CDC: Painkillers No Longer Driving Opioid Epidemic 

By Pat Anson, Editor

A top official for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has acknowledged that prescription painkillers are no longer the driving force behind the nation’s so-called opioid epidemic.

In testimony last week at a congressional hearing, Debra Houry, MD, Director of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, said that heroin and illicit fentanyl were primarily to blame for the soaring rate of drug overdoses.

“Although prescription opioids were driving the increase in overdose deaths for many years, more recently, the large increase in overdose deaths has been due mainly to increases in heroin and synthetic opioid overdose deaths, not prescription opioids. Importantly, the available data indicate these increases are largely due to illicitly manufactured fentanyl,” Houry said in her prepared testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.

The CDC blamed over 33,000 deaths on opioids in 2015, less than half of which were linked to pain medication.

While painkillers may be playing less of a role in the overdose epidemic, Houry believes pain medication is still a gateway drug for many abusers. She cited statistics from Ohio showing that nearly two-thirds of the people who overdosed on heroin or fentanyl received at least one opioid prescription in the seven years before their deaths.

“The rise in fentanyl, heroin, and prescription drug involved overdoses are not unrelated,” Houry said. “While most people who misuse prescription opioids do not go on to use heroin, the small percentage (about four percent) who do account for a majority of people recently initiating heroin use.”

Houry also disputed reports that efforts to reduce opioid prescribing have led to increased use of illegal drugs. It was her office that oversaw the development of controversial CDC guidelines that discourage doctors from prescribing opioids for chronic pain.



“Some have suggested that policies meant to limit inappropriate opioid prescribing have led to an increase in heroin use by driving people who misuse opioids to heroin,” Houry testified.  “Recent research, however, has indicated otherwise. One study found that the shift to heroin use began before the recent uptick in these policies, but that other factors (such as heroin market forces, increased accessibility, reduced price, and high purity of heroin) appear to be major drivers of the recent increases in rates of heroin use.”

The “recent research” Houry cited was a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine in January, 2016 – a full two months before the CDC opioid guidelines were even released. She offered no evidence to support her claim that the guidelines were having no impact on heroin use.

Some Patients Turning to Illegal Drugs 

According to a recent survey of over 3,100 patients by Pain News Network and the International Pain Foundation, the CDC guidelines have reduced access to pain care, harmed many patients and caused some to turn to illegal drugs for pain relief.

Over 70 percent said their opioid doses have been reduced or cutoff by their doctors in the past year. And one out of ten patients (11%) said they had obtained opioids illegally for pain relief since the guidelines came out.

“The one person I know who says the recent guidelines have helped (is) my neighbor who is a heroin dealer. He says business has quadrupled since doctors have started becoming too afraid to help people in pain,” one patient wrote.

“This has caused me far more pain and suffering in my life, and increased my stress and anxiety, and depression, because nobody seems to care that I suffer like this,” said another patient. “This has also caused me to turn to using heroin, because I have nothing left now at this point and cannot suffer like this.”

“Because people are unable to get adequate pain relief from prescribed medications due to the fear instilled to doctors by these ‘guidelines,’ most people, in my experience, are turning to heroin. This explains not only an increase in overdoses but also an increase in suicide from chronic pain patients,” wrote another.

“I found it easier to get medications through the black market than through my doctor. I spend about $1,000 per month in medications through the black market, but in the end that is less than the deductible on my insurance. And they deliver to my house!” a patient said.

“My fear right now is that I’ve been using medications I buy from a dealer. They appear to be real and thus far I’ve been OK, but I’m afraid that I may eventually hit a bad batch laced with fentanyl,” said a patient.

Houry’s testimony came on the same day the Drug Enforcement Administration warned that counterfeit painkillers made with fentanyl have killed dozens of people in the Phoenix area.

The DEA said at least 32 deaths in the last 18 months in Maricopa County, Arizona have been linked to fake pills laced with fentanyl that were disguised to look like oxycodone tablets. In nearly 75% of the overdoses, examiners also found dipyrone (Metamizole), a painkiller banned for use in the U.S. since 1977.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 100 times more potent that morphine. It is sold legally in sprays, patches and lozenges to treat severe chronic pain.

counterfeit oxycodone (dea photo)


The DEA says illicit batches of fentanyl are being made in China and exported to Mexico, where drug dealers mix it with heroin or turn it into counterfeit medication before smuggling it into the U.S.

The DEA released detailed demographic information on the age, sex and ethnicity of the people who overdosed in Arizona. It did not say how many of the dead were patients looking for pain relief.

Comments (63)

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The fact that people who overdose from either heroin, heroin mixed with fentanyl, or fentanyl alone, is not surprising because one would almost expect that anyone who has gone far enough to use heoin: more than likely has been using other drugs as well.
Lets face facts: one doesn’t need to use other opioids if they can get heroin. In addition…this is not proof that medically appropriate opioid use automatically leads to using heroin…but the opposite is far more likely: that once someone uses heroin, the fact that they are carrying OxyContin around with them should not be a surprise.
You are confusing the fact that no matter how many persons OD: there is still no proof that any of them used prescription drugs “BEFORE” becoming addicted to heroin. It is hearsay, and you guys who push hearsay as truth also do damage to far more chronic pain sufferers who need opioids, then there are heroin addicts in this world.
These are two separate issues. How about treating them as separate issues. BIG PHARMA cured hepatitis c…invented penicillin, marketed aspirin, and developed vaccines. Get a life, Jack !


This website is purposefully misleading it’s readers, while I know this won’t be allowed to stay, please read the entire testimony, the included quote is completely out of context Read the report or at least this portion they left out
“One in five people who died from a fentanyl overdose, had an opioid medication prescribed to them at the time of their death. In fact, people who misuse prescription opioids — that is, use other than as directed by a healthcare provider are at an increased risk for heroin use. Among new heroin users, approximately three out of four report having misused prescription opioids prior to using heroin.”
This website is a 501c created much like a political super-pac, to provide PR for the pharmaceutical industry. The single medical professional listed on their staff is a Psychologist who was licensed less than 2 years ago, and while her bio points to a very strong woman with a reason to advocate for those in pain, I hope she realizes that the reporting done on this page is NOT done in a manner that helps those in pain, simply those that want to sell pain medication.


