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The Florida Society of Pain Management Providers (www.Flspmp.org) feels it is vital to set the factual record straight in light of the mass deception used to foment a hysteria driven war on pain medications that now is threatening the health and welfare of Florida’s chronic pain patients. Politicians, law enforcement and many in the media continually reinforce this hysteria with purported “facts” drawn from misleading or false statistics.
The drug addicted newborn?
The latest hysteria driven absurdity is the reference to the drug “addicted” newborn. Although a headline grabbing assertion, the simple fact is that no newborn has ever been born “addicted” to pain medications or any other drug. The use of the term “addicted” is solely used by law enforcement and politicians to inflame the witch hunt.
While the use of alcohol, illicit drugs or the non-medically use of Rx medications by an expectant mother is certainly dangerous to the health and safety of a newborn, the notion that a child is born addicted to drugs is false.
Based upon the false assertion, Manatee County, FL. has proposed a pain clinic ordinance that would require all women to be pregnancy tested before being prescribed pain medications. However, bars and liquor stores can sell alcohol to any woman pregnant or not without restriction. A woman in Manatee County will now be forced to pay an additional $300 a year for pain care solely because of her gender.
The absurdity is compounded by the fact that Manatee’s ordinance exempts the largest prescribers of pain medications. A truly absurd and embarrassing special interest government response. The misguided belief that a physician’s training in one field over another makes them more ethical is simply nonsensical especially with the history of physician’s arrests and prosecutions.
If Manatee County were honestly concerned with this issue, no prescriber would be exempt. Sarasota County, FL., which borders Manatee, saw through the special interests and passed a strict, groundbreaking ordinance (without penalizing women) that exempted no prescribers who practices in a pain management facility from the scope of the ordinance.
The estimated 900 Florida infants born last year to mothers who were taking pain medications throughout their pregnancy either under medical supervision or not pales in comparison to the estimated 2000 Floridainfants born (each and every year) with birth defects attributable to prenatal alcohol use. The continuing care for those with prenatal alcohol use related birth defects cost Floridians millions of dollars annually in their long term care.
Women suffering from intractable chronic pain deserve respect; having government force them to undergo pregnancy tests as a condition of treatment is unconscionable and unconstitutional. Supervised use of prescription pain medications during pregnancy is supported by multiple published medical studies.
Denying or restricting pain care does not solve the problem and can only lead to illicit, unsupervised use of un-prescribed and unsupervised self medication. The issue of drug dependent newborns has been studied since the 1970′s heroin epidemic and to date no study has shown any significant long term medical conditions with proper care and treatment.
The real but hidden epidemic in Florida is alcohol!
In March of 2011 the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) declared that the illegal abuse of prescription drugs is Florida’s “greatest public health threat.” How could that be?
Abuse of prescription drugs greater than abuse of alcohol?
ALCOHOL FACTS: Florida’s Epidemic Revealed
Annually in Florida:
17 deaths a day.
$2,407,004 spent every hour related to alcohol use.
$21,085,357,042 total economic cost in Fl. (42% Injuries / 35% Traffic / 16% Crime / 7% Illness)
Alcohol Attributable Deaths:
Injury* 1904 (533 from falling)
Traffic Collisions 1051
Violent Crimes 564
*The 1,904 deaths due to alcohol attributable injuries have a related cost of $8,905,099,640
Alcohol Attributable Health Conditions:
5 hospitalizations every hour.
68,818 hospitalizations generating $1,443,067,075 in hospital charges.
$167,000 lost every hour to alcohol attributable health conditions ($1,046,009,352)
28% of all fatal injuries are related to alcohol.
5 Floridians killed every day consequent to alcohol related injuries.
FL DOH states that approximately 2,000 Florida infants are born each and every year with measurable effects (retardation, birth defects, etc.) that can be attributed to prenatal alcohol exposure.
Alcohol Attributable Adverse Traffic Events:
Over $800,000 spent every hour.
9 injuries every hour.
Almost 3 fatalities every day.
Estimated total economic cost $7,275,015,532
Alcohol Attributable Crime:
7 Crime incidents every hour
7 Incarcerations every day
47 deaths every month
Almost $400,000 every hour in incarceration & victim costs.
Estimated total crime cost $3,437,232,519
The above facts clearly indicate that the prescription abuse “health declaration” by law enforcement is another example of the non factual hysteria-driven war on physicians, pain medications and now pain patients.
Alcohol Data Source (unless otherwise noted): The Price Florida Pays for Drug and Alcohol Abuse; R. Bohs; Phd, E. Piekalkiewicz, M. Fontaine.