Fifth Estate Show Response

Okay, sorry I am late with this – but it was March Break last week and I had my kids. I am very proud of myself as I was able to have them all to myself, their friends over and I went for long walks in the park. This, plus I did my bio-puncture shots last Monday. It made me happy. Woo – hoo!

The Fifth Estate – Time Bomb episode was a typical representation of pain patients and narcotics by the media. The Fifth Estate is a news show aired on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in Canada.

The Fifth Estate focused on Perdue Pharma – the company who manufactures Oxycontin and Oxyneo. Purdue misrepresented the medication and that is on the company. It is despicable Purdue Pharma made so much money while neglecting the needs of their customers, in such a disgusting way. It is reprehensible. This should be a warning for ANY PERSON TAKING PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION, it isn’t always what it seems and you should ALWAYS be careful. This is true for anything – can we say VIOXX?

click here to see Purdue Pharma Canadas’ statement to the Fifth Estate

They discussed at length the impact of the discontinuation of Oxycontin – on the street – not to pain patients. I wish the Fifth Estate had mentioned, if  a pain patient is using Oxycontin; the replacement with OxyNeo shouldn’t be a problem. They didn’t really discuss other options to Pain Patients – like different medications, therapies, treatments and programs. Or, for that matter, the fact that the Government does not provide any of this in our Universal Healthcare system.

The main focus was on one pain patient, who became addicted to Oxycontin. Initially, she was told Oxycontin would relieve her pain, but not have huge side effects or addictive qualities. She took it and abused it. She embezzled money from her employer, got in debt and got herself in huge trouble; because she bought her drugs on the street. Now, here is my problem; whose fault is that? Is it Oxycontin and Perdue Pharma or was it her fault for becoming an addict?

Why steal? Why not inform her doctor the medication was not working? Why not seek some sort of help? By the way – even though she admits she has a problem, she is still being prescribed Oxycontin! I mean seriously? Why isn’t she trying another type of medication? Why isn’t she doing any other therapies? She might well have, but there was no mention of this in the interview. She commented on the sickness of withdrawal and it “was the worst flu you could imagine”, that she still suffers from incredible pain and is unable to get out of bed some days. Well, why is her doctor not treating her for her pain – and continuing to prescribe a medication she clearly has a problem with? It is amazing? Is the liability solely with Purdue/Oxycontin or does it rest somewhere with her and her doctors?

They did interview another pain patient – who states taking pain meds is like wearing her glasses. She needs them to cope with everyday life. When interviewed she was lying down on her couch. This woman clearly has serious pain issues – the amount of time spent on her story was one tenth of the woman addicted to Oxycontin.

The Fifth Estate mentioned how General Practitioners are reluctant to prescribe narcotics. In so far as to interview a GP who refuses – and posts signs in his office – to prescribe narcotics for chronic issues. What???? Instead of thinking about his patients – he is thinking about his own liability. He states it is in his patients best interests – but is it? I mean what about training our Doctors in Chronic Pain? What about as a physician learning about your patients – and not making a blanket statement – no prescriptions.

Dr. Jovey – the Dr. who was/is a supporter of Oxycontin – stated it is an effective medication to alleviate pain. He explained that pain is complicated, changing and individual. In order to properly assess the patient – the doctor must take the time to understand them and make an educated assessment as to whether or not they are a drug seeker – or a person who needs  their pain relieved. Sadly, I feel, the Fifth Estate mostly portrayed him as a person who profited from promoting Oxycontin; rather than an advocate for pain patients.

In the closing segments – he was asked whether he feels responsible for  Oxycontin addicts. He basically said, he wasn’t responsible for people making bad decisions. He is right. I mean – if you start stealing from your boss and family to get drugs – is that the fault of the drug or the fault of the addict? If you are a drunk is it the fault of the booze company or the person. Let’s keep things in perspective.

My opinion: An addict is an addict. If you want to get high – you will find a way. I don’t think Oxycontin or pain medication is the root of all evil. I don’ t think if you take pain meds you will become an addict. I think you have to be careful and responsible. If you are taking meds and you feel like it is getting out of control – it is your responsibility to handle that.

I wish too – that the Fifth Estate had talked about the difference between Pseudoaddiction and True Addiction. Click for article: 

Overall, I was disappointed. Although informative in some regards, the episode didn’t cover pain. I wish they had covered what it is really like to live with Chronic Pain and how we suffer. I wish they had explained the lack of resources available to us. I wish they had demonstrated the clear difference between addiction and dependance on medication.

To see other viewers opinions please click here.


One thought on “Fifth Estate Show Response

  1. Good article. I feel strongly that the Fifth Estate was simply looking for a “drama” issue to make their ratings higher, and frankly, were irresponsible in their biased coverage of this matter. You hit the nail on the head – doctors don’t care about their patients (general statement) but do care about their liability. When my former doctor retired, and his new “hip” doctor took over, I had to educate this young idiot on pain management, proved to him that I manage my pain, and quashed his ignorant and judgemental view that once you take your medication, it’s about being high – rather than it being the reality of “thank god I can get up and live my day and meet my responsibilities in the world”. My current doctor is a tad more up to date with her information, and understands the difference between pain management and pain killer addiction. Fifth Estate should do an updated, fully informed and unbiased report to the last one.

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