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Addiction: The FDA and OxyContin
In this newsletter we publish articles about topics that we believe will interest our readers and articles that educate and enlighten. Larry Golbom is a good friend and is the host of the Prescription Addiction Radio Show which airs in the Tampa Bay market on WGUL 860 AM every Sunday night at 9:00 pm. He has written an excellent article that appeared on US Recall News. With Larry’s kind permission, here is the article.
FDA: Please Stop Oxycontin!
By Larry Golbom
In February 2009, the FDA announced that they would begin the process to require Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) to help curtail the misuse of the drugs referred to as opioid pain products. The FDA has been negligent in not responding to the crisis sooner. In response, the companies and organizations that benefit most from the unencumbered distribution of oxycodone, fentanyl, hydromorphone, methadone, morphine, and oxymorphone have started to react.
In my state, Florida has the most detailed public statistics available concerning drug related deaths and 2008 was a banner year for the drug companies. In Florida, the deaths implicated with oxycodone, the active ingredient in OxyContin, increased 25%, fentanyl 19%, and hydrocodone 8%. Heroin displayed a 20% increase, the drug most closely interchangeable with oxycodone.
As the over marketing and over production of the addictive narcotics continues to flood every community in the country, the response from the drug industry is becoming more refined. There was recently a well-organized effort directed at the FDA to continue the status quo on the prescription narcotics and many people in the hospice industry responded. It is interesting that people who help the terminally ill and see the suffering an end of life disease can bring have been led to believe, by an organization partly funded by the drug industry, that the FDA is considering curtailing pain relief to those who are in the most need.
The evolving response by those who claim to be advocates for pain relief is to exploit those in our society who need the most compassion and caring. A rational discussion to curtail addiction and death must include professionals who take care of the terminally ill, but not to include representatives who profit from an over proliferation of proven products that have been proven to be dangerous.
My previous writings have been detailed in connecting the increased production of legal narcotics under the guise of pain relief. The mantra that “millions of people in pain are being undertreated” has helped drive the excuse to allow “pain management clinics” to proliferate around the country. With every pain management clinic, more potentially addictive ddrugs will reach our streets. The silence from our medical professionals, public officials, elected officials and medical boards, along with the lack of understanding by the major media, allows the silent and growing epidemic of death and addiction to continue.
The literature defines three basic forms of pain: Terminal, Acute and Chronic.
Terminal pain needs little explanation. An end of life disease may cause excruciating pain prior to death and the World Health Organization addressed this issue over 20 years ago. The literature and health community should be well versed on treating a terminal patient without limitations.
Acute pain is generally thought of as short term. A day surgical procedure, dentist appointment and procedures that require hospitalization all fit into this category. The pain has a limited time frame and intensive narcotic pain therapy, if necessary, is warranted. However, we still have practitioners who don’t understand that 40 to 60 Percocet may be the first step to a world of dependence and/or addiction.
Chronic pain is the form of pain that has become the most susceptible to the exploitation and misunderstanding of “pain therapy“. It has started with the medical establishment forgetting that pain is a symptom and not a disease. Ironically, most of the wisdom in the medical literature concludes that addiction is a disease and we now have thousands of medical practitioners creating a disease from treating a symptom. The disease of addiction has become a growing phenomenon as a result of medical incompetency. We try to avoid cardiac disease, diabetes, HIV, etc., but continue to condone the dispensing of products, with few safeguards that have been linked to creating the disease of addiction.
If an individual cannot stop taking a drug due to suffering adverse consequences from discontinuing the drug, I believe that is addiction. Contrary to my analysis, the “experts” have created the differentiation of addiction, dependence and tolerance. Addiction is a mental instability that creates a craving beyond the scope of rational medical use. Only addicts smash through front windows or point guns at people to get more drugs. Addiction is defined with psychological shortcomings.
Dependence and tolerance are simply outcomes from “rational medical care”. The reality is those who are dependent or tolerant cannot stop taking the drugs without serious physical and mental complications (withdrawal). Whereas addiction is defined as a psychological problem, dependence and tolerance are only defined as physical complications. The latest literature indicates a strong correlation that depression may predispose an individual to being more sensitive to pain. The psychological effects of those consuming the opioids daily is conveniently avoided in the discussion for those defined as tolerant or dependent by the drug companies.
The public is beginning to understand that OxyContin is simply a controlled release form of oxycodone. Oxycodone has been available to medicine for over 60 years and it was Purdue Pharma starting in late 1995 who apparently realized that marketing a product similar to heroin would be highly profitable.
The FDA is well aware of OxyContin’s limitations in the use of medicine, is aware of Purdue’s marketing tactics, and is aware that the question of the risks exceeding the rewards for the use of OxyContin is long overdue for review. The comments from independent sources are bringing the long term use of opioids for chronic pain into serious question. Betts Tully, a “pain patient”, in part, submitted this to the FDA on June 30, 2009:
- “This is not, nor has ever been a complicated issue. The benefits do not outweigh the risks. A medical examiner in 2002 stated that “it does not take a rocket scientist to connect the dots, where OxyContin is concerned, even if poly-drug use is involved, in these deaths. The common element of OxyContin in all these deaths, speaks volumes“.
- “The scientific evidentiary basis for OxyContin, as well as aggressive narcotic prescribing practices for the treatment of moderate pain, is flawed if not outright junk science, designed to drive profits only. Real studies are needed for dangerous products before these drugs and new practices are unleashed on the public.”
- “The claim that severe and chronic pain is or was “undertreated” is unfounded and scientifically inaccurate. Accepted scientific evidence, based on rigorous study has never been conducted.”
The tobacco companies successfully thwarted the legal community for many years. Everyone knew tobacco was dangerous and it has only been recently that the tobacco companies are losing lawsuits to the victims due to the misrepresentation of tobacco. I remain hopeful that the media and legal community will begin to look more closely at the cause of our loved ones being hurt and our communities suffering from the continued growth of the growing distribution of the legal narcotics. Our wait for the FDA to react continues.
Larry’s well-written article exposes Purdue Pharma and the determined effort to convince all of us that “pain” needs to be treated as a symptom with deadly narcotics and not actually cured. If a condition is cured, then there are no more profits and that is all the drug companies seek—not cures but profits.
At Novus Medical Detox Center, we specialize in helping people find a cure to the problems caused by drugs and alcohol. People come to us for a safe and more comfortable:
- OxyContin detox;
- Vicodin detox;
- Oxycodone detox;
- Methadone detox;
- Heroin detox;
- Hydrocodone detox;
- Alcohol detox;
- Paxil and Zoloft detox;
- Detox from other unwanted drugs
Please contact us if we can help someone that you know.
NOTE: This information is provided for general educational purposes only and is not intended to constitute (i) medical advice or counseling, (ii) the practice of medicine, health care diagnosis or treatment, or (iii) the creation of a physician patient or clinical relationship. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem or that this information may be useful to you or others, please consult with your health care provider before applying any information from our articles to your personal situation or to the personal situation of others.
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