Monday, July 13, 2009

Something I just learned

and that really distressed me:

Does anyone remember a few years back when Fentanyl was being substituted as heroin in the Chicago area as well as a few other urban areas? Fentanyl is 80 times stronger than morphine and the result of this substitution was a huge increase in overdose deaths. Emergency rooms in the areas where Fentanyl overdoses were becoming problematic asked President Bu$h for emergency supplies of Narcan (naloxone), which is an antidote for opiate overdoses. Bu$h refused stating that he felt that by doing this he would be condoning drug use. In the meantime, many people died that didn't have to.

The above is part of a comment to an article about the FDA's determination to take Vicodin and Percocet off the market.

You'll just have to read about it yourself. Go here.

(So tell me again how this is the "land of the free"????)


  1. Anonymous11:21 PM

    I'm not sure I follow your questioning our "land of the free" status with the very real issue of Tylenol overuse and the liver failure which can result. The removal of Percocet and Vicodin from the market does seem a bit of an over reaction, but then again I haven't seen recent statistics on liver failure secondary to Percocet and Vicodin use. Liver failure due to Tylenol becomes an issue not only when the recommended dose of Percocet or Vicodin is exceeded, but also when a person decides to pop a couple of nice safe (they think) over the counter Tylenol along with the Percocet or Vicodin. Liver failure is a very nasty way to die and living after liver transplant due to liver failure can also be a difficult way to live. Maybe the solution is to pull Tylenol completely off the market, both over the counter and in perscription Percocet and Vicodin. As the article points out, Percocet and Vicodin are not the only pain mangement available. I have never seen any statistics that show any correlation between an abscence of Tylenol in narcotics and the development of addiction except in the mind of the author of the article who conveniently did not quote any such statistics.
    Any one who does not think this is a legitimate issue has never watched anyone die from liver failure due to Tylenol over use. I hope they never have to do so.
    Carolyn L.

  2. Oh, I completely agree with you about the liver issue. And that's not what I meant about the "land of the free" snark that I made. (I guess it's too late and I'm not writing very well.) I was mainly referring to Bush's refusal to send hospitals emergency supplies of the Fentanyl antidote because to do so might be seen as encouraging drug use.

    I also (as you know) continue to think that there needs to be greater advocacy for people living with severe pain - either acute or chronic. It wasn't so much the article that went into all this but the comments. Quite a number of people talked about how doctors refused to treat their pain because they (the doctors, I mean) were afraid of being investigated for their prescribing practices. The contrast between our approach and that of other countries is striking. When I was in South Africa the medical people were VERY aggressive about treating pain.

    We could learn a few things over here!

  3. Anonymous12:18 PM

    Okay, that makes sense to me now. I should have realized you were responding to the comment you posted.
    I agree whole heartedly with you as to this country's serious lack of aggressive pain management. There is concern over Drs being investigated, people becoming addicted (both of which occur in only rare cases) while people are going around in needlessly severe and/or chronic pain. It has begun to be addressed within the hospital system and I can only hope that it will begin to be addressed in the outpatient system.
    Carolyn L.


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