Government Oversight Councils Contribute to Opioid Crisis

July 13th, 2017 | Breaking News

The Washington Post reported on July 6, 2017 that there’s a “glimmer of hope” for the devastating opioid crisis that has ravaged our Nation killing close to 180,000 people between 2000 and 2015.  According to the article Opioid Prescriptions Dropped for the First Time in the Modern Drug Crisis, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the number of opioid prescriptions written between 2012 and 2015 declined by 13.1%. But before breathing a sigh of relief that this crisis may be ending, there still are serious issues:

  1. The prescription rate for opioids is still three times the level it was in 1999 and 4 times what it is in some European countries.
  2. Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s acting director, said that even with this decline in opioid prescriptions, “enough opioids were ordered in 2015 to keep every American medicated around-the-clock for three weeks.”
  3. In 2015 there were more than 33,000 deaths from prescription opioids. 13,000 more people died from heroin overdoses.

If this is considered the first sign of any progress after almost two decades of hopelessness, it is troubling. The fact is questions surround the accuracy of stale statistics being utilized to highlight this “glimmer of hope.”  The wavering light of improvement touted in the article appears to be coming from data that is two years old.  Gary Mendell lost his son Brian to addiction in 2011 and started the anti-drug advocacy group, Shatterproof, to bring more attention to the opioid crisis.  Mendell expressed concern over the CDC’s methods of collecting and analyzing data in the United States, calling it “cumbersome and inefficient.”  AbleChild shares Mendell’s concerns.

According to Connecticut’s Public Health Department website, “Within the realm of public health, mortality statistics are often used as a cornerstone in formulating health plans and policies to prevent or reduce premature mortality and improve our quality of life.” So, what happened?  Why no real progress?

Today, behavioral health “oversight” councils exist in every state.  Federal legislation fuels the councils with mental health block grants that are dispersed to the billion-dollar behavioral health industry.  The outcome of being ruled by behavioral health councils equates to the more money given, the more the crisis grows.  The opioid crisis has been determined to be a behavioral health problem because psychiatry has determined that addiction is a mental illness.  What is odd about this determination is that there is no science to support that addiction is an abnormality of the brain.

Nevertheless, the Behavioral Health Oversight Partnership Council (BHOPC) ultimately reports through the executive branch. The committee members are mental health vendors that sell their products and services to the government to reach consumers. They make recommendations on how the block grant money is spent, actually write the legislation, and are never audited. Obviously this is a clear and present conflict of interest and is deadly for the consumer. Members are not elected and the policies they influence increase their financial bottom line.

The Connecticut BHP Oversight Council current opioid crisis plan is outlined in a vendor’s presentation entitled Project Echo a 3-pronged solution. Simply put, it’s an “Access, Drug, Drug” approach. Missing in all the glossy presentation marketing material is enforcing informed consent for patients on what these drugs really are, the possible side effects, and a lack of access to natural alternatives that don’t involve prescribing more drugs such as Soboxone and Naxolone.

The Council fails to educate the consumer on how and why to report an adverse drug event via MEDWATCH. After all, the FDA uses the MEDWATCH consumer reporting system to regulate the drug companies; one would think this is important for the consumers to have access to during this prescription drug crisis, but apparently not.  Yet, it is difficult to miss the executive branch bootlicking praise of yet another mental health vendor’s experience and knowledge in the field of addiction.

The BHPOC recently welcomed back Lori Szczygiel to re-assume the role of Chief Executive Officer for Beacon Health Options, a prominent behavioral health company. In the presentation distributed by the Council for Beacon, entitled Health Inequity in the Connecticut Medicaid Behavioral Health Services System: A Roadmap for Improvement.  It was shocking to see a clear marketing strategy to target certain racial and ethnic groups in the Beacon “three-pronged plan” with the roadmap rational jargon of “unmet” mental health “needs” of Blacks and Asians in particular. Considering that the “solutions” they are presenting mostly involve prescribing more drugs, it seems dangerous and discriminatory to be singling out any race or ethnicity as a target for treatment.

This would not be the first time a behavioral health provider would use the “bad gene pool approach” to capture more mental health clients for their addictive drug treatment programs. A psychiatrist in Texas made national news explaining to the legislators why children in foster care were given massive psychiatric drugs. The psychiatrist indicated the reason the children were given multiple drugs, off label, was because they were from a “bad gene pool.” AbleChild stood with the NAACP for that psychiatrist to step down. Clearly, this racial and ethnic “Beacon Theory” should be backed up with some science.

The lack of science and accurate data is appalling and must be called out as a major contributing factor in the overall opioid death toll.

 

CDC’s Questionable Findings

May 17th, 2013 | Blog

Ablechild’s response to article in the Huffington Post, “Mental Disorders in Children: CDC Releases First-Ever Report”.

After reading the supplement report and an exhausting listing of subjective mental labels, their descriptions, and their definitions according to the industry that created them, studies them, and begs the government for funding of them; Ablechild found it stunning to see the doctor who penned the newly released “supplementary report”, Dr. Ruth Perou gives her opinion on the motives behind the CDC efforts.

“This is a deliberate effort by CDC to show mental health is a health issue. As with any health concern, the more attention we give to it, the better. It’s parents becoming aware of the facts and talking to a healthcare provider about how their child is learning, behaving, and playing with other kids,” Dr. Ruth Perou, the lead author of the study, told Reuters in an interview.

Really?  Ablechild takes issue with her statement and reminds her that the CDC’s mission is not to be the marketing arm for the psychiatric industry, but to collect data to reduce disease.  The CDC including “mental illnesses” into their data collection arena isn’t something Ablechild would normally agree with since the diagnostic process is subjective in nature and they are not diseases.  As you see from the entire introduction and report itself,  it blathers on about surveys and questionnaires, and we can all agree that diseases are not diagnosed by questionnaires and surveys.   Even the NIMH in April came out with a statement invalidating the DSM (Diagnostic Statistical Manual) symptom based model as being unscientific.  However, considering the CDC’s recent release of the skyrocketing numbers of children diagnosed with ADHD (up 53% in the past decade) we can surmise that this serves as an alarming warning of the dangers that this presents to our children’s health and safety.

Ablechild does support the NVDRS (which is completely ignored by Dr. Ruth Perou) which is a state-based surveillance system that links data from law enforcement, coroners and medical examiners, vital statistics, and crime laboratories to assist participating states in designing and implementing tailored prevention and intervention efforts. An incident-based, relational database collects and stores the data and is available free of charge from the NVDRS Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars/NVDRS/About-NVDRS.htm#disclaimer .

Ablechild supports this new National Violence Data Reporting System.  This system has the potential to collect data of psychiatric drugs and their link to increased risk of suicide and violence among users.  This is evidence-based and the public needs to ensure that this system is not only set up to capture the data but is accurately maintained and supported by professionals.

 

http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars/NVDRS/About-NVDRS.htm#disclaimer

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