Indivior Inc. Indicted for Fraudulently Marketing Prescription Opioid | USAO-WDVA | Department of Justice


Hello Friends!

I found this article not too long ago. I thought you might want to read it if you are a high impact chronic psin patient or anyone living with psin on a daily basis.

Indivior Inc. Indicted for Fraudulently Marketing Prescription Opioid | USAO-WDVA | Department of Justice
— Read on www.justice.gov/usao-wdva/pr/indivior-inc-indicted-fraudulently-marketing-prescription-opioid

The Story of My Experiences With USPF


Here’s the link to Pat Anson’s Pain News Network article week of 5-12-19:Misappropriation of funds by the US Pain Foundation

I’ve had some things weighing on my mind lately. I had thought about keeping them to myself because I’m not a person who likes to be in the midst of turmoil. I try to live as drama-free as I possibly can. But a few months ago, I was contacted by Pat Anson, from the “Pain News Network”. I declined to speak about the events hovering around the US Pain Foundation & decided to take the high road and not allow my feelings and emotions take flight. It’s been an entire year & I let “the dust settle”. I waited an entire year to post my story about this. I didn’t want this post to be written with anger or any feelings of revenge. But there are a few issues that have been tugging at my heart and bothering my mind. These continue to nag me in my thoughts.

Since Pat Anson’s articles have surfaced; I’ve read several pieces of information that are now public knowledge. I’ve decided that there are some things I’d like to share because I do have a story to tell. I will only share with you my personal observations, opinions and experiences.

First, I must share that when I was added to the Board of Directors of the US Pain Foundation,(officially on January 31, 2018), I was excited. Around that time, I decided to call one of the persons whose photo I’d seen on the USPF website listed as a Board Member. She was also director of their Medical Cannabis program. I’d been told she was a veteran Board member. I called to ask her a few questions, such as: “What was it like, being on the Board? What do we do as Board Members etc?” She laughed & told me that “there was no real Board of Directors”. She added that they’d never even had a board meeting! I was a bit disappointed at hearing this news. But it was soon confirmed. The Board of Directors of the USPain Foundation, were actually just photographs on the USPF website, prior to January, 2018. There was no true Board of Directors. There had been no board meetings or elections. So….I’m guessing there was there no secretary or treasurer? I’m guessing this means that nobody had to get permission to write checks? Didn’t they have to answer to anyone about how or where to spend donation monies? How does the President, Vice President & Executive Director & other upper management, not know what & where money is coming in and/or going out?

(*I’d  been a “volunteer ambassador”since November 2015. I did Awareness events and fundraisers. All the while I thought I was doing something good. I wanted to be a good advocate and help people living with pain, like myself.)

In looking back, in my opinion, It seems to me that when upper management realized that things had somehow gotten out of hand and that the USPF might be slipping away, they decided to get lawyers and accountants involved in an attempt to “fix” a situation that they’d created. It seemed to have finally become something larger that they could no longer handle alone. Again, this is just me looking back, trying to make sense of the entire debacle.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The first meeting was in California, in January 2018. But I was too ill to travel that far and watched it as a Zoom meeting. Nothing of super importance was discussed, from my recollection. After being recruited to the Board, I still had no knowledge of any significance until much later in the year. Also, in January of 2018, they wouldn’t allow me to make it public, that I’d been appointed to their Board of Directors. My volunteer position as Board Member was not added to their website until March that year. Over the following months, I found out what a mess things were and I immediately wanted to resign. I was advised by one of the attorneys, that “it wouldn’t look good” for USPF, if anyone on the Board resigned during that time. (*Even though Dr Abaci immediately resigned from the board when he found out about the misuse of funds in the past).

I was told that we should all stay and help to reorganize & rebuild USPF. The attorneys explained that it wouldn’t really look good for any of the Board Members to resign in the midst of this reorganization. Therefore I stayed for as long as I felt that I was doing something good. Even prior to becoming a Board member, I was given “busy work” & then asked to do research & write two articles for the “Learn About Your Pain” portion of their website. I was asked to research, write and include links with graphics about S.I.B.O and Dysautonomia. I turned in several pages of completed research. Almost a year later, I inquired about when everything that I had done was going to be posted to the “Learn About Your Pain” website? I received angry emails from several members telling me that with everything that USPF was going through, how could I even think about myself? (In Spring of 2018, I was also asked to make a video about RSD/CRPS, that I in fact made and it also was never used). I was asked (3) three times, to be a part of the USPF “INvisible Project”. A 4th time, I was told that I could tell my husband that he was going to be a part of the “Caregiver” edition of the INvisible project. Each time I was invited to be a part of that, I signed video/photo releases and I answered 10-12 questions in complete sentences. I gathered photos etc., and turned them into the USPF’s person in charge of that project with the interim CEO. Each time,within days of handing back my completed tasks (*just remember that I am also a chronic pain patient and was an unpaid volunteer), I received an email from the person helping the interim CEO with that project. She just told me things like “Ooops, My Bad?? I guess the interim CEO has something bigger in store for you later”! This went on for over a year.

