmower: 68
Spontaneous Combustion: 0

Totals of all categories are based upon past trends documented below.



I am being completely weaned off my meds, & suspect I will kill myself with the amount of pain I am in, & will be by the time this is over (the wean that is). Already can’t function.

My husband committed suicide after being abandoned by his pain dr.

Please pray for me as I am on the brink of suicide! I don’t want to die but can’t handle the pain anymore! The doctor that I am currently seeing will not give me enough pills to last all month every month… I have to wait until Oct to get in with a pain management doctor whom I already know by others that I know sees this doctor that he will help me, need prayer to hold on until oct… I keep thinking of my family who needs me hear.

“We just lost another intractable member of our support group two nights ago. She committed suicide because her medications were taken away for interstitial cystitis (a horribly painful bladder condition) and pudendal neuralgia, both of which she had battled for years

D D., journalist and prescribed fentanyl patient for a dozen years joined me on air last weekend with her husband and spoke of her suicide plan should the only relief from constant agony be heavily reduced or taken away.

I was told last Friday that my Dr. will be tapering my meds again . When I told him I didn’t think my body could take another lowering he stated ” it wasn’t my
License on the line”, I stated ” no , but it’s my life on the line”!!!!! I can not continue to live this way . I can not continue to suffer in agony when my medications and dose where working just fine before and I was a productive member of society . I can no longer take this. I have a plan in place to end my life myself When I am forced to reduce my Medications again . I just can’t do it anymore .

On Friday at around 9 p.m. U.S. Navy veteran Kevin Keller parked his red pickup truck in the parking lot at the Wytheville Rite-Aid, walked across the grass and stood in front of the U.S. Veterans Community Based Outpatient Clinic next door.

Sick and tired of being in pain, he pulled out a gun, shot a hole in the office door, aimed the gun barrel at his head and ended his hurt once and for all.

As a longterm pain patient with a current unsupportive pain dr, I just thought I’d share the reality of the position I’m in right now…

I’m in very bad pain all the time for very legit and well documented reasons. My pain dr however never gives me enough meds to help me. He just keeps reducing them, which is causing me to be in even more pain and suffer so much more. My quality of life also continues to go downhill at the same time. I was just given a letter by him recently too about some study indicating an increase in deaths if you take opioids and benzos. It stated he’s no longer going to give pain meds to anyone who is taking a benzo. I take one, because I have to, for a seizure disorder, not because I want to. He told me to pick one or the other though, plus went ahead and reduced my pain meds some more. He doesn’t seem to care the least bit. I’ve looked hard and so far I can’t find another one to get in to see near me at this time, but I’m desperately still trying. Unfortunately, they’re few and far between here, in addition to the wait for an appointment being long. I’ve even called hospice for help. So far, they haven’t been of much help either, because I don’t have a dr who will say I have six months or less to live. I told them either choice my pain dr is giving me is very inhumane, so I’d rather just quit eating and drinking, to the point where I pass away from that, while I get some kind of comfort care from them. I don’t really want to though, although I do have a long list of some very bad health problems, including a high probability that I have cancer and it’s spread. Am I suicidal? No. Will I be if my pain and seizure meds are taken away. Highly likely. I never ever saw this coming either. I don’t have a clue what to do and the clock is ticking, but I’m still fighting for an answer. So far, I can’t find not even one dr to help me though. Not one. I know my life depends on it, but at what point will these drs let my suffering become so inhumane that I just can’t take it anymore. I just don’t know right now. It’s a very scary place to be in for sure. That I do know.

The patient was being denied the medicine that had been alleviating his pain and committed suicide because, “he couldn’t live with the pain anymore. He could not see a future. He had no hope. He had no life.”

I am a chronic pain patient who has been on fairly high doses of opiates for about nine years now. My dose has been forcibly reduced since the cdc guidelines. I moved to Oregon from Alaska and can’t find a doctor to prescribe my medication. I pray I have the strength not to take my own life!

Zach Williams of Minnesota  committed suicide at age 35. He was a veteran of Iraq and had experienced back pain and a brain injury from his time in service. He had treated his pain with narcotics until the VA began reducing prescriptions.

Ryan Trunzo committed suicide at the age of 26. He was an army veteran of Iraq. He had experienced fractures in his back for which he tried to get effective painkillers, but failed due to VA policy. His mother stated “I feel like the VA took my son’s life.”

Kevin Keller, a Navy veteran, committed suicide at age 52. He shot v after breaking into the house of his friend, Marty Austin, to take his gun. Austin found a letter left by Keller saying “Marty sorry I broke into your house and took your gun to end the pain!” Keller had experienced a stroke 11 years earlier, and he had worsening pain in the last two years of his life because VA doctors would not give him pain medicine. On the subject of pain medication, Austin said that Keller “was not addicted. He needed it.”

