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The CDC's lazy attempt to do the right thing: New guidelines condemn opiates, but don't offer natural alternatives


(NaturalNews) For once, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is trying to do the right thing. But unfortunately, the agency doesn't have the mettle to see it through.

As reported by The New York Times, recently, the CDC, in a bid to curb what a number of experts consider to be the worst public health crisis in years, published the first national standards aimed at prescription painkillers. Included in the standards were recommendations to doctors that they try over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen before giving out prescriptions for the highly addictive pain pills, and that at most they only give patients a few days' worth at a time.

What the CDC's recommendations do not contain are references to natural pain control remedies.

As The Times notes further, the release of the guidelines "ends months of arguments with pain doctors and drug industry groups, which had bitterly opposed the recommendations on the grounds that they would create unfair hurdles for patients who legitimately have long-term pain." But no one, apparently, brought up natural remedies – as usual.

Millions affected before action was finally taken

In the end, however, the CDC toned down its recommendations, but only somewhat, mindful of a painkiller epidemic that is claiming and ruining the lives of millions of Americans.

Opioid deaths – including from heroin, which some have turned to after they began with prescription painkillers – have reached record numbers (28,647 in 2014, according to the most recent federal statistics).

"It would be hard for me to overstate how thrilling it is to read these guidelines after all these years," Dr. Carl R. Sullivan III, director of the addictions program at West Virginia University – whose state is the epicenter of the epidemic – told The Times. "This is a very big deal. These prescribing practices have been an embarrassment for so long."

The Times reported further:

"The guidelines are part of a growing backlash against practices developed two decades ago, when doctors across the country began prescribing opioids for routine pain amid claims by pharmaceutical companies and some medical experts that they could be used to treat common conditions like back pain and arthritis without addiction. Those claims ended up in court and were found to be false."

Since that time, opioid-based painkillers like Percocet, Vicodin and OxyContin have risen to become the most widely prescribed medications in the country, with sales topping $2 billion a year (which says a lot about why they are being pushed by Big Pharma and the medical industry), says IMS Health, a research company that tracks prescription data.

Finally, though, the way the drugs are viewed is changing, and the CDC's guidelines do at least reflect that.

'We lost sight'

"It has become increasingly clear that opioids carry substantial risk but only uncertain benefits — especially compared with other treatments for chronic pain," Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the CDC, told reporters in a conference call.

"We lose sight of the fact that the prescription opioids are just as addictive as heroin," he said. "Prescribing opioids is really a momentous decision, and I think that has been lost."

Unsurprisingly, Congress and the federal bureaucracy have lagged behind states in dealing with the opioid epidemic. A number of states, for example, have laid out rules that doctors must follow regarding the prescribing of opioids, and so have several medical societies. Now, these proponents of tighter rules are happy that the CDC has finally got on board.

"This is the first time the federal government is communicating clearly to the medical community that long-term use for common conditions is inappropriate," Dr. Andrew Kolodny, the head of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, told The Times. "It's one of the most significant interventions by the federal government."

Still, the CDC could have hit a home run if only it had included natural painkilling remedies in its recommendation.






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