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#OpioidCrisis Myths and Lies; Time to #BuildTheWall

Submitted by on March 29, 2018 – 7:32 pm EST15 Comments

Images of an illicit Chinese drug lab, courtesy of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

Over 63,600 Americans died after overdosing on drugs in 2016, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Of those, 42,249 people died from taking “opioids,” which is a deceptive catch-all word that includes both prescription pain killers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, as well as illicit drugs such as heroin and synthetic fentanyl. For some reason, the 21,351 people who died after overdosing on non-opioids like cocaine and methamphetamine are not in the conversation.

Of the 42,249 people who died from taking “opioids,” how many were from doctor prescriptions? How many were from people “doctor shopping” or otherwise abusing/misusing their own prescriptions? How many deaths were from drugs illegally pushed through the southern border?

Without the answers to those questions, how can Americans possibly know that the billions of dollars allocated to combat the opioid epidemic will be spent wisely?

Daniel Horowitz has been trying to get to the bottom of it.

Since the “opioid crisis” really started getting legs in the mainstream media, there has been an uncomfortable sense that there is an agenda hiding in there somewhere. What is the point of lamenting about an “Opioid Crisis” if exploring the source of the drugs being abused is not a part of the conversation?

Show Me The Money

The left has been screaming for more taxpayer funding to combat the opioid epidemic, and to be fair, so have many on the right. Taxpayers are spending $4.6 billion as allocated in the latest Omnibus bill. This, on top of 144.1 million doled out by the Department of Health and Human Services in September 2017, on top of $485 million in grants dished out in April 2017.

Politico reported in November 2017 that a group calling itself the “Opioid Network, spearheaded by the Center for Popular Democracy,” whose board happens to be full of flaming radical Marxists (like Francis Fox Piven and Brian Kettenring) was demanding $45 billion for the “opioid epidemic.”

Discrediting Doctors, Ignoring the Porous Border

While the leftist radicals scream for more taxpayer money (and are often accommodated by the swamp) to fund their newly-established opioid treatment centers, the actual core problem is being ignored: The porous border. Are the fatal overdoses due to greedy doctors over-prescribing pain medication along with their complicit friends in the pharmaceutical industry? Of course not.

One of the very best journalists covering the opioid crisis is Daniel Horowitz of Conservative Review. In an article he wrote earlier this month, he explains how illicitly-obtained drugs should be the focus:

“The epidemic we are facing today is not from prescription opioids, at least not more than it has been for an entire generation. The number of prescriptions has already been reduced dramatically, and the overdose rate has leveled off and even dropped in some of the most affected states since 2016, like Ohio. Almost the entirety of the increased fatalities above the long-term existing trajectory beginning in 2012 were from illicit drugs and mainly from the most dangerous one – heroin. Then, as heroin use began to skyrocket in 2013-2014, we began to see the growth of the cursed synthetic drug – fentanyl – which is 50-100 times stronger than morphine and can kill in small quantities.”

The reason, this author opines, that the statistics for the opioid crisis lump in prescribed and illicit fatal overdoses is because they want to downplay the fact that many of these drugs are coming to the country via the Mexican drug cartels.

China, for example, works with the Mexican drug cartels to bring Americans fentanyl, which is often cut into heroin.

As reported at Vice News:

“The powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl is now the deadliest drug in America, causing an estimated 19,000 fatal overdoses in 2016. The DEA says most of the illicit fentanyl comes from China, either shipped directly to U.S. consumers through the mail or mixed with heroin that is smuggled across the southern border by Mexican drug cartels.

[…]

“The southwest border of the United States is porous,” [James Hunt, special agent in charge of the DEA’s New York field division] said. “There’s thousands of miles of border. Thousands of trucks stop every day at the border. There’s millions and millions of parcels coming into the country every day, you can’t search them all. And traffickers know that.”

From CNN in February 2016:

“Although the abuse of prescription opioids has been decreasing in recent years…they are still rampant. In addition, the rate of opioid drug overdose death, unlike benzodiazepine deaths, has continued to increase since 2010. In addition, there has been an uptick in deaths related to illegal opioids, such as heroin and fentanyl.

