A Deadly, Hidden Epidemic Created by an Out of Control Legal System
By Ian MacLeod
February 2, 2009 - 9:27pm ET
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There is a deadly, hidden epidemic happening in America. With millions of victims, it is still not recognized as what it is, though its victims are, over the course of the disease, destroyed by it in almost every way imaginable. It kills people of all ages, both genders, all skin colors, and does it agonizingly slowly, with the victim in agony the entire time. It can take decades of an unrelenting attack that destroys the ability to work, which of course takes away insurance, which causes the victims to lose most of everything else they have ever loved and worked for. Even ordinary human dignity is lost, as the victims cannot groom, clean house (if they aren’t on the street by then), wash clothes, or do much of anything else. They lose the ability to rest, and so they often seem incoherent, which is generally attributed to non-existent drug abuse; most are stigmatized with addiction, in fact, and are treated as the moral degenerates our backwards society assumes such people are, so all credibility is also lost. They often don’t qualify for our anemic social programs, so they are eventually reduced to begging food or shelter from friends and whatever social and church programs are willing to suffer their odious presence – and they are not believed about either the disease, or about being unable to help themselves. The disease alone can destroy not only the victims, but the families of the victims as well. Our veterans, both the older ones and those now returning home from an undeclared, illegal war are being callously watched as they are destroyed, and are otherwise ignored – when they aren’t being mocked or persecuted, or even forced to use medications that are actually known to cause more damage, and sometimes even kill. Still, they use even these in desperation, because the disease has taken over their lives. Even veterans and others who were being treated properly, and might even have been on the road to a permanent cure or were perhaps able to work using the correct treatment, are repeatedly taken off the treatment and returned to suffering and being unable to function – in the name of ”helping” them, no less! People who, indeed, could be returned to work, or could at least be allowed to live out their lives in relative comfort, are not just being made worse, knowingly, deliberately, in direct contravention of every medical ethic, every medical standard of treatment for the disease (what the textbooks say to do), and every legal obligation of doctors and government organizations, but like the lepers of biblical history, they are being classed and treated as moral degenerates and criminals as soon as the symptoms of this disease are recognized. Perhaps the worst thing about it is, effective treatment does exist, it is relatively inexpensive, well-understood and very safe, but is statistically almost never used! Again: often the correct treatment can result in a cure, and generally it isn’t even terribly expensive. So why aren’t these victims being treated? There are several reasons.
First, and perhaps the most difficult to get around, is that the law enforcement agencies of the country, especially the Department of Justice and the DEA, have found that they can attack any or all of these people as well as the doctors who dare treat them as medical science has determined is correct, and they can’t fight back. This means that, with the proper spin given to the press, compassionate treatment and the return to a normal or near-normal life of patients who were being reduced to street people by this disease is either never begun, or is stopped in its tracks. A great many, once they realize that either they will find no treatment or that they will be repeatedly forced to suffer and start over again and again and again often take their own lives from despair or to get away from the pain, and there are at least tens of thousands, but more likely millions of those. Because they die of the damage the disease causes to organs and other systems or of the lacks caused by extreme poverty, those are blamed instead of the disease and they are not counted. Others who die are considered “junkies”, meaning they really aren’t counted at all, as everyone knows that drug abuse kills. The fortunate few survivors who have found compassionate treatment are used as the centers of high-profile drug busts along with their doctors; it looks great in the news and can help bring in literally billions of dollars in funding to law enforcement agencies so they can fight what is actually a manufactured crisis. It is created by the use of lies, bribery, intimidation of innocent victims, by a compliant and complicit mainstream media, by an unconstitutional end-run around the law that makes the accused guilty unless they can prove themselves innocent – and the law is deliberately structured so that such proof is almost impossible. The attacking agency (or agencies) allow evidence that no ordinary court would accept: they permit the use of testimony from known and bribed or threatened criminals, they use PR propaganda in a trial by media wherein they are already convicted simply by virtue of having been accused, and those who might tell the truth are, one way or another, silenced. I seem to remember that this was illegal once. Trying and convicting people in the media used to be illegal too, I’m almost certain; it was and is at least unethical, and we used to have something called freedom of speech, too. Prosecutors routinely misinform juries, or judges disallow exculpatory evidence before the jury ever gets to see it. Prosecuting agencies have the power to freeze or confiscate assets that might pay for a decent defense, and there are a thousand and one other tactics that ordinary citizens simply cannot fight.
