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Aug-20-2014 17:33printcomments

Dissecting the Opioid/Heroin Epidemic to Discover its Ugly Roots

What if the FDA, the DEA, Pharma and their
Lobbying Groups were responsible for the national
conspiracy in the Opioid/Heroin Epidemic?

US overdose rates
Graph: thenationalcouncil.org

(MYRTLE BEACH, SC) - Hypothetically, what if the FDA had an "interest" in approving dangerous opioids when just nine years an opioid called Palladone was pulled by the FDA after only a month of being on the market for its danger to the public?

Purdue Pharma, maker of the opioid, epidemic making drug OxyContin produced Palladone and had hoped to piggyback more profits in the billions with two blockbuster opioids.

When does the FDA say "enough" to approving more opioids and begin protecting the American public? National conspiracy? No it can't be -- because Attorneys General could probe and possibly expose an FDA Gate.

Hypothetically, what if the DEA known as the Drug Enforcement Agency was not, in fact, enforcing but rather culpable in a national conspiracy of addiction and death? The DEA approves the amount of Oxycodone (OxyContin) that can be produced each year. In 1997 the amount was 8.3 tons. In 2011 the amount of OxyContin produced jumped to 105 tons.

In 2012 the amount of OxyContin produced soared to 114 tons or a 1,747% increase over the amount produced in 1996 -- the year OxyContin was introduced to the medical profession. No it can't be -- because Attorneys General could probe and possibly expose a DEA Gate.

Hypothetically, what if pharmaceutical companies such as Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin continue to fuel the prescription opioid/heroin epidemic by recruiting physicians to speak to the medical profession encouraging the use of dangerous and highly addictive opioids for long-term, chronic pain? Where are the non-existent scientific studies on long-term opioid therapy for chronic pain? No it can't be -- because Attorneys General could probe and possibly expose a Pharma Gate.

Hypothetically, what if paid pharma physician spokespersons such as J. David Haddox, MD, Lynn R. Webster, MD, Scott M. Fishman, MD, Perry Fine, MD, Russell Portenoy, MD and Kathleen Foley, MD downplayed the risks of addiction and death to dangerous opioids to the medical profession?

And what if these pharma physicians documented their controversial statements in books and videos?

What if Curtis Wright, MD approved the opioid OxyContin while on the Review Board for the FDA and subsequently left the FDA to work for the maker of OxyContin? No it can't be -- because Attorneys General could probe and possibly expose an Opioid Push Gate.

Hypothetically, what if organizations such as the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI) financially funded by and well fed at banquet tables in the best hotels in the country by the maker of OxyContin downplays the word "addiction". NADDI focusing on the word "abuse" and not the word "addiction" is just not financially rewarding I guess.

After all who wants to focus on physicians who were misled by "Pharma Gate" and "Opioid Push Gate" to treat patients for chronic pain with long-term opioid therapy?

I wonder what happens to a legitimate pain patient prescribed long-term opioid therapy for chronic pain when their physician realizes they have created a drug addict -- and cuts their opioid prescription off?

Wonder if the words "abuse", "street drugs", "heroin" and "pill mills" becomes part of the patient's daily routine?

Did the well fed NADDI ever look into the root word of abuse -- could it be addiction? No it can't be -- because Attorneys General could probe and possibly expose a NADDI Gate.

Hypothetically, what if an organization known as "Center for Lawful Access and Abuse Deterrence" (CLAAD) http://claad.org/ was, in fact, lobbying for pharma. CLAAD lists on their website that they claim to enable health professionals, law enforcement, businesses, government, and others to share resources and work together to improve public health and safety.

They work to foster collaboration among the multiple sectors of society that had previously been working concurrently, yet not in unison, to address the growing national concern for prescription medication abuse. There's that word "abuse" again and not "addiction."

Purdue Pharma and other pharmaceutical companies are supporters of CLAAD and the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI) also appears to be connected to CLAAD. But just because Purdue Pharma and NADDI are on CLAAD's website doesn't necessarily mean they have ties, does it?

Then there is the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) -- wonder if there is a Lone Ranger and Tonto association here with CLAAD?

Several weeks ago, I wrote an article that Orange County, California and Cook County, Illinois were suing Purdue Pharma and other pharmaceutical companies for the devastation in death and addiction in their states. The lawsuits also referenced the physicians I have long written about in their downplaying the risks of opioids and I refer to above.