Bob Mason, aged 67, of Montana committed suicide after not having access to drugs to treat his chronic pain for just one week. One doctor who had treated Mason was Mark Ibsen, who shut down his office after the Montana Board of Medical Examiners investigated him for excessive prescription of opioids. According to Mason’s daughter, Mason “didn’t like the drugs, but there were no other options.”

Donald Alan Beyer, living in Idaho, had experienced back pain for years. He suffered from  degenerative disc disease, as well as a job-related injury resulting in a broken back. After his doctor retired, Beyer struggled without pain medicine for months. He shot himself on his 47th birthday. His son, Garrett, said “I guess he felt suicide was his only chance for relief.”

Denny Peck of Washington state was 58 when he ended his life. In 1990, he experienced a severe injury to his vertebrae during a fishing accident. His mother, Lorraine Peck, said “[h]e has been in severe pain ever since,” and his daughter, Amanda Peck, “said she didn’t remember a time when her dad didn’t hurt.” During the last few years of his life, Peck had received opiates for his pain from a Seattle Pain Center, until these clinics closed. After suffering and being unable to find doctors who would help with his pain, Peck called 911. Two days later, Peck was found dead in his home with bullet wounds in his head. A note found near Peck read: “Can’t sleep, can’t eat, can’t do anything. And all the whitecoats don’t care at all.”

Doug Hale of Vermont killed himself at the age of 53. He had experienced pain from interstitial cystitis, and decided to end his life six weeks after his doctor suddenly cut off his opiate painkillers. He left a note reading “Can’t take the chronic pain anymore” before he shot himself in the head. His doctor said he “was no longer willing to risk my license by writing you another script for opioids”  (see attachment A for details of the problem as relyed by his wife Tammi who is now 10 months without a husband as a direct result of the CDC guidelines to prevent deaths)Bruce Graham committed suicide after living with severe pain for two years. At age 62, Graham fell from a ladder, suffering several severe injuries. He had surgery and fell into a coma. After surgery, he suffered from painful adhesions which could not be removed. He relied on opioid painkillers to tolerate his pain, but doctors eventually stopped prescribing the medicine he needed. Two years after his fall, Graham shot himself in the heart to end the pain.

Travis Patterson, a young combat veteran, died two days after a suicide attempt at the age of 26. After the attempt to take his own life, Patterson was brought to the VA emergency room. Doctors offered therapy as a solution, but did not offer any relief for his pain. Patterson died two days after his attempted suicide.

54-year-old Bryan Spece of Montana  killed himself about two weeks after he experienced a major reduction in his pain medication. The CDC recommends a slow reduction in pain medicine, such as a 10% decrease per week. Based on information from Spece’s relative, Spece’s dose could have been reduced by around 70% in the weeks before he died.

In Oregon, Sonja Mae Jonsson ended her life when her doctor stopped giving her pain medicine as a result of the CDC guidelines.

United States veterans have been committing suicide after being unable to receive medicine for pain. These veterans include Peter Kaisen,Daniel Somers, Kevin Keller, Ryan Trunzo, Zach Williams, and Travis Patterson

A 40-year-old woman with fibromyalgia, lupus, and back issues appeared to have committed suicide after not being prescribed enough pain medicine. She had talked about her suicidal thoughts with her friends several times before, saying “there is no quality of life in pain.” She had no husband or children to care for, so she ended her life.

Sherri Little was 53 when she committed suicide. She suffered pain from occipital neuralgia, IBS, and fibromyalgia. A friend described Little as having a “shining soul of activism” as she spent time advocating for other chronic pain sufferers. However, Little had other struggles in her life, such as her feeling that her pain kept her from forming meaningful relationships. In her final days, Little was unable to keep down solid food, and she tried to get medical help from a hospital. When she was unable to receive relief, Little ended her life.

Former NASCAR driver Dick Trickle of North Carolina shot himself at age 71. He suffered from long-term pain under his left breast. Although he went through several medical tests to determine the cause of his pain, the results could not provide relief. After Trickle’s suicide, his brother stated that Dick “must have just decided the pain was too high, because he would have never done it for any other reason.”

39-year-old Julia Kelly committed suicide after suffering ongoing pain resulting from two car accidents. Kelly’s pain caused her to quit her job and move in with her parents, unable to start a family of her own. Her family is certain that the physical and emotional effects of her pain are what drove her to end her life. Kelly had founded a charity to help other chronic pain sufferers, an organization now run by her father in order to help others avoid Julia’s fate.

Sarah Kershaw ended her life at age 49. She was a New York Times Reporter who suffered from occipital neuralgia.

