Chronic Pain Treatments and Opioid Addiction [Interview][Transcript]

Cindy_Perlin_opioid_addictionGuest: Cindy Perlin
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Cindy Perlin is a licensed clinical social worker, certified biofeedback practitioner, chronic pain survivor, past president of the Northeast Regional Biofeedback Society and the author of The Truth About Chronic Pain Treatments: The Best and Worst Strategies for Becoming Pain Free. She has been in private practice in the Albany, NY area for about 25 years. Her website is www.cindyperlin.com.

Segment overview: Cindy Perlin, LCSW, discusses President Obama’s plan to add $1.1 billion to the 2017 budget to counteract the insidious opioid addiction and overdose epidemic in the United States.

Transcription

Health Professional Radio – Opioid Addiction

Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard, thank you so much for joining us today. It’s being said that we’re in a middle of the worst drug epidemic in US history, fueled by individuals who’re becoming addicted to prescription opioids. Millions of people are addicted, tens of thousands are dying annually according to statistics. Our guest in studio today is a licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Biofeedback Practitioner, a chronic pain survivor herself, the past President of the North-East Regional Biofeedback Society and the Author of ‘The Truth About Chronic Pain Treatments: The Best and Worst Strategies for Becoming Pain Free.’ Our guest in studio today is Cindy Perlin. Welcome to Health Professional Radio today Cindy.

Cindy Perlin Thank you.

N: Thank you. The worst drug epidemic in US history, now we’re talking specifically about opioids or have opioids just surpassed all the other drugs put together to become its own epidemic?

C: Yes, that’s the case, that opioid is just so widespread. It’s a drug of abuse in every region of the country, in every town and city and causing severe problems everywhere.

N: Now we’re talking specifically about opioids. Now these are prescription drugs, I mean I know that they’re being sold in many instances illegally on the streets and even sometimes illegally from healthcare facilities and pharmacies, but they are legal prescribed drugs. How are people becoming so addicted to these drugs?

C: Well what happened is that when the… just came up with these opioids, they promoted them as essentially addiction free. They said that less than .01% of patients given them for chronic pain would become addicted and that wasn’t just the case. They actually were held criminally libel for fraud and fined over 600 million dollars for telling physicians that and basically causing this epidemic. Because physicians felt that they can prescribe these readily for just about any pain condition. And it takes about a week for patients to become dependent on an opioid. Dependency means that if you stop taking them, you will have withdrawal and withdrawal can be very, very unpleasant and most people will want to avoid it so they keep taking the opioids and sometimes they seek more and it’s the beginning of addiction for many people.

N: Now are we talking, as you say it takes a week even you’re taking them as prescribed or we talking about it takes a week if you’re abusing them?

C: It takes a week even if you take them as prescribed because your body adopts to having them in the system and starts reducing its production of natural opioids and the body also produces more adrenaline because the opioids they’re sedating and the body wants you to be awake. So you have excess adrenaline when you stop taking the opioids and that causes some of the problems that people experience with withdrawal.

N: Okay. Now you are an Author, are you a new Author or is this one of several books that you’ve written, The Truth About Chronic Pain Treatments: The Best and Worst Strategies for Becoming Pain Free?

C: This is my first book.

N: Congratulations.

C: Thank you.

N: Why did you write this book? How did you become interested in chronic pain, the treatments and specifically the problem with these opioids?

C: Well when I was 25 years old which was 38 years ago I developed a severe back pain problem and it just got worst and worst until I was completely disabled and in agony 24/7 and I went to lots of doctors and they gave me lots of drugs and nothing helped and I was in pretty bad shape for about three and half years. Until I stumbled upon a book about the mind-body relationship and pain and I used some of the things in the book to guide me in getting well and when I look back on that now, and all the things that I did to heal and I see what’s happening with prescription opioids, I realized there’s so many patients that’s still on the dark about how to deal with pain and they’re being severely harmed by the medical profession when they’re given these opioids. So I’m pretty passionate about this subject and that’s why I wrote the book to guide patients and healthcare professionals in how to treat pain safely and effectively.

N: Now I understand that President Barrack Obama has proposed a one billion dollar initiative to address this opioid problem that includes funding for Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs and also expanding drug treatment. We’re talking about the treatment of people that are addicted. Does that include weaning people if that’s the case and allowing them to maybe take less or are you talking about getting rid of opioids all together? What is President Barrack Obama’s proposal going to do and is a billion dollars even enough? I mean we’re talking in terms of trillions these days when we’re talking about things having to do with government funds.

C: Right. I don’t think it’s gonna be anywhere enough and part of the problem is, it’s not gonna stem the tide of new addicts, because it does nothing to redirect physicians away from prescribing too many drugs and towards appropriate pain treatments. So what the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program do still is they keep a record of every patient who gets a prescription and every doctor who writes them so that if a doctor’s considering is writing prescription for patient, he/she could check and see if that patient has been doctor shopping and getting other prescriptions from other places. And also it allows the powers that be to monitor the doctors and see how many prescriptions they’re writing and see if their pill mills is in the opinion of the authorities, they’re writing too many prescriptions. What’s happening with this that’s pretty terrible is choosing something doctors are cutting patients off abruptly who’ve been on these drugs so many years to deal with their pain and leaving their patients with nothing and no alternative except to seek opioids on the street because withdrawal is so unpleasant if you’d become very dependent on these drugs that you’ll do anything to stop it and what people are doing is they’re turning to heroine and the heroine abuse problem has been escalating in addition to the prescription abuse problem. So if you wait till people are addicted and then you give them drug treatment, you really getting us a problem much too late and then opioid addiction is notoriously difficult to treat because the brain has changed and the brain is craving these drugs. So most of the drug treatment proposals are to use other drugs to replace prescription opioids, so you’re still giving people medication to treat the problem.

N: You’re the Author of The Truth About Chronic Pain Treatments: The Best and Worst Strategies for Becoming Pain Free, obviously your book covers some alternative strategies, herbal, interventions things of that nature. Where can our listeners get a copy of your book? Is it available at your website in addition to Barnes and Noble, Amazon and most of the book sellers out there, your website cindyperlin.com?

C: Right. I don’t sell the book directly from my website but there is a link from the website to purchase the book on Amazon and at also at barnesandnoble.com. It’s available in an eBook as well as a print book and it can also be ordered through your local bookstore.

N: I understand that there’s some incentive for folks to visit you and check out your online presence especially now, is that correct?

C: Right. You go to my website, you will see there a pop-up that allows you to sign up for my newsletter and get a free download and the download is The 5 Best Self-help Strategies for Healing Chronic Pain and if you don’t get a pop-up you can scroll down to the bottom of the screen and there’s a place to sign up. It’s a very useful handout for physicians to give patients or for patients in pain to use themselves. It has a lot of inexpensive strategies and tools that people can use to relieve their pain.

N: Thank you so much. You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. We’ve been in studio with Dr. Cindy Perlin, licensed Clinical Worker, Certified Biofeedback Practitioner, Chronic Pain Survivor, Past President of the North-East Regional Biofeedback Society and the Author of The Truth About Chronic Pain Treatments: The Best and Worst Strategies for Becoming Pain Free. We’ve been in studio this afternoon talking about some of the strategies that she offers in her book, some of the incentives to be found at her website, cindyperlin.com. And also a bit about President Barrack Obama’s proposal to pump 1.1 billion dollars into fighting this opioid epidemic. It’s been great having you here with us today Cindy.

C: Thank you.

N: Thank you. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm and you can subscribe through our podcast on iTunes.