In other words, the legal machinery of this country, from the very top on down, is totally out of control. They are no longer concerned with justice, or discovering the truth, protecting the public, going after criminals, or even following the law. Instead, they manufacture criminals out of innocent, unfortunate people who are already being destroyed by this disease process, and the doctors who dare to treat them.
The disease is pain.
I’m sure a lot of people have heard this from a parent, a friend, even from a doctor: “Pain never killed anyone.” That one simple statement is a lie that has caused more suffering and death than any of us know how to even begin to tally. Out of control chronic pain, pain that never goes away, can affect every system in the human body; it can destroy any system in the human body. According to Frank B. Fisher, MD.1., a victim himself of the insane War on Pain Doctors being conducted by the federal government2., “Chronic pain is a progressive disease of the nervous system, caused by failure of the body’s internal pain control systems. The disease is accompanied by changes in the chemical and anatomical makeup of the spinal cord. Chronic pain is a malignancy, in the sense that when it goes untreated, it increases in intensity and spreads to areas that weren’t previously affected, damaging the sufferer’s health and functioning.” He also answers the question, “Why won’t my doctor prescribe enough medicine to control my pain?” with: “He is too scared. As part of the War on Drugs, law enforcement is conducting a witch-hunt against pain doctors who prescribe opioids compassionately. Most physicians won’t risk being targeted by law enforcement, because they have families to support. As a result, chronic pain sufferers have become non-combatant casualties in the war on drugs.”1.
To state again, baldy and without qualification: chronic pain is, in and of itself, a disease. People can no more ignore it or just decide to “learn to live with it” than they could with cancer or any other potentially deadly disease. Also, as with cancer, the longer you leave it untreated, the worse it will become, the more systems in the body it will damage or destroy, and the more likely it will prove deadly. Nevertheless, the federal government chooses to ignore science, which now, thanks to modern diagnostic techniques like PET scans and other tests, can actually watch the brain and nervous system as they function. Medical science now knows a great deal about how chronic pain works, why it becomes chronic, why opiates, of all other medications used to treat it, generally work best and are the safest of available treatments. Scientists now know why the doses used for chronic pain are higher than doses used for acute pain, which is pain that happens when we get injured but that can be expected to heal and go away within a relatively short time. As it turns out, chronic pain and acute pain use different parts of the nervous system, and they act differently on the nerves themselves. Chronic pain actually alters the nerves over time so that if it is left untreated or is under-treated, even if the damage that originally caused the nerves to transmit pain signals is corrected and there is no direct irritation of the nerves by damage, they will continue to transmit pain anyway. Even then, if the pain is treated properly, with the right opiates at the proper dose as the foundation medication, and with adjuvant medications that help in different ways, the pain can be controlled, and often even cured in time. Which opiates and adjuvants are used will depend on the injury, the symptoms of the chronic pain and the reactions of the patient to the medication. Dose amounts and the most effective medications vary extremely widely amongst even patients of the same age, gender and general health who had the same original injury because the human body itself varies a great deal between individuals. The general rule for opioid dosing, according to the World Health Organization, is “The correct dose is the dose that works.” Patients who were terminal have been treated with doses of morphine as high as 35,000 milligrams – that’s 3.5 grams – without adverse results. It is now known that opioids have no “ceiling dose”, no maximum amount that can be prescribed before a patient dies of overdose – if they are prescribed correctly, or in other words, if they are titrated carefully. A morphine dose can be doubled every second or third dose, increasing the dose geometrically. The tolerance to the respiratory depression side-effect of opiates builds that quickly, while the tolerance to the analgesic (pain killing) effect builds much more slowly.
