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May-05-2013 14:36printcomments

Why Won't Scott Fishman Talk Straight About Drug Addiction?

"A person can become pharmacologically dependant to a pain medication but addiction does not always or usually occur." - Scott M. Fishman, MD

Scott M. Fishman, MD
Scott M. Fishman, MD photo courtesy: UC Davis

(MYRTLE BEACH, SC) - A few years ago, Scott M. Fishman, MD was interviewed by his employer, the University of California Davis and asked about the common problems in physicians treating pain patients.

Interesting topic for the time -- at the height of the opioid prescribing frenzy. But then Fishman's book "Responsible Opioid Prescribing - a Physician's Guide" published for the Federation of State Medical Boards and used by all medical boards in 50 states as the holy grail of prescribing painkillers has put a spotlight on not only Dr. Fishman, but also his book.

Fishman and his book are both under U.S. Senate investigation for their alleged part in profiting financially from the pharmaceutical industry by pushing dangerous and addictive painkillers for all levels of pain. Both Fishman and his book, published for the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), are under U.S. Senate investigation.

In this book he states, "Many people also under-report pain because they fear that pain medications will dull their cogitative abilities, lead to addiction, or result in unmanageable side effects. And last, some patients may believe that there is value in suffering. It is their due or that in some way they deserve to be in pain to expiate some form of 'wrong-doing' or 'sinfulness.'"

Another statement made by Fishman in his well read book by the medical profession is "Whenever a clinician considers treating pain with a controlled substance, such as an opioid, risk of abuse or diversion is always a possibility, no matter how remote, and must be assessed. Exactly who to suspect and when to be proactive in investigating risk factors is an area of great debate."

Why isn't the word "addiction" of great debate in Dr. Fishman's book? Shouldn't the clinician be focused on a patient being prescribed a controlled substance becoming "addicted"? To give readers a brief biography of Dr. Fishman, he is currently Chief of the Division of Pain Medicine and Professor of Anesthesiology at the University of California Davis and had previously held the prestigious position of President of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, also under Senate investigation. When Fishman was interviewed by his employer, he was asked about the common problems in physicians treating pain patients. The good doctor went into legal and regulatory scrutiny of pain meds and said "physicians often feel paralyzed treating pain patients for fear of undertreating or overtreating patients which could result in criminal or civil charges and regulatory sanctions."

I'm curious as to why the University of California Davis did not ask Fishman why he wasn't referencing the dreaded word "addiction" and was instead focusing on legal and regulatory sanctions against physicians. Does the word "sue" carry more weight than the word "addiction" when lives hang in the balance?

Obviously it was a great deflection by Dr. Fishman since the word "addiction" sends shivers up Fishman's spine. He much prefers using the words "tolerance" and "dependency" -- it keeps his photo on posters for the pharmaceutical industry. But when the University of California Davis did ask Dr. Fishman about the difference between dependency and addiction, he stated -- "Drug addiction is essentially the compulsive use of a drug that causes dysfunction and the continued use despite that dysfunction.

Both addiction and chronic pain produce dysfunction. An addicted patient takes increasing amounts of a drug but his or her function does not improve -- in fact, the drug they are addicted to only intensifies their craving and unmotivated use.

A patient treated effectively for pain with the same "addictive" drug finds a stable dose that helps balance pain with improved function. A person can become pharmacologically dependent to a pain medication but addiction does not always or usually occur."

Are you serious Dr. Fishman -- addiction does not always or usually occur? Maybe I shouldn't be asking this question of you -- I should be asking the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) -- Are you curious as to what Fishman is involved with while employed by the University of California Davis?

Because in case you are not aware, we are losing family members by the hundreds of thousands every year to addiction and death to painkillers -- prescribed to them. Also in the interview with the University of California Davis, Dr. Fishman explains pain this way -- "pain is not a sensation, but an experience."

How about my analogy, Dr. Fishman?

Let's take childbirth. The pain of childbirth is definitely a "sensation" because it is felt -- and it hurts. Holding a newborn after the sensation of pain in childbirth is "an experience." Care to debate it or would you rather continue to snow the medical profession with your expertise?

Pharmaceutical drug addiction affects countless people on a daily basis. Anyone suffering from addiction should consider looking for rehab as soon as possible. The risk of these drugs, regardless of what Fishman may claim, are a cause for concern. If the risks of these painkillers are being downplayed by physicians and their books reaping profits from pharma with distorted facts while employed at prestigious universities -- maybe the U.S. Senate should not be the only one investigating the ties to pharma. Have I peaked your interest in looking under the rocks for snakes DEA?

Link to University of California Davis interview with Scott M. Fishman, MD:

LP -- A path -- side by side -- with all the encouragement, love, support and laughter. So who is the forever best? The Mousebeeper?

_______________________________________ Investigative Reporter Marianne Skolek, is an Activist for Victims of OxyContin and Purdue Pharma 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 - Michael Friedman, Howard Udell and Paul Goldenheim - who pleaded 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 8-1/2 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.

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