As reported at the CATO Institute:

For nearly a decade, policymakers have bought into the misguided narrative that the opioid overdose crisis is a result of careless doctors and greedy pharmaceutical companies getting patients hooked on prescription opioids and condemning them to the nightmarish world of drug addiction. As a result, the Drug Enforcement Administration has ordered decreases in prescription opioid production.

[…]

This focus on the supply and prescription of opioids makes many patients needlessly suffer in pain. Some, in desperation, turn to the illicit market to get relief, where they find heroin and heroin-laced fentanyl often cheaper and easier to get. Some resort to suicide.

Policymakers mistakenly focus on doctors treating their patients in pain. By intruding on the patient-doctor relationship they impede physician judgment and increase patient suffering. But another unintended consequence is that, by reducing the amount of prescription opioids that can be diverted to the illicit market, they have driven nonmedical users to heroin and fentanyl, which are cheaper and easier to obtain on the street than prescription opioids, and much more dangerous.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website: “40% of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid.” The source of the “40%” is this study, which does not appear to say a word about overdose deaths related to prescription drugs. (We have a call into the CDC to get the source and will update the article accordingly).

The National Safety Council promotes the narrative that doctors are to blame

The National Safety Council is launching an exhibit at the White House that furthers the “Doctors are the Problem” narrative. The exhibit is named “Prescribed to Death: A Memorial to the Victims of the Opioid Crisis” and features 22,000 faces carved into pills who represent those, according to the National Safety Council, who “die each year from prescription opioid overdoses” (TrevorLoudon.com contacted the National Safety Council for the source of the “22,000” figure and were told it was :”2015 CDC data,” after contacting them a second time for a report or study that can be referenced, this link was provided, but it continues to be unclear where the figure 22,000 fatal overdoses related to prescriptions can be found).

How did the “Opioid Crisis” Begin?

Fentanyl-Laced Heroin via Daily News

In the early to mid-1990’s, the federal government pressured doctors to prescribe more pain medication. The Clarion Ledger had a very revealing statement on this back in January 2018:

The FDA played a key role in the greatest medical disaster in U.S. history — the opioid epidemic that has fueled so many drug overdose deaths they now top all the nation’s deaths in world wars.

[…]

Until the 1990s, doctors had generally avoided prescribing opioids for chronic (long-term), non-cancer pain, such as lower back pain, because of concerns about addiction.

In 1995, Dr. Curtis Wright, the team medical review officer for the FDA, recommended approval of Purdue Pharma’s OxyContin for “moderate to severe pain.”

But even before 1995, the federal government felt compelled to pressure doctors to prescribe pain medication to patients, even shaming them by referring to their concerns about addiction as a “myth.” Consider an excerpt from this article published at the New York Times in 1992:

New York Times 1992

The Government recommended today that doctors provide painkillers swiftly and aggressively to patients after surgery to decrease suffering and speed recovery.

Federal health officials said myths about pain and its management cause half of the patients who undergo surgery in more than 23 million procedures each year to suffer unrelieved, unnecessary pain.

“We can do more, and we can do better, to control pain after surgery,” the Health and Human Services Secretary, Dr. Louis W. Sullivan, said at a news conference. “This guideline discusses the actual physical damage which a patient can sometimes suffer as a result of pain, and it shows that inadequately managed pain can inhibit recovery, prolong hospitalization and thus potentially contribute to higher-than-necessary costs.”

[…]

“When doctors simply call for injections of such painkillers as morphine and codeine ‘as needed,’ the results are often undermedication and unnecessary pain in roughly half the patients,” said Dr. James O. Mason, head of the Public Health Service, of which the new agency is a component.

Dr. Mason said part of the problem was myths about pain “that have become part of our culture” — such notions that pain is necessary to build character, that infants do not feel pain, that elderly patients have a higher pain tolerance and that narcotics used for postoperative pain are often addictive.