If the pain is treated properly, in time, sometimes the chronic pain may go away. When this happens, all that’s necessary is to titrate the dose down to where the patient can painlessly, without or with minimal withdrawal symptoms that are easily handled, quit taking the opiates and other medications entirely. In fact, such patients often titrate the dose down themselves, sometimes without realizing it; they don’t hurt as much, so they don’t take as much. Withdrawal symptoms are never necessary; withdrawal is used as a punitive action in a society that sees no difference between “addiction” and “physical dependence”, and judges both to be “immoral” and a “sign of a weak-willed person”, the same as it judges the drugs themselves! To allow a patient to go through withdrawals with no help, with no medications to mitigate them is an unethical, unnecessary and harmful, even sometimes deadly, punishment. Chronic pain as a disease has another feature, so to speak, not found in other diseases: it begins as part of a normal bodily process: it’s the alarm system that tells the body it has been damaged, and that something must be done about it. The extent of the damage is generally judged by the “volume”, the intensity, of the pain. The body treats pain as a survival priority signal; if it is ignored, it gets worse. It even spreads to other areas. With any therapy except opioids – because they mimic substances produced by the body itself that are designed to mitigate pain – the brain and nervous system will actually rewire itself to get around the therapy and make certain the pain remains in the forefront of everything, of all priorities! That is why a therapy may work, poorly, or sometimes even fairly well, but only for a short time, and then it becomes less and less effective until it no longer works at all. Doctors almost always take this as a sign of addiction, however; they will often tell the patient that if it worked before, it should work now, so the patient must be lying to get more narcotics. In the disease of pain, the victim always takes the blame, and is assumed to be lying. Opioids themselves cause no organ or system damage whatsoever. They are natural substances that the body also makes for itself, though in some cases it doesn’t make enough, which is when we need to supplement the body’s own supply with exogenous (from outside the body) opiates.
To expound on the idea of a cure mentioned above, Dr. Frank Fischer noted a progression in the treatment of the disease of chronic pain that few others have seen simply because almost no one in this country dares treat pain properly. He found that very often, when he gave a pain patient enough opioid analgesic to function as well as they could, the dose would rise for a time, then reach a plateau and stay leveled off. Then, to his surprise, the patients would begin taking less and less of the opiates on their own! Eventually, some simply quit needing it because they no longer hurt – the nerves “unlearned” to transmit pain without a stimulus. In short, they were cured! Dr. Fischer went to jail for this, however, or rather, for prescribing “too high doses,” which any doctor who had actually studied morphine dosing knew was a myth – one that causes countless people in horrible pain to die that way – in horrible pain. He never got the chance to show that chronic pain could be cured.
Withholding of medication, deliberate under-medication and allowing a patient to suffer unmitigated withdrawals happens with no other disease – only with chronic pain. No other disease is judged to be “immoral”; only chronic pain, even though it is no more the fault of the patient than any other disease is. Quite the contrary – chronic pain usually becomes chronic because it was ignored by the medical community in the first place. If the pain had been treated properly to begin with, in most cases the chances are that it would have faded with time, and if it did not fade entirely, it would generally not have become so bad as to rob a patient of the remainder of his or her life! In other words, chronic pain is an iatrogenic disease for the most part: it is caused by doctors who are ignorant of how to treat pain, or who are afraid of using opioids, so they abandon patients to the pain and all of its consequences! Think about it. Do diabetics get a lecture and refusal to replace a stolen or lost prescription? Does an emergency room doctor say, “You’re only in here to get drugs – get out of my ER, I’m not giving you anything!” to diabetics, or to people with infections? Would it make any sense if they did? Of course not! Yet this happens thousands of times daily in doctors offices, emergency rooms and hospital wards all over the country. In cases of chronic pain where doctors are willing to prescribe opioids, almost always, the patients are given just enough to keep them from screaming, or just enough to allow them to be minimally functional, but almost never are they given enough to allow them to function as well as they can. This, even though the standard of treatment – what the textbooks says is correct – says that the dose should be titrated upward until either the patient reports good pain control, and the return of function matches that report, or until the side-effects are too uncomfortable for the patient for the dose to be raised any further. Then a different opiate might be tried, or a rotation, or adjuvant drugs may be added. Sometimes something as simple as treating the side-effects as symptoms by giving an antiemetic for nausea caused by the opiate, or an antihistamine for the itching, is enough. In general, however, pain patients are given just enough to help very little, and they are expected to take them in this inadequate dose, in effect, choosing to have to stay in the wheelchair or on the crutches permanently, to live in a home that hasn’t been decently cleaned and maybe stinks because it hurts too much to clean it, or choosing to wash only those dirty dishes that are needed right now, for this meal, leaving the rest to grow mold that will be washed off when either someone stops by and helps, or when they are needed for another meal. Unsurprisingly, Dr. Fischer found that most of his patients – back when he was knowingly, deliberately under-dosing them in order to keep himself safe from the paranoid Drug Warriors who have been unconstitutionally regulating the practice of medicine by attacking doctors and patients – chose to take enough to allow them to wash all the dishes, to vacuum the carpet and take out the trash and maybe to socialize just a little bit, and then to run out early and suffer the withdrawals, unless there had been enough left to titrate themselves down somewhat before they ran out completely. They just wanted to live again, preferably not in filth, even if it was only for a little while, even if they suffered for it later!
