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Chronic Pain and Opioid Use Disorder are Not DiseasesMarianne Skolek-Perez Salem-News.com Investigative Reporter
Senator Lamar Alexander, Were you duped by the U.S. Pain Foundation?
(MYRTLE BEACH, SC) - The National Director of Policy and Advocacy for the U.S. Pain Foundation testified February 12th at a hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. The hearing “Managing Pain During the Opioid Crisis” was chaired by U.S. Senator Alexander.
The National Director arrived on the Senate floor laying on a cot and at the point of testimony, transferred to sitting in a chair. In 2015, he had testified in front of the U.S. Senate laying on a yoga mat holding a microphone.
In this week's testimony, the National Director said chronic pain and opioid use disorder are distinct and separate diseases. No, Senator Alexander, chronic pain is not a disease -- it is a symptom of a physical or psychological problem that needs to be properly diagnosed by a physician. Opioid use disorder is just that -- it is a disorder -- not a disease.
Unfortunately too many physicians prescribe dangerous and highly addictive opioids for chronic pain as a result of aggressive marketing by pharmaceutical companies who finance organizations such as the U.S. Pain Foundation. That is why this country is experiencing an opioid epidemic of unprecedented proportions.
Since you gave time to the U.S. Pain Foundation to promote their agenda, will you be holding hearings for families whose loved ones were prescribed opioids, became hopelessly addicted and died? These families deserve to be heard.
Many are not aware of the history of the U.S. Pain Foundation which was founded in 2011 by a chronic pain patient. This past year, the Connecticut Attorney General's office began an investigation into financial discrepancies and embezzlement by the founder of the U.S. Pain Foundation.
The amount of embezzlement was approximately $2 million -- and the founder was asked "to resign." The Foundation has also had problems with keeping their registration current and paying taxes.
Former U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri had conducted an investigation into opioid makers and came away with some interesting facts.
Between 2012 and 2017, pharmaceutical companies, including Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin and Insys Therapeutics, maker of Subsys (Fentanyl) funded organizations to the tune of approximately $9 million. One of the organizations benefiting from the windfall was the U.S. Pain Foundation in an effort to shape the policy and public opinion concerning opioids.
Guidelines were issued minimizing the risks of opioid addiction, lobbying to change laws aimed at curbing opioid abuse, promoting opioids for chronic pain and seeking to protect physicians sued for over-prescribing painkillers, according to the report.
Senator Alexander and his committee members might want to take the time to view the video link below. There is a trial going on now in Boston -- Insys Therapeutics, maker of Subsys (Fentanyl) and their CEO's accused of aggressively promoting Subsys for chronic pain resulting in death.
It had been approved by the FDA for treatment of pain in cancer patients. This video minimizes and makes a mockery of the dangers of opioids:
Rapping Insys Opioid Salesmen Boast of Prowess (Boston Globe)
(Video is Not available on YouTube)
Senator Alexander, let me know when you will be holding a hearing for family members to testify how their loved ones were prescribed dangerous opioids, became addicted and died because of the criminal marketing by pharma. My guess is the families will not need to place any props on the Senate floor to gain your attention.
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