Are Nova Scotian’s Being MisInformed About The Dangers Of Prescription Painkillers?

The following quotes are from an Opinion piece in the Chronicle Herald May 18th 2012 titled :

LE PIERRÈS: Maybe our assumptions about addictions are wrong

Its hard to get a handle on the prescription drug abuse epidemic in Nova Scotia when doctors in power have opinions like these :

“Stories of people who were previously problem-free getting hooked on painkillers after surgery are mostly a myth, he says. “You have a less than one per cent chance of developing an addiction de novo out of getting prescribed opiates. The risk is, in fact, very low in the absence of other risk factors, the primary one being a personal history of addiction. There’s real misinformation around that fact.” – Dr John Fraser , Addictions Specialist Halifax

“So we have chronic non-cancer pain, chronic cancer pain and an aging population. All these things add up to the need for ever more pain treatments, and the reality of the matter is that we will be prescribing more of these medications,” he says.

It would be unethical for the medical establishment to turn away from a class of pain-killers that brings relief to the vast majority of patients because they also bring untold misery to a small minority” – Dr Peter MacDougall , Medical Consultant for N.S. Prescription Monitoring Program

“These are incredibly important drugs. These are the flagships for the treatment of pain.” – Dr Gus Grant , College of Physicians and Surgeons N.S.

I forwarded a copy of the article to A.R.P.O. ( Advocates For The Reform Of Prescription Opioids) which came back with a response from P.R.O.P. (Physicians For Responsible Opioid Prescribing)  P.R.O.P. is also the organization who created the videos above :

The article by  Laurent LePierres in the Herald Opinions on 5/18/12, contained gross misinformation and was a mischaracterization of the disease of addiction. It is a blatant insult to the victims of addiction and their families to imply that those who have become addicted from prescription opioids would have become addicts anyway and that this has nothing to do with the supply of opioid drugs.

The professional opinions expressed in this article have rehashed the false statements and myths about addiction and chronic pain initially disseminated by the opioid industry, including the rare 1% chance of developing addiction if you do not have a history of addiction and that more, not less, opioids are needed for the growing population of patients with chronic noncancer pain [CNCP] which is the “flagship” for the treatment of pain. This ‘flies in the face’ of and contradicts evidenced-based research studies, CDC reports and clinical observations, and will only serve to increase the mounting toll of addiction, overdose and death related to prescription opioids.

Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing [PROP] believes that the continued dissemination of such false information will only increase the legacy of harm to the public health from the excessive and inappropriate prescribing of prescription opioids. In discussing the propensity to addiction in a recent interview, Andrew Kolodny, MD, President of PROP, and addiction medicine specialist, made the following comments regarding addiction to prescription painkillers:

“—-the inherently addictive qualities of the drug may be more important than genetics in understanding why users can become addicted. The opioid manufacturers want doctors to think that opioids aren’t inherently addictive and that if they carefully select patients who don’t have a genetic predisposition for addiction then they don’t need to worry. But  simply not true.” 

Stephen G. Gelfand, MD

Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing [PROP]

One of the doctors who was quoted in Dr. Gelfands response and Suzanne Lee’s is the Medical Consultant for the Nova Scotia Prescription MonitoringProgram as well as Network Director for The Nova Scotia Chronic Pain Collaborative Care Network which is funded by Purdue Pharma , the maker of OxyContin , Dilaudid , and other opiate narcotics. Just a few weeks ago the United States Senate launched an investigation involving Purdue Pharma’s finanacial connections to Pain Networks in the U.S. See Investigation Letter Here <——– . I think Nova Scotia and the rest of Canada need to take a hard look at who has Big Pharma’s hand in their pocket !

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