Today is 12/14/2017

2016 in review … what killed us

2600 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


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 himself 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

Karen Shettler Paddock  committed suicide on August 7, 2013 

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

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,”  

Steven Lichtenberg: the 32-year-old Dublin man shot himself  

Fred Sinclair  he was hurting very much and was, in effect, saying goodbye to the family.

Robert Markel, 56 – June 2016 – Denied Pain Meds/Heroin OD

 Lisa June 2016

Jay Lawrence  March 2017

Celisa Henning: killed herself and her twin daughters...

Karen Boje-58  CPP-Deming, NM

Katherine Goddard, 52 –  June 30, 2017 – Palm Coast, FL -Suicide/Denied Opioids List of Suicides, as of 9–10-17

Suicides: Associated with non-consented Opioid Pain Medication Reductions

Lacy Stewart 59,

Ryan Trunzo of Massachusetts committed suicide at the age of 26,-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

Genetic Study Defies ‘One-size-fits-all’ Approach to Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain

FAU Investigator Receives $4 Million NIH Grant for Novel Prescription Opioid Study

Newswise — It impacts 100 million Americans, it is the number one reason that people go to see the doctor, and it is now a national crisis. The problem: chronic pain and prescription opioids. The dilemma: how to provide the most effective pain treatment for 80 percent of pain patients who are at least risk for addiction while causing the least harm to the remaining 20 percent who are at most risk. The solution: it’s very complicated, but it may be possible to address both problems without adversely affecting either.

Opioids (morphine, Oxycontin, Viocodin), which can lead to increased risk of addiction, have been the mainstay of treatment for moderate to severe pain for decades. The challenge is that their effects on patients vary tremendously. Prescription opioid-use disorder affects about 2 million Americans each year and is the number one cause of accidental death. Right now, attempts to prevent opioid use disorder focus mainly on reining in prescription practices, which is problematic.

A researcher from Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine has received a five-year, $4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to help solve the “one-size-fits-all” approach to prescribing opioids for chronic pain. Because of the high heritability, finding the genetic predictors of prescription opioid use disorder is more critical than ever. Currently, little data exists on clinical characteristics and genetic variants that confer risk for opioid use disorder.

In a novel study, Janet Robishaw, Ph.D., professor and chair within the Department of Biomedical Science in FAU’s College of Medicine, and colleagues from Geisinger Health System and the University of Pennsylvania, are assessing clinical and genetic characteristics of a large patient cohort suffering from chronic musculoskeletal pain and receiving prescription opioids. As part of the DiscovEHR project, they have leveraged data from Geisinger’s central biorepository and electronic health record (EHR) database to conduct large-scale genomics research and phenotype development.

With this information, this multidisciplinary team will derive a clinical and genetic profile of prescription opioid-use disorder and use this knowledge to develop an “addiction risk score.” Findings from this study will be key for identifying those who are at low-risk for opioid use disorder from those who are at high-risk and who need additional counseling and access to other treatment options.

“The overall goal of this project is figuring out if there is a unique genetic signature of patients who are most susceptible to addiction,” said Robishaw. “In the first part of our study, we are looking at the clinical characteristics of these patients to understand the cause of their pain and how prescription opioids are affecting their outcomes.”

As part of this initial process, the investigative team composed of Robishaw, Wade H. Berrettini, M.D., Ph.D., Karl E. Rickels professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, and Vanessa Troiani, Ph.D., assistant professor at Geisinger, are administering questionnaires that will give them additional information on the patients’ pain phenotype as well as whether or not they’re showing symptomology of prescription opioid-use disorder. It will take them about two years to analyze the data to divide the patient population into cases and controls in order to complete a genome-wide association study, which is the second part of the research project.

The genome-wide association study will help the researchers determine if there is a particular subset of genes and genetic variants that are influencing susceptibility to becoming addicted to prescription opioids. Once they are able to generate the hypothesis that a genetic variant is responsible for increasing risk, the next steps for research will involve functional studies on those top associations to prove causation.

“There is an urgent need to develop clinical, genetic and neural characteristics of patients who are at moderate- to high-risk of becoming addicted to prescription opioids,” said Phillip Boiselle, M.D., dean of FAU’s College of Medicine. “The National Institutes of Health grant awarded to Dr. Robishaw and her collaborators will help them to identify the genetic factors that increase the risk of addiction in patients, which then become targets for new drug development.”

The investigative team stresses the importance of using a multipronged approach to addressing this national crisis, which should involve research, education and engaging patients so that they understand their susceptibility to risks and empower them in their health care decisions.