In getting back to the true issues at hand, in Or around early Spring 2018, we asked the former CEO to resign. The Board meetings were only and always about the situation that USPF found themselves in, regarding the former CEO. Then in July, 2018; my Pain Management doctor told me that he was going to immediately remove me from my long acting/extended release pain medications (after almost 14 years of doing well on them). He said it was because of the CDC Guidelines.

I left the appointment that day in tears. I feared for my life and what the future was going to feel like. I arrived at home to an email from the US Pain Foundation. It was a survey asking people to tell what they know about Bupenorphrine. Being a board meeting member, I immediately called the interim CEO. I shared with her my shock & dismay about this email that went out to the pain community; the very people who I try to advocate for and protect. I asked her, what prompted this survey? I found out that the foundation had received a donation from the company that makes Suboxone/Bupenorphrine ( Here’s a list of the medications that RBI makes). My exact words to her were “How could you allow USPF get in bed with Andrew Kolodny?” She tried to assure me that Suboxone wasn’t anything like Bupenorphrine (*see photos that are included with this article). I was told I didn’t know what I was talking about and I was mistaken. She went on to explain that one condition of the donation was to get the public to have more knowledge, or to see what the pain community actually knew about Bupenorphrine. Next, I asked the interim CEO if she knew that the drug Bupenorphrine was not FDA approved for pain (at that time), in the USA? I told her it was an addiction medication and that people are labeled an addict once they’re put on Suboxone/Bupenorphrine; even if it’s for chronic pain! She told me that members of the pain community should have access to all different kinds of medications and therapies. I was very upset and I decided to do more research.Bupenorphrine is a weak analgesic that may slightly help those who have chronic pain AND addiction

Along with many among the chronic pain community, I had already been personally feeling that USPF has not been supportive of opioids, for chronic pain. I have written two articles about these medications: About Suboxone/Buprenorphine-and-naloxone and More About Bupenorphrine/Suboxone. I wrote these articles because I felt that the pleas of the chronically ill, the disabled and those of us living with daily ongoing high pain illnesses/issues; were not being listened to. We were not being heard by our Drs, the government or our own US Pain Foundation.

As soon as that conversation with the interim CEO ended; I knew that my time volunteering with USPF was coming to an end. I had been already feeling that they “push” complimentary therapies and medical cannabis without any support for a portion of the pain community who relies on opioids for pain control. They portray complimentary therapies as though they can actually end chronic pain without any help from medications. They publicly & actively support their medical marijuana program. If they can support a Federally illegal substance; (which I’m personally not against when & where it is legal; and only for medicinal purposes), and if they support all methods to alleviate pain, then where’s their opioid program? I feel that people should be able to use Marijuana, Kratom, acupuncture or opioids to alleviate their daily chronic pain. But opioids have been taboo within the USPF. Possibly for some political reason, in my opinion.

Another occurrence that helped me decide to resign after only 8 months of being on the Board of Directors, was when I found out about the movie/documentary that the interim CEO was making with Actress, Karen Duffy. It just feels to me, like she & other upper management persons within the US Pain Foundation are more interested in publishing books and being in movies, than actually helping the pain community. My sadness grew deeper when I watched the movie trailer: Balancing The Pain Scale, a documentary with actress Karen Duffy & interim CEO of USPF . Some of words taken directly from the trailer are “getting beyond the pill bottle”. Once again, USPF was demonizing opioids. I’m not the only one who saw this either. Here is an article that I found from A prominent advocate for the pain community : A Blog Post from Steve Ariens, “Pharmacist Steve”.

The very last straw for me was when the Interim CEO & the rest of the Board, contemplated not telling the USPF “In-person” support group leaders that they were no longer covered by insurance. I was the only Board member who said that I’d have no part of that! If you’d like to read my resignation letter (redacted items are the attorneys names and anything that was not my information to share), it is here: Why I Resigned From The US Pain Foundation

I still find it difficult to believe that nobody else who’d been in upper management of the foundation for several years, knew anything regarding the going out and coming in of money/funds?

After my resignation, I started hearing stories from ex-Ambassadors that involved a couple of upper management persons being involved in some behavior that in my opinion, was inappropriate. Some of this allegedly took place during a few USPF sponsored events. In 2016, July; at the University of New England, “Pain Summit”, my husband and I stayed overnight at a nearby hotel instead of staying at the dorms. It appears that we missed seeing anything first-hand; but according to at least 2 eyewitnesses (one that actually called & showed me some videos), there were high ranking members involved in behaviors that I would consider inappropriate for anyone, let alone, upper management of a non-profit. Especially not during an event sponsored and run by that same Non-Profit.

All of this has been on my mind. I didn’t want to lose my integrity by talking to someone else about all of this. I decided that this is my blog & my own story to tell. I’ve given you my observations, opinions & truth to the best of my knowledge.

Reckett Benkaiser being Sued by 35 states

Who Makes Bupenorphrine?

