CDC wants to tell your doctor how to treat – or not treat – your chronic pain.

Take Our Survey About the CDC Opioid Guidelines

http://www.painnewsnetwork.org/stories/2015/9/29/pain-patients-take-our-survey-about-cdc-opioid-guidelines

By Pat Anson, Editor

As we’ve been reporting over the last several days, chronic pain patients had little role or voice in the development of opioid prescribing guidelines recently announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The guidelines for primary care physicians are aimed at reducing rates of addiction and overdose, but they are likely to lead to further restrictions on the prescribing of opioid pain medication for both acute and chronic pain.

The CDC recommends “non-pharmacological therapy” and other types of pain relievers as preferred treatments for chronic non-cancer pain. Smaller doses and quantities of opioids are recommended for patients who continue using the drugs.  A complete list of the guidelines can be found here.

While the CDC is no longer accepting public comment on the guidelines, your opinion matters to us and it’s not too late to let your feelings be known.

Pain News Network and the Power of Pain Foundation are joining forces to conduct a survey of pain patients to see what they think of the CDC’s guidelines.

To take our quick survey, click here.

“As pain patients, we already have major roadblocks in our health care system to get access to proper and timely treatment. I predict these new CDC guidelines will have a devastating impact on our pain care,” says Barby Ingle, founder and president of the Power of Pain Foundation. “Many more people will suffer from arbitrary guidelines set by a panel of people who are not in the everyday trenches with pain patients. These guidelines force the same care for all. We are not all the same.

“Taking our survey about the CDC’s opioid prescribing guidelines gives patients a voice in this process. Raise your voice and be heard, something that was not done when the guidelines were drafted. Share your story, share your experiences and share what it’s like to live in the pain community as the expert of your pain.”

Some of the questions we’re asking include whether you think opioids are overprescribed;  what effect the guidelines will have on rates of addiction and overdoses;  whether pain patients should be required to take urine drug tests; and if the guidelines discriminate against pain sufferers.

In addition to taking the survey, Ingle says it’s time for pain sufferers to step up and be better advocates for themselves.

“We must participate in studies and surveys on this topic, and write letters to those trying to dictate our lives and what appropriate care should be,” she says. “The only way to ensure access to proper and timely care is to keep the relationship between the patient and their providers.”

The CDC is planning to release the prescribing guidelines in January.  Although voluntary, some experts predict the guidelines could quickly be adopted by state health departments and licensing boards, making them “standards of practice” for physicians.

But CVS customers will be able to get Naloxone within 24 hours

naloxone narcan 1.jpg

Possible heroin overdose inside Lancaster city CVS

http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/possible-heroin-overdose-inside-lancaster-city-cvs/article_5d123e56-66b8-11e5-83f7-6b1f3e774a74.html

Has anyone noticed that it has been all over the various news media that CVS was going to have Naloxone in stores for pts.. Maybe I mis-read all of those press releases or maybe they just INFERRED that Naloxone would be IN STOCK in their stores.  The statement in this new article states that Naloxone would be available TO ORDER.. next day availability.  Apparently, they don’t want to put themselves into the position of one of their Pharmacists refusing to provide Naloxone to a pt like it is described in this article, because the person is unconscious and unless the Pharmacist wants to “frisk” the pt for $50 to pay for the Naloxone… taking it out of stock and administering it to such a pt would be considered theft on the part of the Pharmacist.  Which could cause the Pharmacist to be FIRED. OR, a Pharmacist that believes/feels that addicts deserve whatever outcome they get themselves into… All of these possible “feel good” press releases could be undone with one such incident.

A 20-year-old man likely overdosed on heroin Friday inside the bathroom of a CVS drug store in Lancaster city, police said. 

He was revived by the heroin antidote naloxone, though it did not come from the pharmacy even though CVS announced last week that all of its Pennsylvania drug stores would be carrying the life-saving drug.

He was revived by emergency responders who now carry the drug for heroin and other opiate overdoses.

A CVS spokesman said today that naloxone, sold under the brand name Narcan, would not be kept in stock. “But CVS customers will be able to get it within 24 hours,” said the spokesman, Michael DeAngelis. 

CVS announced last week that its stores in Pennsylvania and 13 other states would carry naloxone and would make it available to customers without a doctor’s prescription.

However, DeAngelis said today, the drug probably would not be in high enough demand to keep it on the shelves.

“It’s an emergency product and people that are interested in it will be able to get it in a day,” said DeAngelis. “Part of the protocol that we put in place calls for the pharmacists to receive training on how to administer the drug and to be able to educate the customer.” 