Lynn Gates Jackson, speaking for her friend E.C. who committed suicide after her long term opiates were suddenly reduced by 50% against her will, for no reason.  Lynn reports she felt like the doctors were not treating her like a human being (Ed:  a common complaint) and she made the conscious decision to end her life.

E.C. committed suicide quietly one day in Visalia California.  She was 40.  Her friend reported her death.  “She did not leave a note but I know what she did”.  The doctor would only write a prescription for 10 vicodin and she was in so much pain she could not get to the clinic every few days.   We had talked many times about quitting life. Then she left.  She just left.

Jessica, a patient with RSD/CRPS committed suicide when the pain from her disease became too much for her to bear. A friend asserted that Jessica’s death was not the result of an overdose, and that “living with RSD isn’t living.”



















Aliff, Charles

Beyer, Donald Alan

Brunner, Robert “Bruin”

Graham, Bruce

Hale, Doug

Hartsgrove, Daniel P

Ingram III, Charles Richard

Kaisen, Peter

Keller, Kevin

Kershaw, Sarah

Kimberly, Allison

Little, Sherri

Mason, Bob

Miles, Richard

Murphy, Thomas

Paddock, Karon

Patterson, Travis “Patt”

Peck, Denny

Peterson, Michael Jay

Reid, Marsha

Somers, Daniel

Son, Randall Lee

Spece, Brian

Tombs, John

Trickle, Richard “Dick”

Trunzo, Ryan

Williams, Zack

Karon Shettler Paddock  committed suicide on August 7, 2013  http://www.kpaddock.org/


Jessica Simpson took her life July 2017

Mercedes McGuire took her life on Friday, August 4th. She leaves behind her 4 yr old son. She could no longer endure the physical & emotional pain from Trigeminal Neuralgia.


Another Veteran Suicide In Front Of VA Emergency Department

 Depression and Pain makes me want to kill self. Too much physical and emotional pain to continue on. I seek the bliss fullness of Death. Peace. Live together die alone.

 Dr. Mansureh Irvani  suspected overdose victim  http://www.foxnews.com/health/2017/08/18/suspended-oral-surgeon-dies-suspected-overdose.html

Katherine Goddard’s Suicide note: Due to the pain we are both in and can’t get help, this is the only way we can see getting out of it. Goodbye to everybody,”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/florida-man-arrested-after-girlfriend-dies-during-alleged-suicide-pact/  

Steven Lichtenberg: the 32-year-old Dublin man shot himself   http://www.dispatch.com/news/20160904/chronic-pains-emotional-toll-can-lead-to-suicide  

Fred Sinclair  he was hurting very much and was, in effect, saying goodbye to the family.  http://www.pharmaciststeve.com/?p=21743

Robert Markel, 56 – June 2016 – Denied Pain Meds/Heroin OD  http://www.pennlive.com/opioid-crisis/2017/08/heroin_overdose_deaths.html

 Lisa June 2016  https://youtu.be/rBlrSyi_-rQ

Jay Lawrence  March 2017  https://www.painnewsnetwork.org/stories/2017/9/4/how-chronic-pain-killed-my-husband

Celisa Henning: killed herself and her twin daughters...http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Mom-in-Apparent-Joliet-Murder-Suicide-said-Body-Felt-Like-It-was-On-Fire-Grandma-Says-442353713.html?fb_action_ids=10213560297382698&fb_action_types=og.comments

Karen Boje-58  CPP-Deming, NM

Katherine Goddard, 52 –  June 30, 2017 – Palm Coast, FL -Suicide/Denied Opioids  http://www.news-journalonline.com/news/20170816/palm-coast-man-charged-with-assisting-self-murder

https://medium.com/@ThomasKlineMD/suicides-associated-with-non-consented-opioid-pain-medication-reductions-356b4ef7e02aPartial List of Suicides, as of 9–10-17

Suicides: Associated with non-consented Opioid Pain Medication Reductions

Lacy Stewart 59, http://healthylivings247.com/daughter-says-untreated-pain-led-to-mothers-suicide/#

Ryan Trunzo of Massachusetts committed suicide at the age of 26  http://www.startribune.com/obituaries/detail/18881/?fullname=trunzo,-ryan-j  

Mercedes McGuire of Indiana ended her life August 4th, 2017 after struggling with agony originally suppressed with opioid pain medicine but reappearing after her pain medicine was cut back in a fashion after the CDC regulations. She was in such discomfort she went to the ER because she could not stand the intractable pain by “learning to live with it” as suggested by CDC consultants. The ER gave her a small prescription. She went to the pharmacy where they refused to fill it “because she had a pain contract”. She went home and killed herself. She was a young mother with a 4 year old son, Bentley. Bentley, will never get over the loss of his mom.