“Prescription opioid-use disorder is a lifelong problem that requires a thoughtful approach that is not going to be solved just by curtailing prescriptions of these narcotics,” said Robishaw. “We have to employ more rigorous prescribing practices and provide alternative treatments for moderate to severe pain that don’t involve opioids. And, we need to improve access to medication-assisted therapy for those patients already dependent on prescription opioids. Currently, only 7 percent of patients with prescription opioid-use disorder have access to such treatments and this is because of a variety of reasons like costs and availability of these services.”

The DRUG CRISIS … they don’t talk about.. because docs don’t prescribe it ?

Record number of meth users died in San Diego County last year

More than a decade after a full-scale assault on methamphetamine production in San Diego County, the drug is continuing to ravage the region, killing a record number of users last year and hooking more than half of adults who end up in jail, according to a report released this week by the county’s Methamphetamine Strike Force.

The drug was linked to 377 deaths last year in the county — 66 more than the previous year.

“The trend line is very alarming and continues to head in the wrong direction,” county Supervisor Dianne Jacob said in a statement.

Rather than the sudden overdoses often seen with the opioid epidemic, meth is typically a slow killer.

Many of the people dying are middle-aged, long-term addicts who’ve developed other health complications, said Nick Macchione, director of the county Health and Human Services Agency.

Even though meth isn’t cooked in home labs here anymore — largely a result of laws that restrict access to precursor chemicals — the data show addicts are having little trouble accessing it.

The drug is now produced in mass quantities in cartel “superlabs” in Mexico and smuggled across the Southwest border — particularly in San Diego County, where a significant portion hits local streets before the rest moves on to other parts of the country.

Last year, 47 percent of all meth seizures along the border were in the county, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Plus, San Diego meth is cheap — $250 to $450 an ounce last year compared to as much as $600 an ounce in 2015 — and incredibly pure. Nationwide, average purity levels last year tested above 90 percent per gram, according to the DEA.

The high purity and low cost indicate an oversupply in Mexico.

The drug cartels have also been able to adapt to stricter restrictions on precursor chemicals traditionally needed to make meth — first in the U.S. and now in China — by coming up with new techniques and formulations, according to the DEA.

The report also draws a strong link between methamphetamine and crime, showing 56 percent of adult arrestees booked into county jails tested positive for the drug last year. That’s compared to 49 percent in 2015.

The trend continued on a much smaller scale for juvenile arrestees — with 14 percent testing positive compared to 8 percent the previous year.

Both felony and misdemeanor arrests and citations for selling or possessing meth are also up, from 6,849 to 8,428 last year.

Another trend has emerged: Meth is involved in 20 percent of adult abuse cases reported to Adult Protective Services — mostly meth-using adult children victimizing their parents, according to the report.

Meth’s troubling trajectory in the region comes as attention has drifted to battling the nationwide opioid and prescription drug crisis. The Strike Force report stresses that more is needed to bring the meth story back into focus.

That wasn’t hard to do back in the mid-90s, when the Strike Force was established at a time San Diego was unofficially dubbed the “Meth Capital of the World.” But the county might now be fatigued on the issue, after hearing about it for so many years, Angela Goldberg, who works as the group’s facilitator, said in an interview earlier this year.

Besides greater public awareness, the Strike Force urges greater drug screening in older adults, wrap around treatment services to get addicts and their families into recovery, and continued use of intervention courts to treat underlying problems.

“Sending addicts to jail or prison without addressing their addiction problems does not solve the drug problem in our community,” District Attorney Summer Stephan said in a statement.

Have you noticed that the DEA is really not too interested in going after meth distribution… you see there is a legal prescription meth (DESOXYN) and it is indicated for ADD/ADHD.. and very few prescribers use it.. SO… there are very few prescribers that the DEA has to build a fake case against to seize their assets using Civil Asset Forfeiture Law.. since all the people ODing on meth is being imported from Mexico and ILLEGAL.. Just like most everything else… just have to follow the MONEY TRAIL

Happy Hanukkah

Dr Tennant Legal Defense Fund

Forest Tennant, MD, DrPH, is an internist who specializes in the research and treatment of intractable chronic pain. Dr. Tennant has operated a pain clinic in West Covina, California for over 40 years, and has authored over 300 scientific articles and books on pain management.

Dr. Tennant is revered in the pain community because of his willingness to treat patients from around the country who have been abandoned by other doctors or have complex conditions such as arachnoiditis that are difficult to treat.

