Make Chronic Pain Patients exempt from CDC Guidelines
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The CDC guidelines are causing doctors to leave pain management practice all over the US, for fear of DEA malicious prosecution if they exceed an arbitrary and unscientific “one size fits all” policy while trying to treat their patients effectively and as individuals. Patients are being deserted by their doctors, in some cases without assistance in drug withdrawal, after they have used opioids as directed, safely and effectively for years to maintain the quality of their lives. Almost certainly some patients have already died and more will commit suicide as a result. Our government is aware of this problem, but chooses to do nothing. The guidelines are also being embedded in State laws that reinforce restrictions on opioids. Major areas of several US States are now without pain management centers, and remaining specialists are seeing ever-heavier patient loads and higher risk of prosecution. The best predictors for people falling into addiction are their age (teens are particularly vulnerable), and their status as unemployed or poor. Restriction of opioid medications to pain patients won’t solve these problems. If anything, we should anticipate increases in deaths due to street drugs, as desperate people are forced to seek them out against their own wishes, just to maintain a marginal quality of life. The CDC needs to withdraw its unscientific and damaging opioid guidelines. Revisions should acknowledge that at the present state of medical knowledge, opioids are an indispensable part of managing agonizing pain, and trained doctors are the best decision makers on how much is needed to relieve pain in each individual patient. Standards of practice and doctor training are needed. But the present CDC guidelines are a poor basis for such standards. Re-writing should be accomplished by professionals who actually understand chronic pain and its management, and not by addiction specialists who have a financial self-interest in diverting limited government resources away from proven pain treatments. For the longer term, the US National Institutes for Health needs to allocate far more research and resources to the study and treatment of chronic pain. At present, less than 1% of NIH research funds are directed to chronic pain – for one quarter of the US population. The percentage of chronic pain patients who abuse their medication is less than 1%. There are well over 100 million people in the US suffering from some for of chronic pain. The only "epidemic" in this country is heroin and illicit fentanyl coming in from China and Mexico. Addicts are being catered to while the chronic pain community is suffering, turning to illicit drugs or committing suicide. It is time to STOP THE WAR AGAINST PAIN PATIENTS! We have rights too!
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