Opiate Crisis: Fact or Fantasy?

Opiate Crisis: Fact or Fantasy?
Dr. Todd B. Jaffe Anesthesiologist Melbourne, FL

Dr. Todd Jaffe is an anesthesiologist practicing in Melbourne, FL. Dr. Jaffe ensures the safety of patients who are about to undergo surgery. Anestesiologists specialize in general anesthesia, which will (put the patient to sleep), sedation, which will calm the patient or make him or her unaware of the situation, and regional... more

When I watched my father dealing with the "drug abuse crisis" of the 60s and 70s, I was sure the government was this Benevolent Grandfather wanting to care for us. As I have watched this "opiate crisis" be created by the government, I have come to realize we are but cattle to the not-so-kind rancher. I may be stretching, but I am convinced that the crisis is designed to accomplish a number of things. I base this on the fact that not 20 years ago, the government in the form of JCAHO mandated that Pain be the Fifth Vital Sign, and must be treated. Opiate doses in the hundreds of milligrams were fine. Then we all of sudden discovered we had "pill mills". Then came Obamacare, and the government found it could not afford to treat the pain it had mandated we recognize.

So the government came up with a plan, I believe. They decided to make opiates persona non grata, and maybe at the same time make medical marijuana acceptable. Why you say? Opiates presently cost over $50 billion a year and rising. Change that to medical marijuana and it is estimated that the Congressmen that invest in marijuana stocks will make 5-10 times their money in just a 4-6 year period. The government will also go from spending $50 billion to bringing in $150 billion in taxes, and the fact that the government has been complicit in all of this will be forgotten.

How were they complicit? Besides the fifth vital sign? Besides requiring doctors to ensure pain was addressed before discharging a patient from the hospital? They recently reduced the amount of opiates being delivered to each pharmacy, creating an "opiate crisis"! And they are cutting it further. The people look for alternate sources, finding the pusher and finding heroin cheaper than Oxycodone. Now you have overdoses, a "crisis", and the government starts talking about how medical marijuana would be able to treat pain just as well. (It isn't true but they will have a falsified study, just like so many of the studies used today to justify medical insurance carrier criteria, that will show that marijuana controls pain). Next, the government encourages doctors to encourage their patients to use medical marijuana instead of prescribed opiates. And the government saves billions.

Just like the doctor shortage. We have no doctor shortage. We have a regulation and lawsuit excess. If I could keep short, concise paper notes, and was free from stupid malpractice suits, I could see 35 patients a day, instead of 12. And almost every doctor is exactly like me. So the next time you hear anything out of the government that seems to go against what you once believed, it probably is; it is just that the government has spun the truth to where even you no longer know what the truth is. In any case, as far as opiates go, use the fewest possible, use extended release if possible, and always be careful with your pills.