Articles by JCS
In a stunning rebuttal to the March 15, 2016, “Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain — United States, 2016” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), President Obama signed an Executive Order today, April 1st, rescinding the CDC’s recommendations to rein in the flood of prescription opioid painkillers flowing from medical offices.
The White House released the following news release from the President:
“After reviewing the partisan make-up of the CDC’s ten-member Opioid Guideline Workgroup, the lack of diversity on the panel was evident in that it failed to include one chiropractor or any CAM professional. This exclusion is clearly intolerable in today’s bipartisan environment to include, not exclude, the diverse fabric of our American society.
“Furthermore, the guidelines themselves made little sense in this era of evidence-based healthcare that seemed to turn a blind eye to many previous guidelines that endorse CAM providers.
“Although well-intentioned, the CDC’s panel also failed to place any responsibility for this opioid disaster on the very people who created it — the medical physicians and pharmaceutical industry that dole out opioid painkillers like candy, profiting greatly at the expense of our country that has never before experienced the epidemic of medicinal heroin we now see ravaging our nation.
“As one expert from the National Safety Council said, ‘Opioids do not kill pain. They kill people.’ It’s time to take the smoking gun out of the hands of these medical cowboys.
“Instead of any punishment or repudiation, the CDC panel actually rewarded MDs by maintaining their position as portal of entry for the millions of Americans suffering from chronic pain such as musculoskeletal disorders like back pain, the main complaint and cause of opioid consumption.
“The CDC panel also overlooked the fact that MDs are untrained in these conditions. Many experts including CDC Director Tom Frieden admit most MDs are promiscuous prescribers who are inept in their educational training and knowledge of chronic pain cases.
Most notable is the problem the CDC’s guideline is not legally binding, so these voluntary recommendations will most likely fall on deaf ears by MDs and the 13 million Americans already dependent on opioids for their pain management. Indeed, the CDC’s guideline may actually be ‘too little, too late’ to stop this epidemic of medicinal heroin.
“As a result of these many oversights in the CDC guideline, I have no option but to reject this report and replace it with my own.
“First and foremost, I will appoint a new panel of experts headed by Dr. Scott Haldeman, MD, DC, PhD, which will also include nondrug professionals who deal with chronic pain, such as chiropractors, acupuncturists, and massage therapists. Studies confirm these natural healers are very successful with many types of chronic pain cases and their treatments, unlike opioid painkillers, have no adverse side effects.
“Indeed, the only addiction patients may develop with CAM treatments stems from the fact they feel so good, but not because of any chemical dependency as we now see with prescription painkillers.
“I will also recommend that the portal of entry for musculoskeletal chronic pain disorders that constitute the vast majority of pain patients will not be headed by MDs who have relinquished that privilege with their unabashed irresponsibility, but by DCs, doctors of chiropractic. Americans must learn while MDs are good for many problems, they are not good for chronic pain cases.
“As a man from a minority background, I can identify with the plight of chiropractors, a minority profession. After a century of medical suppression, the facts suggest if the illegal medical war against chiropractors had never occurred, we might not have this opioid crisis today.
“If we are to make America’s healthcare system great, we must end the medical discrimination that has suppressed proven and natural treatments. Indeed, the era of a ‘pill for every ill’ must end.
“Just as Americans are striving for equality in all aspects of our society, it is past time we see equality in healthcare, too. Certainly this epidemic of opioids caused by the AMA and Big Pharma that has made billions of dollars while killing thousands of our neighbors and causing addictions for millions of Americans, it is past time to start afresh with a new approach to the pandemic of chronic pain.
“As Martin Luther King, Jr., said in his stirring ‘I have a dream’ speech at the Lincoln Memorial, “Do not judge a man by the color of his skin but by the content of his character,” I believe the same message can be said in healthcare.
“MLK, Jr., spoke of the day when “little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers," I wonder when MDs and DCs will practice together in every pubic hospital, in the VA, military health services, workers’ compensation, and in every HMO for the betterment of all patients. After all, their mutual enemies should not be each other, but pain and disease. Unfortunately, the AMA does not share my belief nor does the CDC report reflect it.
“Somewhere in the fray this point of mutual respect and responsibility to give Americans the best in healthcare has been missed as evident in the CDC report. So, with these points in mind, I must veto the CDC guideline on opioid prescribing.
“Thank you and have a nice April Fool’s Day!”