4 of 5 heroin users started with prescription medication. So why are we afraid to put the arrow in the center of the target?

The problems relative to the opiate epidemic may be complex but there are several simple steps that we appear to be afraid to take which may have a significant impact. We have been talking about these things for a while here at RV, and they were part of my testimony at the Homeland Security hearing.

Pain, prescribing and big Pharma: Where Mr. Obama’s fraud is hidden

  1. Pain is not a vital sign and until we quit treating it as one rather than a symptom we will continue to treat it with pills. Vital signs are objective indicators that tell us something and lead us to action (heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, temperature). Pain is subjective; it tells us something is wrong, but it is unique to each of us. The defining of pain as a vital sign in the late 90s is directly correlated to the increase in prescribing, and the epidemic of death we face today.
  2. Until we separate pain and payment, the medical profession will be forced to prescribe. (Yes, on this issue, I think the President is acting fraudulently and Congress is either ignorant, playing along or scared! Otherwise, why is this country so afraid to address this core cause? Could it have anything to do with the big Pharma lobby and all their money?)

How The Affordable Care Act forces the hands of medicine

The Affordable Care Act brought severe penalties for doctors and hospitals that score below average on satisfaction surveys. One of the top drivers is pain. Until we take pain out of the equation and get our hands out of their pockets, they will continue to prescribe. They have little choice. I discussed this with a member of Congress and was assured by one of them (D), that as soon as the President was out of office, this would be addressed. What? We know it and yet we need to wait for the President to leave office while people keeping dying?

The President doesn’t want his Affordable Care Act touched so while he talks about addiction and appears with Macklemore to talk about opiate addiction, in the background he is more concerned about his legislation than people dying. If the President were a true leader and really engaged with this issue, he would take action and make the change to the Affordable Care Act. It seems obvious to me he is more concerned about appearance and “his legislation” than doing the right thing. And any time President Obama would like to discuss this, I will personally pay for my own trip to Washington and share my thoughts in person. I AM NOT AFRAID!

I have regularly had this discussion with those in government, and they tell me all about CARA and the wonderful things it will do. How it will address certain issues and provide for treatment and extended care.  All true, and CARA is a great first step. But, it does not strike at the core of the issue. It does not attack the cause, and as such, still leaves room for this disease to breathe.

I recently spent some time with Senator Portman discussing this issue. I was sincerely impressed with his depth of knowledge and understanding (and I believe Senator Brown gets it as well, just didn’t get time with him). But I also understand how Congress works and how those that are less educated or apathetic will drive compromise to protect their interests. This has to change, and we should not be sitting quietly by until it does.

I asked this question once before in a public forum. I shall ask it again now and direct it to the Presidecustomersnt. However,  I won’t address it to Mr. and Mrs. Obama, President and First Lady, but as a Mom and Dad. The same with Congress.

How many have to die, or who close to them, before they take the action and strike at the heart of this issue?

Would you act if Malia or Sasha were impacted or do you believe that this could never happen to you? You say you care about all citizens. Then why would you marginalize the lives of every other child while you operate with the same sense of false security that so many of us did… until it was too late.

We are fighting for you Mr. President, for your kids, and their kids. And just like every other battle, we need leadership from the top. Over the past 10 years we have lost over 400,000 Americans to this disease. If any terrorist group had claimed that many lives, we would be pulling every resource to stop them.

This epidemic is terrorizing our nation. It is stealing lives. We need leadership at the top that is willing to get right to the central issues.