What a surprise.
This is called “noncompliance”, meaning that the patient refuses to limit himself to the prescribed dose; often it is taken as another sign of addiction as the patient obviously has no control of how much of the medication he takes. Also, because it often puts the patient through withdrawals between prescriptions, it fulfills another part of the usual definition of addiction: he keeps taking the medication despite harm: the withdrawals.
By most doctors these days, this would be called “drug abuse”, and the patient would likely be cut off and refused further opioid treatment for abusing the ones they had been given. They would be labeled, if not addicts, as showing “Drug Seeking Behavior”, or DSB, also called ADRB, or “Aberrant Drug Related Behaviors”,5 which is all really the same thing as being called an addict. It’s usually written into pain contracts that chronic pain patients are forced to sign – if they don’t, they get no effective treatment for the pain at all – stating that they will take the pain pills as the doctor prescribed them, so taking them in doses that actually help enough to allow them to function is a violation of that contract. So is going into an emergency room when they run out too soon, or when, for whatever reason, the pain becomes too great to support without help. Pain patients are not supposed to get opiates from anyone except their Primary Care Physician or their Pain Management Specialist, whichever is the one treating them for the pain and the one they signed the contract with. Almost every pain patient I know, the exceptions being the ones whose pain medication allows them to function well, “abuse” their medications in this way: they choose to function as well as they can, to get up out of the wheelchair for a while, to be able to pick up and hold their small child or grandchild, to clean the filth in the kitchen, to wash their bodies, their clothes, to go shopping without have to find a corner to quietly cry in because they really hurt too much to be doing this because the medication dose is too low – and then to run out of medication and suffer. If they’re going to suffer no matter what they do, they choose to have at least some time in which they have a little bit of a life. Most non-negotiated contracts, which are contracts the patients are told to sign as they are, no changes allowed, or do without treatment, are regarded by pain patients as having been signed under duress. The doctor might as well have a gun to their heads, because without those meds, even if the amount is inadequate, many of them would end up with guns to their heads – in their own hands. It happens, a lot. No one really knows just how much it happens, because usually the authorities assume that it was caused by the patient taking too many pills, too much opiate, and is used as often as not to level a murder charge against a doctor. Otherwise, it’s “just another dead junkie, and everyone knows those drugs can make people do terrible, insane things”. So no one’s counting. Not unless it’s the DEA or the DOJ, and they have another doctor in their sights whose conscience would no longer allow him to knowingly torture his patients.
Opioid medications are drugs made from the juice from the immature seed pods of the Papaver somniferum poppy, or drugs that are derived from drugs made from it, or synthetics with a similar chemical structure that allow them to bind with receptor sites in the nerves in the dorsal horn of the spine where pain signals are mediated and to control those signals in the same way that the natural substances made by the body itself do. These drugs are some of the safest drugs in the modern medical arsenal, with the fewest and least damaging side-effects, unlike the other drugs used to control pain in the absence of opiates, such as NSAIDs like aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen and so on, which kill tens of thousands of people in pain every year. Nonetheless, the more dangerous and less effective drugs are marketed in every mini-mart, drug store and supermarket in the country, but opioids have been so demonized by the federal government with propaganda and scare tactics that even people in terrible pain often refuse to take them for fear of becoming addicts! Even doctors believe the lies all too often, and they are not educated otherwise in medical schools or CME (Continuing Medical Education) courses. Nurses in hospitals will often give post-operative and other patients in pain only a fraction of the opiate medication the doctor prescribed in the mistaken belief that the doctor must have erred in writing the amount, or that he didn’t know what he was doing, so all too often, patients even in hospitals are left to writhe and moan in unnecessary pain!