Suicides: Associated with non-consented Opioid Pain Medication Reductions

“Goodbye” Scott Smith: Vet w/PTSD committed murder/suicide. Killed his wife then himself today 11/27/2017


Pamela Clute had been suffering from agonizing back problems and medical treatment had failed to relieve pain that shot down her legs While California’s assisted suicide law went into effect a couple months before Clute’s death, the law only applies to terminally ill patients who are prescribed life-ending drugs by a physician. Clute wasn’t terminally ill

Kellie Bernsen 12/10/2017 Colorado suicide

Scott Smith: Vet w/PTSD committed murder/suicide. Killed his wife then himself today 11/27/2017

  Michelle Bloem committed suicide due to uncontrolled pain

John Lester shot himself on Jan. 8, 2014.

 Anne Örtegren took her life on Jan. 5  

 Debra Bales, 52 – Civilian – January 10, 2018 – Petaluma, CA – Denied Pain Meds/Suicide

 Aliff, Charles – Could not locate info!
He may be able to help! Charles Aliff – https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009343944744…

Brunner, Robert – Could not locate info!

Cagle, Melvin – http://www.objectivezero.org/…/The-Veteran-Spring-Why-a…


Harold Hamilton – http://www.dispatch.com/…/chronic-pains-emotional-toll…

Hartgrove, Daniel – http://www.legacy.com/…/name/daniel-hartsgrove-obituary…

Ingram III, Charles – http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/…/article_b7a4a712…

Jarvis, Michael http://www.chicagotribune.com/…/ct-indiana-doctor…


Kevin Keller, 52 – US Navy – July 30, 2014 – Wytheville, VA

Kershaw, Sarah – https://mobile.nytimes.com/…/sarah-kershaw-former-times…

Kimberly, Allison http://feldmanmortuary.com/…/Allison…/obituary.html…

Lane, Keith – Timothy Shields
August 8, 2017 · Colon, MI I would like you too include Kieth Lane . US Army , Vietnam in country , combat wounded . He died recovering from ulcers surgery of a stroke and heart attack in Battle Creek VA medical center in Michigan .

Lichtenberg, Steven – http://www.dispatch.com/…/chronic-pains-emotional-toll…

Markel, Robert – http://www.pennlive.com/…/08/heroin_overdose_deaths.html

Miles, Richard – Could not locate info!

Murphy, Thomas – http://www.objectivezero.org/…/The-Veteran-Spring-Why-a…

Paddock, Karon http://www.kpaddock.com/

Denny Peck, 58 – Civilian – September 17,2016 – Seattle, Wa https://l.facebook.com/l.php…


Peterson, Michael – https://l.facebook.com/l.php…

Reid, Marsha – https://www.painnewsnetwork.org/…/daughter-blames…

Simpson, Jessica – https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1616190951785852&set=a.395920107146282.94047.100001848876646&type=3&hc_location=ufi

Daniel Somers, 30 – US Army – June 10, 2013 – Denied Pain Meds/Suicide http://gawker.com/i-am-sorry-that-it-has-come-to-this-a…

Son, Randall – http://www.wpsdlocal6.com/…/woman-says-marion-va…/…

Bryan Spece, 54 – USMC – May 3, 2017 – Great Falls, Montana – Denied Meds/Suicide https://www.painnewsnetwork.org/…/patient-suicide…

Tombs, John – http://www.objectivezero.org/…/The-Veteran-Spring-Why-a…

No one is free from harm


“I want to help doctors understand that an informed patient is your best patient, even if it adds an extra five or 10 minutes to the visit.'”
–Dr. Nicole T. Rochester


Over the years I’ve been in many situations where adult relatives were hospitalized and I would visit and uncover medical errors or communication gaps. I was accustomed to having to intervene occasionally. But when I became a caregiver for my dad, everything was multiplied by 1,000.

I was completely surprised and overwhelmed by the lack of communication between the doctors and my dad and our family members. There were all kinds of medical errors I caught. Often, the questions I asked about his care were ones the average layperson wouldn’t even know to ask. It made me think about what most people deal with when they are hospitalized or caring for an elderly or sick family member.

My father, John W. Twyman III, was a retired Washington, D.C., police officer in his late 60s when my sisters and I became caregivers for him in 2010. He had chronic medical problems including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, end-stage renal disease and early dementia.


Rochester family

Father’s Day 2009: John W. Twyman III (center) is pictured with his four daughters. Dr. Nicole T. Rochester is to his immediate left.


Initially, I just tried to be his daughter and support him. But as his memory declined, I saw my role as filling in the gaps in his history and telling his story.

When I spoke up as his daughter and pointed out concerns, I would find I was often ignored, until I stated that I was a physician. Then, all of a sudden they would listen and things would happen. I couldn’t imagine what happens to the millions of Americans who don’t have a professional person in the family watching out for them.