What did she say? Pain medication was responsible for less than half of the 33k deaths? What – 12k? Yet they went after doctors and opiate prescribing with crazy determination! Yet of those 12k deaths, less than 25% were due to actual patient / doctor prescribing – the vast majority caused by deference. So now we’re really looking at 3k deaths a year possibly caused by the overprescribing of opiates. Wow what an epidemic!!! However, there are over 90k deaths per year reportedly caused by alcohol – with zero therapeutic or medical benefit to alcohol – yet it’s left alone. Seen any alcohol epidemic headlines lately? And cigarettes kill over 440k per year – with absolutely no medical benefits to smoking. So – my question is: why is there such an extreme focus on prescription opioids?? (Statistics can be found in Judy Foreman’s novel A NATION IN PAIN).


FINALLY!! Someone GETS it! My 34 yr old son has cried in my arms, because he wants to die. He can’t handle the pain anymore, because he’s extremely under medicated. Heroin is his next option. These people are dying from mixing fentanyl with heroin, so give people back their meds, quit prescribing fentanyl outpatient and the numbers from accidental overdoses and suicides will improve.


Linda, research kratom for your son. It helps with pain.


My roomate is a Chronic Pain Patient and I watch her suffer everyday since all this cutting back of her medication it isn’t bad enough for the to take her life or turn to street drugs but if other people are hurting worse than her I can unerstand them turning to Herion or street drugs but what they are getting is killing them so I have read alot on facebook at the Chronic Pain Support Group and alot of them are already talking about taking their lives because of the pain. What about the oath that Doctors take to do no harm. The CDC started all of this with their so called guidelines that they probally knew would scare off the Primary Care Doctors first and thats what it did they drop their patients with no medication no refferal and no care and all the other agencys followed suite the CDC VA DEA HHS CMM CMS FDA then for good measure the CMS want to use the MME formula which will cut everones medicines by at least half so what are you ganna do now let more die or turn things around and let the Doctors do the jobs they were meant to do?


The fact, even if true, that 2/3 of persons who had overdosed on fentanyl/heroin had ( also, according to Debra Houry, M.D. ) received at least one opioid prescription during the seven year span of time leading up to their overdose; tells us nothing about whether the opioid prescription was their “first” initiation to an opioid of any kind, whether they got it for a legitimate pain complaint, whether they took it themselves or sold ( diverted ) it, and whether they were “addicts” before receiving such a prescription.
Thus there is no basis for Doctor Houry’s speculative opinion that prescriptions for opioids constitute a “gateway” for subsequent use of heroin.
I personally feel that after interviewing over a thousand abusers of all types of narcotics in a prison population where the interviewed inmates had nothing to protect by lying; two “facts” stand out: (1), OxyContin “snorters” can do 12-14, 80 mg. tablets a day…without much adverse side effects, and (2), most of the guys I interviewed said they were using street drugs long before hitting-up on medical practices with false pain complaints.
It is precisely because Doctor Houry and her associates “jumped the gun” by accusing overprescribing of opioids as a reason why heroin addiction has increased…which is enough of a “myth” and “prejudice” type accusation to cause a real “chilling effect” on even “legitimate” pain prescribing, sufficient to get doctors offices closed down on the excuse that DEA or AG officers are “investigating” the doctor – and that, even when the evidence is questionable: some doctors will get convicted on what certainly ( in light of our mass national hysteria associated with prescribing pain killers ) must be the easiest of all criminal charges to obtain convictions on: and which further serves to “marginalize” pain sufferers’ from obtaining the only medication that works for “them.”



We have tried to tell the CDC HHS the CMS the FDA the VA and even going so far as to make the Doctors use the MME to amke our medication to be cut so low that it would and will not control the kind of Chronic Pain that most of the Pain Managent patients have.We suffer everyday and it seems our crys have fallen on deaf ears we fell no one in the Goverment Agencys care anything about us or if we suffer.
We taake our medication the way they are writen I was on 30mg of oxycodone every 4 to 6 hours as needed which I received 150 per month and I have a pain pump inplanted in me that was giving me 1.26mg for 12 hour during the night and 1.12mg for 12 hours thuring the night to help me sleep when laying in one position at night. My Doctor who is a Chronic Pain Specialist has cut me back 30mg of oxycodone by mouth aday and cut my pain pump back from 37mg in 24hrs to 6mg in a 24 hour period.
Since the cuts I can no longer wash dishes or do any cleaning of the house I only bath 2 times a week because it is so painful I am already in a wheelchair but my quality of life is half of what is was. I am begging all the people that believe all you have done is saving us try to remember we are human and we are not emune from pain and we don’t want to live having to take medicine evryday but we have had to except that is how our lives are ad will never be the same but we are not Drug Addicts we use 1 Doctor 1 Pharmcey everything we have tried to tell you is happening and is it worth all the Deaths it is causing worth it?


Like many of you I have been watching this snowball roll down hill towards all of the legitimate patients being made as scapegoats. I have been appalled by the lack of honesty in the way the numbers have been reported always with a slant to sensationalize the worst of the worst. I want to share some information I have compiled that will I’m sure add fuel to this new’s. I received a letter in December United Health was dropping Oxycontin from the formulary as of Jan. 1, a little background, I had gastric bypass surgery in 2002 and an open hernia repair in 2004. the repair failed and 7 days after the re repair I had the staples removed and within hours 85% of the 2.5 ft incision was open like a zip lock bag. It took 3 years, 13 surgeries, 3 rounds with a wound-vac, a fistula, the removal of my abdominal wall three times due to infection and a plastic surgeon to fix it. I remember asking the surgeon what I had too do to be able to take Tylenol again and he laughed! When the swelling went down the pain set in from the adhesion and scar tissue and muscles being pulled out of sorts. I’ve since had two inguinal hernias a P.E, and recurring aspiration pneumonia that they can’t find a reason for now on case 45. I’m 47 own my own company, have 4 kid’s, go to the gym every day, bike, run, don’t smoke, drink just want to live! Ironically the surgeon who screwed me was abusing stolen pain meds from the hospital pharmacy at the time, but it was covered up. I have been on the same regiment of la/sa for 4 years until January, due to my history I don’t absorb long acting well so my Dr and I have settled on 3x day but mainly relying on short acting for my most effective relief. We made a plan to taper down and then taper back up on Opana ER until I got back to to full dose. We got PA for 2x a day and on day 20 she changed the dose to 40mg. In the past this would have been a therapy change, no problem getting through ins. they denied as to soon. 20 phone calls later my Dr. spoke to the Pharmacist and She said, we thought you were titrating him off? My Dr said no, why would I? They approved me for 60 days and I got a letter saying my request for 3 times a day was denied, but could be approved if under the 90 MED which was less than the first approval I got in January. Today I called as my 60 days was up to get a clear answer and confirmed what I found in their latest documents. As of January 1. non cancer pain is limited to the 90 MED limit, period. Despite me already having a pain management specialist and meeting all the hoops, The only way to return to the dose I was on before the first of the year is to appeal. I get the broad brush they are painting with, but I also confirmed while I can’t get more than 30 mg of opana a day, I can however get my 150 30 mg oxycodone with no problem, if I really want it I can also get 412 percocet’s or 412 vicoden, all on the supply limit without restriction for 1 copay each. So is it about the safety or about the money? From their document dated today called “United Healthcare Addresses increased Opioid Use and Dependence” They tout in 2015 alone a 41% in Opioid prescriptions written, 45% in number of Physicians prescribing Opioids and a 41% decrease in pharmacies dispensing Opioids. So take these numbers and what the CDC released today and understand there are some smoke and mirrors going on and peoples lives are at stake here. It’s time to break the silence!