1992 Washington Post Article

This, from the Washington Post in 1992:

Millions of people who have surgery or who sustain serious wounds suffer needlessly from prolonged, severe pain, federal health officials said yesterday — often because doctors and nurses administer inadequate doses of pain killers out of an unjustified fear of causing addiction.

An expert panel convened by the government’s newly created Agency for Health Care Policy and Research issued a set of national guidelines intended to encourage health care workers and their patients to be more aggressive in fighting pain. Following the guidelines, the group said, would not only relieve suffering, but would speed recovery and reduce the length of hospital stays, resulting in substantial savings.

Fast forward to today at the CDC Website:

“Prescription opioids can be used to treat moderate-to-severe pain and are often prescribed following surgery or injury, or for health conditions such as cancer. In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in the acceptance and use of prescription opioids for the treatment of chronic, non-cancer pain, such as back pain or osteoarthritis, despite serious risks and the lack of evidence about their long-term effectiveness.

The CDC fails to mention the role of the federal government in pushing physicians to prescribe pain medication for “moderate to severe pain” against their better judgement, even demeaning physicians by referring to the fear of addiction to pain medication as a “myth.”

A Word on Cocaine

As previously mentioned, Cocaine is not even a part of the conversation about fatalities surrounding drug overdoses.

A ground-breaking Politico story from December 2017 alleges that former President Obama thwarted a massive federal investigation (dubbed Project Cassandra) into a known Iranian-backed terrorist organization, Hezbollah, “even as it was funneling [multi-ton loads of] cocaine into the United States” in an effort to seal the so-called Iran deal.

From the article:

“The derailment of Project Cassandra also has undermined U.S. efforts to determine how much cocaine from the various Hezbollah-affiliated networks is coming into the United States, especially from Venezuela, where dozens of top civilian and military officials have been under investigation for more than a decade. Recently, the Trump administration designated the country’s vice president, a close ally of Hezbollah and of Lebanese-Syrian descent, as a global narcotics kingpin.”

We were warned. Perhaps that is why the current emphasis is not on cocaine, but on “opioids.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ordered a review into this, but the story about Obama thwarting Project Cassandra has been ignored by the mainstream media.

#BuildTheWall

Daniel Horowitz lays out the direct correlation of the weakening of the U.S. border under Obama and the rise of fatalities from Heroin, and synthetic opioids other than methadone (which is prescribed).

Weakening the borders exacerbated the drug fatalities

Horowitz writes:

“Rather than a steady decline in fatalities from overdoses to match the decline in prescription opioids, everything went bonkers from 2013 to the present, after the public and politicians turned against the use of prescription opioids. We saw a spike in deaths of unfathomable proportions, getting worse every year through 2014, 2015, and 2016. The level of fatalities doubled and tripled in those states as, not surprisingly, heroin and fentanyl flooded the market.”

According to testimony at a hearing held by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, it was revealed that according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), “approximately 80 percent of the illegal opioids sold in this country are brought in by foreign criminal organizations, primarily the Mexico-based drug cartels.” Additionally, the cartels “have cells within the United States and work with other criminal groups, sometimes street gangs with foreign members, such as MS-13, to distribute the drugs.”

To make matters worse, so-called “sanctuary city” policies “deliberately limit, block, or prohibit communication and cooperation with federal immigration agencies” and “are particularly destructive to law enforcement efforts to combat the opioid epidemic.”

One of the main things President Trump could do to stop the opioid crisis is not to disparage doctors, but to #BuildTheWall.