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**BELOW IS A 1 MINUTE VIDEO SHARING MY CREDENTIALS. THIS VIDEO SHARES ALSO THE VIEWS OF US PAIN ABOUT ME & MY VOLUNTEER WORK WITH THEIR ORGANIZATION FOR ALMOST 4 YEARS:

A YouTube Video with my Credentials

Without Our Consent


Hello Everyone!

First, please watch this 1 minute video….(then return to this page in order to watch the rest of these videos. They will explain what is truly happening to our most vulnerable, chronically ill and disabled pain community members):

The Link to my Video “They Are Watching”

*******************************I APOLOGIZE BUT ONLY THIS 1st VIDEO & “FIGHT FOR OUR LIVES”, IS AVAILABLE AT THE MOMENT. I WILL TRY TO MAKE THE OTHERS AVAILABLE AGAIN ASAP. *************************

I wanted to give you a “one -stop” place to get a few very informative videos regarding the pain community and the opioid hysteria. Just below is a video titled “Without Our Consent”. It is about how the pain community is being used as human subjects of a government experiment without our consent!

NOTE: **Please excuse the 2 small Captioning mistakes. I don’t hear or see well. I did the best I could do to get you the information. Most persons, whether they’re Deaf, Hard of hearing or hearing; wont mind too much if it says “vide” instead of “video” at 1:30 minutes into this video. I’m sure everyone can understand the meaning.

**Also at 3:30 minutes in, the Captioning failed to post. The information I added did not post for the CC. It’s supposed to read “by myself, I did it”….(it states “Please input message”)

I apologize for these 2 small mistakes but I do not feel well enough to redo the entire video bcz of this. Please feel free to remake this video and I’ll gladly remove this one. I thought that the chronic pain community should have this information. Then they can decide for themselves what they want to do with it. The video itself is totally fine so unless you’re deaf/hoh, you shouldn’t need the CC. I’ve written my corrections here for My Deaf/hoh community and they will forgive me for not being perfect.

**The Chronic pain community has been studied like lab rats and left to suffer needlessly all for filling the wallets of our Government bureaucrats

Link to my Video “Without Our Consent”

Next, I have this video that I made just recently. I titled it “Fight For Our Lives”. I had asked the pain community to send me videos of themselves. I wanted their stories about losing pain medications after having done very well for many years. Look carefully for a woman named “Dawn Anderson”. She submitted her story to me. She was doing well for years and then list her medications. She has just recently passed away! Dawn died writhing in pain daily! She was pleading for help! Nobody listened. But I did and I tried to help! But nobody who could truly help her, did that! She’s dead now and it is very sad because it may have been easily avoided, had she been getting pain relief. Here’s the video that I made. This is the short version of several pain patients stories . This video contains several patient advocate stories. I did my best to do the things that I’m able to do.. (VIDEO UNAVAILABLE AT THIS TIME)

Here’s the link to “Fight For Our Lives”

Next, I’ve posted here for you, the link to my video, “Pain, Politics & Suboxone”, about Suboxone & Bupenorphrine. It explains how these medications are not for chronic pain patients. These medications are for addicts and have a very low analgesic effects. (VIDEO BELOW UNAVAILABLE AT THIS TIME)

Here’s the Link to: “Pain, Politics & Suboxone”

Lastly, this video is from just after the “CNN Town Hall Meeting With Anderson Cooper”. They shut out the entire pain community and did not give our representatives a chance to speak out! The got it entirely wrong! Here you go, watch this:(VIDEO BELOW UNAVAILABLE AT THIS TIME)

Here’s the link to this last video: “Let The Chronic Pain Voices Be Heard”

I hope this list of videos helps you get as much information as possible. Please note that each video is closed captioned for my Deaf/Hard of Hearing community.

*******************************PLEASE SEE THE PHOTO OF THE PRESS RELEASE BELOW. This is where the information came from regarding the “prescription writing for opioids being at a 25 year all-time low”

Thank you so much!

Don’t be afraid of opioids


There is a gene called “addiction” that some people are born with and others are not. This gene can cause a human being to become an opioid addict. It is not the medication that causes addiction. The medication is just a tool, that if used improperly can become deadly. But again, the medication is an inanimate object or a tool! Similarly a gun is an inaminate object; but when people use it in the wrong way, it can kill!!  Therefore, people should not be afraid of Opioids any more than they should fear Insulin if they are Diabetic. When used responsibly and properly, as the high majority of chronic pain patients do; opioids can give back lives and save families. Just the same way as a gun can save lives and families, when used properly and for specific reasons. The idea that those opposed to opioids for chronic pain need to understand is that

  1. No one will force them to take opioids, so they should stop trying to force a ban on opioids for chronic pain patients.
  2. Opioids don’t “kill people”. They are only a cause of death if they are taken incorrectly (as with most medications) or if they are used inappropriately.
  3. Chronic pain patients are not addicted to their opioid pain medications. They may be dependent or tolerant but again, there is no “high” involved. There is no scrambling for a “fix”

I found more interesting information about the confusion surrounding opioids and addiction. If you try to GOOGLE “how many people have died from PRESCRIPTION drug overdose in 2018 or 2017?”, it doesn’t give you a straight answer! But if you go to this article written by Josh Bloom Who Is Telling The Truth About Prescription Opioid Deaths? DEA? CDC? Neither?  It becomes much more clear what is happening, sort of?