Dr. Alba, describe the Somatic Therapy please. I was diagnosed with RSD/CRPS twenty five years ago by a W/C MD. They go out of their way to not diagnose this pain syndrome because it’s a very expensive, lifetime problem. I wasn’t able to obtain good pain management for almost 18 months. At the time it was only in my left foot. He didn’t tell me what RSD stood for nor explain what I might be facing. I spent several hours in the library researching RSD. Computers were nothing like today and all I could find was a paragraph about Causalgia, discovered by a Civil War doc, and it had something to do with nerve damage. Good, I thought at the time, can’t be THAT bad. Silly me. I didn’t push for treatment as my regular W/C MD would prescribe low dose pain meds for my right knee injury. During the care for the knee, developed a deathly allergy to aspirin and non steroidal. Almost died when given a prescribed mega dose of Aspirin. When treatment was started, my first pain doc was very conservative. No pain meds, which was fine with me. He prescribed tricyclics, which caused cardiac dysrhythmias. He stopped those and placed me on the Catrapres patch. It caused my BP to bottom out. He did do a Lumbar Sympathetic Block to confirm the diagnosis. It stopped all the foot pain. I then learned what exactly lay in store for me. He sent me to a Therapist at the hospital I worked at. She got laid off so my care was transferred to the head of the department, a Psychiatrist. Nice doctor, but after trying three different SSRI’s decided I just couldn’t tolerate them. Never have been able to tolerate many meds, and this thing about natural endorphins, is a joke for my brother and me. We have always had zero pain tolerance. My pain doc discovered early on my case was difficult at best. My first SCS worked wonderfully. Had two other ones after it died after only 15 months. Ran it on high for 24/7. Had two Pumps. Neither worked very well and my body rejected the second one and it never got refilled. Can’t tolerate morphine, codeine, fentanyl. Demerol led to gives and severe chest pain. Codeine and Methadone made me throw up. Great I am thinking, what’s left? I wasn’t placed on pain meds the first four years. PT was tried, but it only exacerbated the now rapidly spreading monster which was overtaking my body. So forgive me if I don’t jump on the bandwagon for a treatment modality I don’t have the energy to even look up exactly what it is. The damage is done, everything that can be done, has been, all to no avail. I’ve had every Block for upper and lower extremities. More temporary catheters for both upper and lower extremities. I don’t choose to be a guinea pig any longer.


I just spent two hours on my PC researching Deb Houry, Emory University and the CDC. Dr. Houry is NOT an employee at the CDC, but an Assistant Professor Administrator in Emergency Medicine at Emory no less. As an Administrator, she doesn’t even get her hands bloody. Her big title is from Emory, but the CDC seems to have adopted it, thus the connection between the two. Her other speciality is basically preventing and treating abuse in women. Admirable, but what the heck does it have to do with chronic pain diseases, pain management, etc? Nada, zero, zip, NOTHING! She also teaches against suicide from violence and stops PTSD in the ED. What is wrong with this picture?? First, the CDC has an openly ANTI OPIOID MD, write their now damaging 2016 Pain Guidelines, that have hurt far more than helped. Then, the CDC sends an Emory Associate Professor to speak to our elected officials. I am appalled, angry and disgusted by the CDC and Emory. For any who have never worked at a University hospital, an Associate Professor is an alumni of said Medical School. Sounds great and they may have to teach occasionally and write papers. Then, upon further searching, learned Emory, which is in yes Atlanta, GA, just where the CDC has its headquarters. Emory awards grants to organizations like the CDC for research. The CDC turns around and awards grants to universities and orgs. And which department at Emory got awarded a FIVE MILLION DOLLAR GRANT to the very ED Dr. Deb Houry leads. Talk about the good old boy, I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine! She was NO MORE QUALIFIED to address Congress than the first MD the CDC authorized to write the very damaging Guidelines. Gee, you think the families of any chronic pain patient who have committed suicide or who has tried thanks to their loved one taking their life due to unbearable pain needs to inform Dr. Houry, she is anti suicide. Her real email address is If you try to contact her at the CDC, you may not get very far. With this cross grant giving, isn’t that collusion or something illegal? I am in too much pain right now to even look up any words. I just think it’s pathetic people throw around false titles, represent areas they really aren’t qualified to represent. Those of us who live with chronic pain every hour of every day, have had every treatment modality forced on us, until all that was left was pain medication, and for so many, it ended up being the proverbial rug pulled from under us. We know more about pain management, responsible OPIOID medication! Start writing your elected officials. Do the same searches I did. These morons need to be stopped!


Great find!! Is did email this witch awhile back and actually rec’d a letter back not once addressing chronic pain but threw in my face ll about the opiod epidemic and addiction! Need,ess to say I was not pleasant when i wrote her, Angry I was and still am very angry!!! Why the f*** should myself nd the millions more like me have to live the rest of whats left of my life suffering so bad i want to die, Life liberty and the pursuit of happiness!?!? What a travesty !!


