2018 in review … what killed us

Today is 06/19/2019.. who will not be here tomorrow

2016 in review … what killed us

2017 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, 2018 – Dec 31, 2018 (6:27:30 PM)

Someone just died by: Death Box

Just the Data … Raw and Undigested

Abortion *: 1091318
Heart Disease: 613959
Cancer: 591325
Tobacco: 349779
Obesity: 306806
Medical Errors: 251295
Stroke: 133019
Lower Respiratory Disease: 142853
Accident (unintentional): 135967
Hospital Associated Infection: 98937
Alcohol *: 99937
Diabetes: 76440
Alzheimer’s Disease: 93482
Influenza/Pneumonia: 55192
Kidney Failure: 42735
Blood Infection: 33443
Suicide: 42746
Drunk Driving: 33787
Unintentional Poisoning: 31738
All Drug Abuse: 24989
Homicide: 16788
Prescription Drug Overdose: 14991
Murder by gun: 11486
Texting while Driving: 5985
Pedestrian: 4997
Drowning: 3913
Fire Related: 3498
Malnutrition: 2770
Domestic Violence: 1459
Smoking in Bed: 780
Falling out of Bed: 598
Killed by Falling Tree: 149
Lawnmower: 68
Spontaneous Combustion: 0
Your chance of death is 100%. Are you ready?

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.


“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…

 Jennifer E. Adams age 41 of Helena  December 20, 1976April 25, 2018


Jay Lawrence  March 1, 2017  on the same bench in the Hendersonville, Tennessee, park where the Lawrences had recently renewed their wedding vows, the 58-year-old man gripped his wife’s hand and killed himself with a gun.

suicide due to pain video  https://youtu.be/CSkxF1DMQws

Eden Prairie Aug 2018 handwritten note, which stated she “could not endure any more pain and needed to escape it.” http://www.fox9.com/news/charges-eden-prairie-man-helped-wife-commit-suicide

Raymond Arlugo  August 29th 2018   https://hudsonvalleydoctorskilledmybrother.wordpress.com/2018/09/14/suicide-over-pain-telling-my-brothers-story-because-he-cant/amp/

Kris Hardenbrook   Oct 2018   What is the difference between patient abandonment and a FIRING SQUAD ? – NOT MUCH ?

Robert Charles Foster,65 Nov 3, 2018 Chronic pain pt …SUICIDE BY COP https://theworldlink.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/suspect-dead-after-officer-involved-shooting-in-bandon/article_182bfafd-5e6d-539f-b366-0f9a00b7dc85.html

Lee Cole 04/23/2018   http://www.pharmaciststeve.com/?p=27825

Peter A. Kaisen  76-year-old veteran committed suicide (Aug. 24, 2016) in the parking lot of the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Long Island, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/25/nyregion/veteran-kills-himself-in-parking-lot-of-va-hospital-on-long-island.html 

Paul Fitzpatrick, 56 Oct 2018, kills himself blaming 20 years of debilitating pain caused by laser eye surgery  https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6445427/Canadian-man-kills-suffering-20-years-pain-laser-eye-surgery.html

Jessica Starr   Dec, 2018 failed Lasik SMILE eye surgery resulting in chronic pain

Paolo Antonio Argenzio:  Passed away on Monday December 10th 2018, from a self inflicted gunshot wound

Rory G. Hosking, age 50, honorable Army Veteran, passed away Feb. 9, 2019 from his struggle with chronic pain

Sonya White has passed away on Thursday March 7, 2019 at 30 years old

Danielle Byron Henry 10th June, 2017

Kelly Catlin, the 23-year-old Olympic cyclist with debilitating migraines committed suicide 16th March, 2019

Dawn Anderson was 53 years old, and a former Registered Nurse died on March 11, 2019 in untreated agonizing pain

I reserve the right of editorial censorship

It looks like the political “mud slinging” has already started – IMO – worse than the national election two years ago… I am taking a stand – in particular – against “slanderous name calling”  directed toward specific politicians, particular political parties and/or specific people.  I don’t mind political debate – based on FACTS… when the debate drifts off the road based on FACTOIDS, FAKE NEWS, opinions stated as FACTS.. is where I am going to draw the “line in the sand” and delete comments that go down that path.