Observations

  • Sealing the border would be the single most powerful action taken to halt the “opioid crisis.”
  • Sanctuary cities are contributing to the problem by thwarting federal law enforcement efforts.
  • The Mexican Drug Cartels, Hezbollah, China, Columbia and others should be called out, condemned and brought to justice. Aggressively punishing the responsible parties would send a clear message to the criminals harming Americans.
  • The focus is disproportionately on physicians “over prescribing” pain medication. In this author’s opinion, there are many red flags with the narrative surrounding the “opioid crisis.”
  • It is unacceptable that the federal government wants Americans to accept spending billions of dollars on the “opioid epidemic” without providing Americans with accurate and clear statistics on the drugs themselves.
  • According to their own numbers, non-opioid drugs account for about a third of the overdose fatalities. This is statistically significant, yet there is little focus on non-opioid drugs.
  • The federal government is not taking responsibility for it’s role in causing the the crisis in the first place, instead using language that implies that physicians are the root cause of this epidemic, which is unfair and untrue.
  • There is an inherent dishonesty in referring to this crisis as an “opioid” crisis. The majority of the drugs that are used in fatal overdoses are either illicitly-obtained, or prescriptions that are abused/misused.
  • People who abuse/misuse pain medication must bear a level of responsibility.

Watch Vice News report on fentanyl:

Watch and circulate Trevor Loudon’s shocking documentary The Enemies Within as widely as you can before November 2018. It is a vote changing experience.

PLEASE HELP US FUND OUR GROUND-BREAKING RESEARCH!

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15 Comments »

  • Julie says:

    I love President Trump to death but he is being misinformed by people who probably have no experience in managing pain. I am a patient with Chronic Pain and the VA is aggressively limiting and decreasing the opioid prescriptions to the point that it consider suitable to let the patient live with the amount of pain that severely affects their quality of life. The author is right. It is not doctors who are over prescribing opioids but the drugs coming across our porous borders. I think the first thing that should be done to combat the drug overdoses is building the wall. President Trump also needs to be aggressive with making clear to these counties pouring their illegal drugs over our borders. Just like trade these countries need to threatened with severe consequences. Policing of the drug production from their countries starts at home. Perhaps instead of President Trump diverting funds from the military budget to build the wall it would be perfectly acceptable to use the opioid crisis budget to fund it.
    I keep hearing that patients are getting addicted to opioids after one dose. President Trump keeps spewing this talking point over and over making him look ignorant. Anyone that knows anything about medicine knows this is untrue. Addiction is something that happens overtime. You can not get addicted to a drug after a one time dosage.
    Case in point I have a friend whose daughter had a serious surgery. She was cut in suprapubic region to remove two very large fibroids. She was giving 1 Percocet once a day. She suffered needlessly because her physician was afraid of prescribing narcotics. She was told to take Motrin for her pain. Can you imagine. This poor 19 year was unable to get up and walk or dress herself because the pain was so severe. She could barely get off the couch to make it to the bathroom. When I heard from her mother what had been prescribed for pain I almost fell out of my seat. Just as matter of fact if the child could not get up to walk and just had major abdominal surgery that seriously increased the risk of her throwing a clot. When I talked to the mother to take her back to the doctor and tell him what needed to be ordered she said she nearly came to blows with the doctor. He subsequently ordered 10 more Percocet and told the mother that is all that she is going to get so don’t come back asking for additional tablets.
    It is not the prescription of opioids that is causing the death related to overdoses but as you say the use of illicit drugs and this needs to have data gathered immediately. You are also correct that when the physician doesn’t medicate the patient with the proper dosage to relieve a patients pain that patient will go in search of drugs that will.
    Physicians are so scared to write prescriptions for pain medications that patients are needlessly suffering. I wish I had 5 minutes to talk to President Trump and telling him how badly he is being misinformed. As a RN who worked at the bedside for 20 years in the critical care environment not once did our patients suffer through needless pain. Also none of them left our care and became addicted. I know that because I followed up with the patients. As matter of fact I would have to argue with patients to take their prescribed pain medications. The patients were so afraid they would become addicted. I informed that they would not become addicted to pain meds in the three days that we were trying to control postoperative pain. Imagine a patient coming out of open heart surgery in such severe pain but because of the misinformation campaign are suffering in pain because they don’t want to become addicted. This has to stop! They have started implementing warnings to outpatient pharmacies that a patient has just had this prescription refilled by another pharmacy. At least this is the way the FDA has wanted to set up the databases. This author is so right about everything he has written hear that I just had to make my opinion know to support him.