Let me explain in a bit more detail. You see, Andrew Kolodny, the “king of detox houses”  has become very rich.  He appears to be greedy for more. This man just cannot tell you enough about how chronic pain patients and drug addics are in the same category. Yes, it’s true and he says those words directly on this video at time spot:  1:37 to 1:54 Washington Post Video: “Dr Andrew Kolodny; opioid crisis “not and abuse crisis, it’s an addiction epidemic” ….therefore, I have surmised (along with many other advocates, that this man is just trying to prey on those who are lost to addiction and those who have lost someone to addiction overdose. But do you realize (I’m guessing he does not or he’s covering it up?) that the opioid deaths are not from prescription opioids! They are from illicit Fentanyl/Carafentanyl from Mexico and China mostly. These are deaths that are from mixing illicit drugs possibly with some opioids and the PROP and CDC etc. are then calling them all “opioid deaths”.

In Josh Bloom’s article above he shows the lies, the outright blatent lies that people are being told by the DEA and others. Read this quote from his article above, dated 11-5-18, “Controlled Prescription Drugs (CPDs)…are still responsible for the most drug-involved overdose deaths and are the second most commonly abused substance in the United States.”  (from the  2018 National Drug Threat Assessment,Drug Enforcement Administration, October 2018) ….but it’s not true…it’s deceiving. Josh Bloom adds that “there was a newly released 164-page report by the DEA manintaing that controlled prescription drugs are killing more Americans than any other drug”.   He concludes that this is either deceiving or just confusing.

You see, other drugs are included in these “death tolls” from Opioids. It’s not just prescription opioids but there are depressants,  stimulants and other drugs responsible as well. They are all being “lumped together”. There is even a CDC chart in his article that shows how they seemingly intentionally misled all of the readers. The chart shows “drug poisoning deaths” and in very very small print it states “The CDC drug poisoning death category medications” was formerly “prescription drugs” but was changed for two reasons: 1) the category includes Over the Counter Drugs…..” So now OTC drugs are added too this mess as well. He also included that “annual deaths from NSAIDS vary widely they are significant:  3,000-16,000 deaths per year.”

Medications for chronic pain illnesses are not “bad” and should not be causing so much turmoil in peoples lives. The PROP and people like Kolodny and his minions, have decided that they are “evil” and so now they are spreading it like wildfire. There are his drug treatment centers and the creators of Suboxone/(Buprenorphrine-Reckitt Benckiser and others who want to “get rich” by hurting the innocent people who are chronically ill. The RBI corp. even went to far as to pull off a shocking scheme to profit off of heroin addicts in 2016. You can read about that in my other article called “About Suboxone, Buprenorphrine and Naloxone” . Andrew Kolodny even made a statement to the effect of how this generation of chronically ill/disabled persons living with chronic pain need to die off, so that the next generation won’t be addicted to opioids for chronic pain. Can you even believe that train of thought? The next generation won’t even have the option to have opioids for chronic pain (*or experience pain relief). This in an attempt to stop addiction and overdoses from occurring. In other words,  let’s just knock off  the elderly, the disabled and the chronically ill; so they won’t be a burden to anyone, is that it? Get rid of all of us so that we won’t suck the system? So our kids won’t know anything about pain control? They will be brainwashed into thinking that mindfulness, acupuncture and grounding can “cure” chronic pain illnesses? Do people really believe that? I do believe that some of the complimentary therapies may alleviate a minimal amount of pain for the short term. But they’re not a long term answer for chronic pain.  I know of one U.S.A. Pain organization that really “pushes” the complimentary therapies. Consequently they have actually abandoned a large number of the pain community who rely (*or did rely) on opioid medication therapy for pain control. Where are the human rights groups and other organizations who have the power to affect a positive change for the pain community? Why hasn’t anyone physically helped to change the misdirected concocted fear of opioids?  I’d truly like to have an answer for these questions? It’s hard to believe that those who blindly play “Follow the Leader” to the likes of Andrew Kolodny, just want chronic pain patients to “go away”? But as I write this article, there are more states petitioning to become “right to die” or assisted suicide states.  It is already legal in:  Washington DC, California, Oregon, Colorado, Vermont, Hawaii & Washington (still being disputed in Montana). Are we really 100% useless and disposable, like garbage to be thrown away?

Thats a scary thought to ponder! There are people such as Andrew Kolodny and Organizations such as the CDC, DEA and PROP, who would rather that I die than stay here with my husband, children and grandchildren for as long as humanly possible? All I need to be able to do is to take a pill a few times a day or wear a patch and I can live some semblance of a life outside of my bed or the recliner that I now live in for the best part of most days now. The Opioids do not make us “high”. I’ve never been “high” and all they did was take the edge off of a whole lot of pain; due to a long list of high pain chronic illnesses. Most of us, who are living with chronic pain, just want to live some kind of life. Don’t we have that right, just as others without pain do? Many of us were victims of accidents or crimes or just plain unlucky. Why do they want to make our life unbearable? Or even worse yet, why do they want us dead? Is this Eugenics coming back from the early 1900’s?

