Monday November 19, 2018
SNc Channels:



Dec-19-2012 03:22printcommentsVideo

What Kind of Doctor Uses His 82-Year Old Mom to Promote Addictive Painkillers?

The answer? One who is now under U.S. Senate investigation for his ties to the pharmaceutical industry and the prescription drug epidemic annihilating families in the U.S. and Canada.

Russell Portenoy, M.D.
Russell Portenoy, M.D.

(MYRTLE BEACH SC) - The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) recently published an article highlighting one of society's deadliest problems, by Thomas Catan and Evan Perez.  One person they focused on was Russell Portenoy, MD, a long-time pusher of painkillers as a spokesperson for pharmaceutical companies such as Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin.

In this video from a WSJ story, Portenoy states that in the interest of treating chronic pain with opioids, he and others in the medical profession were not thinking of the consequences of death and addiction.

Catan and Perez wrote that Portenoy is now having "second thoughts" about his "life's work" of prescribing dangerous and addictive painkillers for chronic pain. I can't help but think that the good doctor's "second thoughts" may be due to the U.S. Senate investigating him and his ties to the pharmaceutical industry and the prescription drug epidemic annihilating families in the U.S. and Canada.

It's interesting that while Portenoy says he overstated the benefits of opioids he doesn't think we have an epidemic of prescription drugs. Might be a good idea for him not to be wringing his hands so much as he did in the video when he appears before the Senate to give his definition of the word "epidemic." Body language is very telling. Portenoy and other spokespersons influencing the medical profession promoted painkillers for almost two decades leading to the prescription drug epidemic the U.S. Senate is finally investigating -- note that the U.S. Senate is investigating the epidemic and not the FDA.

"Did I teach about pain management, specifically about opioid therapy in a way that reflects misinformation? Well, against the standards of 2012, I guess I did," Dr. Portenoy said in his interview with The Wall Street Journal. "We didn't know then what we know now."

Nice try Dr. Portenoy, but you were very aware of the addictive qualities of painkillers that you and your paid consultants for the pharmaceutical industry pitched. You and pharma were directly responsible for the greatest marketing ploy ever perpetrated on the U.S. and Canada which has resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and addictions. Let me refresh Dr Portenoy's memory where he pontificated to the medical profession that less than 1% of individuals taking opioids (painkillers) would become addicted and patients could easily discontinue these dangerous drugs such as OxyContin -- and that overdoses were "extremely" rare in pain patients. Over his career, Dr. Portenoy has disclosed relationships with more than a dozen companies, most of which produce opioid painkillers. "My viewpoint is that I can have those relationships, they would benefit my educational mission, they benefit in my research mission, and to some extent, they can benefit my own pocketbook, without producing in me any tendency to engage in undue influence or misinformation," he said. Portenoy even referred at one time to his 82 year old mother who has taken hydrocodone for her arthritis for 15 years. "If you insist on regulation, then you're consigning my mother and many millions of people like my mother to live in chronic pain," he said. Earlier this year Portenoy asked his mother whether she would stop taking her hydrocodone as part of a scientific study. Her reply was "no." "How difficult is it for her to get off these drugs?" Dr. Portenoy asked. "You have no idea and neither do I, because no one knows." Oh but I know Dr. Portenoy because a couple of years ago you replied to one of my articles in wherein you stated:

After reading your piece in the, I wanted to write and urge you to remember the millions with poorly controlled pain as you pursue your advocacy agenda. The consensus report released by the committee that I co-chaired was not about opioid therapy, but rather, about the need for fundamental reform of a system that fails to help huge numbers of patients -- of all ages -- and is both inefficient and too costly. It is not surprising that your piece is based on innuendo and unjustified assumptions when it (sic) there is so little in our report that relates to your issue. Hopefully, an increasingly informed public will only mirror the disappointment that I felt when reading a piece that dismisses the needs of so many suffering people in a stretch to make a point.

