Painkiller Opana, new scourge of rural America

Comments (29)
govtmule wrote:

Marijuana has never killed anyone and is regularly used by millions but it is demonized and prosecuted far more than the poisons of meth and pills. We’ve lost the war on drugs in this country yet we refuse to change our tactics and target our resources to where they might do the most good. Legalize pot and go after the truely dangerous drugs!

Mar 27, 2012 8:08am EDT  --  Report as abuse
tonya1968 wrote:

There were 5500 methadone related deaths in 2007. Methadone represented less than 5% of prescribed opiates but was attributed to 1/3 of all opiate related deaths.

Mar 27, 2012 8:12am EDT  --  Report as abuse
steampunkd wrote:

still not as deadly as marijuana.

Mar 27, 2012 8:30am EDT  --  Report as abuse
steampunkd wrote:

Marijuana can kill by its mere scent. Thank goodness for Pharma companies making cures for people.

Mar 27, 2012 8:33am EDT  --  Report as abuse
jaham wrote:

By all means don’t let them smoke marijuana for their pain.

Let me use this as an opportuntiy to support my man, Ron Paul. He wants to legalize drugs, regulate them, tax them and then using that tax revenue AND the billions saved from the ineffective “War on Drugs” – put that money into treatment and rehabilitation centers.

Many countries in the world outside of America treat drug abuse as a disease and offer support rather than viewing the users as criminals – just as “alcoholism” is now a disease. America has more than a million of its citizens imprisoned for drug related crime – by far more than any other coutnry in the world.

Ron Paul is a doctor, he abhors the use of drugs, but he is wise enough and more importantly brave enough to outwardly criticise our current system. While his messages resonate with my age demographic, many older individuals think he is too radical – I don’t know about you but I think America needs some pragmatic yet “radical” solutions.

Mar 27, 2012 8:45am EDT  --  Report as abuse
AlfredReaud wrote:

Condolences to Mrs. Himmelheber and her family.

jaham brings up a good point. Let me relate a personal experience recently. I’ve been told over and over by the doctor that if I don’t take blood pressure medication, I’m toast. Ok… But within the last month, I’ve had a situation where I can’t afford the visit to the doctor, but can afford the medication. When the doctor threatened to withhold refills because I didn’t come in, I rethought the whole equation.

If you can withhold the medication, then how bad of a problem is it, really? I’m weaning myself off of the HCT and Norvasc, and will henceforth try to correct it with holistic methods (not necessarily MJ, BTW, though I am a card holder in an MMJ state). Because it’s an INDUSTRY, at least in America, where they make no money off of well people. And pushing that pill makes mighty money…

America’s pill fixation is also dangerous in that now drugs are being released prematurely with significant side effects as money becomes more important than the public health. Reports are common, true or false. Leading to a tendency for parents to opt out of certain things, because they don’t want their children to be the proxy “Guinea pig”.

Mar 27, 2012 10:09am EDT  --  Report as abuse
bobber1956 wrote:

Wahsington State,US, in November, votes on the legalization of marijuana for commercial sale and personal use, though it is still a federal crime. This is going to get interesting. Washington has probably the most liberal govenment in the US, having passed a law allowing gay marriage spear-headed by the Governor. That issue is pending in the courts. Washingtion’s Government would probably prefere that “the mic stayed turned off” on all of this at the national/international level until after the election but there it is. If anyone is interested in a VERY controverisal situation this could be a good one to watch. As a prominant attorney once said, “I belive some very important law-and history will be written here”.

Mar 27, 2012 10:20am EDT  --  Report as abuse
diluded0000 wrote:

To continue with something of theme here: I would be very interested in statistics that compare states for the rate of painkiller abuse against the availability of medical marijuana. And of course, a correlation doesn’t establish causality, but it does allow for some common sense inference.

Mar 27, 2012 12:24pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
AlkalineState wrote:

If I had to live in Arkansas or Oklahoma, I’d probably be taking pain killers too.

Mar 27, 2012 12:36pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
fred5407 wrote:

OK, so we get all the “Use me drug” ads on ABC evening news. We used to see Tide commercials and car commercials but that blond haired lady anchor like drug ads so I guess thats what we get on that station. It is sad that the helpful medical community wants to make addicts. When the doctors stopped practicing medicine to make money and to become drug pushers the battle was lost. Sorry everyone, but when they say ask your doctor, I just cringe.

