From Dr. Mercola:
We are in the middle of an opioid and heroin epidemic, which is killing ever increasing numbers of Americans at an astonishing rate.
In 2014, almost 30,000 people died from heroin and opioids (also called narcotic prescription painkillers), exceeding those who died from car accidents during the same year, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).1
Prescriptions for opioids have risen by 300 percent over the past 10 years and fed the heroin epidemic as the tolerance of opioid addicts surpasses their allotted prescription dosage and/or they are no longer allowed to refill their prescription.
In April of 2015, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) also noted that “Controlled prescription drug abusers who begin using heroin do so chiefly because of price differences.”2
Most people know there is a prescription painkiller epidemic underway but few realize how much the government is enabling it, how much taxpayers are subsidizing it, and how this is the root cause of the current heroin epidemic.
Conflicts of Interest Color Pain Treatment
In February, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) wrote a letter to Sylvia Burwell, the head of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), about the glaring conflicts of interest at the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee, convened as part of the Affordable Health Care Act3 to improve pain-related treatment strategies.4
Questions began to arise when members of the panel objected to federal suggestions that doctors reduce opioid prescriptions for chronic pain.5 According to the Associated Press, conflicts at the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee include:
“[T]wo panelists work[ing] for the Center for Practical Bioethics, a Kansas City group which receives funding from multiple drugmakers, including OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma, which donated $100,000 in 2013.
One panelist holds a chair at the center created by a $1.5-million donation from Purdue Pharma. The other has received more than $8,660 in speaking fees, meals, travel accommodations and other payments from pain drugmakers …
A third member of the panel is a director with the U.S. Pain Foundation, a nonprofit that receives most of its funding from drugmakers, including a $104,800 donation from Purdue Pharma in 2014, according to IRS Records cited by Wyden.
Two other panelists are connected to the American Chronic Pain Association, another nonprofit that receives substantial funding from drugmakers, including Pfizer Inc., AstraZeneca Plc, Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd. and AbbVie Inc.”
Big Pharma Money Responsible for Loosening US Drug Policies
The panelists, who appear to be foxes guarding the hen house, are not the only experts developing drug policies while taking opioid makers’ money.
In 2009, the American Geriatrics Society changed its guidelines to recommend “that over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, be used rarely and that doctors instead consider prescribing opioids for all patients with moderate to severe pain.”6
Half the panel’s experts “had financial ties to opioid companies, as paid speakers, consultants or advisers at the time the guidelines were issued,” reporter John Fauber writes.
The University of