 

Untreated: The Healthcare Crisis-A Documentary


There are several people and organizations making Documentaries about pain patients getting “left behind” in all of the opioid hysteria right now.  A few that I’ve personally taken an interest in, are awesome. I feel that some Organizations, are trying to sway the chronic pain community into thinking that the physicians who are afraid to treat them now with any opioid therapy are correct in doing so.  There are those who promote techniques such as “grounding”, massage therapy, acupuncture and mindfulness as relief for life long chronic & painful illnesses.  There is a place for some of those things. If it is the patients choice, they could be added to other type of medicinal therapies, such as CBD oil, Medical cannabis, Kratom and/or Opioids.  But alone, these “alternative pain control therapies ” don’t help to control chronic &/or intractable pain permanently.  They also won’t help much when someone is living with high amounts of chronic pain from several illnesses on a daily basis. In my opinion, they won’t help someone who had been doing well on other medication therapies for many years and who suddenly got force tapered or stopped from something that gave them some semblance of a life, for over a decade in many cases.

But there is a new documentary coming out soon and it appears to be one of the best that I’ve seen. It looks very professional and it is in no way a “home video” or a “YouTube” video. It appears to be very well done and I really thought the message was and is clear.  Get the government out of the Doctor and patient exam rooms and relationships. Give the physicians back the power to decide along WITH their patients, what method is best suited for the control of their pain. Keep Hollywood, Andrew Kolodny and Dr. Phil out of our personal medical histories and give the chronic pain community back their lives. We are not expendable just because many are unable to work. Most of us worked for many years and paid into the Social Security program and had to have enough “points” from working, in order to receive the SSDI. So we are not “leaches” nor are we taking from our Government.  Most have been very dedicated to helping in society and being a part of every day life. Many chronic pain patients are former chefs, Interpreters, Secretaries and even teachers. Give us the benefit of the doubt and stop treating us like we are unworthy or expendable.

This documentary “Untreated: The Healthcare Crisis” is directed and produced by Time Thread Studios & their production crew, alongside Lauren DeLuca and Jayne Flanders. Lauren & Jayne are the original founders of CIAAG or “Chronic Illness Advocacy and Awareness Group”. They have a support group online and run a Nonprofit for chronically ill and disabled persons living with pain.  I have donated a small amount of $25.00 to this documentary because I believe in it. If you can contribute in any way, even $5.00 would help. If many people could donate even that amount, it would really help in getting this documentary out to the public.  What is stated in this documentary is true; “What we have is an epidemic of ignorance and fear and its ruining healthcare “.  The epidemic is not an “Opioid Epidemic” but one of instilling fear and panic to the non-pain community so they won’t truly understand.  Not until they or someone that they love is living with daily chronic pain and suffering due to the under treatment of pain today in the USA and Canada.

You’ll see in the movie’s trailer, that even the CEO of Reckitt Benckiser, Rakesh Kapoor has stated that “every major deal we’ve done actually, has created good value for share holders”. They are the makers of Suboxone, Bupenorphrine etc.  If you read a couple of my other articles (About Suboxone, Bupenorphrine & Naloxone and another Regarding Bupenorphrine- Suboxone and also Pain, Politics, Suboxone & Bupenorphrine ) regarding these drugs made for addiction, not pain; I believe that you will see a trail of money leading directly from them to this fake and manufactured Opioid “crisis”. “The goal is profits”, it says in the documentary’s trailer. It is without regard to the millions of chronic pain patients.  This movie will show how the Government is trying to control this “crisis” by limiting the supply of opioids for the pain community. It is stated that 319 medications have “no competition”.  The question arises “Is the FDA dragging their feet?” Also you will see that physicians are afraid to prescribe pain medications and we all know that is true. Then there is this statement, that “the intentional removal of effective pain medications”…. from people who live with daily chronic and high pain illnesses, “that is the definition of torture”.

The link to “Kickstarter.com” and the movie trailer is listed below. You’ll notice on the Kickstarter website that they have goals and various gifts for supporting this film.

Please check out this documentary and lets truly try to get this movie out to the public via Netflix and other venues. This documentary has our hearts and our souls in it. It is, in my opinion, a really effective trailer and the documentary, I believe, will even exceed our expectations.  “The pendulum has swung much too far in the wrong direction”, is another quote from “Untreated: The Pain Crisis” movie trailer. Please help by any donation that you can spare and/or by sharing the link below and/or this article to people in your own pain communities.