Mar 27, 2012 2:20pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
SeaWa wrote:

I’m sorry for the Coomer family’s loss.

Looking at the analytics, can anyone say that if it weren’t for prescription abuse that we wouldn’t have greater total number of deaths as a result of illegal drug abuse? If people are going to abuse drugs, aren’t prescription drugs generally a better choice? And as far as going after doctors and patients, these drugs are for pain management. Do patients really deserve to live lives in pain because healthy pain free people choose to abuse drugs? I think the best thing to do is to allow doctors to prescribe what they need in order to treat their patients. If we want to reduce prescription abuse, then do it through education. Have we forgotten that Americans have free will and that you reach us through education instead of trying to control us?

Mar 27, 2012 3:10pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
SeaWa wrote:

Condolences to “Commer’s family”

Mar 27, 2012 3:11pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
SeaWa wrote:

@AlfredReaud – You have very very good points. However, the purpose of blood pressure medicine is to control your blood pressure. Whether you choose to use prescriptions available to help do that is not up to me, it is your choice. High blood pressure kills and maims slowly. I hope that you will keep a constant eye on your blood pressure and do the best you can to keep it down. Same advice to diabetics, keep an eye on your blood sugar. The damage happens slowly, but it’s permanent. Let’s not turn our back on medical science because of this anti-medical hysteria.

Mar 27, 2012 3:46pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
fred5407 wrote:

Hey SeaWa. You sound like an educated person who rationalizes everything away. I take blood pressure medication because it makes my life better. Can I help it that a ten cent pill costs a dollar because it has a fancy name, and the doctor gets his cut. I think we all might want to find out just how much money is going to doctors for designer drugs and for erectile disfunction. The greed of the medical community is overwhelming, and they are not willing to police their own.

Mar 27, 2012 4:18pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
venturen wrote:

whitney houston says legalize all drugs…

Mar 27, 2012 4:22pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
obamarules wrote:

Maybe we just just criminalize it and throw everyone that is addicted into jail? It’s working so well for all the other drugs.

Mar 27, 2012 4:47pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
obamarules wrote:

“Have we forgotten that Americans have free will and that you reach us through education instead of trying to control us?”

When was that ever considered in the scope of legislation? That statement flies in the face of all modern government.

Mar 27, 2012 4:50pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
AlkalineState wrote:

Time to stop wasting taxpayer dollars on the drug war. Certain people will always get high, and certain providers will always have a concoction for them. That’s just reality. You can arrest all the people you want, and all you’ll be doing is adding those people to the babysat population in prison at $116,000 per head per year.

Let the druggies drug. Shoot to kill if they come in your house. That’s pretty much where we’re at even WITH the drug war in its 50th year now. Too expensive, too little gain.

Mar 27, 2012 5:00pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
M.C.McBride wrote:

The article fails to mention that more deaths occur from overdose of OTC painkillers and much of it is intentional. If people want to use drugs let them and if they die, it was their choice. Gasoline is also abused and even used as a weapon. It doesn’t mean we should stop using it because a few people misuse it. Stop trying to regulate everything and treat everyone like they are 12.

Mar 27, 2012 5:04pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
123456951 wrote:

I am a health care prof. and I know how many doctors are way too easy with pain meds, as well as many psychiatric drugs(Zoloft) and sleeping pills(Lorazapam – extremely addicting). It is mostly the general practicioners who are the problem, not the specialists or surgeons. What happened to Michael Jackson is only the tip of a big iceberg. The solution is to pass laws that restrict the perscription of these drugs. I think that most physicians would welcome it. Physicians are in a position where they want to be accomadating and friendly with patients. They are in a position where it is often times difficult to say no. There needs to be strict laws that force them to say no. That way they are never at fault if a patient is demanding or sneaky. As far as some patients go, no pill is ever strong enough. The problem is that their lives are sometimes so screwed up anyway. As far as patients needing these drugs go, people got along fine without them before they were manufactured. They do not really need them as much as they say they do. A couple of good shots of alcohol and a good movie will often do the trick. And as far as pain pills go, 600 mg of ibuprofen is actually quite effective for moderate pain.