He said the cost would be around $50 without insurance, much lower than auto injector kits of naloxone that can cost more than $700 at some pharmacies.

 According to reports from store personnel and Lancaster City Police, a young man entered the CVS store at 32 W. Lemon St. on Friday and then went into a bathroom and locked the door.  

Emergency personnel were called at around 7:30 p.m.

The man was treated at the scene and then transported to the LGH emergency room. He reportedly survived.

DeAngelis said the type of incident that occurred at the Lancaster CVS was unfortunate but very rare for one of their stores. CVS/pharmacy, the retail division of CVS Health, is America’s leading retail pharmacy with over 7,800 locations.

Another causality of the “war on drugs” and chronic disease issues ?

A Personal Message From Ken McKimSo, good news and bad news on the home-front (don’t worry, my wife Corina is doing okay). As always, we will pick ourselves up and move forward.My Patreon Page:https://www.patreon.com/dontpunishpain?ty=hMy GoFundMe Page:https://www.gofundme.com/dontpunishpain

Posted by Don’t Punish Pain on Tuesday, September 29, 2015

#DEA we just enforce the rules… obeying the rules ???

<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">DEA agents have received only short suspensions for failing drug tests, new documents show.</span>

DEA Employees Fail Drug Tests, Shockingly Face No Serious Consequences

New documents reveal lax discipline at the agency.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/dea-drug-tests_560abff4e4b0af3706de0211

A number of federal employees with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration have failed drug tests over the past five years, only to receive short suspensions or other minor reprimands, newly released documents reveal.

According to a Huffington Post review of internal DEA discipline logs, first uncovered by USA Today over the weekend, there have been at least 16 reported instances of employees failing random drug tests since 2010. While a number of these incidents were handled administratively, with a few people choosing to resign or retire amid the proceedings, none of the cases ended in an employee’s outright firing. The agency punished most employees with short suspensions, sometimes as little as one or two days.

The DEA’s drug policy states that applicants who “experimented with or used narcotics or dangerous drugs, except those medically prescribed for you, will not be considered for employment,” though it makes exceptions for “limited youthful and experimental use of marijuana.” The agency conducts random drug testing throughout an employee’s career.

The discovery comes amid broader findings of routine misconduct and paltry disciplinary action at the DEA.

USA Today reporters Brad Heath and Meghan Hoyer found that, from 2010 through 2015, DEA employees have avoided getting fired despite serious violations of agency policy, including distribution of drugs, falsifying official records and having an “improper association with a criminal element.” And in the few cases in which administrators did recommend termination, the DEA’s Board of Professional Conduct often reduced sanctions to suspensions or lower forms of discipline and even required the agency to rehire problem employees.

Carl Pike, a former DEA internal affairs investigator who went on to lead the agency’s Special Operations Division for the Americas before retiring in December, explained to USA Today that it was incredibly rare for someone to get fired for misconduct.

“If we conducted an investigation, and an employee actually got terminated, I was surprised,” he said. “I was truly, truly surprised. Like, wow, the system actually got this guy.” 

Indeed, a closer look at the internal log turns up numerous examples of disturbing behavior being punished with suspensions of a few days, at most. From 2010 through 2015, HuffPost found 62 instances of an employee losing or stealing a firearm; more than 30 violations for driving while intoxicated, including four while driving a government-owned vehicle and one that involved a hit-and-run; two occasions in which employees deprived individuals of their civil rights; nine instances of employees losing or stealing drug evidence; 10 cases in which agents lost or stole a defendant’s property; four violations for committing fraud against the government, two of which were punished by a letter of caution; and two more general violations of DEA policy on drug use. The DEA didn’t fire anyone as a direct result of these actions.

The DEA has faced intense scrutiny for its handling of discipline in the wake of a string of high-profile scandals at the agency. The criticism came to a head earlier this year with the revelation that agents stationed abroad attended cartel-funded sex parties involving prostitutes.

According to a report from the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General at the time, the seven DEA agents who admitted to attending the events were punished with suspensions, ranging from two to 10 days. Former DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, who resigned shortly after the scandal, also admitted that some of the agents were in fact promoted sometime between the sex parties and the end of the investigation.

Bring Elite Medical Pain Management Clinic to Kentucky: pain care for Kentucky’s suffering

Bring Elite Medical Pain Management Clinic to Kentucky: pain care for Kentucky’s suffering

https://www.change.org/p/kentucky-board-of-medical-licensure-kentucky-general-assembly-kentucky-state-senate-kentucky-state-house-kentucky-governor-bring-elite-medical-pain-management-clinic-to-kentucky-pain-care-for-kentucky-s-suffering?recruiter=273002781&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_page&utm_term=des-lg-share_petition-custom_msg

Are you or someone you love suffering from pain in Kentucky? We at Elite Pain Management want to provide Kentucky residents with the proper pain care they deserve. We are already licensed to practice in Kentucky, but want to garner the public’s support and demonstrate both the need and the desire for our presence in Kentucky, with this petition. We know it’s Southern tradition to be invited before you arrive!

