But to deny (opioids to) people in pain because there’s an addiction problem is cruel and wrongheaded

Andrew Kolodny, executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, is frustrated that efforts to better control opioid prescriptions are being delayed.

Andrew Kolodny, executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, is frustrated that efforts to better control opioid prescriptions are being delayed and interfering with his Addiction Recovery Centers from generating profits ?

CDC’s proposed guidelines on opioids create uproar


Guidelines advising doctors on how and when to prescribe opioid pain pills have proved useful in limiting their use. But who should be issuing that advice, and what it should say, has turned into an acrimonious debate, with a Kansas City patient advocate playing a leading role.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which views the widespread use of opioids as a public health threat, recently proposed guidelines of its own. What the CDC called for stirred an uproar among pain treatment advocates and medical organizations.

They complained that the CDC rushed its proposals through, relying heavily on opioid critics, such as members of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, while ignoring pain patients and doctors with other viewpoints.

The proposals were so restrictive, they said, that many chronic-pain patients would no longer be able to get the dosages they need.

Instead of releasing finalized guidelines in January, as planned, the CDC has sought further comment.

The delay frustrates Andrew Kolodny, executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing. One person he singled out for her role in blocking the guidelines is Myra Christopher, a founder of the Kansas City-based Center for Practical Bioethics.

Although not a physician, Christopher is a recognized authority on pain treatment and an outspoken advocate of people in chronic pain.

But as The Star reported in 2012, her bioethics center received more than $1.5 million from Purdue Pharma that was used to endow a chair in pain and palliative care that she now holds. Purdue makes the opioid OxyContin.

 The bioethics center is among seven nonprofit organizations investigated by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee for their ties to opioid manufacturers.

Kolodny called Christopher “one of the most prominent spokesmen of the opioid lobby.”

Christopher is unapologetic about her advocacy.

“I’ve been labeled everything in the universe, but it doesn’t matter to me,” she said. “I’m not financially motivated. … What I care about is that we make decisions based on good data and that we don’t harm populations that have nothing to do with this problem.”

Kolodny, she said, “is a true believer. I have a lot of respect for Andrew Kolodny. He’s just wrong.

 “I know of many, many chronic-pain patients who are dependent on opioids but who aren’t addicted.”

Taking on the CDC is important because doctors, hospitals and insurance companies probably will adopt whatever it recommends, Christopher said.

She said guidelines should be coming from professional organizations such as the American Medical Association, rather than from a government agency.

Many health care organizations and medical societies have been offering such guidance, often recommending that non-addicting drugs and other pain therapies be tried before opioids.

Before Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia established guidelines for prescribing to emergency room patients with certain minor pain complaints, 52.7 percent were receiving opioids. After the guidelines went into effect: 29.8 percent.

Christopher took no issue with opioid critics who say the drugs have been overused and misused.

“We have done a really lousy job of using these medications,” she said. Opioids are effective for only about half the patients who receive them; pain management should include other kinds of care, such as counseling, chiropractic, acupuncture, she said.

“I don’t want to sound like I’m pushing opioids. I’m not,” she said. “But to deny (opioids to) people in pain because there’s an addiction problem is cruel and wrongheaded.”

13 Responses

  1. As a disabled Vietnam Veteran I have been pushing Veterans who are complaining to flood the Chairman of the Senate and the House Veterans Affairs Committee to either stop this needless hounding of Veterans who sacrificed for this Country. The reason Veteran suicides and illegal drug activity has gone up is because the VA tells us “It’s the Law now.” when all along the CDC said “It was just a suggestion.” Now the Obama Administration is seriously coming down on his own Party and spineless Republicans to pass a real bill via knee jerk reaction.
    I’ve had 3 surgical procedures while I was on my full dose since 2001 and I’m still alive. When the VA allowed me to take Harvoni I was walking 2 miles daily with the help of Synvisc shots. Now that I’m down to a shadow of what I was taking I’m bed ridden. Now I’m treated as a “drug seeker” for showing resistance to what kept me going since 2001. This is turning out to be a self fulfilling prophecy for the Administration and a Congress who see’s that it’s easier to go against law abiding citizens then against criminals who sell to those who can no longer get their drugs legally.
    I haven’t had such a “welcome home” since I returned from Vietnam.

  2. Kolodny was a HEROIN ADDICT. He was never a chronic painer. To project his shitty shortcommings on to the truly sick and hurting is at the very least a sign of some sort of ego/denial/mental health issue.

  3. Ok, so my wife was denied pain meds at the ER from a severe dog bite and twenty minute attacked, as bruised all over and internal bleeding!!/She was also written up as, anxiety. Heck, she was handling it like a man. Judged after a stray, pit bull attack???/

    • Rob, my heart goes out to both of you- I know what animal bites can feel like. there is no excuse…….