The truth about addiction is, first, that only a relatively small percentage of addicts cannot manage their own addiction if they have access to their drug of choice. There have been many, many famous high achievers who were addicted to one substance or another, including opioids; the list includes American presidents, authors, poets, scientists and others. The usual definition of addiction today, however, is someone who continues to use a drug even when the drug is causing the person harm. Addiction then, is defined as essentially a psychological pathology – a mental disease process, which as it turns out, it may not be, but that is for another article. Addicts in American society are seen as weak-minded, weak-willed, as people who will do anything to anyone for a “fix”, as people who have a spiritual disease of some sort. They are judged to be a danger to themselves, and to society in general, and they are treated much as lepers once were. Any pain they have, from withdrawals to a broken leg, is seen as a deserved punishment, and they are almost never treated for pain with opiates. Aside from the sheer, inhumane cruelty of this attitude, there’s another difficulty: without treating the disease of pain, it’s difficult to impossible, depending on how much effort is expended by the doctor involved, to tell the difference between a chronic pain patient and an addict, so both are treated as though they are interchangeable, as though they are the same. Pain patients, however, display a behavior that has come to be called “pseudo-addiction”, or false addiction. They display many of the same behaviors as an addict in that they do, of course, go to doctors in an attempt to get prescriptions for the medications that control their pain, and many get angry when they are refused out of hand. Pain patients generally do not rob little old ladies for the money to get their medications, though (if the truth were known, neither do most addicts) – they just suffer, and sometimes they die, either as a result of the pain process, or by their own hands. The uncontrolled addicts who have access to their drug of choice often keep raising the dose until they overdose, whereas a pain patient almost never does, and then it’s generally in desperation to make an inadequate dose more effective, for instance by injecting a pill meant to be taken by mouth. A pain patient may appear poorly groomed, wearing dirty clothes, hair unkempt, poorly fed or unbathed, as may an addict, but the pain patient looks and smells like a slob because grooming hurts too much, costs too much of the limited amount of effort remaining to him or her; washing clothes may well be completely beyond the physical limitations of a pain patient, and so may standing in a shower, or cleaning a tub in which to bathe. Both people may look poorly rested, one because of being drugged, the other because of lack of rest due to uncontrolled pain. The only way to be utterly certain is to treat the pain the patient reports. As for opiates actually turning people into addicts, contrary to what most people believe (thanks to propaganda) it is a very rare thing for people being treated for pain to become addicted.3. Usually, those who appear to have done so were already addicted and had substance abuse problems before the treatment. Even an addict, however, can have pain, and deserves to have that pain treated. It can be done – it simply requires extra care on the part of the treating physician.
From Dr. Fischer again: “The term pseudoaddiction was coined in 1989 to describe chronic pain victims mistakenly diagnosed as suffering from opioid addiction after they were driven, by undertreated pain, to display certain drug-related behaviors. Simply stated, pseudoaddiction is a misdiagnosis that results from undertreatment of chronic pain. When this diagnosis is made, the medical system has erred. Recognition that patients are frequently harmed by misdiagnosis of addiction should prompt an aggressive search for undertreatment of pain. Unfortunately, this usually does not happen. Instead, when a patient displays certain behaviors, he is typically threatened with termination of his treatment, rather than questioned about its effectiveness.”
The vast majority of people who go to see a doctor, in a clinic or at the emergency room, do so because of pain. Pain is an indicator of damage somewhere – it is, to a doctor, a diagnostic tool, and often, the doctor won’t treat it until he knows what’s causing it. It drove U.S. military doctors to distraction during WWII to get patients in from the British, because it was SOP for the Brits to give the wounded who came in tea laced with morphine! The doctors would try to find areas that hurt, and even with shrapnel embedded in a perforated abdomen, the patient felt pretty good – for the moment. Peritonitis was a problem for some time, I understand, what with tea, morphine and bowel contents leaking into the abdominal or peritoneal cavity. Pain patients, though, often come in with medical records: MRIs, operations, CT scans and other proof that they do have and should have pain. Because of an insane war on a class of substances that are among the most powerful tools in a doctors arsenal against the things that destroy his patients, regardless of how much pain a patient is in, chances are that there will be little treatment, and what there is will be woefully inadequate. This society being what it is, minorities are even less likely than a white male of any age to be treated well for pain (they are seen as more likely to be addicts), as are women (male doctors especially, but even female doctors, tend to assume that women are having the modern equivalent of “the vapors” even though women in general are known to have a substantially higher pain tolerance then men).