While personally, I am not a big fan of our political/bureaucratic system.. IMO.. it is too self serving… Admittedly, politically I tend to lean to the POLITICAL RIGHT but that is because the Libertarian party is seemingly always kept in their place by our dominating “two party system”.

I have belonged to a national pharmacy association for 35 yrs… that promotes the saying “get into politics … or get out of pharmacy ..” If you don’t attempt to influence politicians… someone else will…. and IMO this saying applies to those in the chronic pain community and/or pts who are dealing with subjective diseases.  Legislatures, bureaucrats are doing things that are adversely effecting the quality of life of those pts.  As long as those being affected continue to lack unity and/or a large segment chooses to stand on the sidelines, whoever is successfully “bending the ear” of these politicians … they will continue to do so because they have  little/no concern about the consequences and/or collateral damage that they cause to those suffering and dealing with subjective diseases.

I am sure that the vast majority of my readers will understand and cooperate…those who try to challenge this policy…  It is THREE STRIKES and you are out/banned… and WORDPRESS gives me your IP ADDRESS attached to your comment(s)… Once banned, just posting under a different name – WILL NOT WORK !  Everyone needs to “play nice “

Lastly, please do not post anything promoting a particular vendor or any entity or person selling a product/particular service. Because some may perceive/believe that they have my endorsement which may or may not be the case. Anyone posting a link to a professional selling a product/service will be edited out

Image result for Play Nice in the Sand Box


Oklahoma Opioid Trial: Day 14 – Testimony from Dr. Kolodny, Kristi Hoos

Dr. Andrew J Kolodny, MD – Reviews Psychiatry Brooklyn, NY

Dr. Andrew J Kolodny, MD – Reviews

Psychiatry Brooklyn, NY



Johnson & Johnson profited from both sides of opioid crisis, says epidemic expert

Johnson & Johnson profited from both sides of opioid crisis, says epidemic expert


The first case in a flood of civil litigation against opioid drug manufacturers is in its third week in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter’s suit alleges Johnson & Johnson, the nation’s largest drugmaker, helped ignite a public health crisis that has killed thousands of state residents.

Johnson & Johnson is the sole defendant in the case. Two other companies — Teva Pharmaceuticals and Purdue Pharma — both settled with the state before the trial began.

Oklahoma’s lawyers say the company did more than push its own pills. Until 2016, the state says Johnson & Johnson profited from the prescription opioid crisis by cultivating a highly potent poppy in Tasmania. The narcotic refined from the plant was sold to other companies to make opioids. One of the customers was Purdue Pharma, the maker of Oxycontin, one of the most prescribed drugs and a leading driver of the epidemic.

This case has brought to light another aspect of the company’s business. Johnson & Johnson also produced the active ingredient for opioid treatment drugs including Naloxone, which is used to reverse overdoses.

“You would be able to profit off of a drug that’s causing addiction and overdose deaths as well as profit off of drugs that are used to treat addiction and overdose deaths,” said Andrew Kolodny, a psychiatrist and opioid crisis expert who testified for the state.

He said Johnson & Johnson’s marketing of opioids, in general, was pervasive in the medical industry, beginning in the 1990s. He claims they downplayed opioids’ addiction risk, knowing that almost any opioid prescription would benefit the company’s bottom line.

“From every direction, we were hearing that if you’re an enlightened doctor in the know, that opioids are a gift from mother nature and should be used for almost any complaint of pain,” Kolodny said.

The state says those misleading sales tactics created a “public nuisance’’ which refers to actions that harm members of the public, including public health.

Sue Ogrocki / AP

Defense attorney Larry Ottaway gestures as he speaks during opening arguments Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Norman, Okla., as the nation’s first state trial against drugmakers blamed for contributing to the opioid crisis begins in Oklahoma.

“Janssen’s conduct was not a nuisance,” said Larry Ottaway, representing Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals. “They provided medically necessary medications … They were lawfully subscribed by doctors in the state of Oklahoma.”

Ottaway read from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report in his opening statement.

“States, as regulators of healthcare practice have the responsibility and authority to monitor and correct inappropriate and illegal prescribing,” he said.

Ottaway said the company’s goal was to help patients.

“Serious, chronic pain is a soul-stealing, life-robbing thief,” he said.