We at Elite know that medical management of pain is a valuable and effective part of some patients’ path to regaining quality of life, and we know that this essential part of pain care is being denied to many legitimate patients. We assess patients thoroughly, and find the source of your pain. We then create a personalized plan to treat your pain. We utilize medications safely and responsibly for patients whom we feel they benefit. Our world-class pain treatment team recognizes and sympathizes with the suffering that chronic pain patients endure—not only from their physical pain but also from peers and often from their own doctors, hospitals, media, and society, and we know that Kentucky patients have it especially hard, in the current legal climate.

We are knowledgeable in every arena of pain and pain treatment, and our doctors and staff are Board Certified pain specialists, who prescribe responsibly. We understand the importance of establishing positive doctor-patient relationships, building an environment of trust, compassion, and understanding which forms a strong foundation for patient progress. As a part of our foundation, we have included a Patient Advocate on our Board, who can facilitate patient self-help, as well as contribute insight to our providers on how to be sensitive and understanding to our patients. We accept all insurance, including Medicaid and Medicare. If you or someone you love needs our help, please sign our petition to demonstrate that you support our presence in Kentucky.

Another #DEA witch hunt ?

witchhunt

Letter: Please Support Dr. Larry Eckstein In His Fight Against DEA

http://boulderjewishnews.org/2015/letter-please-support-dr-larry-eckstein-in-his-fight-against-dea/

My father, Dr. Larry Eckstein, has been a devoted physician for over 40 years working all over the country, and has been a member of Congregation Har HaShem for over 20 years. He has served various communities in medicine and his country in the U.S. Public Health Service in Boston, Puerto Rico, and San Pedro, CA where he was Chief Medical Officer and Lieutenant Commander. His life’s work has been medicine. He has tried to find ways to help people who have very difficult medical problems which others could not help. He has seen those who are financially compromised and given them the same long, extended visits as those who are not and charged little. He has always been available to these patients, even when we are on vacation, checking in with the office and answering service at least twice a day.

In mid-August, an undercover Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agent arrested Larry during working hours under the accusation that he distributed narcotics in the community. They even searched the office of course finding only nutritional supplements and homeopathics. This was a sting operation to unjustly incriminate Larry for something he never did. This sting operation involved an undercover agent coming to the office presenting chronic pain problems that were not improving. To help the man, Larry prescribed pain medication to help him function in his daily life. Now we are in the midst of dealing with the legal consequences of these ridiculous charges and the regulatory agency in Colorado that has suspended his license, before his reply window closed, and for unjust reasons.

This is happening to doctors all over the country, and Larry was an easy target because he’s an independent physician who is not part of a hospital or an HMO or any large organization. He spends between 30 minutes and an hour with each patient which is very unusual in today’s medical world. He is like the old time GP. This travesty and witch hunt has turned our lives upside down and is threatening our financial and physical well being.

For editorials regarding this case, see the following links to the Boulder Daily Camera:

http://www.dailycamera.com/guest-opinions/ci_28723652/charles-horowitz-prescribing-pain-medication-often-tough-call

http://www.dailycamera.com/opinion/ci_28762609/wendy-baia:-a-miscarriage-of-justice

http://www.dailycamera.com/opinion/ci_28708378/j-wurn:-ruining-a-compassionate-doctors-career

http://www.dailycamera.com/opinion/ci_28708379/jack-donovan:-was-this-entrapment

http://www.dailycamera.com/opinion/ci_28708380/mark-read:-an-outstanding-physician

In addition, Larry has appealed to the ACLU, bringing to their attention the several civil rights issues in this case, even beyond his own unjust arrest, involving the rights of his patients that were violated.

We have set up a facebook support page and a crowd funding site to raise money for legal expenses. We would greatly appreciate any support you can give as we go through this ordeal.

Please share this post with others.

Sincerely,

Jason Eckstein

Gov Scott & AG Bondi claim credit for ridding FL of pill mills… additional deaths should be credited to them ?

Syringes commonly used for injecting heroin are found in a neighborhood north of Tampa, near the University of South Florida.

Heroin deaths rise in Tampa Bay, but surge in Hillsborough

http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/heroin-deaths-rise-in-tampa-bay-but-surge-in-hillsborough/2247334

Heroin deaths are on the rise across the Tampa Bay region — but they’re exploding in Hillsborough County.