In November 2017, DEA agents raided the home and offices of Dr. Tennant, using a search warrant that alleged he was part of a drug trafficking organization and running a pill mill. The allegations would be laughable if they weren’t so serious and reflect a fundamental lack of knowledge about Dr. Tennant’s practice. Many of his patients require high doses of opioids and other medications, and would die without them.

Dr. Tennant has not been charged with a crime, but he deserves to have the best legal representation possible to defend himself and his reputation.

Please consider a donation to Dr. Tennant’s defense fund. Lives depend on keeping this good man in practice.

All I Want For Christmas Is For People Not To Hurt

I could never have imagined that I would ever see the cruelty that is now being inflicted upon pain patients – people who have to live their lives under conditions that are so horrible that the rest of us can’t possibly fathom the level of suffering they must endure.

It was bad enough a decade ago when chronic pain patients had two choices, both bad: 1) powerful opiate drugs, which can be very unpleasant to take in larger doses and have addiction potential (1) or 2) suffer from intractable pain that can be so bad that they become housebound. Suicide is not uncommon. And all of this was going on before our government fabricated a war against an unfortunate and powerless group of people under the faulty premise that it would diminish the devastating outbreak of overdose deaths from fentanyl and heroin that now claims tens of thousands of lives every year. (2) 

If this meant withholding or forcibly cutting back doses of opiates from people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, spondylosis or chronic neuropathic pain (to name a few) so what? They’ll get by on Advil, yoga or acupuncture (3). I firmly believe that the CDC, DEA, politicians, and NGOs which all stood to gain from this phony war, knew damn well that their “war” was based on false information, something I have written about countless times. This is even worse than ignorance. They knew and just didn’t care.

So now we live in a pharmaceutical police state where doctors are prosecuted for caring for pain patients, and state laws set arbitrary (and scientifically bogus) daily limits on opiate doses, regardless of whether the pain patient has been doing “well” on these doses, sometimes for decades. 

What I want for Christmas is to give back whatever relief pain patients had access to before our own version of Kristallnacht hit them. Leave them and their doctors alone. They didn’t cause the problem.

And just for good measure, let’s leave a lump of coal in the stockings of the CDC, DEA, and Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP). Or maybe a turd for PROP.


(1) As I have written many times, one review after another has concluded that addiction of pain patients to opiates is rare, estimates ranging from 0.26% to 10%, mostly on the lower end. Pain management physicians who I have interviewed unanimously agree that addiction of pain patients is rare. There is a very big difference between dependence and addiction. And good luck finding a pain management physicians. They are fleeing in droves.

(2) It did no such thing. Opiate prescriptions are down. Total deaths are up. By a lot. 

(3) Here’s how bad this has gotten. The FDA has suggested that physicians learn about acupuncture as an alternative to drugs in pain management, despite the fact that it has been thoroughly debunked. (“Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine.” Paul Offit, M.D., Harper Collins, 2013)



And they wonder why insurance premiums and cost of Medicare/Medicaid is UP…UP…UP… ?

When my mate picked up this month’s prescriptions for me the pharmacy tech told him they will not dispense any of my pain pills next month unless I talk to the pharmacist about NarCan injectors!
I just got off the phone from talking to the pharmacist – this asinine requirement comes from the lunatic Kansas Legislature over-reacting to the mis-perceived ‘opioid crisis’ – which is a black market issue rather than a prescibed medicine problem.
If I CHOOSE to refuse to purchase the over-priced and totally unneeded injectors it will be entered into my permanent government-mandated official opioid record.
I did manage to get the pharmacy to agree to enter it as “Refused as an unnecessary and excessive cost.”
I am guessing I may have just put my Medicaid-covered pain pills in jeopardy.

I had to pick mine up also. I’m in Virginia but I was told by my doctors nurse he wouldn’t prescribe to me. I want her back in her own lane. When I asked her to refill another med and my husband picked it up she had called the Narcan in so it was ready also. My pain is so under treated now. I’m terrified of not having enough med through the holidays so I use it so sparingly. Wouldn’t I have revealed myself as an addict by now. I mean forget all my swollen red joints even with treatment they remain that way. Blood work with values that indicate both Lupus and RA…. when does this environment stop ???

I’m in Chicago and have been prescribed narcan for the past 2 years. Its 100% unnecessary. My insurance covers it at no cost to me so I just take it home and stick it in a drawer.


Chain Pharmacies: generating PROFITS … selling “bandaids” to addicts ?