In a written statement, John Sparks, Oklahoma counsel for Johnson & Johnson criticized Kolodny’s testimony.

“His comments on the production of medical-grade pharmaceutical ingredients under the regulation and authorization of the DEA and FDA are offensive, sensationalist and baseless.”

Burden of proof

Both sides agree that Oklahoma is experiencing an opioid crisis. About 6,100 Oklahomans died from overdoses from 2000 to 2017, and the state has one of the highest rates of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome.

But Richard Ausness, a law professor at the University of Kentucky who has been following the case, says the burden of proof is on the state.

“You gotta connect some dots. The fact that you have an opioid crisis is not necessarily caused by the promotional efforts of the drug companies, that’s, of course, the issue,” Ausness said. “If they can’t prove that, then they are going to lose.”

Initially, Hunter’s lawsuit included Purdue Pharma and Teva Pharmaceuticals. In March, Purdue Pharma settled with the state for $270 million. Soon after, Hunter dropped all but one of the civil claims, including fraud, against the remaining defendants.

Ausness says that decision could backfire and cost the state billions of dollars.

“[The state is] seeking money damages for the secondary losses that they incur by virtue of being the government, such as health and police protection and things of that sort. That’s a real stretch for public nuisance,” he said.

The bench trial — with a judge but no jury — is the first of its kind to play out in court.

Oklahoma’s case sets the stage for about 2,000 other civil lawsuits around the country trying to hold the opioid companies accountable.

Attorneys for the state still have one more week to present to Judge Thad Balkman, who will decide the case. After that, its Johnson & Johnson’s turn.

Former CDC Director Arrested And Charged With Sexual Misconduct

Former CDC Director Arrested And Charged With Sexual Misconduct


Dr. Thomas Frieden, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was arrested and charged on Friday after he was accused of groping a woman, law enforcement officials said.

Detective Sophia Mason of the New York Police Department told NPR that the public health expert allegedly “grabbed a victim’s buttocks without her permission.” The incident was said to have happened last October in his home.

It was reported to police in July.

On Friday morning, Frieden, 57, turned himself in, a spokeswoman at the Brooklyn district attorney’s office told NPR.

He was charged with two misdemeanors and a violation: third-degree sexual abuse, forcible touching and harassment, the last of which carries a fine but no jail time.

Later in the day, Frieden was arraigned in Brooklyn Criminal Court and released without bail. He had to give up his passport and Judge Michael Yavinsky issued an order of protection.

“This allegation does not reflect Dr. Frieden’s public or private behavior or his values over a lifetime of service to improve health around the world,” a spokeswoman for Frieden told NPR.

He served as director of the CDC from 2009 and until 2017, leading the response to the Ebola epidemic and the H1N1 swine flu pandemic. He stepped down as President Trump took office.

Prior to joining the federal agency, he was the New York City health commissioner, where he led a ban on smoking and the elimination of trans fats from restaurant menus.

In the ’90s, he led a program to control tuberculosis in New York, lowering incidences of multiple-drug resistance. That led to work with the World Health Organization’s TB program in India.

Earlier this year, he told WHO that he got into his line of work to help people. “Hiking through the mountains with my father, he commented that I was interested in health and politics and that public health combined both. … My father, an excellent physician, had a simple philosophy of life: You’ve got to help the people. I chose a career that would give me the privilege of helping as many people as I could.”

After he left the CDC, Frieden launched a $225 million initiative called Resolve to Save Lives, part of a nonprofit global health organization called Vital Strategies.

Its president and CEO, Jose Castro, told CNN that the groping accusation came from a friend who knew him and his family for more than 30 years. “In all of my experiences with him, there have never been any concerns or reports of inappropriate conduct,” he said.

He added that Vital Strategies had conducted an investigation in which every staff member of his team was interviewed. “This assessment determined there have been no incidents of workplace harassment,” he said. “Vital Strategies greatly values the work Dr. Frieden does to advance public health and he has my full confidence.”

Frieden’s next court date is scheduled for Oct. 11.

Correction Aug. 24, 2018

A previous version of this story incorrectly said creating the Resolve to Save Lives initiative cost $225. It was $225 million.

