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Mainstream Media is Finally Reporting Our Side of the Story

Fox News 3 Part Series


This is a three-part series on the nation's struggle to address a crippling opioid crisis, and the unintended victims left in its wake.

By Elizabeth Llorente | Fox News


Part One:


Article:

As doctors taper or end opioid prescriptions, many patients driven to despair, suicide


Video:  

Treating America's Pain: Unintended Victims of the Opioid Crackdown, Part 1 – The Suicides


Dec. 10, 2018 - The national opioid crisis propelled a crackdown on prescription painkillers, causing hundreds of doctors to abruptly reduce or completely cut off their patients’ prescriptions, leaving many among the estimated 20 million Americans who suffer from daily debilitating chronic pain to consider suicide. This is the story of the overlooked victims of America's opioid epidemic.


Part Two:


Article:

Doctors caught between struggling opioid patients and crackdown on prescriptions


Video:

Treating America’s Pain: Unintended Victims of the Opioid Crackdown, Part 2 – The Doctors


Dec. 11, 2018 - As federal and state agencies respond to the staggering rate of drug overdose deaths -- primarily involving illegal opioids like heroin and illicit fentanyl -- doctors who maintain they are responsibly prescribing opioids are getting caught up in the crackdown. This is their side of the story to the opioid crisis and how it has impacted -- and for some -- ruined their lives.


Part Three: 


Article:

Health experts offer solutions for unintended consequences of opioid crackdown


Video: 

Treating America’s Pain: Unintended Victims of the Opioid Crackdown, Part 3 – The Solutions


Dec. 12, 2018 - The government has addressed the overdose epidemic with an aggressive focus on reducing prescribing practices, which has unintentionally led many doctors to cut down or cut off their patients’ pain medications altogether. This tactic has left many chronic pain sufferers undertreated, with some even contemplating taking their own life. Fox News spoke with numerous doctors, specialists and scholars to find out what the next steps should be to address these unintended consequences.




CNN REPORT: Fentanyl is the deadliest drug in America, CDC confirms


Fentanyl is the deadliest drug in America, CDC confirms



Fentanyl is now the most commonly used drug involved in drug overdoses, according to a new government report. The latest numbers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics say that the rate of drug overdoses involving the synthetic opioid skyrocketed by about 113% each year from 2013 through 2016.

The AMA is Finally on Our Side

Urgent News

At its 2018 interim meeting in Maryland, the AMA House of Delegates adopted a series of resolutions that recognize the mistreatment of pain patients and call for restraint in implementing the CDC guideline – particularly as it applies to the agency’s maximum recommended dose of 90mg MME (morphine milligram equivalent units).

1. RESOLVED that our AMA affirms that some patients with acute or chronic pain can benefit from taking opioids at greater dosages than recommended by the CDC Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for chronic pain and that such care may be medically necessary and appropriate.

2. RESOLVED that AMA advocate against the misapplication of the CDC Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids by pharmacists, health insurers, pharmacy benefit managers, legislatures, and governmental and private regulatory bodies in ways that prevent or limit access to opioid analgesia

3. RESOLVED that our AMA advocate that no entity should use MME (morphine milligram equivalents) thresholds as anything more than guidance, and physicians should not be subject to professional discipline, loss of board certification, loss of clinical privileges, criminal prosecution, civil liability, or other penalties or practice limitations solely for prescribing opioids at a quantitative level above the MME thresholds found in the CDC Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids.


Links To Articles: 

AMA’s 2018 INTERIM MEETING HIGHLIGHTS 

AMA: ‘Inappropriate Use’ of CDC Guideline Should Stop

AMA Delegates Back Physician Freedom in Opioid Prescribing
CDC guidelines are well-intentioned but shouldn't restrict prescribing, they say

President Trump signs SUPPORT ACT into Law

The sweeping Opioid Legislation package known as HR6 (SUPPORT FOR PATIENTS AND COMMUNITIES ACT) was signed by President Trump on October 24th.    Several guests affected by the Opioid Overdose Crisis  were in attendance at the White House to witness the  signing ceremony. 