In my experience working in healthcare with thousands of people in chronic pain, the vast majority are not drug seekers – they are relief seekers. While there are exceptions, opioids have not been found to be effective in the long term for chronic, noncancer pain, and they pose significant risks including addiction, side effects, and death (even when taken as directed). The harms often outweigh the benefits.
Wait, before you get angry please consider this. Limiting opioid prescriptions, without providing safe, effective pain relief, is not the answer. And that strategy, in addition to not addressing the pain problem, may lead to numerous unintended consequences, including increased use of illicit opioids, addiction and overdose deaths.
What if physicians and patients were given research-proven tools to reduce and even resolve pain, without the risks associated with opioids? Do you think they would be interested? Clinical trials conducted at a major health system in Michigan with thousands of participants demonstrated that Somatic Functional Therapy (SFT), either one-on-one or in population health programs, produced significant improvement in chronic pain (nearly 40% of conditions resolved and 80% were improved) and related problems such as anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbance. Furthermore, 67% of those taking pain medications (including opioids) either reduced use or stopped taking them altogether. Of note, no one forced them to do this, they did this on their own as their pain symptoms and health improved.
Furthermore, physicians trained in SFT are able to improve health outcomes and patient satisfaction, while reducing their opioid prescribing. Why aren’t we pursuing these types of safe, effective approaches to address the opioid crisis nationally?


Dr. Alba, I invite you to step in my shoes for a few months, in order for you to get the full effect of my life, you must allow me to continually beat your back with a baseball bat all day every day as thats how mine looks and feels, you must allow me to drop a 100lb slab of burning concrete on your back as well, as my every inch of my spine feels as if its being crushed. you must allow me to drag your hips along the concrete road, chipping away at your bones, you must allow me to send electric type shocks down your legs, piercing, stabbing, burning tyoe elctric shocks, you must allow me to wrap your feet i. a zillion burning pins while tying your ankles off with burning ropes, you must allow me to beat your knees with a hammer over and over and your upper legs will have heavy weights on top of them so that every time you try to go upstairs your legs become weaker and weaker. It will be extremely difficult for you to even make it up five steps. You must also allow your peers treat you like a POS. you will be degraded, abused, mistreated, stigmatized as a drug addict and pill seeker, you will be discriminated against, and you most certainly will be treated like a dam criminal!!! In order for you to get the full effect you will have to allow your peers to put you thru every alternative therapy out there, every OTC AND NSAIDS that will rip apart your stomach and liver, you will be put thru many epidurals that will increase your pain and leave you with adhesive arachnoiditis. You will be put thru two failed spinal fusions that will leave you with severe nerve damage. Now see I have been suffering for ten long painful years,. I did everything the medical community told me to do. Your challenge is for just a few months, as I probably won’t be around to see you suffer for years. I have been pu thru years of physical therapy, massage, chiro, accupuncture, OTC AND NSAIDS that tore my liver and stomach up, two failed spinal fusions that left me with severe nerve damage, back braces, tens, heat, jce, water therapy, discectomies, steriods, nerves burned, eating healthy, exercise, holistic, herbal, over the past five years ive had hundreds of facet injections, trigger point injections and SI joint injections that intensify the pain, every non opiod medication that gave me horrible side effects. Ive done everything MY BODY, NOONE ELSES, MY BODY could take and my wallet could not afford!! Opiods were my LAST RESORT!! and when my old dr found what worked i was guven a QUALITY OF LIFE! For years I was on the SAME STABKE DOSE – how dare you say opiods don’t work for long term pain when for eight years they continued to work just fine, until the dam corrupt government and thier sidekicks the CDC, DEA, FDA AND PROP interfered where they do not belong! Between a dr and pt, having drs running scared if they treat thier pain pts with opiods. Drs are abandoning thier pain pts, lowering thier lifesaving meds to ineffective doses or abruptly stopping them, leaving the pt to go thru what could be deadly withdrawal. We are being left with either turning to the streets for relief or worse SUICIDE!! Any time you feel up for the challenge let me know . Ill be honest the amount of pain you will endure will have you begging god to take you!!! You will suffer from anxiety and depression and every dr you call for help will turn you away and make you feel like giving up! What right do any if you so called doctors have to tell a long term chronic intractable pain pt what does and doesn’t work when you cannot feel what another feels!?!? I am so disgusted to live in a country that is killing off the chronically ill!! denying legitimate pain pts LIFESAVING PAIN MEDICATION!!!


It Sounds like you have Ankylosing Spondylitis like me.


Dr. Alba,

Forgive me, but can you explain how…
“opioids… pose significant risks including addiction”
“Furthermore, 67% of those taking pain medications (including opioids) either reduced use or stopped taking them altogether. Of note, no one forced them to do this, they did this on their own as their pain symptoms and health improved.”

If the risk of addiction is so great then how can a whopping 67% of patients taking pain medications, including opioids, all decide of their own accord, not forced, to reduce or stop taking them altogether ?

I think the later statement shines a bright light back onto the first.

There are studies, that largely get ignored, that show that people who suffer with chronic pain do not become addicted nor do they feel euphoric when taking pain medications.


I have lived in Chronic pain for years. 8 to be exact. I have several loved ones here that started out with Norco and Lortab and are now on Crystal meth and heroin. I was started on the tramadol/flexeril combo for Fibro and back problems and when it wouldn’t work they began prescribing get Norco. When I realized I was developing a habit the fear of addiction hit me and I began to search for alternatives. Here in the state of Louisiana Marijuana is not legal so we can’t legally use it for pain. I will you it decreases it by half. This is the fight we need to be fighting. It is safer, non addictive and doesn’t have to be smoked but can be used safely in a controlled environment where it doesn’t damage our lungs etc. However the government is too busy building their synthetic forms to market right now and haven’t approved it yet because they can’t make the money . There is also a medication that is an Antabuse drug. It’s called Naltrexone. I researched it. Low doses under 4.5 MG of it have been show to help patients with Fibromyalgia, MS, Lupus, Parkinsons and other conditions by blocking pain receptors in the brain and releasing endorphins and decreasing fatigue. Taking it, you can’t take opiates at all, but I have been on it a year and it has given me my life back. It’s made in a compounding pharmacy and about 35.00 a month. Please research LDN . Please help push for Marijuana decriminalization and legalization because it can be used safely with the LDN.


That’s great thT you found something that works for you. Yes marijuana helps ease severe pain, anxiety, ptsd, etc. BUT please keep in mind it does not work for everyone. Therefore, pain pts should have any and all options available, whether it is opiods, marijuana, kratom, etc., we are all created differently. we all tolerate pain differently and we all tolerate opiods, kratom or marijuana differently. What works for some may not work for others…


Commenting on this site does no good, UNLESS WE ALSO TAKE ACTION. It is not that difficult to formally PROTEST. It is not that expensive to formally PROTEST. It does take some time and organization.


