Veterans with PTSD Knew that VA Opioid Prescriptions Were Wrong

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After many lives of many brave Veterans with PTSD have been lost, the State of Ohio has finally taken action against pharmaceutical drug companies for hyping opioids.

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According to the New York Times reporter,  

The State of Ohio filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against the pharmaceutical industry over the opioid epidemic, accusing several drug companies of conducting marketing campaigns that misled doctors and patients about the danger of addiction and overdose.

Defendants in the case include Purdue Pharma, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Johnson & Johnson, Endo Pharmaceuticals, Allergan and others.

Purdue, the maker of OxyContin, a time-release opioid, released a statement saying, “We share the attorney general’s concerns about the opioid crisis and we are committed to working collaboratively to find solutions,” and calling the company “an industry leader in the development of abuse-deterrent technology.”

As most Veterans treated by the Department of Veterans Affairs (“the VA”) are aware, opioids were the prescription of choice for Veterans suffering from PTSD.

Despite overwhelming evidence available to the VA and the Department of Defense (the DOD) that this was probably not a wise course of action, the VA persisted in treating the symptoms of PTSD with dangerous prescription drugs.

It is only now with opioid and drug addiction ravishing communities across the United States that some local and State governments are beginning to take action.  In the interim, thousands of Veterans with PTSD have suffered through over-medication with opioids by doctors at the VA.

More to the point, the VA continues to insist on dated and ineffective treatment programs for Veterans with PTSD and TBI.   Under the inept counsel of Dr. David Cifu, these same treatment therapies continue at the VA today.

It is difficult to predict when this tragic saga will end, but clearly there are no indications that the VA plans to make any substantial changes to current programs.  As such our brave Veterans will continue to receive the same flawed therapy and, most likely, a healthy supply of prescription drugs to mask the symptoms.

Where are our leaders in Congress and leaders within the VA to put an end to this tragedy?  Cynical though I am, I have a difficult time believing that Big Pharma political campaign donations would be the reason.

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PTSD and Painkiller Addiction

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SFTT has long  chronicled the abuse by the VA of prescribing painkillers to treat Veterans suffering from PTSD.  Most everyone – except the pharmaceutical companies – recognize the hazards, but few take the necessary steps to do anything about it.

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In a not too surprising development, President Obama “is expected to announce steps on Wednesday that he hopes will reduce an alarming rise in deaths from drug overdoses, including mandating more training for federal doctors and requiring federal health insurance plans to provide treatment for addiction.”  This comes from a New York Times article published today.

While I am sure these measures are long overdue, I was shocked to discover the extent of American addiction to painkillers.   Found below is an extended quote from the New York Times article which chronicles the extent of the problem:

Abuse of painkillers is one of the few major public health problems that have worsened significantly during Mr. Obama’s presidency. More than 20,000 people in the United States die from prescription drug abuse each year, a level that has risen fourfold since 1999, making it the nation’s leading cause of death by injury. Not coincidentally, opioid prescriptions during that time also quadrupled.

A recent federal survey found that 4.3 million Americans had engaged in non-medical use of prescription painkillers, and 259 million prescriptionswere written for opioids in 2012 — enough to give every adult American 75 pills.

West Virginia leads the country in overdose deaths, but other states have suffered as well. Last year, more than 1,000 babies in Tennessee were born addicted to painkillers.

Anyone who has even been remotely interested in the subject realizes that massive numbers of American citizens are overmedicated to the point where drug abuse deaths are reaching epidemic proportions.   Isn’t it surprising that both the FDA and the CDC are now raising alarm bells, when the FDA is largely responsible for approving the drugs that poison our citizens?   Could it be that the big government and big pharma relationship is still working on all cylinders?  The New York Times goes on to report that:

Predatory sales practices by companies such as Purdue Pharma — which in 2007 pleaded guilty to criminal charges that it had misled doctors and patients when it claimed that its painkiller was less likely to be abused than traditional narcotics — have also contributed to the epidemic.

Indeed, the same flawed “pain” treatment methodologies provided to our brave Veterans is now working itself though society.   How much longer are we going to put up with the systematic drugging of our Veterans, when far more effective treatments like Hyperbaric Oxygen exist to treat our Veterans at a fraction of the cost.  Listen to Maj. Ben Richards explain:

Perhaps, we should wait until Perdue Pharma gives permission to the FDA and the VA to use alternative treatment methodologies.

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