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Grand Slam Article by Dr. Josh Bloom Shows True Opioid Stats

Government Failure Unreported by Media; Meth Deaths Triple & Then Some Since ‘11

I checked in to the ACSH website as it has been almost a month, with holidays and whatnot, and I was blown away by the article Dr. Bloom had published on December 12, 2018.

I didn’t catch this and I am putting it up immediately because it is important and deserves to be read far and wide.

Why no one is talking about this? Well, of course we know why.

It is another bomb that blows the “opioid crisis” to shreds.

Every time we see another truth come out, no one cares.

It’s so frustrating to the point of parody now, folks.

Anyone who actually thinks the opioid crisis is a real, live epidemic of prescription pill misuse/overuse is not paying attention to a damn thing.

However, the media ignored the data Dr. Bloom exposed, because they have their story and they are sticking to it, come hell or high water.

It matters not what we prove. They are not ever going to report facts.

We need to understand that.

The frustrating issue is how entrenched the narrative they have promulgated is in the national consciousness.

Dr. Bloom’s article is titled:

Dear PROP/CDC, Here’s What Happens When You Over-Restrict Pills: More Deaths. Nice Going.”

I am a fangirl of Dr. Bloom’s work.

I admit it.

Not in a creepy way, I swear.

I admire Dr. Bloom and respect the heck out of him.

I send links to my husband of all of his work and point out how awesome and personable his writing is.

That’s it.

He writes in a unique style that makes me laugh and also educates me.

For a scientist… that’s amazing.

In this article, Dr. Bloom shows the public just how ridiculous the CDC, media, and Dr. Andrew Kolodny’s group PROP (Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing) is when they shriek regarding the “overprescribing” of opioid medication.

He uses science and facts, unlike the champions of opioid throttling, who use emotion and rhetoric.

He writes:

If Shakespeare were alive today, he would be hard-pressed to come up with a script that could match the tragedy that has been imposed on this country by self-appointed drug experts, bureaucrats, self-serving politicians, and various other fools. It’s that bad. And it was largely preventable.
So, let’s all congratulate the CDC for sticking its nose where it should not have been and the Physicians Responsible for Opioid Prohibition (1) for creating a mess that we will not be getting out of anytime soon. A new report from in the December 12th National Vital Statistics Reports (NVSR) confirms what patient pain advocates and I have been saying all along — that we’ve been fighting the wrong war (against prescription opioid analgesics) and, in doing so, managed to screw two things up at the same time.

Pain patients are suffering

More people, not fewer, are dying
One can only hope that the press, which has been pathetically inept in its coverage of the “opioid crisis,” which is really the “fentanyl crisis,” might pay attention to the new report and possibly start to get the story right. But don’t get your hopes up. To do so would entail not only reading the report but also, understanding what it says.
I’ll make it easy for them.
As I’ve written repeatedly, pills are not the real problem
(See No, Vicodin Is Not The Real Killer In The Opioid Crisis and The Opioid Epidemic In 6 Charts Designed To Deceive You);
it is the difficulty of obtaining them that is now. The NVSR makes this painfully obvious. Here’s why.
In 2011 (Table 1), there were 41,340 overdose deaths from all drugs — legal, illegal, prescription, and over the counter. Oxycodone was the primary cause of OD deaths (5,587, 13.5% of total). But a closer look at Table 1 reveals some interesting facts.

Table 1 -The 15 Drugs Most Responsible for OD deaths in 2011 as reported by NVSR and reproduced by Dr. Bloom with commentary on ASCH.org

— a closer look at Table 1 (I added the notes in color) reveals some interesting trends. Although oxycodone leads the pack with 5,587 deaths, illegal drugs, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine, killed twice as many people (and alcohol killed 80,000). The number for heroin is almost certainly too low, probably by a lot. This is because heroin is rapidly metabolized to morphine,

so someone who died from a heroin overdose will also test positive for morphine.”