Over the three years that I was his caregiver, until he died in 2013, my father had a lot of different specialists. During hospitalizations, it was often very difficult to get information from the doctors. I would ask the cardiologist if he had talked to the nephrologist, because some of their orders were in direct contradiction. I would say, “OK, guys, are you all on the same team? Are you all talking?”

Each physician worked in a silo, focusing on whatever body part they handled. It was very difficult to coordinate his care.

It was not common for the doctors to read the notes of other members of the team. I did that for my dad, keeping up with all the recommendations and making sure they weren’t conflicting. That can be daunting.

At one point he was on five or six different medications for blood pressure, and he had a lot of dizziness and was falling. We realized he was taking multiple medications that were duplicates with different names. His primary-care doctor should have been the one to keep track, but unfortunately these things often fell through the cracks.

When my dad passed in February 2013, he was in a skilled-nursing facility recovering after a hospitalization. He had a cardiac arrest during dialysis. It’s not clear what triggered that event. We really don’t know if something happened during dialysis.

I was so moved by my experience as my dad’s caregiver that I left my practice as a pediatric hospitalist last year to launch a company to help patients and family caregivers navigate the healthcare system. I provide private patient advocacy services, including helping people find nursing home facilities, researching treatment options, and helping patients and families communicate with the healthcare team during hospitalizations.

My ultimate goal is to teach patients and family caregivers how to be effective advocates for themselves and how to be active partners with their healthcare providers. Doctors are great and mean well, but the system doesn’t allow the time for the type of rich communication that used to embody the doctor-patient relationship.

They are completely overwhelmed jumping through all the hoops required to practice medicine. Sometimes an empowered patient can feel like a threat. I want to help doctors understand that an informed patient is your best patient, even if it adds an extra five or 10 minutes to the visit.

My next phase will be speaking with healthcare providers. I’m trying to figure out the best way to get my message across in a way that will be well-received and won’t alienate my colleagues.

I’ve been approached by many doctors who’ve had similar experiences to mine in caring for aging parents or children with disabilities. Many of them said they experienced exactly what happened to me.

I’m excited that there’s finally a recognition that patients are a vital part of the healthcare team. Things are improving, but it’s going to be a very slow process. At the ground level in doctors’ offices and hospitals, it will take a long time for some of these ideas to become reality.

Could medical marijuana be a solution to the unprecedented opioid epidemic?

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here to answer your questions. https://cnn.it/2HnWeuY “Weed 4: Pot vs. Pills” premieres Sunday night at 8pET on CNN.


Why Opioid Tapering Makes Me Think of Suicide


By Charlene Bedford, Guest Columnist

I am 40 years old, with two young boys. In 2011, I was diagnosed with ankloysing spondylitis, a severe auto-immune disease for which there is no cure. I have severe damage to my sacroiliac joints. They are fused together, and boy is that painful. It is now traveling up my spine.

I have tried every biologic on the market and almost died from Cosentyx after developing a severe intestinal infection. I also almost died from Humira. I’ve had many medicines over many years, but I am stable on opiates, no longer bedridden and able to keep my job. The opiates take my pain level from a 10 down to a 3 or 4. They’re very effective. Nothing else even comes close in relief.

Then the CDC opioid guidelines came out. Last month my doctor said to me, “According to the CDC, I have to taper you off all opiates.”

I am a government contractor and have colleagues at the FDA, CDC, Medicare and Medicaid. I even emailed my state senator. They ALL told me there is no law that says she can’t prescribe opiates. It is still up to the doctors. But no doctor working within 100 miles of me will prescribe. I have called every single one since she stated she was going to taper me completely. 

So, each day I can’t sleep, worrying about what is going to happen at my next refill. The dosage is being cut each time. I told my boss that once the medicine is gone, I will not be able to mentally or physically deal with the pain.

The pain in my spine is as bad as labor pain. It never goes away. Every minute, every day, all year long. No human can tolerate that kind of pain. I think about suicide, but I can’t leave my children. I’m thinking maybe I could buy heroin and use very little to control my pain. But I have never seen it, wouldn’t know where to get it, and figure I’m just better off dead. 



For 7 years I was a stellar patient. Never failed a drug test. Pill counts were always spot on. But now my life is literally being taken away. I can’t stand without medicine. I can’t walk without medicine. Yet addicts have 13 pages of rights I read about. If an addict is being treated with medication, they can’t be denied a job, housing, etc. But what happened to my rights? I am fully disabled. 

To make matters worse, I asked the doctor about palliative care and she said “No, that is for cancer only.” Which I also found is not true. The three criteria for palliative care describe my illness exactly: no cure, a shortened life span, and a symptom treatment that significantly improves quality of life.

