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WASHINGTON — Dr. Vivek Murthy, who was ousted last month as surgeon general by the Trump administration, returned to public debate on Thursday to speak out against Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price and a comment he made about addiction treatment.

Murthy took to Twitter late in the afternoon to support the use of medications to treat addiction. In a string of posts, he said that the approach was scientifically shown to be effective in addressing addiction, a point he said his office made in a report last year.


“Science, not opinion, should guide our recommendations and policies,” he said, after tweeting that “there is a lot of confusion about addiction treatment.”

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  • I was incarcerated for driving on a suspended license. My first time ever in my life driving while my license was suspended. I didn’t know the consequences. Long story short, I had cervical disc surgery two weeks prior to being incarcerated, was eligible for a diversionary program. And some how to this day still have two arrest for driving on a suspended license exactly one year apart. I was arrested in 2015. But some how it’s says I was arrested in 2014 and 2015 the same day just a year apart. To make matters worse, I was given a medication that I was highly allergic to. Not knowing I gained a lot of water weight, started urinanting blood, was incoherent, and was having memory loss. When I asked a Parole officer for help. He just said get a Job and stay home. And why am I seeing so many Dr.s . So I purposely used drugs thinking it would help, only to go back to Jail. And gain more water weight, have more swelling in hands, feet, stomach, arms, Ect. Now I’m tens times worse than when I went to Jail. But they told me when you go to Jail, you won’t come out the Same Person as you come in. There are 110% right, about that. But who really cares, tight. I mean I’m just a number not a person in DOC, DOJ, and the Penal systems eye’s once I have my inmate number.

  • Being mindful of being prescribed happiness by Dr. “happiness has no roof” while the medications I had been taking, became bad medicine, were working, yet taken away. As far as I can see, Murthy has no legs to stand on as happiness doesn’t stop Fentanyl at the border and the lame use of addiction and therapy techniques to solve an economic, urban and politically motivated games issue, ware just disgusting, coming from a Doctor. Dr. Price, may be Naive or listening to Nora Volkow to much as well as Government and VA statistics that have been skewed. But he isn’t singing the song of a con man! He is singing the song of maybe to much arrogance or projection of his faith into this issue! The Disease model of addiction has done it’s damage far to long. It’s undeniable solution of a higher power, is a red herring for most addicts. As far as both Dr.s apparent vision of the forest through the trees, pain patients and that physicians caused the so called opioid epidemic through over prescribing opioids? Neither is right. If it wasn’t for the pain medications prescribed by doctors, their would have probably just been more in jail, more on street drugs than even now, more suicides and the rise of illicit opioids would have been earlier. Cut pain medications while the illicit market was really booming, shows an inability of either Physician here, to see the trees in the forest, individually, just a forest to control! For Dr. Murthy, to little to late and Dr. Price, absolutes in addiction treatment and pain care, are impossible. Let me Quote President Trump from His commencement speech yesterday! “A small group of failed voices who think they know everything and understand everyone want to tell everybody else how to live and what to do and how to think, but you aren’t going to let other people tell you what you believe, especially when you know that you are right.” When neither of these Physicians can say all cancer patients need the exact same treatment or that all diabetic patients need to take the exact same amount of insulin. When it comes to addiction and pain, which actually it is apparent that both are less understood than either cancer or diabetes, how can their be one solution that fits all individuals, for either? Unless of course either one knows which came first, the chicken or the egg and was it before or after the road! P.S. I believe that we have to be aware here that this issue has had a problem for decades. Addiction / Disease / Spiritual, Economic, Social Solutions / incurable brain disease with abstinence as the only solution \ medical treatment w medical assistance / mental illness / disabled / disability / Social Security Disability / Healthcare Problem / NIDA – 12.5 million addicts / Bankruptcy! Addiction itself is not a disability recognized by social security, the bad medical outcome from it, can be!

    • This comment is extremely long, but lacking in structured substance. I honestly can’t tell if you agree or disagree with the opinions stated in the article. But let me address something that I think your general response misses–the treatment for addiction may need individualization, but let me draw on your insulin metaphor to illustrate an important point about what individualization really means in medicine.
      Not all diabetics need the same amount of insulin, not all diabetics control their blood sugar using injectable insulin, but ALL diabetics need insulin control medication of some sort. If a doctor came along and prescribed an ACE inhibitor to treat diabetes in stead of insulin control therapy, patients would be put at risk. Certain medications are necessary for treating certain diseases because that’s simply the way our biochemistry works. While addiction treatment is not as straightforward as diabetes management, what must be understood is that the effective treatment for opioid addiction is replacement therapy using some sort of opioid receptor antagonist. That isn’t to say there isn’t a better way, but the preponderance of the data available to us indicates that this is by far the most effective treatment we have. The point here is that doctors do have the ability to tailor opioid replacement therapy to the individual patient’s needs–subutex vs. methadone, etc.–but they would be remiss in recommending far less effective treatment options to their patients out of a twisted sense of moral superiority.

    • Pall – Well, actually like I said, they are both wrong. Harm reduction would be far more successful. The problem here is that I know that there is no “disease” and that there is no scientific basis for either of these therapies. I understand the use of opioid replacement therapy. But, as a stepping stone. Not long term. In the end of my statement, I mentioned the word bankruptcy. Addiction has been a can of worms ready to pop for decades. I know I sounded a bit vague, I was trying to make a decades old point, so I will do it by saying that opioid replacement therapy is more effective than traditional 12 step models. As long as there is long term therapy instead of 12 step “aftercare”! This argument isn’t about the therapy (chicken or the egg) of these two models. It’s about economics. Always has been between these two disease based models. Harm Reduction is really the way to go. You could say that for awhile, opioid replacement therapy would have better results. Long term, unless needed for chronic pain, not realistic. Problem with it is, besides admitting that it is a (medical) disease. Economics. Social Security wouldn’t be able to sustain that. Because people have had success with sobriety with 12 step therapy, (it’s spiritual), but we will be empathetic here and allow the “disease” model. You should know this! Insurance pays for treatment, saving State and Federal facilities and the taxpayers. As a disease, if you have a medical condition from your use that is debilitating, you are eligible for disability. The disease of addiction is not in and of itself a disability, if it were to become one, it would destroy healthcare! It is unsustainable financially, in the long run, as it is being treated either way you described. I’ll just say, seen this show for decades. Ping – Pong. It’s harm reduction baby! The world has food in it, learn or teach each other how to eat and not get fat and one at a time, people will learn how to eat what they used to be addicted to or die from a medical condition. No different than heroin, a cigarette or sex. America needs to be saved from those like Nora Volkow, not embrace them! Unless she is learning? It’s about money, not science, these two are putting on a 100 year old temperance vs medical solution to addiction. Addiction alone, is psychological, not medical! Sorry, but they were teaching that in 1975. Governmental economics, illegal/legal drug markets, medical and psychiatric corruption have to much power for easy change. Addiction is part of normal human experience! To deny that, is, well obsessive. It’s politics/ideology/money/poer going on here. Actually, addiction was used to create a mess here! One last thing, look up the psychiatric fallacy! You’ll find it useful!

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