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Sep-07-2010 21:21printcomments

Pain Classified as a Disease?
Please, Give Us a Break

A declaration calls on governments and health-care institutions to establish laws, policies and systems that will help promote access to pain management.

Pain medication

(MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.) - If "pain" is recognized as a "disease" and not a "symptom" -- there won't be enough hours in the day for the DEA, the DOJ, or the FDA to restrain the pharmaceutical industry drug cartels.

Last week the first International Pain Summit was held in Montreal at the 13th World Congress on Pain. A "leading pain authority" by the name of Michael Cousins, an Australian anesthesiologist, reported that about 80 per cent of people with chronic pain do not get adequate relief and are suffering needlessly throughout the world.

“This has gone on for too long. Pain has been regarded as a simple problem. It must be recognized as a disease in its own right,” said Cousins, the driving force behind the Summit.

The economic fallout from not treating pain in Australia alone is enormous, about $34 billion a year in health-care costs and work days lost, said Cousins, director of the Pain Management Research Institute in Sydney. He helped draft Australia’s national pain management strategy in March.

One out of every five people experience pain that lingers beyond three months, and a third of them are disabled “as badly as people with heart failure,” said Cousins who also chaired the international steering committee drafting the Montreal Declaration on pain, aimed at bringing attention to inadequate pain policies worldwide.

Issued by delegates from 84 countries, the declaration says that proper pain treatment is a fundamental human right.

It also calls on governments and health-care institutions to establish laws, policies and systems that will help promote access to pain management. "Patients should be believed when they complain of chronic pain", Cousins said. Primary care doctors need more training at the undergraduate level and countries need more pain medicine specialists, he added.

“There’s a year wait to get into my pain clinic and it’s three years for migraine headache sufferers. Some commit suicide,” Cousins said. With such long waiting times to be seen at Dr. Cousins pain clinic and suicides weighing on him -- maybe adding staff would cut the "wait" and ease his conscience. Or maybe Cousins should consult with the State of Florida to hear how they're dealing with the deluge of pain clinics set up to fight this "pain epidemic" marketed by pharmaceutical companies.

Although it might serve Cousins well to use the term "pill mills" rather than pain clinics when consulting with Florida authorities. "This declaration signifies a historic day to advocates of pain management as well as those who suffer from chronic pain worldwide," said G.F. Gebhart, PhD, president of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) and professor and director of the Center for Pain Research at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

"It is our hope that, with this declaration, all countries will begin to develop policies and regulations regarding widespread access to pain management regardless of gender, race, age and other factors."

Dr. Gebhart's name was familiar to me and after some research, I found some interesting information about him.

In 2003, Dr. Gebhart won the American Pain Society’s Distinguished Service Award, and in 2004, the Purdue Pharma Prize for Pain Research. (Purdue Pharma is a corporate member of the American Pain Society). And in 1995, a book was written entitled "The Year Book of Pain" by Gerald F. Gebhart and J. David Haddox, VP of Health Policy at Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin.

So who benefits from pain being recognized as a "disease" while every state in the country deals with epidemics of addiction, death and pill mills? I would suggest that the DEA, the DOJ, and the FDA be prepared for unimaginable workloads if Purdue Pharma and their pain societies are successful at pushing pain as a disease.

"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing." - Albert Einstein 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:

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BH November 22, 2011 4:24 pm (Pacific time)

Ms. Skolek, If you can not write or think in a manner that is neutral and clear, maybe you shouldn't be writing anything?

Editor: Gee Marianne, do you want to abandon your convictions and morals for BH here?  Didn't think so.  Really BH, there is no neutral ground for the families who have lost someone due to Purdue's business practices.  There will always be drugs for the sick, nobody wants otherwise, nobody wishes for you or anyone else to experience pain or discomfort, OK?  We know that people suffer, there is no objection to that in any of this.  The problem is that the companies that manufacture the drugs are overextending their advertising, trying to get people to use drugs who don't really need them, etc.  I hope that helps a little, it is not personal, and there are not two sides to the story; Purdue is a criminally convicted company that marked Oxycontin to doctors as non lethal and non-addictive, that is why we pay attention to them very closely, thanks for writing.  

Ken September 29, 2010 8:58 pm (Pacific time)

What do you call it when something is wrong with the human body that causes chronic pain, there is no cure for it, and it just gets worse and worse? If this is not a disease then I don't know what is!!!!!