I can’t even oppose or file a complaint against my doctor or she will discharge me. She doesn’t like to be challenged. 

Please, please help us. There will always be addicts. Putting everyone in one category is not right. There are more traffic deaths than overdoses but they’re not banning cars. One million abortions and that’s okay?

The inflated CDC overdose numbers that caused opioid hysteria are all a big fat lie. Yes, people will overdose, but studies show they would have anyway. They have mental health issues or other problems. How many of those deaths were related to patients being denied medicine? A bet there are a lot.

The studies are out there. Prescription opioids have declined, and heroin deaths increased. It’s not that hard to figure out why. The VA denies all opiates now. More vets are committing suicide than ever before.  

This needs to stop. I want a lawsuit against the government. There is a federal law that states the government cannot interfere with doctor-patient care. Their fake hysteria and crisis have scared every doctor and they just aren’t prescribing. This has gone too far. 

suicide hotline.png

Charlene Bedford lives in Pennsylvania.

Pain News Network invites other readers to share their stories with us. Send them to editor@painnewsnetwork.org.

The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Pain News Network.

Untreated Chronic Pain Violates International Law

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Untreated chronic pain is not only an epidemic, it’s a crime. According to a groundbreaking new report by Human Rights Watch, the majority of the world’s population lacks adequate access to narcotic pain relief. Governments are letting their own people suffer needlessly and flouting international law in the process.

In signing the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the international community acknowledged that narcotic drugs are “indispensable for the relief of pain and suffering.” Signatories committed to making these drugs available to those in need. However, HRW reports that most nations are failing to live up to that commitment. Eighty percent of the world’s population currently has inadequate access to narcotic painkillers.


According to the report:

“The poor availability of pain treatment is both perplexing and inexcusable. Pain causes terrible suffering yet the medications to treat it are cheap, safe, effective and generally straightforward to administer. Furthermore, international law obliges countries to make adequate pain medications available. Over the last twenty years, the WHO and the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the body that monitors the implementation of the UN drug conventions, have repeatedly reminded states of their obligation.  But little progress has been made in many countries.”

The report blames government inaction and excessively strict drug control policies for the global shortage of medical narcotics. Many governments are so afraid that morphine will be diverted for illicit purposes that they are willing to let sick people go without in order to keep criminals from cashing in. This warped logic is the equivalent of imprisoning the innocent to make sure that the guilty don’t go free.

The report identifies a vicious cycle of low supply and low demand: When painkillers are rare, health care providers aren’t trained to administer them, and therefore the demand stays low. If the demand is low, governments aren’t pressured to improve supply. The 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs set up a global regulatory system for medical narcotics. Each country has to submit its estimated needs to the International Narcotics Control Board, which uses this information to set quotas for legal opiate cultivation. HRW found that many countries drastically understate their national need for narcotic medicines. In 2009, Burkina Faso only asked for enough morphine to treat 8 patients, or, enough for about .o3% of those who need it. Eritrea only asked for enough to treat 12 patients, Gabon 14. Even the Russian Federation and Mexico only asked the INCB for enough morphine to supply about 15% and 38% of their respective estimated needs.


Cultural and legal barriers get in the way of good pain medicine. “Physicians are afraid of morphine… Doctors [in Kenya] are so used to patients dying in pain…they think that this is how you must die,” a Kenyan palliative care specialist told HRW investigators, “They are suspicious if you don’t die this way – [and feel] that you died prematurely.” The palliative care movement has made some inroads in the West, but pharmacological puritanism and overblown concerns about addiction are still major barriers to pain relief in wealthy countries. In the U.S., many doctors hesitate to prescribe according to their medical training and their conscience because they’re (justifiably) afraid of getting arrested for practicing medicine.

Ironically, on March 3, the same day the HRW report was released, Afghanistan announced yet another doomed attempt to eradicate opium poppies, the country’s number one export and the source of 90% of the world’s opium. The U.S. is desperate to convince Afghans to grow anything else: “We want to help the Afghan people make the move from poppies to pomegranates so Afghanistan can regain its place as an agricultural leader in South Asia,” said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an address to the Afghan people last December. Pomegranates? Sorry, Madame Secretary, but the world needs morphine more than grenadine.

Photo credit: Flickr user Dano, distributed under Creative Commons. Tweaked slightly by Lindsay Beyerstein for enhanced legibility.

Are You Addicted to Oxygen?

View story at Medium.com


Official Court Transcript

Presiding Judge — The Honorable Clarence Darrow

Testimony of Dr. Hippocrates of Kos;

Plaintiff— Dr. Hippocrates, do you like coffee, tea or even breathing?

