A Decision Two Years In The Making

-December 5, 2018

Despite fierce opposition from physicians; receiving thousands of heartfelt letters from patients; hearing calm, concise testimony from a seasoned Stanford pain medicine psychologist who traveled on her own dime to appear before them; scientific study after study given to the panel in refutation of their premise; the Oregon Health Authority Ad Hoc Committee Opioid Task Force has furthered a proposal to reduce opioid prescription medication for Medicaid patients.

How much?

A lot.

OHA has determined that only 5 chronic illnesses are even worthy of consideration of long term opioid therapy, and all other patients are to be effectively tapered off their opioids.

The below is their new coding, if I am interpreting their extremely confusing document correctly.

The task force states supposedly only 1200 +- people will be affected by this policy change.

That is simply untrue.

There is extremely vague, confusing rambling language about “some” patients being “allowed” to be kept on opioid therapy under 50 MME (morphine milligram equivalencies -more on this idiocy here).

I believe purposefully vague to keep practitioners from even attempting to do so.

No coverage seems available whatsoever for flares in pain for any condition.

No real guidance in how anyone could actually qualify for even 90MME opioid therapy.

The document is dedicated to tapering and strongly cautions physicians to taper patients 5–10% per month.

There is absolutely zero information in the 2016 guidelines from the CDC remotely approaching this.

Why anyone would say this is the CDC’s recommendations is beyond me, because Oregon has gone off the rails here.

This situation surrounding opioid therapy, opioids, painful disease patients, and the complete breakdown of logic is so absolutely maddening to the point of fury to me.

I began my journey on Medium with an Open Letter to politicians, outlining the farcical nature of the opioid crisis.

I feel as though I am speaking to a person and saying, “The sky is blue,” and that person is nodding in agreement, sees it themselves, a brilliant cerulean blue — then says to me, “It is shamrock green,” and goes home, writes an article stating the sky is shamrock green, and everyone else better believe it is shamrock green, too.

By the way, for the absolute best science based destruction of the entire sham of the Oregon Opioid Task Force, their premise, their viewpoints, et al. go here.

Satisfying and excellent, even though for naught.

These incurable painful disease patients are to manage their incurable painful disease with non opioid medication (Tylenol, Advil, Toradol, Lyrica, Neurontin, Topamax and other anticonvulsant drugs that have suddenly been pushed into service as “painkillers”) as well as “alternative” therapies such as acupuncture, aqua therapy, yoga, massage, mindfulness, and the like.

In other words, nothing very helpful to these folks- if helpful, these people wouldn’t be using opioid therapy, would they?

Doesn’t matter how much you hurt, where you hurt, or if you are even physically capable of using these therapies.

To say nothing of…

  • availability of practitioners who accept Medicaid?
  • travel to/from appointments?
  • childcare for appointments?
  • what if the alternative doesn’t work?
  • religious beliefs?

These points seemingly weren’t even considered by this panel, which included three acupuncturists and a chiropractor (if you didn’t happen to read the link I put above destroying the entire premise).

Of course, the Oregon Opioid Task Force has no vested interests here, now, do they?

I am at a loss for words at who thought practitioners who are not even licensed to prescribe or dispense medication would be a good idea to be a part of a task force on opioid therapy.

It is blatantly clear they used non physicians to craft this new policy.

They excluded a whole population of incurable painful disease patients in their consideration — visceral disease incurable painful disease patients.

These patients are the ones who are least likely to be helped at all by any alternatives.

Great job, Oregon!

To illustrate what is wrong with this kind of thinking and why we should not allow these geniuses to institute blanket policies such as this in regards to something as individual, particular, and personal as pain, let me point out just ONE true example out of hundreds absolutely abandoned by this idiotic policy change.

Hazel is a patient who has been ill for over a decade with ideopathic chronic pancreatitis and biliary strictures (narrowing of her ducts in her pancreas and liver) which has resulted in intermittent non infectious hepatitis from time to time, along with acute pancreatitis flares. She has had several surgeries, but none have corrected the issues and she is forbidden at this point to have any more. Due to the surgeries and the nature of her illness, she is not allowed to take NSAIDS (such as Advil, Motrin, aspirin, Aleve, Naproxen) for fear of a GI bleed. The hepatic (liver) issues rule out any Tylenol use due to Tylenol’s hepatotoxic side effects. Hazel has an extremely regimented and careful diet she follows to the letter and has for years. She knows exactly what foods and drinks she can have and what she can’t. She never deviates from it. Hazel knows deviation could trigger pancreatitis and that is hell. Any unknowns go into the “no” list automatically.