Video shows man coming back to life after overdosing at a CVS


DETROIT — Mark Harris had stopped at a CVS store in Detroit last month to pick up some medicine when he spotted an unusual sight. A young man was fading in and out of consciousness in an aisle, before collapsing to the floor.

Familiar with the neighborhood — Eight Mile and Gratiot — Harris says he didn’t need much convincing to know what had just happened. The man had overdosed.

“I see it a lot right there in the area, you see a lot of drug addicts. You can’t describe them, but when you see them you know it, they fit a profile,” he said.

With the young man on the floor, and CVS employees and customers beginning to buzz around him trying to figure out what to do, Harris pulled out his phone to document the traumatic ordeal.

The nearly 12-minute video, filmed Oct. 11 — and uploaded to YouTube the next day — shows an almost surreal scene. It starts with the young man unconscious on the floor and ends with him standing erect, fully functioning after EMS responders give him naloxone, a drug that blocks the effects of opioids.

The video showcases Michigan’s struggles with the national opioid crisis, the life-saving power of drugs like naloxone, and, most notably, a lack of education when it comes to handling an overdose scenario. As people wait for EMS to arrive bystanders and CVS employees do everything from gawk to pour water on the man’s head to suggest CPR, even though he already breathing.

Most notably, despite the incident taking place in a pharmacy — specifically, a pharmacy that is allowed to sell naloxone over the counter — nobody made any moves to find and administer the drug, waiting instead for the paramedics to arrive.

“People didn’t know how to respond so they didn’t know how to take action, unfortunately,” said Gina Dahlem a clinical assistant professor at University of Michigan’s School of Nursing, whose research focuses on opioid overdose prevention and education using naloxone.

“That shows the need for us to educate these public places and those who are involved — pharmacists, librarians, staff where overdoses are highly likely to occur,” Dahlem continued.

In May, Gov. Rick Snyder announced that pharmacies could dispense naloxone sans prescriptions if they registered with the state Department of Health and Human Services. Previously, only law enforcement, first responders, and doctors could administer the life-saving drug.

As of Nov. 2, 2,840 pharmacies — or 34% of the state total — obtained controlled substance licenses in Michigan in order to dispense naloxone to individuals over the counter. The CVS in question was one of those pharmacies. This led some — like Harris, who filmed the video and kept suggesting someone use Narcan, the brand name version of naloxone — to question why the pharmacist did not administer the naloxone himself.

“That’s heroin, they got some stuff Narcan that they shoot it up their nose to bring them back,” Harris is heard telling the group huddled around the man before paramedics arrived.

Watch (the video might be disturbing for some viewers): Video shows man coming back to life after overdosing at a CVS

In the video, the pharmacist at one point indicates that they may not have had the drug in stock at the moment — though the conversation was hurried and it’s unclear if the pharmacist was specifically answering the question about the drug’s availability.

CVS for its part said the pharmacist should not have administered the drug, but rather waited, as he did until EMS had arrived, stating that the drug is not meant to be “dispensed for immediate usage.”

“We make every effort to stock our pharmacy inventory based on patient demand, however, naloxone is not a medication that is dispensed for immediate usage,” CVS Director of Corporate Communication Erin Shields Britt said in a statement.

“In most cases, opioid users or their family members order naloxone to keep on-hand in an emergency to reverse an accidental overdose. In an emergency situation where naloxone is needed, 911 should be called, as was the case here.”

Dahlem of the University of Michigan, however, contends that the purpose of making naloxone available over the counter is for situations exactly like this and minimizing any lag time is ideal.

“The sooner you are able to revive a person the better the outcome,” she said. “This emphasizes the need for education in the community and of laypeople.”

The video, which documents the young man right after he lost consciousness to the moment he’s wheeled out by medics, shows not only the scary reality of a drug overdose but the confusion of many bystanders over what to do.

A CVS pharmacist is seen pushing on the man’s chest, while the man’s friend is seen pacing around the store dumping water on his head.

Dahlem notes that while the shouting and shaking of the man are actually helpful in an overdose situation, the pouring of water was in fact very dangerous. An overdose is a respiratory problem before it’s a cardiac problem, according to Dahlem, and dousing someone in water — a move people often do in overdose situations because they think it will help wake a person up — can, in fact, make the problem worse.

Michigan’s relationship with the opioid epidemic has worsened over the years. In 2015, the most recent year of data available, the state saw its third consecutive year of record drug overdose deaths. That year, 1,981 people died from drug overdoses, up 13.5% from 2014. Over the last 17 years, deaths from drug overdoses quadrupled, up from 455 in 1999.

