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Jul-13-2010 01:46printcomments

Pain Relief Network Challenges Washington State's Opioid Guidelines

What's contained in Washington State's Opioid Guidelines that has the multi-billion dollar Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, and one of their well funded pain societies fighting to keep opioids flowing in that state?

Dangerous drugs
Courtesy: elistmania.com

(MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.) - We'll begin with the Pain Relief Network's (PRN) "fight for chronic pain" treatment referring to what they are fighting for is the "dangerous crackdown on people with chronic pain."

Marianne Skolek

They are turning to the protection of the courts in an effort to have the "deadly disease of chronic pain" declared a disability under the Americans With Disabilities Act. Below is an excerpt of the PRN's recent release.

Siobhan Reynolds, President of the Pain Relief Network and defender of people in pain sees Washington State as the patient’s last real opportunity to stop the War On Drugs from completely destroying a free and voluntary doctor/patient relationship, “Between Obamacare, The War On Drugs and the media’s rapacious focus on celebrity addiction, people in pain who merely want to live their lives and take care of their families are instead being herded like cattle into “safety programs’ which are anything but safe.”

She goes on to say, “despite Washington State’s contentions that they are merely looking out for the welfare of citizens in pain, the data does not demonstrate that a public health crisis in overdose and addiction even exists. What the data does say is that some 25 to 33 percent of the American people suffer from the deadly disease of chronic non-cancer pain.”

Laura Cooper Esq. General Counsel for PRN and the lawyer who will be arguing on behalf of the doctor/patient relationship in Washington State from her wheel chair said, “Physician assisted suicide is now legal in Washington State but pain treatment is no longer supported in the law. So it’s ok for doctors to prescribe Controlled Substances to kill us but not to allow us to live. The courts have said they will step in if such a state of affairs comes to characterize pain treatment in the US and I am afraid that we are here.”

A recent article in Time Magazine explains the groundlessness of the state’s claims that a ‘wave of deaths by opioids’ necessitated this crackdown. According to one of the top medical experts in the world, the science around cause of death by opioids in people who were otherwise critically ill is far from exact. Dr. Steven Karch called the acceptance of the state’s word on the cause of death when pain medicines are present, “a giant miscarriage of justice.” He goes on to explain, “You can die from a drug and you can die with a drug, When you have four orders of magnitude separating either end of the curve, many of these deaths may not have to do with drugs at all.”

The name Dr. Steven Karch may be familiar to readers. He was an expert witness for the defense in the recent trial of Dr. Stephen Schneider and his wife in Wichita, Kansas. The Schneiders were convicted a couple of weeks ago of running a pill mill at their medical clinic -- where patients were herded like cattle -- and the deaths of 68 patients resulted. The Pain Relief Network was a defender of the Schneiders.

So what are some of the Washington State guidelines that has Purdue Pharma's pain society challenging the state's efforts at helping providers prescribe narcotics for chronic, non-cancer pain in a safe and effective manner.

First the guidelines were developed by state health officials and actively practicing physicians who specialize in pain management.

Why did the State of Washington feel these guidelines are necessary? Where it was previously thought that unlimited escalation of opioid doses for chronic, non-cancer pain was probably safe, evidence now suggests that prolonged, high-dose opioid therapy may be neither safe nor effective. Providers and their patients may not be aware that higher doses may increase risk without improving pain or physical function.

The opioid guideline is designed to assist the primary care provider to prescribe in a safe and effective manner. Treatment with opioids, even at very high dosages, does not guarantee freedom from chronic pain. The guidelines identify some of the medical conditions which place patients at increased risk for opioid-related toxicity. The guidelines urge caution when prescribing opioids to patients with these conditions.

Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna was quoted as saying “More people are dying now from prescription drug overdoses (than traffic accidents) and yet fewer people are aware of it. Drug overdoses are a hidden problem because they aren’t as visible as, for example, traffic accidents."

So Attorney General McKenna do you buy the Pain Relief Network's contention that "the data does not demonstrate that a public health crisis in overdose and addiction even exists" in your state -- because I don't -- not for one minute -- and Washington is not suffering in this epidemic of the over-treatment of pain in America and the over-prescribing of opioids. There are 49 other states as well as Canada involved in this epidemic of addiction, death and abuse because of shrewd marketing ploys generated by a multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical company and their well rewarded pain societies.


Salem-News.com Reporter Marianne Skolek, is an Activist for Victims of OxyContin throughout the United States and Canada. In July 2007, she testified against Purdue Pharma in Federal Court in Virginia at the sentencing of their three CEO's who pled guilty to charges of marketing OxyContin as less likely to be addictive or abused to physicians and patients. She also testified against Purdue Pharma at a Judiciary Hearing of the U.S. Senate in July 2007. Marianne works with government agencies and private attorneys in having a voice for her daughter Jill, who died in 2002 after being prescribed OxyContin, as well as the voice for scores of victims of OxyContin. She has been involved in her work for the past 7-1/2 years and is currently working on a book that exposes Purdue Pharma for their continued criminal marketing of OxyContin.

Marianne is a nurse having graduated in 1991 as president of her graduating class. She also has a Paralegal certification. Marianne served on a Community Service Board for the Courier News, a Gannet newspaper in NJ writing articles predominantly regarding AIDS patients and their emotional issues. She was awarded a Community Service Award in 1993 by the Hunterdon County, NJ HIV/AIDS Task Force in recognition of and appreciation for the donated time, energy and love in facilitating a Support Group for persons with HIV/AIDS.

You can send Marianne an email at: mskolek@aol.com

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Shawn Crowley February 16, 2014 1:59 pm (Pacific time)

I live in ma. where Dr.s are dropping patients. I have been through this suffering for years and now my primary care is dropping chronic pain patients. I can not find another Dr. that will help. If some one can help please let me know. I cant do this much longer. I have had neck and back surgeries, injections pt and medications. now the medical field is giving up on their patients to protect their asses. Please help

david April 16, 2012 10:12 am (Pacific time)

Medicine is addicted to prescribing opioids. Instead they should have education in pain care and make full use of the great variety of treatments for pain which include curative, rejuvenative and regenerative treatments- and not just pain management. It is up to the legislature to see that the public good is attended to by doctors and medicine- so far government has deferred to medicine to the detriment of the millions suffering pain. The dried voices of people in pain remain mute and menaingless and distant as fading stars to government and medicne alike

C M PHILLIPS April 21, 2011 6:20 pm (Pacific time)

Theres over 70 MILLION pain patients in America...we are neglected by the so-called medical professionals who are supposed to treat and take care of us, abused by a system that buries this horrible epidemic under so much bureacracy and lies and government corruption, tormented by unimaginable pain... no one knows our horrible suffering..no one cares when we scream in pain... and our own government would rather commit genocide than give us the medication we need for a better quality of life! It is unconscionable what our society will do to the helpless and disabled and brush the dirty little secrete under the rug!

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