Josh Akers September 20, 2010 3:14 am (Pacific time)

To Douglas Benson... That is eerie about the Fig Newtons. One of my strongest memories is the fact that Grandma ALWAYS had fig newtons in her apartment.

Douglas Benson September 10, 2010 7:20 am (Pacific time)

I hate to break it to you John but pain meds can only do so much ,even marijuana .What has been my experience is patients can cut thier doses down though giving them a better quality of life instead of walking around like a zombie or sleeping all the time. Anon methadone is a synthetic heroin that is time released to occupy the receptors of your brain so that you cant get high [or should I say higher] . Heroin makes you feel good ,the doctor tries to give just enough for the pain but patients want to feel good ,many havent felt good in a long time .So they use more and more . Im out .Peace

Anonymous September 9, 2010 5:18 pm (Pacific time)

I know the VA prescribes morphine. Does anyone know, or can anyone please tell me, how it is similar or differs from methadone?

John Hartung September 9, 2010 2:28 pm (Pacific time)

Douglas, Thank you for the info! I didn't know about the methadone, my Dr. put me on it and it didn't do anything for me. I have tried everything for my pain and like you said it's a catch 22! I can't wait for Wisconsin to do something about using Medical Marijuana maybe that just might work! I don't know I feel I won't get addicted to it. John Hartung

Marianne Skolek September 9, 2010 8:21 am (Pacific time)

Question for author --Answer - I don't make suggestions to people in pain. Their physician should be consulted. I report on criminal marketing tactics used by Purdue Pharma and their pain societies.

Douglas Benson September 9, 2010 7:26 am (Pacific time)

No John I wasnt talking about the VA but they do the same thing . To answer Josh ,any heroin addict can tell you the best food for a heroin user is fig newtons and chocolate milk . So how long do you think your grandmother would have lasted without pain meds ? Many times the pain meds are just to help prolong life or make it more comfortable because without them they die much sooner . Spend some time working around hospice patients. The other thing nobody is saying is the doctors are mandated by law to adequately treat pain .This puts them in a catch 22 .On one hand they are required to treat the pain and on the other there is a big risk thier patients can become addicts or die. So the #1 drug of choice for doctors has become methadone . Since methadone is a time released opiate its potential for abuse is low ,but since most of the time its used to treat addiction its doses are cut slowly and when it gets low enough the users turn to street drugs most of the time . For the chronic pain patients its an out for the doctor but quite deadly for the patient .Methadone deaths have went up 400% in oregon [at least thats what I remember the lady I spoke to from MAMA was saying ] Im out .Peace

Anonymous September 8, 2010 9:24 pm (Pacific time)

Douglas, if you are talking about the VA: If you can get a private doctor to agree with narcotic pain meds, the VA is more likely to follow the course of action.

John Hartung September 8, 2010 6:46 pm (Pacific time)

Douglas, You must be talking about the VA Hospitals? It sounds like the VA to me! I have alot of Vets that tell me the same thing you are saying! John

Question for Author September 8, 2010 7:14 pm (Pacific time)

To the author: How do you suggest people who are in constant pain solve it? I know a number of friends with degenerative muscle and skeletal diagnosis who have turned to alcohol mixed with over-the-counter analgesics at bedtime (in what should be their golden years) just to be able to sleep. Alcohol is addictive too. So what is the answer, in your opinion?

Josh Akers September 8, 2010 6:54 pm (Pacific time)

Both my mother and my father have chronic pain and my grandmother was a pain pill user since I was born, until she passed away, in my teens. Her bowels burst inside. We think years of opiate abuse played a role in her death, by making them hard and unable to stretch. SORRY, THAT WAS GRAPHIC, but this CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE. I must point out, though, we never medically confirmed this suspicion. Sometimes I question so many around me using these drugs, other times, I do realize that they were all legitimate diagnoses'. The fact remains, It it literally all around me. I do believe in pain management, but every person in a position to make a judgment on the issue has something to benefit from by making pill mills instead of genuine pain management.

Douglas Benson September 8, 2010 6:55 am (Pacific time)

There is a flip side to this .The under treatment of pain is a real problem . As a person who suffers from chronic pain I have some personal experience with doctors who dont understand that if I am asking for pain meds my pain is serious . I am in some level of pain all the time but if I am going to the doctor for meds its going to take more than flexeril or the like . I have a few friends that have turned to street drugs because thier doctor says no more meds because they are addicted .Gee really ? And just how did they get addicted in the first place ? So here they are addicted ,the pain didnt go anywhere ,and the doctor kicks them off thier meds .Or even worse puts them on methadone . peace

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