Chronic pain patients had a protest back in October, it wasn’t a huge turnout as many could not get to the White House, due to either financial problems or the overbearing pain. There were several guest speakers, doctors, etc. Unfortunately the protest did not even make the news, wonder why that was..smdh. Please join the facebook support groups, there is one called Vet fight back,and there is awesome info and they are dighting back as much as possible, pain patient advocay week as well is coming up in April. There are also support groups on facebook , just search chronic pain and many groups will pop up..


What Your is not stating is all it takes is one hit of heroin and the user is hooked. My meds were all stopped in 2016, and my CRPS/RSD pain has spiraled it of control. My right hand has become so contracted and painful, it has become useless. I have become housebound. My dog needs to see the Vet, but I haven’t driven since December 2016. I have never experienced pain like this before. This is insane, all due to the CDC’s Guidelines. I personally cannot tolerate Fentanyl. Beginning to think if I could have access to illegal pain meds, it might be worth a try, but it’s too costly and illegal, not viable options. Using heroin is never an option. There are too many of us suffering, severely, from having the meds we used responsibly, that used to allow us to function as normally as possible considering the circumstances. Perhaps the CDC and DEA need to LISTEN to our stories, really listen for once and make appropriate changes to both Guidelines.


Thank you Jane for the members of the committee as you read my mind. I have a lot of information I want to send Debra Houry again. Including the one from 12/26/16 in which the CDC admitted to double and triple counting deaths. Heroin turns to morphine, Fentanyl isn’t known if legal or illicit, whether or not scripts were legal or stolen etc. ect. This is all a complete and utter lie from our trusted government officials and it must stop. The CDC Guidelines must be undone and not re-written as they the FDA, DEA, VA, HHS and many more have a lot of blood on their hands. They cherry picked the study to fit their needs and didn’t even know we have a long term study on opioids of over 10 years without Hyperalgesia. Yes, you heard me correctly it’s been done and all one needs to do is email me at and I will gladly send it and many more.

We are also doing a radio show that will run for 24 hours with all CPP’s as commercials. If you would like to speak for a 13 minute segment and/or do a 90 second commercial please email me at the same address above. Title your email “Radio Show or Long Term Study.” I will get it to you as soon as possible as they are due by 4/13/17 and I have all information I can send by email.

This article doesn’t even begin to tell the truth, but we must persist and the truth will be told. Too many Veterans and Civilians have suffered needlessly at the hands of their idiotic guidelines as too many have made them laws.

Our doctors need to be able to do the job they went to school for without fear of the DEA. I speak to people every day who are being hurt by physicians who are no longer writing their life saving opioid medications. We didn’t ask to be given a chronic illness and/or chronic pain no matter what the reason and would gladly give it back.

All of those who’ve done the damage need to be held accountable and should feel our pain for 24 hours. I guarantee you they’d want to give it back ASAP and then we can all say ” No thank you it’s yours for life now.” How do you think they would feel then if they felt it for just 24 hours when we have to feel it 24 hours a day – 365 days a year?

Sherry Sherman, CRNP, MSN, BSN, CPC, CCS, CPPM
US Pain Ambassador and Advocate
Too many chronic illnesses to list


Hi Sherry,
I would be very interested in the study you refer to on hyperaglesia. I’ve followed the responses to the Opioid Restricting Guideline and seen a progression from “there’s no evidence that opioids are effective for chronic pain” (because they haven’t done anything he studies) to “opioids may not work and may make chronic pain worse” to “we now KNOW that opioids don’t work for chronic pain and make pain worse”. It seems like a perverse game of telephone! I’ve read quite a few paper on OIH and never seen any credible evidence that it is anything but rare, unpredictable and poorly understood rather than widespread and inevitable. I will email you.


This is what I am afraid of happening to Chronic Pain Patients. Called collateral damage as a result of CDC guidelines. It threatens Drs, who could prescribe responsibly from doing so! I also believe some of this mess has to do with the previous Government requirements that were placed on Drs’ to treat pain. They took that literally and started over prescribing Opiates for pain issues that probably did not need such a strong approach. Patients’ started expecting a prescription for a pain pill to cure their pain. I think it was the wrong way to think and it began the emphasis on Pain by the governement.
I do not think Pain should be ignored, but there has to be less control over the Drs’ so they can do their job!




Many of you are directing your comments to Deb Houry as though she’s reading this site. Maybe she is, but maybe she isn’t. Copy your comments directly to her, and to the members of the subcommittee she testified in front of. Maybe she’s the one left holding the bag now that there’s a new HHS secretary and Tom Frieden is out. Maybe she is reasonable or has finally seen the light. Maybe she would begin to listen….
Here are two email addresses I found for her: and
Get a new Yahoo or gmail email if you need to.
Here’s the list of members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee
Republican Members
Tim Murphy (Pennsylvania – 18) – Chairman
Morgan Griffith (Virginia – 09) – Vice Chairman
Joe Barton (Texas – 06)
Michael Burgess (Texas – 26)
Susan Brooks (Indiana – 05)
Chris Collins (New York – 27)
Tim Walberg (Michigan – 07)
Mimi Walters (California – 45)
Ryan Costello (Pennsylvania – 6)
Buddy Carter (Georgia – 01)
Greg Walden (Oregon – 02) – Ex Officio
Democratic Members
Diana DeGette (Colorado – 01) – Ranking Member
Janice Schakowsky (Illinois – 09)
Kathy Castor (Florida – 14)
Paul Tonko (New York – 20)
Yvette Clarke (New York – 09)
Raul Ruiz (California – 36)
Scott Peters (California – 52)
Frank Pallone (New Jersey – 06) – Ex Officio


Sad to say, there are manyain warriors who have contacted Miss Houry a year ago, and the reps that are listed as well as many more. I wrote to this smug smiling killer, and she even wrote me back, BUT there was ZERO reference to chronic pain pts and 100% references to the “fictious opiod epidemic” She pretty much ignored the pleas from pain pts nationwide. I highly doubt she’s listening now, as the addiction driven agenda put in place under Obama’s watch, continues to worsen and many lives lost to suicide due to this witchhunt meant nothing to her, These murdering corrupt lawmakers may never know what 24/7 intractable pain is like to the public, but I don’t doubt for a second that there are many of them that do take opiods to ease thier pain. Keep in mind there are different sets of rules for “we the people” and those who are responsible for committing genocide. As much as I wish for all of them to walk in our shoes, the thing is they will never know what agony is like, they have thier private drs and pharmacies on speeddial.They are all a bunch of hypocrits!! Oh and on the news today I heard that our asshole governor here in NJ, will be on his way to the White House to lead the opiod task force. We all are doomed!!