Since people on the street generally, don’t inject themselves with morphine, it is plausible that most of the morphine overdoses were actually from heroin.
Although two benzodiazepine sedatives, Xanax and Valium are on the list, this is somewhat misleading. Virtually all of these deaths are a result of concomitant use of alcohol or opioids.

It is virtually impossible to kill yourself with Valium alone.”

In a case study, a woman who tried to commit suicide took 2,000 mg of the drug — the equivalent of 400 five milligram pills and walked out of the hospital two days later.
(See Can Valium Kill You?).
In high doses, patients may manifest coma, respiratory depression, hypotension, hypothermia, and rhabdomyolysis. Otherwise, benzodiazepines are remarkably safe as single agents.
TOXNET, Toxicology Data Network
Now, let’s take a look at the same data for 2016 (Table 2). The changes are startling.
Table 2. Overdose deaths from the 15 most common drugs. Note that adding the percentages results in a number considerably higher than 100. Likewise, adding the number of deaths gives a number greater than 63,632. This is because when multiple drugs are involved they are all counted. The term “fentanyl deaths” almost always means “illicit fentanyl and its analogs, not prescriptions patches — As posted by Dr. Bloom on ACSH.ORG

In Table 2, the damage of six years of bad policy becomes evident.

Despite a 25% reduction in opioid prescriptions during that time, 22,292 (54%) more people died from drug overdoses, despite the fact that the number of OD deaths from oxycodone (Percocet) and hydrocodone (Vicodin) remained essentially unchanged.

And there’s more (and it’s really crazy). Note that the number of deaths from diphenhydramine (Benadryl) isn’t terribly different from the number from Vicodin.”

Are we having a ‘Benadryl Crisis?’”

And even crazier — look at gabapentin (Neurontin, yellow arrow). Neurontin is being used like crazy (mostly off-label) as an alternative to opioids. Except it doesn’t work. But it managed to creep into the Top 15 list.
I’m speechless.
So, here’s the report card:

Restricting prescriptions of opioid analgesics had approximately zero effect on overdose deaths from the pills.”

But it did result in incalculable suffering of pain patients.
And it also caused more deaths as oxycodone users switched to heroin, something we’ve known since 2010.


This switch created a huge heroin market, which was filled by fentanyl starting in 2014 (Figure 1).”


Figure 5.Deaths from illicit fentanyl and its analogs 2014–2017 (blue hatch line). The red circle shows that fentanyl overdose deaths were rare before 2014 but were by far the major cause of death (green circle) in 2017. Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse. Sourced from Dr. Josh Bloom at ACSH.ORG

If this is not an example of an abysmal policy then nothing is.”

Yet, despite this overwhelming evidence, we still hear crap like this:
  • When you talk about opioid pain medicines, we’re essentially talking about heroin pills — Dr. Andrew Kolodny
No, Andrew, we’re not. Read this article and then try to make that same statement with a straight face.
The false narrative of prescriptions doing the killing persists despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The longer it persists, more pain patients will suffer and more people will die. These charts are not lying.
Too bad I can’t say the same about others.
NOTE: (1) I changed the name of the group to something more accurate. So sue me.

— — Written By Dr. Josh Bloom, PhD.


(Author’s note — the tables show up so much better on the mobile app than on desktop- plus zoom is available. Huge apologies, but if I make them any larger for desktop, the data blurs badly and then it’s moot. Sorry, all.)

I want to point out before anything else that while the oxycodone number relatively stable from 2011–2016 (it didn’t even increase 800 people) …

… did anyone notice what number tripled & then some?!?!?!?

METHAMPHETAMINE.

Does anyone care whatsoever?

Of course not.

They can’t monetize meth addiction.

I have been working on an article around this for three months.

The curtain should drop on this Act now, people.

However, it hasn’t and it won’t.

Have you heard a whisper about any of this?

Of course you haven’t.

You still are being told to report on your neighbor to the state if you think he or she may be using too many Vicodin for their arthritis.