Mar 27, 2012 5:56pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
libertadormg wrote:

If someone dies from a accidental gunshot should we bans guns? If someone dies from a accidental drug overdoes should we ban medicine?

Mar 27, 2012 6:08pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
123456951 wrote:

I should have emphasized one thing in my last comment. Physicians are a problem, but not the ones generally at fault. The people taking the drugs inappropriatly is where the real blame must and always should be placed. If they kill themselves, too bad.

Mar 27, 2012 6:11pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
not00smart wrote:

123456951 – While I agree that some medical professionals have been somewhat careless in the past, it hasn’t been all, and it’s certainly not the majority of any single specialty. I believe the biggest problem has been the feds and specifically the DEA. When it’s impossible for someone to get the pain meds they need because there are no doctors around who are willing to write prescriptions, it’s a good indicator that something is seriously wrong with current methods. It’s that type of situation that creates the so called “pill factories”, not the casual or recreational user. And to make blanket statements about those who are in chronic pain, such as using alcohol or taking ibuprofen, is really irresponsible for someone who claims to be a health care prof. As someone who is a chronic pain patient and has been for almost 30 years, I feel qualified to comment. Your Rx for what currently ails is insulting and dangerous! There is a very real risk of permanent and fatal liver damage from someone taking too much ibuprofen, especially if they follow your other suggestion of washing it down with a couple of shots of alcohol. Please, tell us where you work so we can all avoid it!

Mar 27, 2012 6:27pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
not00smart wrote:

diluded0000 – In answer to your question, the only research I could find through a simple search was a report published by the MPP (Marijuana Policy Project). The short summary is, teens didn’t show any real increase in marijuana drug use in states that had legalized Medical Marijuana. This paper was a culmination of various studies that had been conducted back in 2008. Here is the link: . I think it’s a good indicator, however I think for a more true answer you would have to do more research.

Mar 27, 2012 6:34pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
SeaWa wrote:

@fred, you may misunderstand me. I’m was making the point that regardless of the healthcare battles looming, we should not turn our backs on the fact that blood pressure kills. There are cheap generic blood pressure medicines that work. Use them!

The same can be said about managing type 2 diabetes.

Mar 27, 2012 8:17pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
shadowL wrote:

To the Coomer family I’m sorry for your loss

I take this drug for pain, and it works better then anything else I’ve tried. I have tried Morphine, Oxycotin and a few others. That said it does not stop all my pain and nothing will. I take this following my doctors recommended dosage and I hope to be able to continue to get this medicine as I need it to help control pain. I don’t understand what this drug does for you if you’re not in pain or why anyone would take it. It does nothing to make you feel good other then lessen pain. The only thing I can compare it to is aspirin, take 2 aspirin when you don’t need them and its worthless, but taken when you have a headache it dulls the pain.

Mar 27, 2012 12:44am EDT  --  Report as abuse
gordo53 wrote:

Prohibition has never worked and never will. Half of all federal prison inmates are there on drug related charges. Like so many other things involving government, this is an industry that generates billions for its participants. Yes, Ron Paul is right. We need to stop this nonsense and turn off the money machine for law enforcement and the prison system.

Mar 28, 2012 1:35am EDT  --  Report as abuse

@123456951 You claim to be a health care professional of some kind? Your views are fantastically harsh, “…a patient is demanding or sneaky. As far as some patients go, no pill is ever strong enough. The problem is that their lives are sometimes so screwed up anyway.”

Your entire rant directs a lot of anger at patients. Sometimes people develop what psychiatrists call “covert anger” at patients, but this is usually seen in Burn Centers, big and busy ER’s and ICU’s, where people sometimes get pushed way past their emotional limits.

It’s hard to be a PERSON OF EMPATHY and have to constantly absorb pain, suffering, and the effects of violence, poverty, mental illness, and the effects of high risk life choices — be it by motorcycle, IV drugs, or worse.

The first thing to try is some time off, and maybe some counseling if you are licensed (though after reading your comments I pray that you are not a licensed, hands-on person… your anger is really severe).

I know. I worked in an inner-city ER and Trauma Center for 15 years. Sometimes I’d have to borrow a smoke and go outside, somewhere far away, and cry. That was before men were allowed to do those things.