Somewhere along the line, someone on the addiction treatment side got the ear of the CDC. My guess is that it was the relative of someone who died from heroin or fentanyl or …. I further suspect that this person or the relative needed someone to blame, and prescription opioids fit that bill. It was the low hanging fruit. The CDC did everything it could to avoid objective reasoning, cautions, counter-arguments or transparency. They steamrolled it through. Their story was opioids were to blame and they were sticking to it. Well, that didn’t work. Now Trump’s story is that all the illegal heroin and fentanyl and … is coming from Mexico and if he builds a wall it will solve the problem. It won’t, either. But maybe the tide is turning a little and maybe now there’s a small crack through which a glimmer of truth can get through. There must be someone with a story that can crack the armor of the heartless politicians and beaurocrats. They need to hear all the stories! Maybe a champion will emerge who has a parent, spouse, child, neighbor, best friend with chronic pain who has had their opioids cut off. A year ago wasn’t the right time because no one was willing to listen. Maybe they aren’t ready yet, but the more that it becomes clear that the CDC was wrong, the better the chance that someone will eventually listen. Don’t give up!


Thank you for the info above. I will start writing. I hope everyone else will also. I think we are starting to put a little pressure on the folks that started this mess. Maybe it is wishful thinking but we need to keep going.


I’m in so much pain tonight I can’t even muster up an intelligent response to the absolutely absurd claims by this so-called doctor Hourly!

Shameful. It’s all just too shameful.

Pain patients we just need to keep fighting!

Please feel free to join me on FB at chronic pain reform.


CDC or ANY government agency has NO business telling doctors how to treat their patients. What you have done to us is criminal and all of us need to find legal support to go after these idiots. Think of the elderly that can’t move without pain medication… LIKE ME!! Whoever wants to move forward with protecting us from the government EVER interfering with legitimate doctor/patient HIPAA treatment, go to or someone make another suggestions. We need to start a Facebook group if one has not been started already. I am disgusted to say I am a US Citizen. What have you done to our country and citizens, government? And who let you???? I also suffer from Chronic Lyme and other co-infections that cause pain that the CDC refuses to acknowledge yet has per an article personal financial ties to pharma companies? Is this true CDC and if so, what are we the Citizens doing about it?
Totally disgusted Medicare patient-


There is a new (to me at least) facebook group called Vets Fight Back. They are representing veterans and regular citizens to have better health care, fight back against CDC, DEA etc. and the CDC being the cause of now non treatment. I don’t know much yet but it might be worth a look. We all need to find the biggest groups and get involved. I don’t know if there are too many smaller groups but maybe we would have better luck joining the groups with the most numbers. I think everyone is too scattered and our voices are not heard. Any ideas?


Actually alcohol is the gateway drug. Most kids are drinking first then get the stuff at some party. Please be honest.


Alcohol and cigarettes ARE the gateways….


More smoke and mirrors from Houry, I can’t say that I am surprised. I wonder if “they” have yet considered the other damage done to pain patients,i.e., stress related illnesses? Or even just the fact of turning a large segment of Americans into bitter citizens, feeling completely abandoned by our so-called leaders. My pain clinic (5 years there) was taken over by different doctors, and I have undergone cuts which have me at less than half of what I used to take (with no ill effects, or problems whatsoever ). Yet upon my last visit, when I responded to being questioned as to how I was doing by telling him that the most recent cut (3 1/2 weeks prior to appt.)was the hardest one to adjust to, his response was that I needed to detox. He said that cutting it again wouldn’t be fair to me. How does that make any sense….somehow detox would be? Then what??? When I asked him what I would do afterwards for pain relief, he answered with the news that I should seek a new doctor. He left the room abruptly and returned with only one months worth of prescriptions, instead of the customary two months worth, and then I was denied the ability to schedule another appointment. I was told my account was flagged “do not schedule, the patient disagrees with suggested course of action”. What the hell, is that even legal…..patient abandonment? With only a month to find a replacement, which is a hellacious undertaking nowadays, not to mention that I have no idea if the new doctor will even help me. So, next week I could find myself with no medication, and left on my own to deal with it. I also want to say that I love how the fact that one becomes physically dependant on opiods is used against us….there is a HUGE difference between physically dependant and addicted, for crying out loud! Not to mention that there are MANY MANY different drugs which people take that one would go through some level of physical discomfort if they were to abruptly stop after years of taking – even thyroid medication, to mention one simple example. I try to be a good person, but I see my entire future being taken away (along with my fellow pain sufferers ), and the word “hate” is unavoidable, and that’s no way to be either.


Why don’t you just take us Chronic Pain Sufferers out behind the building and shot us in the back of the head? ….. We don’t even let animals suffer in pain


The drug Alcohol negatively affects 1000’s of times more people than opioids and all other drugs combined….
Why don’t you “smart” people go after the pushers of that drug?

Ohhh that’s right there’s more money being made from the drug alcohol


The doctor is not being honest when she says the forced reduction in pain medication for patients has not forced people to seek relief from pain with illegal drugs. This is typical government bull when the unintended negative consequences is worse then the intent of misguided policies of professionals that have not even diagnosed the patients.


She still believes pain meds are a gateway drug. According to her, “statistics from Ohio showing nearly 2/3 of people who overdosed on heroin or fentanyl received at least one opioid prescription in the seven years before their death.” Is no one allowed a prescription (one) for surgery, root canals or other? In seven years? How do you relate that to being a gateway drug? Guidelines should be repealed now. Why was she testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee? Is that someone else we should be writing letters to? We should flood that group with e-mails, letters, complaints, stories etc. Maybe they will do something since all the other places are still ignoring us.


my question is the people who are OD’ing what is the average age???? Probably 20’s-30’s Right So if some one in their late 20’s OD’d them having a script for hydrocodone for wisdom teeth removal 7 yrs prior that caused them to get hooked to heroin???Yea right.