      • Rob, so sorry to hear that. I was bit by a dog at age 2 so I’m a little leary of some dogs to this day. If the progressive left has their way, they’ll be after your firearms next if you own any because now your wife has an anxiety diagnosis and can be deemed unfit to own one as well as undeserving of pain meds. Yep, sounds like we will soon be back to the days of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars when one was given a bottle of whiskey to swig down prior to the operation and pass out and hope one still had all their limbs when they sobered up after the operation was over….why would we need any doctors who have anything dealing with pain management, anesthesia, rheumatology, oncology, etc anymore because if PROP has their way all opioids will be removed off the market as dangerous drugs…everyone goes back to alcohol…yes I’m being sarcastic….but I am sick and tired of PROP and their follower’s rhetoric…it’s barbaric and disgusting….We need louder pushback. ROB….I sure would be filing a compliant with that hospital on standards of care…that was barbaric and uncalled for including the diagnosis of anxiety…I’d also be demamding for that to be removed from her records!!! Who the heck wouldn’t be anxious after a pit bull attack??? Prayers she won’t have to undergo a rabies prevention series

        • I was bit @ age 13 by a K9 in 2 places. he was running loose and SHAFT a ( german shep) was MY friend- I caught him outside my house and asked a GF to get his owner-well they owner was PISSED at shaft-he had a horse lead 1/2 leather 1/2 chain- so when he came for the dog he was giggling tha chain- so shaft turned his head bit me in the pec and bicept then took off. i dont blame the dog- I was holding him loosely around his neck- wrong on my part.WEAPONS gov will not take my weapons- BS on that- I’ll vacu seal them and stash them in the river if i have to- ha !! imagine that

  4. A lot of people in the chronic pain community are trying to make sense out of what is going on with the new guidelines, it’s leaving a lot of people worried if they too will be accused of being druggies. These people depend on pain meds to help them function on a daily basis, instead of cracking down…why don’t they push for more funding for research to give people hope and lives back.

    • Please tell the people you know that is in chronic pain to ADVOCATE! this has been going on for some time- and sooner than later EVERYONE in chronic pain and their caregivers will lose IF you don’t speak up ! have them get knowledgeable before its too late. for some it is already to late for- god rest their souls- R.I.P. Don’t think it can’t happen to you 🙁

  5. I don’t know if this happened in response to this & all other attempts to seemingly prevent pain pts. Getting the pain relief they need or not but in Feb. I got a letter from my insurance co One that I’ve always been grateful I’ve had. The letter said that they had raised the price they were charging for the pain med I’ve taken( at the same dose) for several years. They raised it in Jan. But filled it in Feb at the old price. It didn’t say how much it went up. I called the ins.co, the price went up from $54/month for 1 3 times a day to $200. That is out of the question! I’ve spent a week with my Dr. Figuring out what to try. Trying Fentynal patches when they get here (mail order). I didn’t want to change do they are?

  6. 1) All deaths declared caused by opiates need to be broken down by type…prescription or illegal and include presence of alcohol and whether or not the levels were within therapeutic ranges, esepcially the prescriptions, then a determination can be made that the person either died due to mixing with alcohol and or illegal drugs because he was either an addict or the pain was not being treated properly

    2) Most owners of rehab centers at one time or another were addicts themselves as well as those who speak so LOUDLY against substances such as opiates, alcohol, any illegal drugs, any addictive behaviors…I say PROP members be asked under oath what addictive behaviors they suffer from to make them act like the Temperance Unions of of Prohibition years…they seem so damned set on getting rid of any substances of any kind off the planet, if they had it their way, we would be back to doing operations WITHOUT anesthesia…Barbaric is what I think of these people

    3) No matter what they do, they will NEVER EVER get rid of addiction, we actually had a legislator in our state government that felt if our DUI level was dropped from .08 to .05 it would get drunk drivers off the road because he lost his son to a drunk driver….he doesn’t understand the majority of drunk drivers are way above the .08 level and had numerous DUIs on their records, this legal limit thing doesnt stop the drunk driver So maybe at the OTB and the horse tracks we should put a limit on the number of bets a person can place or somehow figure out how to set limits on other behavioral addictions..Anyone with that gets off on an adrenaline rush should be consider as having a type of addictive personality and get treated.(that goes for EMTS, ER docs, Exrtreme sports people, fireman, policeman, etc) That should do away with all addictions according to their way of thinking. The way they talk, an adrenaline rush is a type of addiction right???

    The CPP community and advocates need to keep up the pushback and be louder that PROP and their supporters. They need to take their cues from the AIDS activists and breast cancer acitivists because those groups would not have gotten their treatments without being the extremely sqeaky wheels and heard. Take it from WWE wrestler John Cena “NEVER GIVE UP” Just my 2 cents

  7. Kudos to Myra Christopher for her long history of advocating for adequate treatment of chronic pain patients. She is absolutely correct that deprivation of pain treatment from chronic pain patients has no hope whatsoever of stopping drug addiction, heroin use and / or the overdosing of any of these substances.

    Media, politicians, and certain anti-opioid groups have exaggerated the numbers of overdoses and deaths of prescription pain medications by lumping the numbers of heroin and illegitimate use of pain medications with the relatively small number of patients who took prescribed medications correctly for legitimate pain conditions and suffered an adverse result. Calling the total “opioid deaths or overdoses”, readers are not ever certain what’s contained within the statistics being reported. This, of course, gives the impression that legitimate pain patients are dying at an alarming rate.

    The number combining fallicy is so bad, I am not sure I’ve seen the same number twice when reading articles and posts on the subject. These alarming statistics often include combinations of other substances that likely added to the cause of the overdose and/or death such as benzodiazapines, alcohol, or other central nervous system depressants. The information, “This data consists only of legitimate pain patients taking medication prescribed for them at the dose it was prescribed” NEVER appears in any of these reports.

    Without the last sentence, all statistics that are presented by the AntiOpioidLobby should be ignored as fluff, lies or unadulterated fiction. As long as the reader understands this going in, things should become much clearer for everyone.”

    Kim Miller
    US Pain Foundation Ambassador Advocate

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