It has been reported that Frieden and Dr AK were friends in their early careers working for the NY health dept.  Maybe this is why AK was how he got the CDC to create the opiate dosing guidelines without having legal authority.  After the FDA told AK to “take a hike” with his proposal.

Also have the CDC released those guidelines… Frieden made several public announcements that the guidelines “did not bear the weight of law”, but seemingly not many – especially the VA and the DEA was not listening nor paying attention.

After all in a few months (Jan 2017) one way or another we were going to have a new President and Frieden would most likely be out of a job and maybe this was his final “swan song” ?



Who Can Afford the Cost of Living with Chronic Pain?

Who Can Afford the Cost of Living with Chronic Pain?


Most chronic pain patients do not expect their lives to be a picnic. Chronic pain inflicts psychological and physical damage that can drain the resources of the strongest and most resilient among us. What most of chronic pain patients don’t always anticipate is the additional personal pressure created by the combination of the almost inevitable loss of income and the added expenses not covered by insurance or our savings. It is difficult enough to have been living a normal life to suddenly be inflicted with chronic pain, perhaps for the rest of your life. But to add more insult to injury, the concerns as to where we are to find the financial resources needed to obtain the correct equipment, treatments, transportation, medication, etc. adds unneeded stress to a difficult life to learn to accept.

It seems particularly unfair when one is unable to have the coverage for treatments proven effective for a particular condition. This adds stress which then negatively impacts a patient’s health. Here are some examples I have to face and I am sure many of you will be able to post other circumstances you have had to face:

  • I have to have most of my medications compounded to remove the ingredients of fillers that my body can’t metabolize – but due to being compounded, insurance offers no coverage. Although I could buy that drug with the regular fillers included with coverage, yet I totally have to pay out of pocket for my medication.
  • I need to travel many times to get to the knowledgeable doctors for my condition, EDS and there is no reimbursement for travel, lodging, food, etc.
  • And heaven help us trying to turn to safe alternatives in attempts to prevent surgery. We are traveling soon to Ohio to see a jaw specialist to see if I can avoid surgery by instead using a mouth guard to keep the jaw from subluxing/dislocating. Again, there is no coverage since it doesn’t match their insurance codes for the mouth guard, but yet surgery on the jaw would be covered.
  • Co-pays sure to add up, too. Living with my medical condition, Ehlers-Danlos, manual PT is a lifeline and a way to reposition the constantly subluxing bones. But for many of us, we have a limit of money for the year for coverage so we either suffer or have to pay out of pocket to address our issues.
  • Insurance does help with some of the equipment needed, for instance, a power chair. However, co-pays can get really exorbitant. For some, it becomes too much to take on so the person suffers without the needed assistance.
  • I happen to only be able to metabolize a few medications and for pain, all I can turn to is ketamine or cannabis. I am lucky to live in the state of Rhode Island that has allowed the medical program into our state since 2006. However, as you all know, we don’t get reimbursement to buy the product or grow it. Others get to go to a pharmacy and fill their script, while we have to grow, fight mites, mold, the waiting process of growing to get our help along with no help financially.
  • Our life and house have been dedicated to trying to keep me alive. The money spent to travel to twenty-four surgeries, equipment like the hospital bed, power chair, manual chair, oxygen converter, bi-pap machine, etc. gets overwhelming and makes me feel guilty to have been the reason our retirement money is being frittered away. The dreams of traveling are pretty much shot, vacations are rare to none and we have learned to make trips to doctors and try to make them like mini vacations, but this attitude doesn’t always work!
  • Even food costs me extra. I am so restricted with food sensitivities, that I have to buy good, unprocessed, pesticide-free healthy food and that cost adds up.

I am shocked at how expensive it is to be handicapped and living with pain. I try so hard not to dwell on it, but there are times it feels overwhelming, along with unfair. I didn’t ask to have my conditions, didn’t do anything wrong to be born with them, and have had to pay the financial price. And I am a lucky one for there are times we have been able to swing the cost of things I need. But having recently downsized and still awaiting the money from selling our farm, I have had to again make those hard decisions and weigh out what can wait and what has to be down now. It is not fun to know there are things out there to help but one can’t afford to turn to them. I hope that someday the medical system will function as it should. The healthy majority should accept the responsibility for ensuring that the best care is available to all as I am sure that the vast majority of individuals and families will at some point in their lives, need costly care. Treating the chronically ill with the best comprehensive medical care may in fact save money by. For example, minimizing the anxiety from conditions such as depression and ulcers helps to provide the chance to live the best one can with what they have been inflicted with.