Heroin has killed four times as many people in Hillsborough in the past two years as it did in all of the previous four years combined.

Data from the Hillsborough Medical Examiner’s Department reflects a dramatic increase in fatalities attributed to the drug, which has seen a resurgence statewide and nationally following a crackdown on the prescription drug abuse epidemic.

Heroin was a contributing factor in the deaths of 18 people in Hillsborough County in the first half of 2015. The county saw 22 heroin-related deaths in all of 2014 — an increase of more than 700 percent from the year before. In that year, 2013, there were just three heroin deaths, two each in 2012 and 2011, and three in 2010.

In Pinellas County, while the numbers are not as high, they’re also on the rise. The county has six heroin-related fatalities so far this year, compared with five in 2014, four in 2013 and one each in 2012 and 2011. Pasco County had one heroin-related death in 2014 and has had one in 2015.

Heroin-related deaths have risen while the number of prescription drug abuse deaths has steadily declined. Oxycodone, one of the deadliest prescription drugs, was cited in the deaths of 23 people in Hillsborough in 2014, down from 133 fatalities in 2010 — a drop of 83 percent. In Pinellas County, oxycodone killed 172 people in 2010, but those deaths fell to 45 in 2014, a decrease of 74 percent.

So why have heroin deaths skyrocketed, particularly in Hillsborough?

“We’re seeing a big surge in heroin use,” said Hills­borough sheriff’s Capt. Frank Losat, who oversees the agency’s narcotics division. “But we can’t put our finger exactly on why we have a surge.”

In Pinellas County, authorities are at a similar loss to explain the difference in the number of heroin deaths. They noted, though, that prescription drug abuse has not gone away.

“It’s not like it was in 2010,” said Pinellas sheriff’s Lt. Dan Zsido, a narcotics division commander. “But prescription drugs are still prevalent.”

Losat believes the increase in Hillsborough heroin deaths is linked to the quality of the heroin that is reaching local streets, and whether it’s mixed with other drugs.

Investigators have frequently seen heroin mixed with fentanyl, an opioid medication often used to treat chronic pain. It is used as a “booster sedative,” making up for the typical low potency of heroin smuggled into the United States from Mexico.

“What is alarming is the fentanyl, which is particularly responsible for the increased number of deaths,” said James Hall, a drug abuse epidemiologist at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale. “That tends to be what puts it over the edge.”

Of the 18 heroin deaths in Hillsborough this year, at least seven were also linked to fentanyl, according to the medical examiner. Several other cases saw heroin mixed with various other drugs like alprazolam, the key ingredient in the antianxiety drug Xanax, which are commonly obtained through prescriptions.

That particular aspect of heroin-related deaths can be detected by looking at the number of deaths in a wider area, Hall said. He noted that several counties near Hillsborough are also seeing an increase in heroin deaths. In nearby Manatee County the number of heroin-related overdose deaths through May of this year was 54.

“When we see these deaths, they’re often in local outbreaks,” Hall said.

The local surge is in keeping with an overall statewide trend. The state Medical Examiner’s Commission reported a sharp rise in heroin deaths beginning in 2012. That year, there were 108 deaths statewide, compared with 57 the year before. In 2013, the total reached 199 deaths. The number of statewide deaths in 2014 — scheduled to be released today in a state medical examiner’s report — is likely to surpass that.

The last time the statewide death toll rose this high was in 2003, when there were 230 deaths. That was about the time that the state’s prescription drug crisis began to take hold. Now, with state authorities having cracked down on pill mills and doctor shopping, that trend appears to be reversing.

The same is true nationally. The 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, released this month, noted heroin as one of the few drugs that has seen an increase in the past year. The survey estimated that 435,000 people in the United States used heroin in 2014. Its use has particularly grown among people in the age range of 18 to 25.

State officials recently took measures to combat the problem. A bill signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott in July makes it easier for patients, caregivers and first responders to purchase and administer naloxone.

The drug, known by the brand name Narcan, is an opioid antagonist capable of reversing the effects of an overdose. Paramedics for both Tampa and Hillsborough County Fire Rescue and Pinellas County Emergency Management Services all carry the drug.

But Hall said Florida has another problem: It doesn’t have adequate resources in place to help the addicts left in the wake of the prescription drug epidemic.

“While Florida was successful in being able to cut its supply of medical use opioids,” Hall said, “the state, at the same time, totally failed to address the demand side.”

In 2012, Florida ranked 49th in the nation in funding for substance abuse and mental health programs, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. That year, per capita spending on mental health services in the United States was $124.99 per person. And 29 out of 50 states spent more than $100 on those services for their residents.