Because of where I trained, as a 1st year resident I became very good at saying “NO” to the people you describe as “demanding or sneaky,” though I’m sure a few got through. Though some of those kinds of patients turn out to have chronic, recurrent conditions which they understand well and I may not have seen before. The people you describe as demanding – they need attention, care, and deserved empathy until they show otherwise.

The patients you call “sneaky,” are probably what we call “drug seeking.” I remember one old street person, what they call an “Old G,” who I almost kicked loose as a pure drug seeker. None of his very long story made sense, though he was using the names of half of the Attending Docs. I listened to his story, which was incoherent but seemed like some rehearsed script. Never really examined him.

Besides, I was still adrenalin-pumped and angry as hell at loosing another 15-year old boy to gunshot wounds to the chest. We did a Hail Mary thoracotomy on the right, and every drop of blood the boy had fell onto the floor as one huge clot. The cardio-vascular guys just left, and I wanted to… well I was messed up, and here’s this Old G trying to work me for pain meds. They could not find his complete chart, so I sent him to chairs to wait.

It was a good thing we kept him. Reading his two-volume three-inch chart I found a record of what 15+ years on the street does to a person. The chart may have been in two volumes, but he was in his last chapter.

Two years prior he had a huge renal tumor removed, and was followed by an oncologist once in awhile. The cancer had returned, attaching itself throughout his chest wall, and of consequence between his ribs almost throughout his chest wall (that would feel like having ALL of your ribs broken at once). There had been palliative surgery and radiotherapy, but there was probably no more than a month or two left for The Old G. He must have been in fantastic, mind-numbing pain.

His story was simple… his meds, including pain meds, would be approved in clinic, but the last hour of clinic becomes a kind of lottery, and they never got to him. He was certainly used to be shuffled out. Now having gone three days without medication, having walked 15 or so city blocks in the rain, he’s my patient and I almost threw him out.

I don’t think you would like my “Old G” patient, either. You seem so angry, you might never let him in to see a physician, or if you did you would have had “that look” that says, “I’m going to stick you with this smelly old GOMER.” I’ll bet you can imagine yourself doing that.

You show contempt for psychiatric patients AND medication, “…their lives are so screwed up anyway…” and “a couple of good shots of alcohol and a good movie will often do the trick.”

Ya know, I’m old enough to remember schizophrenic patients being deeply dosed with drugs that did quiet them down, but eventually destroyed critical areas of their brain. They became ill and bed bound. I cared for some of these people in my early training — sometimes they were crazy, but sometimes they were not so crazy and they could be simple, sweet, and caring of each other. Bed or chair bound, they eventually gave out to something, quietly. The whole thing seemed to me like a prison-hospital circa 1860. I was only there for the medical needs, but I learned some things. I learned to not be fearful of mental illness. I learned the virtue of patience in that place, and I think those simple, sometimes sweet people taught me a measure of kindness I had forgotten.

Today we have new medications and ways to treat severe mental illness that is both safe and very effective. Mood disorders from severe bipolarism to common depression can be treated very effectively compared to a few years ago. Would you tell these folks to just have a few shots and watch a good movie?

If you want to stay in health care, I truly hope you get some help with your anger. It can be very positive you know – you may learn things about yourself that you have not imagined. Most of all I hope you find the gift of simple kindness. I’ve read that from there, many good things grow.

Mar 28, 2012 7:10am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Jeepgirl wrote:

I have chronic back pain from a series of events that ruined some of my disks. I refuse to have my back fused as I have seen too many people in even more pain than myself and they live off morphine pumps and pain pills.

I can not find a doctor that will even take a risk of letting me try anything stronger than gabapentin and aspirin. I am s surgical risk due to having had sevveral heart attacks and 2 surgeries followed by taking blood pressure meds, Plavix and aspirin.

Doctors are too scared to treat the ones that are in pain. If unable to find someone to tackle corrective surgery without the fusion of my back or find a way to get medication for the lower back pain, well, the end is in sight. I will keep trying for one (1) more year.

I am truly sorry for those that overdose on illegaly obtained prescription drugs. I can not stand the taste of alcohol products and have never been a drinker. Diet Coke is my choice.

Not much else to say, but I congratulate BeCalmAndThink for recognizing the plight of his patient. God bless.

Apr 02, 2012 5:10am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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