    • renee nal says:

      This is a very thoughtful and heartbreaking comment. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this and to share your story – Renee

    • renee nal says:

      P.S. THIS COMMENT!

      “Perhaps instead of President Trump diverting funds from the military budget to build the wall it would be perfectly acceptable to use the opioid crisis budget to fund it.”

      YEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

  • m catharine evans says:

    I have worked in hospitals since 1988, first on a chemical dependency unit and then in the ER starting in 1992. This author is dead on. President Trump is repeating the lies of the Obama administration. He is listening to the wrong people.

    Since 2008, in our ER in a capital city in the south, overdoses from heroin specifically have gone from maybe one a month to 2 or 3 a day by 2017! The overdoses from hydrocodone,percocet or oxy are rare!

    The open borders policy and the coddling of drug dealers by Obama(‘non violent’ criminals are released), not to mention the rise of MS-13 and other gangs, have created this horror, NOT DOCTORS!

    We went to a conference on black market opioids selling on the street. One percocet on the street? $35 to $75. A ‘dose’ of heroin laced with fentanyl? $10.

    Wake up, Mr. Trump.

    • renee nal says:

      Wow another thoughtful comment. Excellent – thank you – How terrifying that heroin is so cheap. President Trump would be able to combat this crisis by taking care of our porous border!

  • Putting the blame on drug companies and doctors for the opioid epidemic enables public officials and their contingency-fee attorneys to sue them for damages.

  • Jerylyn Bridgeford says:

    I am no medical expert. However, I don’t think my observations are off base. From what I have observed among my children’s peers, overdose deaths seem to be related to availability of inexpensive drugs of unknown potency and content. These deaths occur among individuals who are addicts and those who are just experimenting. I don’t know how rehab would have done any good in any of those cases. Keeping inexpensive drugs out of their reach is probably the best thing that could have been done.

    I had a parent and other older relatives addicted to prescription pain medication. A pain clinic seemed to help manage the need for such medication. Anecdotally, I definitely don’t thing leaving folks in pain is an answer to prescription addiction issues. I’m not even sure how big an issue overdose is in these circumstances. There are certainly medical consequences and quality of life issues for over- and long-term use.

    In short, I think we have a knee jerk reaction without much informed discussion on the topic. Typical government. Sadly, people will continue to suffer.

  • m catharine evans says:

    “Pills were really big when I was in high school,” Vickhouse said.

    “Eventually, they tried heroin when it became harder to find more pills and they were getting more expensive. They were together when they each tried heroin for the first time. They had snorted the drug in the beginning, but by March of 2013, they both had started injecting it.”

    http://www.richmond.com/news/local/two-former-heroin-addicts-on-their-journey-of-recovery-it/article_ee292887-31b4-5df4-a71b-37068c9038db.html

    Just wanted to post this March 29, 2018 article. These women found heroin less expensive, (as I said in my comment,) around 8 years ago.

    President Trump has to build the wall using stories like this. He’s a courageous guy but he’s barking up the wrong tree going after Big Pharma and doctors.

  • Marlene says:

    My son is an ED nurse and speaks with sympathy of those who are addicted, first to opioid drugs and then to heroin. It is a matter of cost. He says it’s the saddest thing when a “soccer mom” with a hurt back gets addicted to her pain meds, and then, when they are no longer prescribed (remember, it’s an addiction, not necessarily a need anymore) and buying them illegally is too expensive, they eventually try heroin. It’s a cheap fix. But these aren’t street thugs or hardened criminals. They are unfortunate addicts. And at some point, given the bad quality or additives to the drugs, they will overdose.

    So what is the answer?

  • Gregory Brittain says:

    I think we can all agree that 63,600 dead Americans is a small price to pay to advance the political interests of the #DemParty in stacking the voting deck and business interests in #CheapLabor. So quit whining. Your moral and intellectual betters in the #RulingClass know best.

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