How Can Others Help?

  • Consider donating, when you are able, to go-fund me pages of those trying to cope with medical expenses. It is amazing how small amounts do add up and help others.
  • Consider donating to someone trying to cover the cost of a service dog. Many reached out and helped me that I didn’t even know.
  • Consider paying it forward with information of resources that one might qualify for but are not be aware of.
  • Consider donating used equipment to a program that refurbishes them or give directly to one in need. A simple post on Craig’s list can be effective. Many of us are experiencing the loss of family and friends who have had medical issues and have equipment that others could make use of.
  • Consider seeing if you can donate flying mileage points to one that needs to travel for medical needs.

May life be kind to you,

Ellen Lenox Smith

I Am: An Un-apologetic Opioid Patient

I Am: An Un-apologetic Opioid Patient


I take opioids. I have been taking them now for almost 4yrs. Opioids don’t eliminate my pain completely, and there are some days that I still can’t function, but they have allowed me some semblance of a life. I can not emphasize semblance, strongly enough. My world absolutely changed when I began experiencing pain and the symptoms of my chronic illness, that I did not know at the time. I pushed myself through it brutally, until I couldn’t do that anymore either.

Before I became sick and plagued by pain, I was an active mother and student, trying to finish my degree at the University of Houston. I loved yoga and while I still practice, it is very cautiously and with different expectations than what I do now. My dream was to continue school and either get a Master’s or a certification that would allow me to work in public health. I love contagious disease. That sounds grim, I know, but it was a passion of mine to be able to protect people from unseen killers, of endemic diseases. I wanted to protect my community. I never got to finish school, one class shy of a degree, because my health hasn’t been very cooperative and my pain makes it difficult to focus.

Liza Zoellick

I take opioids regularly throughout the day in order to blog and participate in my family without the pain preventing me from enjoying life. I still need help with every aspect of my life, and without my children and husband there to assist, I am not certain what kind of life I might be living. It’s easier asking my children for help now, but when they were younger, I often didn’t and pushed through the pain which would leave me useless for days. How do you ask children who are in trying to juggle a full-time job and college courses, or high school classes which include dual-credit, to take time out to help you with chores that are your responsibility? As a mother, you want them to excel and do better than you did and while having them do their own chores like: cleaning their room or cleaning their bathroom and doing their laundry is acceptable, things like: taking me to doctors appointments because I can’t drive, or making dinner because I can’t, or picking up and taking siblings here and there because again, I can’t drive, make you feel guilty. I didn’t have children so they could take care of me. My chronic pain took away some aspects of motherhood, and also took away some aspects of my kids’ childhood.

I’ve taken other pain medications. A whole bunch that I either didn’t tolerate in some fashion or simply didn’t work as well as the opioids. Do I want to take opioids? Not especially. I take a lot of medication. I often worry about the effect these medicines are having on my liver. After taking them for nearly 4yrs., I also know their effectiveness is beginning to wane. They are just not doing what they used to which leaves me in pain again, more often than when I first began taking them. This, of course, makes me wonder what next? What drug will they eventually try that will also wane too after a few years? But the flip side, the person still dwelling within me who wants to experience as much life as I possibly can and enjoy it without being in crippling pain, doesn’t care. Whatever the next opioid may be, I will try it because to not take these drugs means to give up and die. I’m not ready yet. Sorry.

Which brings me to this opioid war. I get it. I get that people have lost loved ones and I understand how tragic and senseless it is. What I do not understand and what I read and hear time, and time again, is how opioids should be abolished. But which opioids exactly? This is the blurry line which is affecting all pain patients and which angers me. For example this quote from CBS News: “Approximately three-fourths of all drug overdose deaths are now caused by opioids — a class of drugs that includes prescription painkillers as well as heroin and potent synthetic versions like fentanyl.” [https://www.cbsnews.com/news/opioids-drug-overdose-killed-more-americans-last-year-than-the-vietnam-war/] You see information like this and the average reader is only seeing the first part: three-fourths of all drug overdose deaths are being caused by opioids. Lost in this message is the latter part, explaining that these drugs include prescriptions, heroin and synthetic versions like fentanyl. Neither do you hear things like: Synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, are the main driver of drug overdose deaths, making up more than 28,000 of opioid-related deaths in 2017.” And then even less are you hearing this: “Opioid prescribing has also been on the decline since 2010 and the number of prescriptions filled at retail pharmacies is at a 15-year low, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.” [1]