Click below, to see the trailer:

Untreated: The Healthcare Crisis Movie Trailer

Letter To Brandeis University


 The letter below was written by Richard “Red” Lawhern & signed by many Physicians, Pharmacists, Nurses and pain patients/Advocates (Including Me). It was sent approximately October 2017. Here’s a full article from the Pain News Network about it: https://www.painnewsnetwork.org/stories/2017/10/3/patient-advocates-call-on-brandeis-to-fire-kolodny and below is the letter in full, and which I signed:(my name is in bold print just here to share with you)….sadly, it didn’t do anything, but seemed to give Kolodny more resolve. We need to keep fighting this! We cannot give up. I’ve lost my LA/ER pain meds now and I’m not stopping the fight until my last breath. Here’s the letter in full:

To:  Ronald D. Liebowitz, President, Brandeis University [president@brandeis.edu]

       Nancy Winship, Chief Philanthropic Adviser to the President, Brandeis University 

winship@brandeis.edu  

       Constance Horgan, Founding Director, Brandeis University Institute for Behavioral Health,  [horgan@brandeis.edu]

        David Weil, Dean, The Heller School of Social Policy and Manageme  [davweil@brandeis.edu]

       Mark Allen Surchin, President, Brandeis Alumni Association msurchin@goodmans.ca

    To the Administration of Brandeis University,

I write as corresponding secretary of the Opioid Policy Correspondents List.  We are a group of medical professionals, healthcare writers, social media group moderators, knowledgeable chronic pain patients and family members.  This group of volunteers receives no funding from any source.

We call upon the Opioid Research Collaborative and Brandeis University to immediately reevaluate your relationship with Dr. Andrew Kolodny, MD and to consider termination of his relationship with Brandeis.  The basis of our request is as follows:

   1.  Many of us are patients dealing with medical disorders thatcause levels of intractable pain among the most severe known to medical practice.  Others are physicians and nurses who have treated such disorders, most of which are incurable at the present state of medical knowledge.  Several of us have published work on this area of public policy and are highly conversant with the practice standards issues involved.

   2.  For millions of Americans, prescription opioid analgesic medications are a central element of patient pain management plans.  Without compassionate care employing these analgesics, many tens (perhaps hundreds) of thousands of patients will lapse into agony and disability.  Some will very likely die. We have each been witness already to multiple unnecessary deaths reported in social media and in articles by medical professionals. 

   3.  Chronic pain patients are increasingly being denied access to these essential life supports — in large measure due to the actions and advocacy of Dr. Andrew Kolodny and like-minded others. 

   4.  Because of genetic polymorphism, many pain patients are “hyper metabolizers” or “poor metabolizers” of one or more opioid medications.  Opioids are broken down in their livers at much faster or slower rates than in average patients.  To manage their pain, many require much higher doses than the 90 Morphine Milligram Equivalent Daily Dose (MMEDD) threshold of risk that is asserted in the March 2016 CDC opioid prescription guidelines.  No provision is made in the guidelines for hundreds of thousands of such people.  Based on his published work, Dr. Kolodny seems to ignore that such people even exist, despite the well established body of science thatdetails their conditions.

   5.  Dr. Kolodny has been prominent in a National campaign to deny chronic pain patients even minimal management of their pain.  His actions are directed toward forcing draconian restrictions or outright withdrawal of this class of medications from medical practice. He calls for forced tapering of patients formerly prescribed opioids. Policy positions for which he advocates are leading to the deaths of hundreds of chronic pain patients by suicide or pain-related heart failure and medical collapse — also incontestable facts that Kolodny has publicly denied.

   6.  Dr. Kolodny was a central figure in panels that wrote the 2016 CDC opioid guidelines.  The resulting document is widely understood by medical professionals to be profoundly flawed and actively dangerous.  The guidelines incorporate gross errors, anti-opioid bias, cherry-picking of published findings to support a political agenda, and omission of pertinent research thatcontradicts guideline recommendations.  As a consequence of these distortions and of a related US DEA witch hunt against pain doctors, large numbers of physicians are leaving pain management and hundreds of thousands of patients are being deserted and abused across America.

   7.  Dr. Kolodny may also have failed to acknowledge financial and professional conflicts of interest incompatible with the work he was hired to perform at Brandeis. He helped to found and runPhysicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP), an anti-opioid lobbying group.  This organization has several times petitioned the FDA to restrict opioids (many aspects of PROP petitions have been outright rejected as unfounded).   He has also been Chief Medical Officer for Phoenix House, a chain of addiction treatment centers which has been challenged over deaths among those they have treated and released without follow-up or community support.   He has represented the interests of insurance industry groups that seek to deny coverage to chronic pain patients because of associated expenses. None of these affiliations is compatible with balanced or science-based positions on opioid policy.

   8. Some who have described Dr. Kolodny in public press have characterized him as “controversial”.  This designation is entirely too kind.  Among people in pain, he is one of the most polarizing and hated figures in medicine.  His public statements are widely rejected by those whom they directly affect.