You know you can manipulate stats to say anything you want


Dorlee, do you know why Ohio has went straight to the top of the list for worst heroin and illicit fentanyl deaths? The governor John Kasich started in 2011 with the intimidation of the primary care doctors that wrote schedule 2 medications. That forced many into the pain clinics who for years were given some relief. Then hydrocodone was rescheduled and the scare agenda of pain medication was ramped up in 2014. He implemented strict guidelines that made things so much worse for opioid dependent patients after that. The drug addicts that were using for non medical purposes then could not afford the little amount of pills that ended up on the street. And then the surge of heroin flooded Ohio, the state created the perfect black market conditions. Restrict all opioids no matter the consequence, low supply= high price, heroin=cheap. The elderly, disabled and chronically ill are surging the suicides. It is so sad to read the obituaries, the newspapers are filled with so many deaths from this situation. Everyone loses in Ohio, the state has a bogus medical marijuana law that is nothing but a delay tactic. No access for those in pain, and now you must seek out a drug dealer for weed. Guess what else those dealers have? Fake pain pills laced with illicit fentanyl.



I agree with you! She is totally reaching with the 7 years prior thing! Let’s be serious here! Even a child could see beyond her claims. It lacks any sort of logical reasoning.

Not to mention, many professionals, studies, and industry relative people have cited the gateway drug theory to have been debunked many years ago! This is how desperate people like “Dr.” Houry are to further their agenda and to stick by their guns. It’s sad and frustrating when we see the truth of the matter being denounced by those too afraid and unwilling to admit they’ve been wrong.

Wake up America! You’ve been hoodwinked. Opioids are still the best medicine for chronic pain when used appropriately and with proper maintenance from a physician.


That ‘2/3 received opioids in the last seven’ years shocked me too. You could make that correlation with anything from NSAIDS to chocolate! They are just trying to cover their butts for making a huge mistake in their statistics to begin with.


I had already lost my career, ability to go on family outings, sleep in a bed, do my much loved gardening, WALK,my self respect, and so many other things I loved to do. My medications gave me somewhat of a quality of life, at least. I had lost enough….and then you pulled the plug on me….and sent my family and myself spiraling downward all over again!!!!

I agree with you completely, Sheri Wolford!!


Seeing the photo of this woman smiling happily in the wake of all the damage done angers me.


Lawsuit? What lawsuit is that Sheri Wolford? I’m interested to find out more!


Gov’t had NO BUSINESS sticking their noses in our LEGAL medical treatments to begin with!! I hope every doctor who had their licenses revoked, for not agreeing with the so-called “guidelines” because they were SPECIALISTS, not only joins in the lawsuit against you, but gets public apologies and acknowledgements that actually DID NO WRONG!! All of you need to be fired, without pension, for all the inhumane pain and mental abuse, you’ve not only caused pain patients, but families of patients that have already committed/atttempted suicide!!
And to STILL try and come up with excuses for your actions is absolutely disgusting.
REVERSE this asinine ban NOW!!


,,what lawsuit?????? im in,,I AM THERE,,,,,, I am working on #3 attempt at thee aclu,,soooo what lawsuit?????,,,until we r allowed to speak infront of congress ourselves,,,,I TRUST NOTHING OUT OF THIS GOVERNMENT,,, recently i did MORE research,,,did u guys know,,the suicide rate decreased by 4 % from 1990 thru 2000,,,,,,gee,,,u think it was thee invention of Pain Management???I DO!!!,,FROM 2001 till 2016,,,it has literally doubled,,from 22,000 to 46,000,,,,,I actually sat down ,,did the numbers for our vets,,,sad,,,,22 a day x 7 days is,,154×4,,=616 per month x12=7392 a year,,,The vets,,literally account for close to 1/2 of that 22,000 increase,,,THAT IS 22,000 HUMAN BEINGS,,,,,WHO jmo,,,have had to make that choice,,,,Every since Dr.Government bullied there way into our private medical Decision..Now from 1990 till 2000,,,when Doc’s made the decision w/out fear of the dea,,,,suicide dropped by 4.5 %,,,or 4500 human lives ,jmo,,,SAVED by our doctors,from proper pain management,ie 1990 thru 2000……
If 22,000 more suicides,,since Dr.Government decides how much we can have or NOT HAVE,,, if that aint PROOF OF TORTURE,HARM AND GENOCIDE,,,,,nothing will convince our government they are literally murderring us!!!!!! any GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE convicted of TORTURE AND GENOCIDE WILL SERVE A LIFE SENTENCE IN PRISON,,,appropriately!!!!!!so give me freaking lawsuit,,,PLEASE!!!!!!!,,FOR THERE IS NO SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY FOR THE WILLFUL CRIMES OF TORTURE AND GENOCIDE,by a United States Government employee,appropriately soo,mary



I would LOVE to have any links to the stats you’ve mentioned. I’m working on an APA formatted paper & PowerPoint presentation & would love to include these stats.

Please join me on FB at chronic pain reform. Thanks!


Im interested in the lawsuit, in fact many in the pain support goups are interested but can not find a lawfirm. Do you have a lawfirm ready to kick the asses of these murderers!


I bet if just one law firm/lawyer would take us on, you would soon have many other lawyers jumping in. Everyone is so afraid. Forget that and do what is right. We need help now.


I would think if people are able to sue Jeff Session for lying during his Confirmation hearing we could find a lawyer who would do this. I think some lawyers may not want to get into the controversy. Now that was a stupid thing to say after seeing some of these lawsuits that come out. Maybe we could get some law student to do some research on this and then would have something to show a lawyer why we have a case. Does anyone have any lawyer friends, no matter what type. If you do know someone pick their brain. The other issue who do you go after the CDC, DEA , the states making even more insane limits or doctors. It seems like the CDC has done the most harm with their little research guidelines so a suit to get them to retract the guidelines would be a good place to start. Meanwhile I would love to know why large Chronic pain non-profits have not stepped up in this. We need some national voice.