These missing parts are an incredibly important part of the bigger picture. The bigger picture which includes patients who are suffering and needlessly dying because they aren’t receiving adequate pain treatment. We’ve gone from a period back in the 90’s which (and no one argues this), people were being over-prescribed opioids, to a period now, on the opposite of the spectrum, where people are being under-prescribed. Both sides of these extremes have consequences and we are seeing them now, in the preventable deaths of patients who were under-prescribed pain medication. You are hearing about cancer patients being denied morphine, until their final weeks after terrible suffering before their deaths. [2][3]

You are also hearing about post-surgical patients being given only Tylenol for hip replacement surgeries, despite the amount of pain afterwards. I’ve had total left hip replacement and I can’t imagine being able to do the required physical therapy without the opioids I was given, and the unnecessary suffering truly boggles my mind. [4]

I say you are hearing and seeing this information, but the truth of the matter is that you aren’t hearing or seeing about it as much as you should be and because of that, chronic pain patients are suffering out there. People in my community are dying because of the lack of information and the mis-information regarding opioids. Every time I am on social media, I will find articles being discussed about deaths caused by opioids. Just skimming through comments, I will read things like: It’s big pharma’s fault, all they care about is money; There’s a lack of morality within society when kids are dying from opioids and they continue to be doled out; Opioids need to be abolished; There wouldn’t be addicts if the drug was taken away. Comments like these, make my heart sink because of the black and white nature with which this Opioid Hysteria is being viewed. Opioids are not the enemy. Patients who need these drugs are not the addicts (though admittedly, a small percentage from this group do become addicts) and people who need these drugs are dying, because doctors are being criminalized for prescribing them, losing their jobs and making it more and more difficult for pain patients to be treated. The world had gone crazy and those suffering are being made to suffer more.

I am a pain patient. I take opioids and I’m un-apologetic about taking them. I’ll also continue to fight for those who may not be able to themselves, to end the needless deaths and suffering which have become the cost to this ridiculous war waged on opioids.

[1] https://www.superiortelegram.com/news/government-and-politics/4574090-advocate-opioid-crackdown-had-chilling-effect-those-chronic

[2] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-cancer-idUSKCN1PP26X

[3] https://www.bendbulletin.com/localstate/6033839-151/opioid-limits-hit-hospice-cancer-patients

[4] https://www.acsh.org/news/2019/03/13/oral-and-iv-tylenol-work-equally-well-hip-replacement-pain-do-they-work-all-13877


Congress plans on saving 220,000 lives

IU Hospital Photo 2

Young holds Tobacco 21 Press Conference in Lafayette


LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Today, U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) joined doctors and public health officials for a press conference at IU Health Arnett Hospital in Lafayette regarding his new Tobacco to 21 Act. The bipartisan legislation would prohibit the sale of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to anyone under the age of 21.

“With smoking and vaping on the rise, we can no longer ignore tobacco’s detrimental side effects. By raising the smoking age to 21, we can save more than 220,000 lives and prevent countless individuals from suffering the damaging side effects of tobacco usage,” said Senator Young.

Senator Young recently introduced the Tobacco to 21 Act along with Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah). The bipartisan bill has received widespread support by health organizations and advocates, and recent polling shows that 75 percent of Hoosiers support raising the legal age.

The South Bend TribuneFort Wayne Journal Gazette, Terre Haute Tribune-StarIndiana Business Journal, and KPC Newspapers in northeast Indiana have all endorsed the Tobacco to 21 Act. Senator Young also penned an op-ed for CNN and issued a video regarding the need for this legislation.

