He took opioids to manage his chronic pain. When his doctors took them away, he didn’t want to live anymore.
Just this year alone, more than a dozen states and 100 counties have sued drug companies for deceptive marketing of painkillers to pain patients, downplaying the risks … Some doctors are abruptly ending prescriptions [of opiates they previously prescribed] even when patients have been stable on high doses for years, throwing them into withdrawal — a soul-rending mix of nausea, agony, depression, and sometimes worse. Kline maintains a list of chronic pain patient suicides — now up to 23 names — that he attributes to having prescriptions cut off … No X-ray, no stethoscope, only the patient can measure pain. Modern medicine, driven by blood tests and insurance rates, falters at this impasse, while chronic pain is extremely common, affecting as many as 1 in 3 US adults.
Underneath the animus, almost everyone agrees, is not so much a clash between the doctors and patients. It’s a medical system, built on 15-minute doctor visits that end with a prescription, that doesn’t effectively treat pain … For example, until recently, doctors measured pain by asking patients to grade it on a scale of 1 to 10. “For a decade or more, many entertained the delusional idea that complex forms of human suffering could be resolved by reducing pain to a single number,” Kertesz said. More than a dozen states and 100 counties have sued drug companies for deceptive marketing of painkillers to pain patients. Handing out pills was a substitute for the real medical care — dedicated pain centers staffed with teams of psychologists, doctors, and social workers — that insurers, politicians, and taxpayers have been reluctant to pay for. And pharmaceutical firms have relentlessly flogged painkillers for the last two decades, despite a $600 million judgment against Purdue Pharma for its marketing of OxyContin in 2007.
Original Article (Buzzfeed News):
He took opioids to manage his chronic pain. When his doctors took them away, he didn’t want to to live anymore
Artwork Fair Use: Gary Halvorson