   9.  Although Dr. Kolodny has a work history in public health and addiction psychiatry, he is neither qualified nor Board Certified in pain management — a closely related field that has been profoundly and negatively impacted by his assertions concerning public policy.  From his published articles and interviews, it is clear to many readers that he knows or cares little about chronic pain patients and their treatment.  A lot of what he thinks he knows about addiction is unsupported or contradicted by medical evidence and by the lived experience of many thousands of patients.    

  10.  In our view and those of many people whom he has harmed, Dr. Kolodny makes no positive contribution to the work or reputation of Brandeis or its research centers.  To the contrary, we believe it is ethically and morally imperative that he be dismissed immediately from the University, before his presence further damages both your reputation and your financial endowments.  We urge you to engage staff in a due-diligence review of his published positions and advocacy, to verify the concerns we have offered above.  

You surely cannot align yourselves with someone who has made the following kinds of public statements:

“We lack evidence that opioids help chronic pain. Evidence is mounting that tapering improves pain and function.”   [From a Tweet by Dr. Kolodny addressing his statements in a CNN article at http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/17/health/chronic-pain-opioid-tapering-study/index.html ]

“When we talk about opioid pain medications, drugs like hydrocodone and oxycodone, we’re talking about drugs that are made from opium the same way that heroin is made from opium.  The effect that hydrocodone and oxycodone produce in the brain are indistinguishable from the effects that are produced by heroin.  [When] We talk about opioid pain medicines we are essentially talking about heroin pills…”  Summer 2017 issue of Heller Magazine

“Prescribing opioids for chronic pain is pennywise and pound foolish….” …”overprescribing of opioids is associated with sharp increases in the prevalence of opioid addiction, a chronic disease that is expensive to treat and strains the economy in many other ways. Some of these costs were nicely outlined in a recent New York Times article called “The Soaring Cost of the Opioid Economy.” 

“We’re just talking about the economic costs but we also have to consider human costs. By prescribing opioids to chronic pain patients, a treatment that’s unlikely to work and may even worsen pain, the medical community is undertreating pain and failing in its responsibility to ease suffering. And if the pain patient becomes opioid addicted, they’ll be left with a devastating chronic disease that may kill them. Of course, there’s also the collateral suffering experienced by friends and family members, especially when an opioid addicted individual dies from an overdose.” https://www.centerforhealthjournalism.org/2013/10/24/qa-andrew-kolodny-busting-pain-medicine-myths-0

 

“Outside of palliative care, dangerously high doses should be reduced even if patient refuses.  Where exactly is this done in a risky way?” wrote Andrew Kolodny, MD, Executive Director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP).  “I’m asking you to point to a specific clinic or health system that is forcing tapers in a risky fashion. Where is this happening?”   

https://www.painnewsnetwork.org/stories/2017/7/20/prop-founder-calls-for-forced-opioid-tapering

 

 

 

Among many published articles that contradict positions advocated by Dr. Kolodny are the following:

Neat, Plausible, and Generally Wrong: A Response to the CDC Recommendations for Chronic Opioid Use, by Stephen A. Martin, MD, EdM;  Ruth A. Potee, MD, DABAM; and  Andrew Lazris, MD.  https://medium.com/@stmartin/neat-plausible-and-generally-wrong-a-response-to-the-cdc-recommendations-for-chronic-opioid-use-5c9d9d319f71

Opioid Abuse in Chronic Pain — Misconceptions and Mitigation Strategies, Nora D. Volkow, MD, and A. Thomas McLellan, Ph.D.  N Engl J Med 2016; 374:1253-1263, March 31, 2016.

The MEDD myth: the impact of pseudoscience on pain research and prescribing-guideline development  Jeffrey Fudin, Jacqueline Pratt Cleary, and Michael E Schatman,  J Pain Res. 2016; 9: 153–156. Reprint at Medscape:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4809343/

An Opioid Quality Metric Based on Dose Alone? 80 Professionals Respond to NCQA  Stefan Kertesz, MD, MSc. Medium, March 22, 2017. https://medium.com/@StefanKertesz/an-opioid-quality-metric-based-on-dose-alone-80-professionals-respond-to-ncqa-6f9fbaa2338

Pain Wars, Suzanne Stewart, Opinion, National Pain Report, September 20, 2017,  http://nationalpainreport.com/the-pain-wars-8834381.html

Let’s Stop the Hysterical Rhetoric about the Opioid Crisis, Jeffrey A Singer, MD, Cato Institute, August 31, 2017. https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/lets-stop-hysterical-rhetoric-about-opioid-crisis

Even the most basic due diligence will find many more substantive contradictions to Dr. Kolodny’s public statements. 

This issue is not going to go away.  Brandeis needs to act promptly and decisively to preserve your academic reputation,lest you provide a forum for biased science or fraud.  We look forward to your confirmation that action is underway to separate Dr. Kolodny from your institution.  

Note:  you may also receive amplifying letters from others among our membership.  