Our law enforcement agencies, especially of the federal government, have inserted themselves, S.W.A.T. uniforms, automatic weapons and all, into the formerly sacred doctor-patient relationship with devastating consequences for people in pain as well as for innocent bystanders and for doctors.4. Old people immobilized by arthritis or with other debilitating conditions have been handcuffed by zealous cops to their hospital bedrails – which they couldn’t have gotten out of to save their own lives anyway! Patients in clinic waiting rooms, along with their children, even infants, clinic staff and anyone else who happens to be there are held at gunpoint by cops in full S.W.A.T. gear, are often made to lie on the carpet and handcuffed as the raid is conducted. Patient’s confidential files are taken, often scattered or scrambled (so proof of their debilities are not available to take to other doctors when they have to seek treatment elsewhere). Sometimes police gain entry by breaking the doors down – during business hours, when they have to know the doors are open for patients, which is nothing but a terror tactic - and armed and armored cops missing nothing but jackboots and swastikas go pounding through the building, shouting at people, slamming their way into private exam rooms, handcuffing half-dressed patients and in general acting as though they expect someone’s two year old toddler to pull an AK-47 out of her diaper and start blasting away at them. If it sounds insane, well, trust your instinct, here. It is insane. All too often, because if they actually raid a building, they get to keep things they can sell later to add to their budget (and let's be realistic and admit that some just take and keep things they like and want), local police or the DEA break into private homes they think are drug labs or dealer’s homes and kill the innocent occupants – who sometimes perfectly reasonably grab a gun, and even if they never pull the trigger, even if they’re holding the thing by the barrel, it gets them killed. Sometimes bullets that don’t hit anything in that house or apartment pass through the walls and travel until they do hit something – or someone. Much too frequently, the police learn later that they’ve gotten the wrong address, or that the right address was not what they thought it was. They are almost never called to account for the deaths, though, and none have ever been tried for murder, including the ones who killed a ninety-four year old woman with many, many bullets, whose home they had broken into, and then planted drugs on her body! So much for American civil liberties. Certainly, they could wait until the person they are after goes to the store, or out to dinner or something like that, but then they wouldn’t get to raid the house and rob it themselves in the name of “gathering evidence”, like the child’s lawn mowing money one cop stole (at another wrong address).
Supposedly these tactics, and those used in court, are for stopping “drug kingpins” and manufacturers, but the way it works out is that the poor and minorities end up doing huge stretches of time, especially if they happened to have a few pain pills. Anything mixed with the pain medication – like acetaminophen (Tylenol) in oxycodone pills, for instance – is counted as though it were, itself, the opiate, so what might actually be only a few hundred milligrams of drug is counted as though it was several grams, which to lay-people and cops is a huge amount. Also, people who are actually innocent or are simply pain patients have no one to “trade”, to turn over to the police in a plea bargain, for their own freedom because they’re not involved in the drug trade, so as punishment, the prosecutors go after them with everything they can, and there are no deals they can cut to reduce their time. If they know they’re innocent and refuse to plead guilty to at least something, they’re punished for that as well, and can end up with what comes to a life sentence. One mother with a minor habit (she was working a regular job and raising a child quite competently, but had the bad fortune to be black and female)who had been coerced by an undercover cop into procuring a small amount of heroin for the “narc” was treated as a “kingpin” and got sixty some-odd years in prison! Her child will never know her mother. The “drug kingpins” are fairly safe – they have lots of people to trade to police, mostly minor users, but numbers are good too; they look good in the newspapers. Pain patients, minor drug users, minorities who are easy to set up – those spend decades, lifetimes in jail. Entire families are destroyed, people who could be healthy, contributing members of society are instead criminalized, held in prison at taxpayer expense, their children abandoned to foster care or other expedients, and the only ones who profit are the the real drug kingpins, the private prison industry, and the cops, who now have another excuse, a bit of “proof” of need for more funding.
