I attended the FDA workshop on Training for Opioid Analgesic Prescribers on May 9. This was a workshop to obtain input on issues and challenges associated with Federal efforts to train prescribers on pain management and the safe use of opioids. The workshop had various government organizations give presentations. For example, the VA Medical Advisory Panel Chair, Chester “Bernie” Good, gave a presentation showing (with considerable pride) how the VA had decreased prescribing of opioids by 60%. What was missing was how the quality of life of veterans has decreased by a lot more. In general, the meeting was a typical government propaganda machine in blaming doctors for the opioid epidemic. I learned quite a bit, and also verified my concepts as to where and how the propaganda originates.
The absolute worst presentation was that by DEA representative Jim Arnold, Chief, Liaison and Policy, Diversion Control Division. He lied through his teeth. He put Title 21 §1306.04 on the screen. It reads
(a) A prescription for a controlled substance to be effective must be issued for a legitimate medical purpose by an individual practitioner acting in the usual course of his professional practice.
He then said that the DEA isn’t attacking any physician that is practicing legitimate medicine. That they are only going after “drug dealers in white coats” who sell prescriptions at Starbucks at night. And the doctors in the powers of positions in all the organizations represented there looked at him like they believed what he was saying.
What I learned:
1. Most people, doctors and otherwise, are too naïve to understand what is happening. They won’t understand until it happens to them.
2. The doctors sitting on government panels and creating the propaganda believe the propaganda.
3. Most of these doctors and government officials are white. There were only a handful of minority representatives at the meeting. Could there be a correlation as to why the government is targeting the minority physicians in the country more?
4. The doctors in power and government officials don’t want to learn the truth about the cause of drug abuse. Even though I spoke for 3 minutes, passed out my card on the YouTube presentation on the REAL cause, and announced the link, no one has recently visited the site or communicated with me. It is up to you, the people, to learn this and teach it to others, including your legislators. Then fire them if they don’t accept it and act on it.
My take-away message from the meeting:
The Federal Government is looking for more ways to attack more doctors. Mandated education requirements will be one of those ways. Even though the consensus of opinion at the meeting was that health provider education should not be mandated, and should definitely stay at the state and local level and not federal, my guess is that the government will use this meeting to come out with federal mandates anyway, and that these mandates will be used against doctors who prescribe opioids. Washington State is an example of that at the state level with the attack on Dr. Frank Li: http://doctorsofcourage.org/index.php/2016/07/19/frank-d-li-md/.
In spite of all the comments to the contrary, I will put money on the probability that the supervision of prescriber education will fall into the hands of the DEA as the supervising authority, and that the mandate will be written into the CSA. That will make even not following the mandated education for prescribing opiates a criminal offense with prison time, confiscation of assets, and total life destruction for any doctor prescribing them. Of course, this is only my prediction. But if chronic pain patients sit back and do nothing, they will get just that—NOTHING.