DEA War-on-Drugs ‘Failure’

Crackdown on Opioid Prescriptions Called Another War-on-Drugs ‘Failure’

The federal crackdown on opioid prescriptions has led to needless deaths and threatens to exacerbate an epidemic that continues to kill thousands of Americans, warns an Arizona physician.


Comparing government efforts to limit the supply of opioids or opioid prescriptions to what he calls the “failure” of the war on drugs, Dr. Jeffrey A. Singer says the policy “only serves to drive non-medical users to heroin, with increasing numbers of non-medical users initiating their opioid abuse with that substance.”


Singer, in a policy analysis written for the right-of-center Cato Institute, calls instead for policies that emphasize “harm reduction” rather than prohibition.


“Drug prohibition has proved a failure,” he wrote. 


“People are dying largely because of drug prohibition.”


He called for policymakers to implement public health options aimed at helping substance-abusers wean themselves from dependence on drugs.


The options include medication-assisted treatment, needle-exchange programs, safe injection sites, heroin-assisted treatment, deregulation of naloxone, and even the decriminalization of marijuana—all of which he said have produced positive outcomes for substance-abusers.


“Though critics have dismissed these strategies as surrendering to addiction, jurisdictions that have attempted them have found they significantly reduce overdose deaths, the spread of infectious diseases, and even the non-medical use of dangerous drugs,” wrote Dr. Singer.


The alternative approach, largely spearheaded by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), not only undermines the legitimate use of opioid analgesics but leads “many physicians to practice in fear,” he wrote.


“Worse, it may be driving desperate pain patients to the illegal market, with all the risks that entails.”


See also: “Are Pain Doctors Wrongly Taking the Blame for the Opioid Crisis?”


Although there have been indications that the opioid epidemic has begun to wane, Dr. Singer noted that preliminary figures released in August show the opioid overdose rate increasing in 2017—mainly as a result of a 37 percent increase in deaths involving fentanyl.


Overdoses in 2017 from prescription drugs actually dropped 2 percent and overdoses from heroin dropped 4 percent over that period. But the reduced availability of common prescription drugs like hydrocodone and oxycodone has been driving up the use of heroin.


In 2015, more than 33 percent of heroin addicts entering treatment initiated their non-medical opioid use with heroin, up from 8.7 percent in 2005, according to figures cited by Dr. Singer.


Dr. Singer, a Cato Institute research fellow, is the principal and founder of Valley Surgical Clinics, Ltd., the largest and oldest group private surgical practice in Arizona. 


According to his biography, he served as treasurer of the US Health Freedom Coalition, which lobbies against what it calls “restrictive health practices.”



Most attention on the opioid crisis has focused on its impact on Americans in the U.S. heartland.  


But a Washington Post investigation says opioid overdoses have been responsible for a wave of deaths among African-Americans in the nation’s capital, in a development it says is largely ignored by local DC officials.



Cato Institute

Harm Reduction: Shifting from a War on Drugs to a War on Drug-Related Deaths


By Jeffrey A. Singer December 13, 2018


The U.S. government’s current strategy of trying to restrict the supply of opioids for nonmedical uses is not working. While government efforts to reduce the supply of opioids for nonmedical use have reduced the volume of both legally manufactured prescription opioids and opioid prescriptions, deaths from opioid overdoses are nevertheless accelerating. Research shows the increase is due in part to substitution of illegal heroin for now harder-to-get prescription opioids. Attempting to reduce overdose deaths by doubling down on this approach will not produce better results.


Policymakers can reduce overdose deaths and other harms stemming from nonmedical use of opioids and other dangerous drugs by switching to a policy of “harm reduction” strategies. Harm reduction has a success record that prohibition cannot match. It involves a range of public health options. These strategies would include medication-assisted treatment, needle-exchange programs, safe injection sites, heroin-assisted treatment, deregulation of naloxone, and the decriminalization of marijuana. Though critics have dismissed these strategies as surrendering to addiction, jurisdictions that have attempted them have found they significantly reduce overdose deaths, the spread of infectious diseases, and even the nonmedical use of dangerous drugs.



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