But Florida spent just $37.28 per person.

Attempts to address that disparity have failed in Tallahassee. Several pieces of legislation to fund behavioral health and addiction treatment did not make it through this past legislative session. And so pain pills continue to give way to heroin.

“In the storm of opioid withdrawal,” Hall said, “any port will do.”

Contact Dan Sullivan at dsullivan@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3386. Follow @TimesDan.

DEA … CIA/NSA want-a-be’s ? Any of it really legal ?

DEA Operating Surveillance Aircraft Fleet Over U.S. And Abroad

New evidence indicates that the FBI is not the only federal agency using aircraft to conduct surveillance on Americans.

http://www.mintpressnews.com/dea-operating-surveillance-aircraft-fleet-over-u-s-and-abroad/209904/

N1338B - DEA Surveillance Aircraft registered to fake company.

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is operating a fleet of surveillance aircraft over locations within the United States as well as “foreign environments,” according to Jeffrey Stramm special agent in charge of DEA aviation division.

Courtesy John Wiseman

The Administration does not “get warrants for public space surveillance,” Stramm said in a phone call with The Post. He went on to say that this surveillance program is in accordance with Title 21 United States Code.

While Stramm wouldn’t confirm the number of aircraft that make up the fleet, our investigation identified 92 aircraft (as of 2011), much like those belonging to the FBI surveillance fleet. An Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report indicated that the FY2010 budget for DEA aviation operations was $47.6 million. The report also stated that DEA employed 108 Special Agent Pilots as of June 2011.

The DEA surveillance fleet “engage[s] in daily activities,” said Stramm, and “all aviation support requests are initiated by field office supervisors,” according to the OIG report.

The DEA registered 30 aircraft of their fleet to a post office box in Houston, Texas under the corporate name of “Silver Creek Aviation Services,” a company that does not exist beyond registering these aircraft. Another non existent company used for the sake of registering aircraft is “Lindsey Aviation Services,” which houses an additional 10 surveillance aircraft.

This tactic is popular among federal agencies. The FBI registered surveillance aircraft to fake companies such as “FVX Research.” Silver Creek Aviation Services does not appear in Texas public registries or have a web presence beyond aviation registration websites. Stramm explained that registering air assets in this way provides “a level of protection,” against “the bad guys.”

Most of the images of these aircraft show oversized windows which would lend credence to the claim that they are primarily using binoculars and other traditional methods of surveillance and observation. However, while the DEA denies using technology such as the advanced imaging surveillance technology as well as cellphone surveillance technology like StingRay, which is employed by the FBI fleet, photographs of DEA aircraft available online show the same equipment attached to the belly of both agencies aircraft. This advanced imaging technology is capable of monitoring all moving activity, such as cars and pedestrians, within 36 square miles.

The DEA aviation division, unlike that of the FBI, does not allow their aircraft information to be tracked by websites like Flightradar24.com which is used by The Post to ascertain the activities of the FBI fleet and which partially led to the initial discovery in May of this year. By simply requesting either through the Federal Aviation Administration or these public tracking websites themselves, an aircraft owner can block their aircraft from open tracking, as the DEA appears to have done.

The tip that lead to this investigation was from John Wiseman a technologist that, through some techno-sleuthing, tracked a plane registered to Silver Creek Aviation Services despite it’s absence from open flight tracking websites. “I’m picking up mode S/ADS-B pings these aircraft broadcast.” Through this type of tracking Wiseman is usually able to determine aircraft identification, altitude, transponder information as well as location. “I store all the pings in a database so I can go back and ‘hit rewind’ if I learn some new piece of interesting information,” he said. The Post will continue to work with Wiseman on these issues in the future.

One of these aircraft crashed in Westminster, Colorado in January of this year. Local media was intrigued as to why local police rushed out to conceal the tail number of the downed aircraft. It was later made clear that law enforcement and DEA were partners in the mission that ended when the engine of the aircraft failed.

Furthermore, it appears at least one of these aircraft changed hands from U.S. Border Patrol to the DEA. Aircraft N6187Y was deregistered from Border Patrol in 1994 and later registered with DEA. Shifting resources from other national priorities to the War on Drugs is not uncommon.

When asked whether or not these aircraft are used to monitor state sanctioned marijuana activities, the DEA aviation press relations office replied, “not by this office.” This leaves the door open to whether or not surveillance of these activities by field offices is being done with DEA aircraft.

The North Star Post will be submitting Freedom of Information Act requests in order to determine for certain more key details about this domestic and foreign surveillance operation.