The Founders could and would have told us that a law or a right that can be set aside to if necessary in order to carry out and agenda isn't a law or a right at all - it's a suggestion, a gift from someone that can be taken back on a whim, and will be. Either we are a Republic under the Rule of Law, or we are a dictatorship, clandestine or open, and we have no rights and no laws. It's obvious which this current government believes.
It should be noted, at least, that it is the very illegality of drugs, which people have always used and always will, legal or not, that makes illegal drugs so expensive, and so dangerous to procure. It creates a wealthy, and sometimes super-wealthy, group of international and local dealers who will gain their product, and who will get it to buyers, no matter who they have to kill to do it. That also creates cops who will kill to stop them, and sometimes cops kill innocent people caught in the crossfire. When was the last time you heard of people being killed because of an alcohol deal going wrong, or of someone being shot by accident while police were interdicting an illegal alcohol shipment? A doctor, thirty years ago, could buy an ounce of cocaine for $50; on the street it ran around $2,400. That is money to kill for, and people did, and do. So do cops. We swore when Prohibition ended that we had learned our lesson, that that prohibition doesn’t work, can never work. Now here we are again, almost a century later, with billions of dollars and uncounted, probably uncountable numbers of lives, all wasted, for something that we know cannot work!
Untreated pain damages the immune system, the nervous system, causes people to become sedentary to avoid exacerbating the pain, and by constantly flooding the body with stress hormones year after year and damaging the hormonal balance can cause heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid and other problems – the list seems almost endless. Between destroying doctors who had too much compassion to abuse their patients and doctors too afraid or too ignorant to do anything else, patients who could have returned to work instead of becoming dependent on the inadequate pay of Social Security or other disability, the children who are without parents because they are doing time for having a small amounts of a substance that would have actually harmed no one and often as not weren’t even illegal, pain patients of all ages from early childhood on, from all walks of life, in hospitals, killing themselves trying to keep working or because they no longer can, homeless because they couldn’t work any longer and qualified for no help of any kind, or who are just plain killing themselves because there is no other answer for the pain, the War On Drugs, which has morphed into a War On Just About Anyone and Everyone, has got to be stopped, somehow. Our pro-corporate, take-the-easy-platform and look-tough-on-drugs politicians, our cops who see drugs, legal or not, and see criminals even if they have to make them into criminals, our prosecutors who will lie, bribe, threaten or do anything else, legal or not and nevermind morals or ethics so long as they get a high-profile conviction, so long as they win, must stop and begin to think! There are tens of millions of people in pain who are not being treated, and they will cost the taxpayer untold amounts of money either as repeat ER patients, as unemployable disabled, as homeless people who could contribute but for the lack of a few thousandths of the weight of a penny of medication a day, or as prisoners, and that is still not counting the human cost in needless, life-destroying suffering. With over two million of our own citizens in prison and over seven million entangled in an overworked, underpaid and poorly run parole system geared toward putting people back in jail, and people otherwise entangled in our broken legal system, we have more than any other country on earth and a higher percentage of our own population in prisons, disenfranchised, and who have otherwise had their lives and their families destroyed, simply taken away, because our so-called “representative government” represents no one but themselves and the corporations who own them. Absolutely no one else is benefiting.
I have a few last questions: As my brother put it, it’s illegal and cruel to feed an animal just enough to keep it alive, but not enough for it to thrive. So why doesn’t the same thing apply to human beings? My last question is, when those who are supposed to enforce the law have to twist it, tie it into interpretive knots that no one would recognize and actually break the law in order to imprison people who are clearly only trying to stay alive and avoid needless suffering and dependency, who desperately want to contribute – than who are the criminals now? And why are they still wearing badges or occupying offices of privilege? Why are criminals running not only medicine, but the law itself, and being permitted to arrest law-abiding citizens who are following the law? How did criminals get control, and why are they permitted to keep it??
Here are a couple of statements that represent the quintessential attitude toward chronic pain patients, all ordinary people who don't sell their drugs and who could be productive, useful citizens - except for the fanatics prosecuting anyone at all who use opiates for anything, even for the pain relief they are supposedly for:
"I would rather have you kill yourself because of the pain rather than have making you an addict laid at my doorstep". Made by a doctor to me when I asked why he wouldn't treat me correctly.