She used opioid therapy successfully for over a decade to manage her pain at a level that she could have a fulfilling, active life. She lives with daily pain, but it isn’t debilitating, as unmedicated pain is. She uses “mindfulness” (in a different way) twice daily and exercises every day.

Hazel tried acupuncture many times, with several different practitioners, but never found any pain relief from it.

To see Hazel, you would not know she is a “pain patient”. She is very thin, but with a ready smile and very personable.

Hazel will lose her medication with Oregon’s revision.

Her “condition” is not one of the magical five.

She will be bedridden.

How will massage help her?

Aqua therapy?


Her life will be of existing. Not living.


She requires a medication to live that others *may* use recreationally.

Would we do this to a patient who suffered diabetes?

Who needed needles for their insulin?

How is this just?

It has been shown and our own government has proven patients are not the ones addicted or abusing prescription opioid medication.

So what is really going on here?





A mix of all the above?

It isn’t a conspiracy theory (remember, the CIA is who coined that term to begin with) if a theory has facts behind it

Let us take a moment to consider a few things.

The task force is largely made up of practitioners of alternative medicine. ✔️

The government is subsidizing Suboxone prescriptions. ✔️

The government is incentivizing nonopioid treatments over opioid therapy. ✔️

The task force has completely ignored mass reports of settled science and peer letters from pain specialists across the country in refutation of this plan. ✔️

Oregon will approve euthanasia for chronic illness sufferers. ✔️

The less people who are ill and requiring treatment, the less money is spent. ✔️

Edit to add: patient advocate Shasta Rayne has uncovered an perspective that this entire plot originated from HHS grants originated in 2016.

Money truly does run the opioid crisis, folks, not public health.

Here is her periscope video explaining it all.

“Oh my gosh, don’t be ridiculous!” you say (if you didn’t leave).

Really? Am I?

I have spent countless time reading, researching, talking to many people regarding the opioid crisis/epidemic.

I have read a plethora of peer reviewed journal articles, paid for many, borrowed (through inter library loan) many different books, watched a year’s worth (it seems) of videos… BOTH sides.

I sought out as much information as I could to be fully informed on this issue.

When one is in a position like I am (I could be Hazel), being fully informed is the only way to be prepared.

What I learned is completely contrary to what the media is trumpeting on a daily basis.

I am not lying when I say that the opioid epidemic showed me the truth about the real way the media reports “news” today. It disgusted me.

The media does not report the actual truth, nor do they care one bit when they print outright lies and exaggerations.

To be clear, I am not a naive idiot. I knew the news exaggerates.

However, I did think that some print journalists had a shred of integrity left.

Those hopes are now long gone. In response to blatant lies and completely wrong statistics in articles about the opioid crisis, I have emailed authors, very politely and with utmost manners, hoping they would print corrections.

The ones who bothered to reply were haughty and abrasive.

It mattered not that they had incorrect information.

The mere fact I dared to email, asking for a correction was mind boggling, especially in favor of opioids.

I will doggedly continue, because I must.

It may be in vain, but I am unable to see such false information blatantly published without at least acknowledging that it was seen.

Perhaps it will at least make a journalist fact check more carefully in the future.

That is my smallest hope.

At any rate, my point being, I have researched this subject exhaustively.

I honestly cannot say I am uninformed on this topic.

I do not say there are negative agendas around opioids lightly.

It makes no logical sense otherwise.

Any rational, intelligent person who researches and learns as much as anyone on this topic cannot come away with any other conclusion.

It is sad, odd, and very disconcerting.

The poor people in Oregon need a lot of support.

I am utterly appalled at this decision.

Unless a miracle happens, such as an authority from the federal government such as HHS stepping in or the equivalent, the incurable painful disease patients are going to suffer greatly.

Please pray for them.

Support them in prayer.

Write an email to Director Allen at OHA here. Polite, calm, but express your profound disappointment and dismay at OHA’s decision through the Opioid Task Force Ad Hoc Committee to push through this proposal (linked in the first paragraph).

We will continue letting them know this is wrong.