For Harris, who decided to document the incident because he had never seen anything like it before, the incident highlighted a clear health and education issue, but also a disconnect between the response to the opioid crisis and what he witnessed 30 years back during the crack epidemic in Detroit.

“In the ’80s during the crack epidemic, most of the victims of the crack epidemic were jailed and criticized and now it’s an opioid epidemic and it’s more like they need help,” said Harris, who says he is a recovering alcoholic and that he’s sensitive to the realities of addiction.

“It’s a person’s own choice to use drugs or alcohol, but once you get addicted you’re sick. A lot of times, you need help to get out of addiction, but during the crack epidemic, they weren’t trying to help people like now. During the crack epidemic, they criminalized all of the people and mostly just put people in jail for just what the guy did.”

While it is unclear what ended up happening to the young man in the video, a YouTube commenter wrote to the Free Press that the man had entered himself into rehab.


Digital Pills Track How Patients Use Opioids









New pill capsules that send a message to a smartphone as they move through the GI tract have emerged as a way to track whether patients are taking their medicine as prescribed. The problem of nonadherence to medication instructions causes about 125,000 deaths a year and at least 10 percent of hospitalizations, according to one estimate.

Soon the ingestible tracking technology could also be used to make sure patients aren’t taking too many of drugs like opioids, which are highly addictive. Researchers at one Boston hospital think the high-tech pills could help physicians prescribe the right amount of opioids, helping patients avoid taking more than they need.

As the opioid epidemic in the U.S. grows, Edward Boyer and Peter Chai, emergency medical physicians and medical toxicologists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, wanted to find out how patients take opioids when they’re prescribed them for the first time.

Chai says being able to detect a pattern in how patients are taking pills can help physicians intervene if there’s a change in that pattern: if patients are taking more pills, for example, or taking them before they go to bed at night, the most dangerous time to take opioids.

They partnered with EtectRx, a company based in Newberry, Florida, that’s developing an ingestible gel capsule with a wireless sensor. The gel capsule fits over regular pills; when swallowed, it’s dissolved by digestive acids in the stomach and emits a radio signal that’s picked up by a small device worn around the neck. The reader detects the message sent from the pill and forwards it to a physician’s smartphone app via Bluetooth.


Boyer and Chai tried out the technology on 15 patients who were admitted to the emergency room at Brigham and Women’s for bone fractures and were prescribed oxycodone, a type of opioid. The technology records how many pills each patient takes and how often they take them. If a patient takes too many of the opioids because pain is persisting, a doctor can intervene.

The first pill equipped with a sensor was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November for Abilify, an antipsychotic drug used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. These patients often do not take their medication regularly, which can have severe side effects.

Right now, the technology is still a bit clunky. The digital pill that pairs with Abilify requires that patients wear a patch on their torso when they take their medicine. The technology developed by EtectRx uses an electronic reader about the size of an iPod, worn around the neck. But the company is working on boosting the pill’s signal strength.

“We would hope that one day the reader would become integrated into wearables that people use every day—think the watch band of the Apple Watch, or the case of your smartphone,” Chai says. “That would really allow the reader to start to meld into the everyday life of patients.”

Challenges remain. Not all patients will want to be tracked, and if they do agree, they’ll want to know how their personal data is being used.

Boyer and Chai have interviewed emergency room patients who use heroin and asked if they would be willing to use the technology. About 83 percent said they would. Next, they are testing it in chronic pain patients who have been taking opioids on a long-term basis.

Larissa Mooney, director of the UCLA Addiction Medicine Clinic, says she can understand why the technology is exciting, but she’s not convinced yet that digital pills could be used to prevent or treat addiction.

“This will only work if people agree to and consent to being monitored. Somebody who doesn’t want to have their every dose recorded could refuse this medicine, so there are always going to be limitations,” she says.

There’s also a lot of variability in people’s needs for opioid pain medication, she says, so these pills would need to be tested in more patients with different types of pain.

Will CVS-Aetna Merger Lead to “Separate But Unequal” Healthcare?

Last week, pharmacy giant CVS agreed to purchase Aetna this week for an astounding $69 billion dollar sum. The company allegedly plans to reduce health spending by developing an integrated system touted as “a new front door for health care in America.” This merger is actually an acquisition, entailing transfer of ownership. The central aim of an acquisition is to increase market share, expand the scope of services provided, and improve financial stability. CVS hit the jackpot on all three objectives. While Wall Street investors celebrate,

many of us knowledgeable in the delivery of healthcare services are wondering who will bear the responsibility for the patients harmed by this experiment?