Defense — Objection! The claimant is threatening the witness!

Plaintiff — Objection? It is a simple question simply to determine if the good doctor if he enjoys life’s simpler pleasure. May I explain your Honor?

Judge — Humm… proceed cautiously sir…

Plaintiff — Understood Sir. The thing is, if the good doctor enjoys any one of these items and the courts deny him his guaranteed right to enjoy the pleasures pursuing happiness, then there will be consequences. First, if you deny Dr. Hippocrates either tea of coffee he has been drinking for many years, then the good doctor will experience various physical discomforts. Some of these include elevated blood pressure, severe headaches and even nervous tremors and cravings. These symptoms can even lead to death by heart attack or even stroke if the blood pressure is not controlled sufficiently.

Now breathing, like denial of pain medications for intractable pain, is very similar in that the body does require it in order to maintain normal functioning of the body similar to pain medications. If you deny the body of either, serious side effects will occur. Various organs within the body will start compensating in order to survive and protect the brain from a complete shutdown. With continued oxygen deprivation results in fainting, long-term loss of consciousness, coma, seizures, cessation of brain stem reflexes, and eventual brain death.

Denial of pain medications will lead to chronic cardiovascular stress, hyperglycemia which both predisposes to and worsens diabetes, splanchnic vasoconstriction leading to impaired digestive function and potentially to catastrophic consequence. Unrelieved pain can be accurately thought of as the “universal complicator” which worsens all coexisting medical or psychiatric problems through the stress mechanisms and by inducing cognitive and behavioral changes in the sufferer which can interfere with obtaining needed medical care. The risk of death by suicide is more than doubled in chronic pain patients, relative to national rates.*

Judge — Objection overruled…. I find the Claimant has proven his case and find the defendant guilty of crimes of medical malpractice…. Court Adjourned!!!

  • Alex DeLuca, M.D., FASAM, MPH;Written testimony submitted to the Senate Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs regarding the “Gen Rx: Abuse of Prescription and OTC Drugs” hearing; 2008–03–08.

How CVS protects its Medicare drug records

Outside a CVS pharmacy store.


A document from CVS Caremark shines another small ray of light on how pharmacy benefit managers work within the prescription drug chain.

The big picture: The language is pretty standard and not controversial on its own, according to several lawyers who reviewed the document. But it reinforces the lack of transparency that exists even in taxpayer-subsidized drug programs like Medicare Part D.


The details: The document, obtained from a person who works in the pharmacy industry, is an amendment to an agreement between CVS Caremark and an outside pharmacy. It’s related to Medicare Part D, the $95 billion prescription drug program. The amendment outlines what a pharmacy should do in the event the federal government audits any Part D records tied to CVS.

The pharmacy should:

  • Let CVS know when the feds come knocking.
  • Allow CVS to review the records the government wants to see, before sending them to the feds.
  • Label all the confidential stuff as proprietary and exempt from federal open records law.

CVS spokesman Mike DeAngelis said the amendment was made to stay in lockstep with federal regulations, and that “it simply describes commonplace procedures used by companies of all industries, including the health care industry, to protect their proprietary information.”

The bottom line: Companies obviously want to protect trade secrets, and this language more or less addresses that in a specific instance. But these kinds of situations become more complicated when information, such as

contract details for a large taxpayer-funded program, can’t be obtained under federal open records law.

Gov’t Move to Stop Opioid Abuse Backfires in Horrifying Way… Hell on Earth


There has been much discussion in recent years about the crisis of opioid abuse, and while there is broad agreement that “something must be done,” there are innocent victims of a crackdown on opioid drugs that often go unnoticed.

According to the Cato Institute, those overlooked victims are hospitalized patients recovering from accidents or surgeries who are in serious pain, but are unable to receive necessary doses of powerful painkillers to ease their suffering.

Rather than being administered proper doses of opioid drugs, these patients are instead being treated with less effective drugs like acetaminophin, muscle relaxers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, similar to what one could obtain over the counter at a local drug store.

In other words, while these people are wracked with excruciating pain and legitimately require the powerful opioid drugs to ease their pain, they are instead left suffering in a literal “hell on earth” due to government intrusion into the pharmaceutical market.

The problem stems from a national quota set by the Drug Enforcement Administration that limits the amount of opioid drugs that can be manufactured and sold.

It was first announced in late 2016 that production of opioids would be reduced by at least 25 percent. The DEA then announced in 2017 that it would reduce 2018 production of opioid drugs by at least another 20 percent from earlier reductions.

The cuts have resulted in a shortage of powerful opioid drugs needed for the legitimate purpose of easing the pain of accident victims, cancer patients and those recovering from surgery, leaving them in a world of hurt.