Honestly. Miss Houry, you make me sick!! Every single one of you who took a part in the fictious opiod epidemic you all created have the blood of many on your hands!! Due to your actions, legitimate pain pts are committing SUICIDE to escape the u bearble pain YOU have forced them to endure with your FALSIFIED overdose statistics!! Labeling heroin deaths as a death to legally prescribed opiod pain medication!! I truly hope karma pays you all a visit and you will know what suffering in severe pain is like! I truly hope you will be neglected, bused, mistreated, degraded, belittled, discriminated against, and stigmatized as an addict, such as what you mand your bias sidekicks have done to innocent law abiding chronically ill citizens!!! Are you planning to do the right thing and retract the BARBARIC AND INHUMANE guidelines immediately!?!? Are you going to admit on national TV how very wrong the CDC is in blaming our drs for prescribing LIFESAVING PAIN MEDICATION!?!? YOUR actions have caused many to turn to the streets for relief or SUICIDE!!!Because of YOUR actions, Doctors who continue to treat their pain pts with adequate pain relief are being shut down by the DEA, they are in fear of prescribing opiods to those who require them to sustain a QUALITY OF LIFE!! Because of YOUR actions, the VA has adopted your BARBARIC AND INHUMANE guidelines as the law, many of our Vets have been cut off from thier lifeline, why do you think so many are committing SUICIDE!?!? Because of YOUR actions, medicare and medicaid are also taking the BARBARIC AND INHUMANE guidelines as law. Because of YOUR actions, many insurance companies are denying lifesaving pain medications , because of YOUR actions, emergency rooms are neglecting chronic pain pts, refusing to treat their severe pain and have labeled those who go to the ER as drug addicts and pill seekers. Because of YOUR actions, pharmacies now have the right to decide who they will fill pain medications for, they can refuse to fill, amd even red flag a patient and report them as if they are some criminal!! Because of YOUR actions our senior citizens whose bodies are crippled in severe pain are being DENIED LIFESAVING PAIN MEDICATION!! Because of YOUR actions chrinic pain pts are being abandoned by the medical community!!! I can keep going on and on. The devastation YOU AND YOUR CORRUPT SIDEKICKS have caused onto the pain community has taken many lives and continues to take ny lives of the suffering!!! SHAME THE F*** ON YOU!! I have never wished bad on anyone until now. Because of YOUR actions, my QUALITY OF LIFE has been taken from me! Treating intractable pain pts with a one size fits all approach is the most outrageous thing ever! YOU ignored the truth, YOU ignored FACTS! YOU put in place an anti-opiod witchhunt that only benefits the pockets of anti-opiod ignorant people such as Kolodny and Ballantyne!! YOU know dam well that denying legitimate pain pts their lifeline has caused many pain pts to endure what could be deadly withdrawal!! YOU know dam well that denying pain pts their lifeline has forced pain pts to go to detox as they are only left with a handful of options, : the streets, detox or suicide !! How many lives of addicts did you save by cutting off the chronically ill!?!! NONE!! Because of YOUR actions, legitimate pain pts have been labeled as drug addicts, amd we are being treated like dam criminals!! Going to a monthly PM dr appt is more like checking in with a probation officer. I am fed up amd have had it with having to take drug tests monthly or surprise pill counts, Tell me what other condition requires such inhumane treatment!?!? ABSOLUTELY NONE! You ought to take a good hard look at yourself in the mirror lady, karma is a bitch and boy when she knocks on all the doors who took part in the genocide thruout the pain community , she will NOT have mercy on any of you!!!


Maybe diabetics should have to go in for a syringe count if on insulin while they are at it. I know let have every American have to take a Urine test to buy food at the store while we are at this. The damage has been so bad and if that Medicare thing gets through that will cause problems for those who are they very sickest. What a disgrace. I wonder if they got this idea from Russia.


You know how you are making real pain patients suffer as well as their family’s who watch their loved ones go down hill when they use to be able to lead a somewhat normal life so sad when your husband can’t even enjoy time with his grandkids or take part in family get togethers. So tell me how would you feel if it was one of your family members suffering ? Don’t you think it’s time to let the Dr and patient do what they use to do so they can give them some kind of treatment that they deserve so they can get back to having a life before it’s to late. Medicare and Medicaid need to back off as well as the NCQA.


I think the CDC maybe realizing this is a war on pain patients NOT a war on drugs. They can stop every prescription written by a Dr and the drugs will still be readily available and accessible.
People will abuse, whether it be obtainable medication, illegally obtained medication, illegal fentynal, illegal heroin. Finally they are looking at the real numbers of individuals on legally prescribed medication, who in turn end up “addicted”, which is very low. When is this war on Dr’s and chronic pain patients going to stop.
We are being denied medication readily available to us with a chronic incurable disease. No other disease is being scrutinized for the medication the patient takes to control it. We as chronic pain disease patients are alive but we definitely are not living. We are in pain 24/7 and many of us unable to function, take care of our homes, our children, even ourselves or much less have any kind of social life. Where is the humanity and compassion for us? When you live it, when you see it you will then understand!


This sounds like a woman who can’t admit she and her agency made a HUGE mistake. She needs to face and TELL the truth–needs to reverse the damage done to legit patients and our doctors. We continue to hurt and die! We want our doctor-patient privacy back. We want all the alphabet soup agencies off our and our doctors’ backs. Until this is fixed, the blood is on your hands CDC, DEA, etc. Stop this madness now and just maybe you’ll be able to wash that blood off someday.


All physicians who continue to refuse to treat patients for pain with SAFE and effective opioids should lose their license to practice. and the CDC DEA officials who put this tragedy in motion should be prosecuted and jailed for life. After they have had their legs arms and back broken and then they are refused any pain relief. We are rising up and we will humiliate and embarrass every doctor, ER, hospital, “pain clinic” and CDC DEA official at their homes and their offices for torturing patients. The gloves are off.


Unbelievable….well actually I guess this is exactly what we SHOULD expect from Houry. I guess I was just naively optimistic in hoping for better.


What has happened now is that you have really hurt chronic pain patients with the guidelines and people are now going to the street or alcohol for pain help! They don’t even take heroin users to jail here in my state very often so the snowball will continue and you have added people who used to get help and now don’t.


Nor should they take Herion addicts to jail. They need to be taken to rehab if it is a addict and if a chronic pain patient put on safer opiates. That is only thing that will stop this. Until the higher ups realize that the drug is just a symptom of the disease of addiction then nothing will change.


Jenifer, I agree. I’d like to add that it would really be helpful if we had a solid mental health system in this country that everyone should be able to access if they need it. Many of the rural areas don’t have local mental health facilities. It should also be affordable for all, regardless of whether one has insurance or not.

My son began having mental health issues right around the time he began going through puberty. (His doctor ran all the necessary blood work to rule out any physical issues. With excellent insurance, it is still quite expensive and very difficult navigate.

Many addicts have underlying mental health issues and/or illnesses that if treated prior to beginning alcohol and/or drug abuse, they very well might not go on to addiction. There’s also a negative stigma attached to mental illness, including reaching out and getting help (sort of like the negative stigma attached to taking prescription opioids for chronic pain).

No one should ever have to feel ashamed for seeking help for their mental health. This country has tossed addicts in jail for abusing drugs for the past 100 years. Obviously, it’s NOT working. Perhaps this country should do something different ….



I have a ? now since you have started this panic are you going to withdraw your guidelines what are you going to do about MEDICARE AND NCQA since they have taken it even futher