NIH Position on Opioids and Chronic Pain

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I’m going to break one of my own rules, that of banning curse words from my site. In this instance I can’t find better words to describe this anti-opiate rhetoric. I heard this from a therapist once in a seminar on, How to Identify Safe vs Unsafe Organizations and People.

The seminar speaker used the word Mind F–king. He was describing what happens when a person is consistently given a mix of truth and lies on the same subject. And don’t kid yourself, a failure to disclose all relevant information is the same as lying. The results for those who listen without taking action is, confusion, self-doubt, uncertainty on who to trust, what to believe. According to this speaker, it can lead to substance abuse or possibly process addictions. Things such as gambling, shopping, sex, risk taking or any number of others.

Naturally, when I read the words below, I immediately felt Mind F–ked. I have over the years, taught myself, to hear the alarms that go off when I’m confronted with mixed messages. For example, you can always tell what someone is selling you by how much time they spend talking about it.

The Government on one hand is saying opiates are an appropriate form of treatment for chronic pain. They can’t deny this given more than a hundred years of proven medical practice.

Taken as directed, opioids can manage pain effectively when used for a short amount of time. With long-term use, people need to be screened and monitored because a fraction of those treated will develop an addiction disorder, abuse the drugs, or give them to others. Long-term daily use of opioids leads to physical dependence, which is not to be confused with addiction disorder. An addiction disorder occurs in about 5 percent of people who take these pain relievers as directed over the period of a year. An addiction disorder can be treated, but like those who misuse or illegally distribute prescription drugs, the prescriber needs to be vigilant to identify and address these problems. That is why everyone who uses prescription opioids needs to be screened and closely monitored.


When I read a message that has 12 words supporting something and 1,500 words on what to be afraid of, more alarms go off. And that little guy sitting on my right shoulder starts calling out the BS.

On one hand our government is saying opiates are an appropriate form of treatment for chronic pain. Government publication after publication has a different message. Publishers will defend themselves by saying, they don’t do the research, they’re just the publishers. A publisher is always in control of the content in their publication, so such excuses are lame at best.

One thing you won’t find on these NIH publications, is information for medical conditions where opiates are an effective treatment.

  • MedlinePlus – Indexes over 700 diseases and health conditions including preventative measures, diagnostic tests and therapeutic regimens.
  • NIH Senior Health – A database designed for seniors with special adjuncts including large print, audio presentations, covering diseases particularly associated with senior citizens.
  • PubMed – 16 million articles indexed from 4,900 biomedical journals from throughout the world with both abstracts and full text.
  • Entrez – Simultaneous search for multiple life sciences databases at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).
  • GenBank – NIH genetic sequence database, an annotated collection of all publicly available DNA sequences.
  • Protein Database – Contains sequence data from the translated coding regions from DNA sequences in GenBank, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), and DNA Data Bank of Japan (DDBJ) as well as protein sequences submitted to Protein Information Resource (PIR), SWISS-PROT, Protein Research Foundation (PRF), and Protein Data Bank (PDB).
  • PubChem – Organized as three linked databases of small molecular with potential biological activity in a molecular library.
  • Toxnet – Databases on hazardous chemicals, toxic releases and environmental health from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, other US government agencies and the World Health Organization.
  • Visible Human – Creation of complete, anatomically detailed, three-dimensional representations of the normal male and female human bodies. The long-term goal of the Visible Human Project is to produce a system of knowledge structures that will transparently link visual knowledge forms to symbolic knowledge formats such as the names of body parts.
  • Profiles in Science – 18 prominent scientists in research and public health profiled.
  • UMLS (Unified Medical Language System) – Database of biomedical vocabularies related semantic and lexical resources for system developers.
  • Locator Plus – NLM’s catalog of books, journal title, and audiovisual materials.
  • NLM Extramural Grants – Provides grants, contracts and fellowships to organizations and individuals interested in applying computers and telecommunication for improving storage, retrieval, access, and use of biomedical information.

For many people, when viewed in this way it raises the question. Can our elected officials be trusted to honestly guide us in our healthcare?