All of the following have authorized their do-signatures here:

 

Richard A. Lawhern, Ph.D., Healthcare author and 20-year patient advocate
Corresponding Secretary, Opioid Policy Correspondents List

 

Dr. Forest Tennant, Editor Emeritus “Practical Pain Management”

 

Dr. Aimee Chagnon, MD

 

Dr. Steven R. Henson, MD

 

Dr. Mark Ibsen, MD

 

Steven Ariens, P.D., R.Ph. Owner/Operator “Pharmacist Steve Blog”

 

Thomas N. Dikel, Ph.D., Developmental Psychopathologist; Pediatric Neuropsychologist; Adult and Child Clinical Forensic Psychologist.

 

Jon Aumann, certified in Community Based Participatory Research and as Biomedical Research Investigator

 

Kristie Walters, RN, medically retired as a chronic pain patient

 

Jennifer Barnhouse, LPN, medically retired as a chronic pain patient

 

Julianna Hodgman, RN, Chronic Pain Patient

Michelle Wagner Talley MSRC, LPC, BCPC

 

Patricia Davidson, medically retired EMT, 12 year chronic pain patient

 

Duane Pool, Former Registered Nurse, Technical Writer, Social Media Consultant

 

Kristen Ogden, Co-founder Families for Intractable Pain Relief

 

Louis Ogden, chronic pain patient and advocate

 

Sherry Sherman, CRNP, MSN, BSN, CPC, CCS, CCA, CPPM, US Pain Ambassador,            NAPW 2014 Woman of the Year 

Tammi Hale, surviving spouse of a pain patient suicide

 

Angelika Byczkowski, chronic pain patient, advocate, writer, and blogger

 

Donna Corley, Co-director ASAP – Arachnoiditis Society for Awareness and Prevention  

 

Denise R. Molohon, LTCP, CLTC, chronic pain patient, patient advocate: ASAP, Arachnoiditis Society for Awareness & Prevention

 

Susan J Elliott, chronic pain patient

 

Duff Lambros, chronic pain patient stable on opioids over 20-years of treatment 

 

Suzanne Stewart, chronic pain patient, patient health advocate, CRPS Mentor, blogger & freelance writer (>30 articles in National Pain Report).

Mark J. Zobrowski, chronic pain patient and advocate

 

Spencer Dunstan: chronic pain patient and advocate

 

Sandie Hamilton, Community Care Coordinator, Hope Outreach Ministries

 

Timothy E. Mason, BA Chemistry, Research Chemist

 

Kevin Mooney, chronic pain patient

 

Michelle Ziemba, Writer and Editor, Chronic Pain Patient: Trigeminal Neuralgia (13.5 years),

 

Robert W. Schubring, BA, U.S. Co-Founder, GivePainAVoice

 

Gary Snook, chronic pain patient

 

Shirley Wallace, chronic pain patient

 

Sally Balsamo, chronic pain patient

 

Nancy Calahan, chronic fibromyalgia patient, prescribed Tramadol

 

Caryn Abrams, chronic pain patient

 

Sandy Hamilton, chronic pain patient

Lisa Hess, chronic pain patient

 

Steven Rock, chronic pain patient

 

Tootie Welker, MHS Rehabilitation Counseling

 

Randie Parker, chronic pain patient (diagnosed hyper-metabolizer)

Robert D. Rose, Moderator “Veterans and Americans for Equality in Healthcare” 

Lana Kirby, chronic pain advocate and activist 

Greg Downey, medically retired machinist and chronic pain patient

Shirley Wallace, chronic pain patient

Anne Fuqua, BSN, pain patient / patient advocate

Roberta Glick, chronic pain patient, social worker, advocate

Heidi Schlossberg, chronic pain patient

Christine Falk, chronic pain patient (fibromyalgia, sarcoidosis, rheumatoid arthritis, failed back surgery)

Audrey Liebl, owner of “Fibrom-L”, former EMT/firefighter, chronic pain patient and advocate since 1998

Christine Smith, B.A. Social Welfare, M.A. Rehabilitation Counseling, CVE, retired. disabled. chronic pain patient 

Kathy Kempken, chronic pain patient 14 years (trigeminal neuropathic craniofacial pain syndrome).  Fifteen years professional experience in safety, health and environmental affairs for The Boeing Company

 

Kimberly Miller, Director of Advocacy, KentuckianaFibromyalgia Support Group 

 

Stacey Milligan, chronic intractable pain patient 

Mary A Rooney, LCSW, chronic pain patient.

Theresa Boehm, chronic pain advocate

Rose Bigham, disabled chronic pain patient 

Elana Trefzer, chronic pain patient

Kena Gottier, RN, CMT-US Group Administrator, Chronic Pain Patient

Calvin Kramer, chronic pain patient

Richard L Martin,BSPharm, chronic pain advocate

David Becker, chronic pain advocate

Cathy Kean, chronic pain patient, writer, advocate

 

 

Pain, Politics, Suboxone & Bupenorphrine


Please watch this informational video about the a patient removed from the only medication that helped lower pain. Also, much information regarding the dangers of Suboxone /Bupenorphrine.

Pain, politics & Suboxone/Bupenorphrine

***I APOLOGIZE THAT TBIS VIDEO IS UNAVAILABLE AT THIS TIME*****