Interestingly, CLAAD had this to say about the lawsuits:

The case was an example of opportunism. The two counties likely see this as an opportunity to increase revenue that could be directed to prescription drug abuse programs, but could also be put toward other needs. CLAAD noted that many local lawmakers are struggling to find revenue and large pharmaceutical companies are easy political opponents to pursue. Instead of focusing on suing the companies, the two counties could be cooperating with health organizations to implement strategies to address drug abuse that include prescriber education and intervention.

CLAAD is concerned that a trend will "distract us from the real meaningful approaches to reducing prescription drug abuse." They further suggested that the lawsuits were preempting FDA authority over opioid regulation and ignoring that drugs have labels stating how they should be appropriately prescribed.

The lawsuits could have a chilling effect on professional organizations offering continued medical education on opioid prescribing. If the counties succeed with their cases, the FDA could feel compelled to scrutinize the activities of drug companies and professional groups, possibly making physicians fearful of speaking about appropriate uses for painkillers.

A case of "opportunism?" Pharmaceutical companies are "easy political opponents to pursue?" The "guard dogs" of the American people -- the FDA -- "could feel compelled to scrutinize the activities of drug companies?

Does CLAAD not realize we are losing tens of thousands of people every year to addiction and death to dangerous opioids? And CLAAD referring to "physicians fearful of speaking about appropriate uses for painkillers"? No it can't be -- because Attorneys General could probe and possibly expose a CLAAD Gate.

Hypothetically Attorneys General all over the country could be "opening many gates" to a national conspiracy.

If you're fed up with the national conspiracy, please plan on attending the FED UP Rally in Washington, DC on September 28, 2014 at 1 pm. http://feduprally.org/ Do it for the generation we are losing to this prescription opioid/heroin epidemic -- and future generations who will be lost if you allow profiteers to dance with the devil.

LP - Add the word "insight" along with love, peace, faith and laughter -- just ask "Charles Todd."


Marianne Skolek is an Investigative Reporter focusing on the Prescription Opioid/Heroin Epidemic in the U.S. and Canada. In particular, Marianne has covered the criminal marketing of OxyContin going back to 1999 and continuing to the present.

In 2002, Marianne lost her daughter, Jill to prescribed OxyContin which her physician referred to as "mobility in a bottle." It was, in fact, death in a bottle. After doing extensive research on the maker of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma, Marianne began working with the Department of Justice in Virginia in their criminal investigation into Purdue Pharma and in July 2007 was asked by the U.S. Attorney John Brownlee prosecuting the case to testify against the three CEO's of Purdue Pharma, Michael Friedman, Paul Goldenheim, MD and Howard Udell, Chief Counsel. The CEO's pleaded guilty to misleading the medical profession about the dangers of OxyContin. Marianne also testified against Purdue Pharma at a Judiciary Hearing of the U.S. Senate in July 2007.

Marianne's research, writing and contact with government agencies and attorneys has also exposed the heavily funded pain foundations set up by the pharmaceutical industry and their paid physician spokespersons who convinced the medical boards in 50 states and Canada that dangerous opioids such as OxyContin were less likely to be addictive. These physicians also downplayed the risks of addictive opioids in books as authors. These books are still available for sale and promoted to the medical profession.

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CR April 21, 2015 8:13 pm (Pacific time)

Marianne, while I am very sorry about your loss, have you really looked at what the FDA has done with all their restrictions and hounding ethical doctors? We now have totally unethical doctors prescribing these medications, covering all bases so they are not "flagged," and forcing people that are desperately in need of pain medicine to subject themselves to numerous procedures, implants, etc. just so they can get a prescription for pain relief from these criminal doctors. I am one of them. It disgusts me that this country is allowing this to happen. Innocent people are suffering because of drug addicts or doctors that prescribed these medications without a care about the patient. There is a lot more to this story then what the media has published. I hope someone brings it to the table as much as they have brought the drug addicts to the table.

Dave August 21, 2014 11:00 am (Pacific time)

Marianne- Excellent article. Government and the health care industry- because, perhaps, of the "innovation gap"- due to years of neglecting people in chronic pain- remains unregenerate toward the problems of the "opioid economy". People in chronic pain have been whipsawed by the neglect of government with regard to the opioid economy. Chronic pain care in America is in a "stationary state". It is not just about the money- it is about moral and mental laziness, as well. For government and the health care industry have failed to have an inspiring vision and an energetic plan to move pain care forward. The bigshots wish to continue their state of denial and tragic anti-patterns regardless of how the millions of people in chronic pain continue to suffer from "life ruining" condition of chronic pain. I guess as the poet said : Humankind can't bear much reality.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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