The Tobacco to 21 Act is supported by the Academic Pediatric Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American College of Preventive Medicine, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Pediatric Society, American Public Health Association, Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations, Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs, Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs, Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, First Focus Campaign for Children, National African-American Tobacco Prevention Network, Pediatric Policy Council, Society for Pediatric Research, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, National Association of County and City Health Officials, and Trust for America’s Health.

who believes that changing the age at which a person can smoke moves up BY THREE YEARS COULD SAVE 220,000 lives.. of course they don’t mention a time frame that this will happen over.  If you consider the typical smoker will do so for 40 yrs … so that would break down to 15 lives a day… there is reportedly 450,000/yr deaths from the use of tobacco. On the positive side, maybe Congress has become “smart enough” to understand that prohibition doesn’t work or maybe they just can’t figure how to replace all the “sin tax money” that comes from tobacco ?  Of course we have 22 veteran that commit suicide EVERY DAY, but not much seems to move forward on trying to address this issue.

None of us really know how many people die from illegal opiate OD’s or commit suicide from lack of proper pain management.. but since abt 40% of Congress is attorneys they continue to treat opiate abuse as a CRIME that the judicial has considered it since 1917.   Isn’t it reassuring that the DOJ is still functioning under a 100+ year old opinion ?

Researchers Are Creating New Vaccine to Target Opioid Addiction

Researchers Are Creating New Vaccine to Target Opioid Addiction


Researchers are working on a promising new vaccine that could aid in the battle against opioid addiction. With the help of a $250,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health, researchers from the University of New Mexico (UNM) are joining forces with a Northern Arizona University (NAU) researcher to create a vaccine that would block opioids from acting in the brain. Such a vaccine could potentially help those with opioid use disorder overcome their addiction, according to a statement from the UNM Health Sciences.

The vaccine would operate similar to HPV vaccines in that it would trigger a patient’s own immune system to create antibodies that would fight against opioids consumed by a user.

 “The main concept of this vaccine is to treat individuals who are suffering from opioid addiction,” NAU researcher Naomi Lee, PhD, told Arizona public radio station KNAU. “It’s to trick your body into thinking that it’s a foreign or bad molecule, and create antibodies, which is essentially what we do with our current vaccines, and then protect your body against those opioids.”

By blocking opioids from reaching the brain blood barrier, it would prevent the expected high of a drug.

Kathryn Frietze, PhD, an assistant professor in UNM’s Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, said the vaccine will operate by attaching molecules of different opioid drugs to the protein shell of a virus-like particle ( VLP), that has its genome removed leaving only the outer protein shell.

Frietze said researchers hope that by using this VLP protein shell the particles will not be able to reproduce but will be able to trigger the immune system to attack the invader and create antibodies.

A similar process has been used before to trigger immune responses by attaching opioids to proteins like tetanus toxoid. The, challenge has been that it often requires multiple injections and isn’t a long-lasting solution, the release states.

Researchers, including Bryce Chackerian, PhD, are hopeful their new process may offer more long-lasting results and are currently testing the speed, strength, and duration of the immune response in mice. The hope is that VLPs will produce a fast, high titer, and more long-lasting antibody response to opioids.

“We believe that these are features that are likely required for effective vaccine-based treatment for opioid use disorder,” Lee, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at NAU said in a statement produced by NAU.

If the vaccine is ultimately found to be effective, Frietze says it “would not be a standalone treatment” and would likely be used along with other treatment options, but it could play a valuable role in fighting the opioid epidemic.

According to data from the CDC, opioids were involved in 47,600 deaths in 2017 and represent the largest segment of overdose deaths.

Let’s just imagine that they are successful in creating a anti-opiate addiction vaccine. Could we reach a point where anyone ODing on a opiate be forced by our judicial system to receive this vaccination ?  After all in 1917 the judicial system declared that opiate addiction was a CRIME and not a DISEASE and Congress in 1970 gave the judicial system the charge of fighting the war on drugs with the Controlled Substance Act.  Since only prisoners are covered by the 8th Amendment of “cruel and unusual punishment” … could prisoner be free to reject being given the vaccination ?

Then you have someone who has received this vaccination and at some point in time requires surgery, in a vehicle accident or other such causes of acute or ending up in chronic pain..  Some meds used in surgery are or related to opiates..  will these people be forced to undergo surgery via a local anesthesia and not be able to have any pain management post surgery – or – if the pt evolves into chronic pain … little/no pain management – EVER ?

Talk about your unintended consequences !

Veteran totally off hydrocodone.


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