Stretch to make a point? I believe I have been the one for the past 10 years sounding the alarm on the addictive qualities of drugs such as OxyContin -- and I have not had any second thoughts -- our families are being destroyed because of sheer evil and greed. So if you have a loved one who does not want to participate in any scientific studies may I suggest a fine private hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut called Silver Hill Hospital In fact just this year, Silver Hill Hospital announced the opening of a chronic pain and addiction center with its medical director one Seddon R. Savage, MD and President of the American Pain Society (APS) -- coincidentally the APS is also under U.S. Senate investigation.

J. David Haddox, DDS, MD

In fact, one of the biggest pushers for painkillers is J. David Haddox, DDS, MD and Vice President of Health Policy at Purdue Pharma as well as their spokesperson Haddox had been listed in black tie events at Silver Hill Hospital, most recently in November 2012 as a member of the Silver Hill Hospital Board of Directors. But Haddox is not listed on the hospital website as a Board of Director member. Seems that Haddox lends his name to the hospital as a director for black tie events attracting celebrities such as Neil Sedaka and Martha Stewart, but not on the website. I wonder why.

Maybe Dr. Haddox recalls an employee of Purdue Pharma being given a prescription for an addictive painkiller -- not by their primary care physician, but rather a physician executive with the company -- and when the employee became addicted was fired and admitted to Silver Hill Hospital for treatment.

Pretty convenient, being on the Board of Directors of Silver Hill Hospital for treatment of a non-addictive drug, wouldn't you think? Portenoy and Haddox may need to draw straws to determine who wears the title "King of Pain" best -- you know since Portenoy now seem to be having "second thoughts" and Haddox as "spokesperson" for Purdue Pharma is "discrete" about his association with an addiction treatment hospital.


LP -- Notice how time stands still -- even if only an hour? Enjoy the popcorn -- love you. Investigative Reporter Marianne Skolek, is an Activist for Victims of OxyContin and Purdue Pharma throughout the United States and Canada. In July 2007, she testified against Purdue Pharma in Federal Court in Virginia at the sentencing of their three CEO's - Michael Friedman, Howard Udell and Paul Goldenheim - who pleaded guilty to charges of marketing OxyContin as less likely to be addictive or abused to physicians and patients. She also testified against Purdue Pharma at a Judiciary Hearing of the U.S. Senate in July 2007. Marianne works with government agencies and private attorneys in having a voice for her daughter Jill, who died in 2002 after being prescribed OxyContin, as well as the voice for scores of victims of OxyContin. She has been involved in her work for the past 8-1/2 years and is currently working on a book that exposes Purdue Pharma for their continued criminal marketing of OxyContin.

Marianne is a nurse having graduated in 1991 as president of her graduating class. She also has a Paralegal certification. Marianne served on a Community Service Board for the Courier News, a Gannet newspaper in NJ writing articles predominantly regarding AIDS patients and their emotional issues. She was awarded a Community Service Award in 1993 by the Hunterdon County, NJ HIV/AIDS Task Force in recognition of and appreciation for the donated time, energy and love in facilitating a Support Group for persons with HIV/AIDS.

Marianne Skolek

Investigative Reporter for on drug epidemic


Comments Leave a comment on this story.

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.

Bill Cohen February 10, 2016 10:22 am (Pacific time)

The issue of opioid prescriptions as a pathway to addiction problems is clearly valid. At the same time, if one takes a purist attitude, what alternatives do you suggest to people suffering terribly with chronic, non-cancer pain? I've never heard a clear-cut answer to this.

Honey December 19, 2012 7:53 pm (Pacific time)

If you and people like you would put as much effort into helping people in pain, I might not be in a wheelchair.....I might have been able to play with my son when he was growing up....I might have been able to hold a job longer.....I might have been able to be a better wife.....but thanks to you and people like you, I have prayed to die when the pain gets to be more than I can tolerate. I want to thank you for that....

[Return to Top]
©2018 All opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of

Articles for December 18, 2012 | Articles for December 19, 2012 | Articles for December 20, 2012
Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

Call 503-362-6858 to Order Ahead  or for Party Reservations!

The NAACP of the Willamette Valley

Your customers are looking: Advertise on!