THE VIEW FROM HERE - The government refuses to separately report the data on Vicodin and Narco (V-N) from Fentanyl data, because when the V-N data is isolated from Fentanyl, there is no correlation between V-N prescriptions and increased suicides. August 10, 2022, Reason, A New Study Finds No Correlation Between Opioid Prescriptions and Drug-Related Deaths, by Jacob Sullum (Both Vicodin and Norco are combinations of hydrocodone and acetaminophen, but Norco has less acetaminophen.)
In addition, the government refuses to admit that since the 1950's, V-N have been known to be effective anti-depressants which can be used on a long term, permanent basis, with no risk of addiction or overdose. For many people, the dosage ½ of one 10-325 Norco pill or less in the morning and ½ of one 10-325 Norco pill in the afternoon is a safe, low cost anti-depressant. The government has zero data to show that the use of V-N for depression has any adverse side effects except constipation. Patients do not use larger dosages as time passes and they remain on ½ a pill for decades. (The biochemical reaction to low dose opioids in depressed patients appears dramatically different from people who want to get high.)
The result of depriving the patients of V-N is thousands of deaths by overdose due to their obtaining Fentanyl tainted V-N from illicit suppliers. The government lacks any case of a depressed patient overdosing on V-N.
The DEA’s Budget Increases by Falsifying Overdose Rates
The government conceals the data that an increase in pain prescriptions of V-N does not result in over doses. In some states, the more V-N prescriptions, the fewer over doses. The rate of Fentanyl over doses, however, is sky high. By reporting Vicodin and Narco data as part of the Fentanyl overdoses, the DEA makes it falsely appear the V-N prescriptions are causing deaths. By falsifying the data, the DEA and FDA prevents physicians from prescribing V-N which results in patients illegally obtaining V-N which is fatally tainted by Fentanyl. If doctors were permitted to prescribe V-N as an anti-depressant, then none of their patients would OD from Fentanyl. That reduction in OD deaths would be bad for the DEA’s budget. If politicos had to admit that the “Opioid Epidemic” was a fraud which had been manufactured by the DEA in order to boost its budget, the DEA budget would be cut. BTW, the anti-depressant dose of one-half a 10-325 Norco is far less than the amount safely prescribed for physical pain. When one reads about high school teenagers’ dying of an opioid overdose, it is almost invariably from Fentanyl and not from V-N.
Depression is not One Thing
Depression is merely a catch-all phrase to categorize an association of behaviors. For the most part, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM 5, starting p 155 et seq) classifies depressive behaviors without identifying the cause. Thus, it would be remarkable if all depressed people responded to the same anti-depressant. Low dose opioids, however, have been recognized since the 1950's as effective in treating many forms of depression. The pharmacological industry saw a huge market for developing new, expensive drugs for depression. Their lobbyists convinced the government make opioids off limits to treat depression. One may reasonably assume that the industry recognized opioids to be effective in combating depression and that allowing their prescriptions would undercut their market for new anti-depressants, e.g. Prozac.
“There are strong reasons for considering opioids, at very low doses, as antidepressants” March 31, 2019, Brain Behavior Research Foundation, Opioids, at Very Low Doses, May Provide a New Way to Treat Resistant Depression, by Irwin Lucki, Ph.D. Briefly, anti-depression opioids work as follows: Our bodies have four types of receptors that accept different opioid molecules which the body naturally produces as it does insulin. If the body does not produce opioids for the μ-opioid receptor, then the person becomes depressed. Similar to diabetics, when the body fails to produce the necessary chemical for proper functioning, the solution is to artificially supply the missing drug. Psychotherapy has proven worthless for diabetes and for many forms of depression. For millions of people only Insulin or Vicodin-Norco will suffice. Our society is still the victim of magically thinking so that calling something a bad name like “witch,” “weed,” or “opioid” turns it into a taboo.
“In animals in which the μ-opioid receptor is stimulated, the animals are more sociable and less susceptible to environmental conditions that induce the mouse-equivalent of depressed mood.” (Low Dose Opioids) Two factors interfere with research. (1) The industry only looks for new opioids which can be patented and sold for a fortune. They do not study Vicodin, Narco, or even Tramadol, knowing in advance they will be highly effective but not profitable, (2) The government rejects out-of-hand studies involving opioids as that would solve the so-called opioid crisis. Crisis = more DEA funding.
“Since the accidental discovery of the first class of modern antidepressants in the 1950s,” Dr. Lucki says, “all of the medicines approved by the FDA for major depression and dysthymia (depressed mood) have shared a common mechanism of action. All increase the transmission of neurotransmitters called monoamines.” (Low Dose Opioids) These SSRI type drugs have about a 50% failure rate and they have been at it for seven decades, but the Feds refuse to accept data on the μ-opioid receptor. In Dr. Lucki’s study, after it was established that the placebo control group did not improve and that the opioid group did improve, the searchers then gave the control group of the opioids and they improved. The FDA found the data “unpersuasive.” It appears that providing opioids to the placebo group, after it had been established that placebo provided no benefit, was not indicative that the opioids were efficacious.
The same FDA mentality that keeps marijuana a Schedule 1 drug is totally opposed to any studies on opioids as effective anti-depressants. Low dose V-N induces no high, and evidence indicates that depressed patients reject higher dosages. Since low dose Vicodin and Narco may already be the most effective opioid anti-depressant with no adverse side effect other than constipation, one can see why both the pharmacological industry and the DEA & FDA will continue their war on Vicodin-Norco. Doctors who prescribe them and save lives are having their licenses revoked and put in jail. Don’t confuse these psychiatrists with “Pain Clinics” which intentionally pushed high dose opioids on addicts. There is no evidence that low-dose opioids for depression leads to addiction or overdoses. The data shows that the DEA’s falsification of data is a significant cause of patients turning to illegal suppliers and dying of Fentanyl.
(Richard Lee Abrams has been an attorney, a Realtor and community relations consultant as well as a CityWatch contributor. You may email him at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not those of CityWatchLA.com.)