Aetna has compiled vast amounts of data from 22 million health plan members. CVS provides pharmacy benefits management to nearly 90 million consumers. Together, with 10,000 stores and 1,100-minute clinics already in the CVS network,

this acquisition will create a ‘Walmart for Healthcare’

Applying bulk-purchase business strategies to the sale of merchandise is one thing, while providing healthcare services by ‘trial and error’ to human beings is another matter entirely. Bypassing physicians to deliver healthcare by protocol categorically jeopardizes patient safety.

Executives at Aetna-CVS plan to utilize pharmacists and nurses in the evaluation of acute illness and management of chronic disease. If an insurer, drugstore, and pharmacy benefit manager unite as one, it will usher in an era of medical “segregation,” with segregation defined as the isolation or separation of a race, class, or group by enforced or voluntary restriction, by barriers to social intercourse, by separate educational facilities, or by other discriminatory means.

CVS-Aetna executives are hypothesizing these clinicians working independently can provide “separate but equal” healthcare services at a lower cost than physicians.

There is no scientific evidence their assertion is true or even possible. Their innovative business model will be, in a word, an experiment on citizens of this nation. In Brown v. The Board of Education in 1954, the Supreme Court already ruled unanimously “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal” and are in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment equal protection clause (“no state… shall deny to any person…the equal protection of the laws.”)   Why is “separate but equal” acceptable for healthcare? It is not.

For example, recently, a mother brought in her 18-month-old with a fever, runny nose, and ear pain. On examination, he had an ear infection and was prescribed Amoxicillin. The next evening, he refused oral intake, and developed a rash in his mouth, and on his hands and feet. The mother took him to a retail clinic after work that evening. “Minute Clinics” are convenient because they accept walk-ins, charge by the visit, and order tests by protocol, like when ordering dessert, a la carte in a restaurant.

At the retail clinic, a rapid flu test was negative and a rapid streptococcal test was positive. Using this “information” to guide diagnosis and treatment by protocol, his “Strep Throat infection” in conjunction with a rash was assumed to be Scarlet Fever, which was theorized to be “resistant to Amoxicillin.” The clinician prescribed Omnicef inappropriately, believing something “stronger” was required for Streptococcal bacteria.

Having regular commercial insurance, the mother returned to my office for medical care when her son continued complaining of ear pain despite the “stronger” antibiotic two days later and his oral lesions continued to multiply. His exam revealed Herpangina (a variation of the hand, foot, and mouth virus) and his eardrum was now bulging with pus. I recommended restarting the amoxicillin and for her son drink cool liquids until the oral lesions resolved; the child recovered uneventfully.

Pharmacists and nurses will be thrust into independent roles for which they are ill-equipped to handle and if using this shotgun approach, costs will continue their upward climb. First, children under two rarely get streptococcal throat infections, so strep tests should not be routinely administered in this age group. Secondly, symptoms of streptococcal infection are narrow: sore throat, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and abdominal pain in the absence of a runny nose and cough. A positive test in this child indicated they were a carrier which needs no intervention. Third, scarlet fever looks nothing like herpangina, which is a virus and resolves on its own. Fourth, Omnicef, at a cost of $150 per course, is not a first, second, or even third-line treatment for Group A Streptococcal infection; the first line choice is amoxicillin, costing less than $5.

If this ill-advised merger between Aetna and CVS proceeds, millions of lives will hang in the balance. This new business model reminds me of the scene from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, when Ebenezer Scrooge sees the Cratchit family mourning the loss of Tiny Tim. Research has shown life expectancy is proportional to the ratio of primary care physicians available per 100,000 population. How many children, like Tiny Tim, will be harmed before lawmakers and the public refuse to accept a future devoid of primary care physicians?

Thankfully, time has a way of revealing truth. CVS considers having a medical degree to be an “obstacle” to affordable medical care, which they plan to eliminate with “one-stop shopping,” having pharmacists and nurses practicing medicine by protocol. A segregated, two-tiered healthcare system will ultimately emerge as Aetna members are directed to “Minute Clinics” without access to physicians while those on other commercial insurance plans will see the physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant of their choice. Changing the delivery of healthcare services by circumventing physicians to save money is equivalent to gambling with patients’ lives. This vertical business model should induce fear and panic in all of us – we should run for our lives, literally and never look back.

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