There was a news analysis piece, The Disability Trap, by Julie Turkewitz and Juliet Linderman in the Sunday Review of the New York Times (Sunday, 10/21) that I hope all pain patients on disability will have a chance to read. The main theme of the piece is not what I am writing about. Buried in their analysis is a statistic that states that 70% of disabled U.S. citizens live below the poverty line. I point this out because it has an unreported but direct link to the War on Pain (WOP) patients.
In war, a commander masses his (her) troops at the opponent’s weakest defenses and attacks with near 100% assurance that s/he will succeed in routing the enemy. What, I can hear you ask as you read this, does this have to do with the WOP?
At first pass, not much. Recently, in a column of mine in the American News Report, I stated that I found it particularly disturbing that a professional class (physicians) with growing political power would align themselves with the organs of the federal and state governments to oppress a class with little or no influence or political power. Oppression, according to Wikipedia is the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner.[
Of course I’m referring to the combined efforts of the government and PROP (Physicians for Responsible (Responsible?) Opioid Prescribing to deny pain patients access to the medications that have saved a number of our lives, including mine. When a powerful class unites with the government to do harm to a class, in this case, most of us living with harrowing pain and disability, their power grab and oppressive policies deserve the derision and ridicule it so actively courts.
Why? Well for lots of very good reasons, but morally, the most salient to me is that those of us who’ve fallen ill with debilitating pain that leads to job loss, disability and rising medical costs. This is especially burdensome to those who can’t afford to go into the market to buy private insurance because of reduced income and the inevitable decline in socio-economic class.
This becomes all the more urgent as yesterday during a meeting, an official of the FDA said that the agency was under pressure to limit opioid analgesics to cancer pain and those patients at the end of their lives. He stated that this pressure was coming from Congress. Here’s the alliance: PROP and people and organizations that support them, the ruling elite-Congressmen and women, and organs of the government all aligned to oppress a class of people with little real power-people with pain.
I urge everyone to contact their congressmen and women as well as their Senators and tell them the other side of this story on diversion of opioids. We need to do all we can, and then some, to stop this potential deadly policy change being urged by the powerful on the FDA.