The opioid pain crisis is in a backlash as doctors and prescribers cut to zero. Suddenly, Trump is to blame. Legitimate patients are in agony, some committing suicide, and the medical community is silent. What the heck just happened?
In 2016, when Obama was still in office, he was called to find a solution to the advancing rate of illegal opioid use and curb the drug overdosing mania. At Obama’s counsel, the CDC issued what they termed as a proposal, or a guideline to restrict prescriptions that had become commonplace for the unnecessary treatment of patients. While the CDC says this was a proposal and never a law or regulation, the medical industry caved and felt their personal licensing risk meant – all or nothing. Many simply shut down the window.
But that isn’t what the CMS has proposed for Medicare and Medicaid at all. They have implemented the following: 1. Imposed a restricted 7 day only prescription for a patient’s ‘first’ prescription thereby requiring the doctor to have a follow-up with the patient to see if continuation of opioids is medically necessary. 2. Certain chronic conditions are exempt. 3. If your plan determines you are getting multiple drugs from different pharmacies and doctors, the plan has the right to verify with the doctors that they approve.
The purpose is not to eliminate opioids, it is to eliminate the catastrophic crisis of illegal use that kills thousands each year. Between 2013 and 2017, the overdose death rates among opioid users increased from roughly 20,000 to over 49,000 per year. In 2017 the total number of drug overdose deaths rose to 72,000.
Last time I was hospitalized, they refused to allow me to leave without taking an oral opioid and a prescription to fill. I can’t take them, nor did I want to take them, but given the hospital ‘policy’, I was required to have my doctor and the hospital administration waive the requirement in order to effectuate my discharge. The ‘red tape’ was ridiculous to NOT have to take opioids.
I have witnessed an illegal addict cold turkey his addiction. I have watched as a good friend became addicted thinking it would never happen to her.
But the pill popping crisis in the US is not just about opioids, it is about a quick fix. It is psychological. I am reminded of Gracie Slick of the Jefferson Airplane; one pill to make you taller…go ask Alice…” Twenty five percent of American women are on an antidepressant. 17% on antibiotics, and 13% on Opioids. In 1999, 40% of Americans took some medication, in 2017, 70% were taking medications. 80% of the global opioid supply is consumed in the US. Of those who take prescription drugs, 53% get them from more than one provider. In 2014, 1.3 million people required emergency care for a medical issue related to prescription drug use. The US ranks #1 in the world for annual drug related deaths per 1million population, followed by Estonia, Norway, Ireland and Sweden. Those ARE the statistics!
The medical industry certainly needs to take the lion’s share of the blame. After all it is a “Prescription”! Pills are largely a band-aide, while some patients have no alternative, others have become the unwitting victim of an industry that has lost sight of the word ‘cure’.
When my oncologist was telling me the medication he was prescribing, I asked what were the side effects. He laughed, thought it was funny, and told me not to worry they had pills for side effects and more pills to combat the side effects from the medications that were curing the side effects. When I asked where does it end? He thought that was funny too, “some of my patients take 13 to 15 pills a day just to find the right balance to medicate the side effects” of the initial pill that was supposed to cure you but has since proven to be largely ineffective. ARGHHH –
But that is the mentality the rules are attempting to dissuade. If the doctor refuses to prescribe at all, sue the doctor because they are under an obligation to prescribe according to each individual need and there is no law that states a person in need of opioids will get – none.
The pharma industry requires a certain consistent number of patient/victims to buy their drugs in order for them to produce them profitably. Opioids simply became the dejeurre drug to cure all that ails their pocket book and then some. While Trump signed a ban on gag pricing by pharmacists on drugs October of this year, Democrats were in opposition. Each of these Democrats received significant funding from the pharma industry, including Cory Booker. NO agenda there…
If you look at it from a taxpayer standpoint: The pharma industry that is virtually supported by US taxpayers, like the UN, over-charges the same US taxpayers for drugs, and spickets an advertising and political contribution campaign aligned with – higher US taxpayer funding and Democrat candidates willing to sell their souls. We are funding the same pharma industry that gouges us more than any other nation. Like – the – UN. At the same time, the same pharma industry is using our money to pay off Democrat politicians to gouge us further while lining their pockets.
And no one peeps.
Bottom line. If someone is not receiving their opioid prescription because their doctor is balking, that has nothing to do with any law or regulation, and has a lot to do with a corrupt doctor fearful for themselves without compassion for their patient.