"Opiates are addictive; they will inevitably turn you into an addict, and then I will be responsible for the deaths of anyone you kill to get the drug after it takes over." Made by another doctor.
"If you start using opiates now, if you ever end up with cancer and really need them, they won't work any more." Another doctor; this is totally untrue, as was the statement above.
"Pain doesn't kill, but narcotics do. You can learn to live with it; you're just lazy and a coward." All also untrue.
"You're just saying all the NSAIDs and other drugs don't work so you can get narcotics, and I won't do it. I won't pander to an addict. Get out of my office"
That has been my life for twenty-three years. Until recently I never considered suicide; I can't say the same about homicide, though, and one day that might precede my suicide when life with this kind of pain is simply no longer worth the suffering and abuse. And I am far from being the only one.
And the lies and the pain and the destruction and the waste and the deaths never seem to stop.
February 10th, 2008
Updated April 26th, 2008
With thanks to Dr. Alex DeLuca for gathering the references for this and other articles all in one place for lazy writers - or researchers - like myself, and for writing a great many of them when they didn't exist but should have. Any errors in the article are, of course, my own. I can, however, attribute at least some to the fact that I am in pain and poorly rested due to inadequate treatment, and in withdrawals because my doctor does not understand chronic pain and insists on treating my chronic pain as though it is acute pain - with too low a dose and too few pills, which he will not refill until the requisite 30 days are up no matter my condition, so I choose to function as well as I can until they run out instead of being non-functional on a dose below the threshold of usefulness all the time.
1. “Chronic Pain and Opioids - Debunking the Myths”, by Frank B. Fisher, MD,
http://www.doctordeluca.com/Library/WOD … Fisher.htm
2. From Dr. Alexander DeLuca’s, “Dr. Frank Fisher Announces Opening of Eel Valley Rural Health Clinic”; Alex DeLuca; War on Doctors/Pain Crisis blog of the Pain Relief Network; 2007-07-22. : Dr. Fisher last practiced medicine some eight years ago. In the interval he has been criminally prosecuted for murder, civilly sued for wrongful death, and administratively prosecuted by the State of California medical board and stripped of his licenses to practice and prescribe. “I call it triple jeopardy. That’s why doctors won’t treat chronic pain”. - Dr. Frank Fisher.
(http://doctordeluca.com/wordpress/index … /174/#fn:1 ) All of this because he presumed to treat poor people to the medical standard of care for chronic pain, which is opioid titration to analgesic effect or to untreatable side-effect. Dr. Fisher’s case (http://www.doctordeluca.com/Library/WOD … rIndex.htm ) is one of the most famous in the modern war on doctors, and has been the subject of much journalism and academic writing, and advocacy discussion.
3. In 1981, Medina and Diamond reviewed their experience with 2,369 patients treated in the 1970’s at the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago for a NIDA Research Monograph: only two of 2,369 patients showed signs of psychological dependence (addiction) consequent to their receiving opioid or other pharmacotherapy.
(• Medina JL, Diamond S. Drug dependency in patients with chronic headaches. Headache; 17(1):12-14;1977
• Medina JL, Diamond S. A headache clinic’s experience: Diamond Headache Clinic, Ltd. NIDA Res Monogr; 36:130-136; 1981) NOTE FROM IAN: There are many more studies, but the results are all pretty much the same (unless they were done by the US government), and I see little use in crowding an already overlong article with more of the same.
Substance Abuse Disorders in Primary Care Chronic Opioid Therapy - http://www.doctordeluca.com/Library/Pai … idRx07.htm
4. Pathological DEA – the DEA FAQ Debacle - http://www.doctordeluca.com/Library/WOD … lDea06.htm
Prescription Pain Meds – the DEA FAQ - http://www.doctordeluca.com/Library/WOD … dFAQ04.pdf
5. Red Flags – the CME Course! - http://www.doctordeluca.com/Library/WOD … dFAQ04.pdf
Interpretation of Aberrant Drug-Related Behaviors, Dr. Frank Fischer - http://doctordeluca.com/AberrantDrugRel … sher04.pdf
For more information, just as a good beginning, see: http://www.doctordeluca.com/
Illegitimis non carborundum!
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