We know those people are the ones driving the opioid crisis, right?

That is what all the data has proven, correct? {insert eye roll}

When I visit politicians and staffers to speak to them about the opioid crisis and its impact on incurable painful disease patients, just pain care across the country, I am amazed at the rank ignorance and misinformation stridently believed by people.

It reflects how successful the media, driven by the architects of this crisis, have been in this crisis in frightening people and completely confusing them about opioid medication and addiction.

They have done a great job, I have to hand it to them.

If I had the billions that Soros and Mendell do, I would launch a counter campaign of true, factual information.

But, unfortunately, I do not.

I have been successful, at least in the moment, in correcting the blatant lies and fears I encounter.

However, I know once I am out of sight and out of mind, the machine slips back into place and I am forgotten.

It’s hard to beat that.

People are convinced they will become addicted to opioids after a few days exposure.

People are convinced that others are harming their cats and dogs to get opioids from veterinarian offices.

People are convinced that doctors are handing out pills like candy, first line, to patients for pain, and it needs to end now.

It is astounding to me to encounter the gross misinformation I have.

Especially the veterinarian yarn…

I asked one person who breathlessly insisted this was true, to think with me for a moment about it logically.

If one was desperate for “drugs”, how would a dose of Tramadol meant for a 7 pound cat or a 20 pound dog do anything at all for a 150 pound adult?

(This is setting aside the ridiculous notion of anyone that deep in the throes of addiction spending hundreds of dollars at the vet for this proposal).

The crumbling of the theory was fascinating to watch.

They didn’t want to let go of this “truth”, but they had to because it just wasn’t logical, it just didn’t make any rational sense whatsoever.

It was very hard.

The vast majority of pet owners do not own pets that weigh as much as they do.

Of those pet owners, how many of them are opioid addicts who would actually go to the veterinarian on a regular enough basis to forge a relationship well enough to be able to “score” those kinds of medications for their pet anyway?

The fantastical leaps that must be achieved here are… outrageous, however, in the world today, we seem to believe all kinds of things.

Except that incurable painful disease patients don’t misuse their prescriptions.

That is just unbelievable, apparently.


I appreciate Dr. Bloom’s straightforward and logical articles.

I hope you do too.

Please go to his website, linked above and spend some time reading his articles.

As an advocate, educated in science and health, fighting in the trenches, so to speak, and looking over this data, two things immediately become clear to my mind:

  • It appears that patients have turned to Benedryl to replace some of their schedule sleep aids they were abruptly cut off (for no good reason, I might add) and we are seeing the horrible side effect of that. With no real guidance, and mixing it with other prescriptions, they are accidentally killing themselves (or doing it on purpose, in some cases, to get out of the hellish life they have been given by the CDC and Kolodny).
  • It appears that an anticonvulsant, which has absolutely NO BUSINESS being used as a pain reliever, has meandered its way into the top twenty as a death agent. Why? Because recreational users will abuse anything, that’s why.

This proves to me that when someone wants to abuse a drug, they will abuse a drug.

It also proves that when patients are desperate, they will take larger than hell doses of these crappy drugs to try to help their severe intractable pain, hoping and praying to God somehow it will work!!

Both of these observations are totally heartbreaking to me.

What I wish was possible to see, and what we will never, ever be able to see, is what these charts would look like if Henny Penny hadn’t been somehow given the power he was to destroy pain management and gotten his way.

If nothing had been “done”.

If doctors would have been left alone to trust their judgment, training, licenses…

…they would have been able to correct this on their own without Big Pharma and Big Government in their faces.

Most of them were doing so.

The Pharma companies had sued them to prescribe the huge doses to everyone and anyone to begin with, and Kolodny knew it.

That information is scrubbed — extremely difficult to find online now.

I vow to each and every single person that these statistics would look so much brighter and better if everyone had simply let doctors sort this out themselves.

But… we will never know now. The damage is done and it is real.

Will we ever be back to any kind of normalcy again?