Making matters worse, the DEA’s cuts are fairly misguided, as the real problem of the “opioid crisis” isn’t the drugs themselves, but the results of an addiction to opioids.

When patients who have been prescribed opioid painkillers can no longer receive those powerful drugs, they often turn to illegal drugs obtained on the street like heroin and fentanyl, which are totally unregulated and when not properly administered, can result in fatal overdoses.

The highly addictive nature of opioid drugs and a tendency for doctors and hospitals to over-prescribe the drugs as a sort of panacea for all health issues is a legitimate problem.

But that problem would likely be better addressed by more stringent oversight in regard to the prescribing of these powerful drugs, not in a blanket reduction of the overall production of the drug that has caused shortages and left legitimate patients in need.

It should also be noted that the DEA alone isn’t responsible for this terrible turn of events, as other factors are most certainly also at play, such as the ongoing consolidation of the pharmaceutical industry, the unfathomable length of time it takes the Food and Drug Administration to approve new drugs and, of course, the typical ebb-and-flow of supply and demand in a market economy.

But the mandated production cuts by the DEA has exacerbated the problems surrounding opioid abuse. Aside from leaving legitimate patients in pain, the move could also result in more patients turning to alternatives like heroin or fentanyl to deal with their incredible pain on their own, which raises the risk of overdose or running afoul of the laws against illicit drug use.

RELATED: Mother Weeps in Court After Allegedly Recording Herself Giving 16-Month-Old Child Drugs

Many people have viewed the overarching “war on drugs” as largely being a failure — drug abuse rates have remained steady despite the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars to combat the problem — and this recent move to crackdown on the opioid crisis is simply the latest such misguided government effort to combat drug abuse and addiction.

The opioid abuse crisis deserves plenty of attention, but keep in mind there are legitimate purposes for such drugs and a blanket reduction in their availability does nothing to solve the underlying problem. In fact, it only makes things worse for those truly in need.

Let’s remember those hospital patients in severe pain as we continue to debate the best way to reduce addiction and dependence on powerful drugs.

What do you think? Scroll down to comment below!

ACLU is making a difference for those whose rights are most at risk: chronic pain pts NOT CONSIDERED AT RISK ?

Every day we hear new evidence of how the Trump administration’s policies are trampling on people’s rights, ripping families apart, and destroying the very fabric of our democracy.

It’s maddening. But, we can fight back.

With 137 legal actions challenging the Trump administration, the ACLU is making a difference for those whose rights are most at risk.

Here’s the important step we need you to take right now.

Support the ACLU by becoming a Guardian of Liberty with a monthly pledge of $15 or more.

Your monthly support will ensure that ACLU advocates can respond quickly whenever people’s civil liberties are under attack — and keep fighting for as long as it takes.

And thanks to a group of generous donors, your first three monthly Guardian of Liberty gifts will be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to the match limit of $25,000.

That means a monthly gift of $15 will translate to an additional $45 for the ACLU, multiplying your impact on time-sensitive work like protecting the right to vote, challenging Trump’s transgender military ban, fighting for criminal justice reform — to name a few.

With so many assaults on people’s rights coming every day, there couldn’t be a better time for you to act.

Everything we believe in is on the line. Please become a Guardian of Liberty today: aclu.org/GOL

Thanks in advance,

Anthony D. Romero
Executive Director, ACLU


do members of Congress every see your correspondence ?

Given today’s technology, one wonders what path a constituent’s correspondence takes.  Each Member of the House represents 710,000 constituents.  Senators’ numbers are a bit different… Since TWO SENATORS represent a state and the most populous state is CALF with 40 million and then there is little old Wyoming  with a 589,000 population.

There may be exceptions, but normally I read about a constituent contacting someone in Congress about denial of chronic pain meds .. only to get back a letter discussing what is being done in fighting the opiate crisis.

I think that it would be interested to see a study on what the constituent correspondence asks and what comes back..  I suspect that we know the answer.. without a study.

Correspondence could take one of two paths… gets scanned into a computer and the computer looks for “key words” in the text and generates a “form letter” based on the key words. Or the same task is done manually using office staff.. to pick the form letter and/or choosing specific form paragraphs to compose a return letter.

In turn, there is data on a spread sheet collected based on the key words for the member of Congress to review. So that they can be “in-sync” with his/her constituent’s concerns.

IF you pay attention to what “big business” does to get things their way on the hill… they hire lobbyists… who does their lobbying IN PERSON.. Many lobbyist firms will generate proposed bills and presents them to member of Congress and ask them to sponsor the bill.

Maybe the chronic pain community needs to come up a “proposed bill” to benefit those in the chronic pain community and ask – IN PERSON – various members of Congress to sponsor/co-sponsor the bill. 

May be a better outcome, than what has been done in the past… ?


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