In this exclusive interview, Dr. Thomas Kline explains what the opioid crackdown is, what it isn’t, and how it’s taking far more lives than it’s claiming to save.
Why doesn’t this article title use the word “crisis” instead of “crackdown”, you ask?
Because when it comes to prescribed pain pills, there is no crisis. It’s completely fabricated.
However, it has brought about a true crisis in the chronic pain community, and that crisis is patients dying by suicide at an alarming rate due to their inability to receive prescribed medication that controls their unbearable pain.
What the Opioid Crackdown Claims to Be and What It Really Is
Dr. Kline explains that there is a large difference between what the opioid crackdown claims to be and what it actually is. The claim is that there has been a striking increase in overdose deaths due to prescribed opioid pain relievers. The belief is that if overdoses are increasing, then there must be more addictions.
This is 100% untrue.
Also, the opioid crackdown is not new despite its sudden rise in popularity. It’s just gotten much worse in the past few years and is now expanding to include opioid pain relievers. The truth is, the campaign has been going on since 1909, and it was started by moralists who believe that opioid pain relievers are causing an uptick in overdose deaths.
”“Belief is fine if you're a church. But belief without evidence in medicine is dangerous,” says Dr. Kline.
So, what IS the opioid crackdown, then?
”“If you dig deeply, you find, for example, overdose deaths went from 9 to 10 in one year. That's an increase of 1 person per hundred thousand. However, because of the handful of individuals spearheading the opioid crackdown, this number is used as a statistic, a 10% increase, which is misleading.”
1999 was the first year the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) began collecting data about opioids. What they discovered was that, yes, every year, there’s an increase in overdose deaths.
However, it’s actually a much smaller percentage than it’s made out to be.
Unclassified Deaths Lumped Into Drug Overdose Deaths
Dr. Kline explains that the only way to accurately diagnose an overdose is by autopsy. When an autopsy is conducted, a coroner is supposed to draw blood and send it off to a lab to test for opiates. That’s the proper procedure. For a long time, however, this simply wasn’t done. The coroner in many states is just the neighborhood doctor, and not every body found behind a Dumpster is tested!!
In other words, the poor person could have died from heart disease, complications due to dementia, or some other non-opiate related reason, but it was assumed to be a drug overdose because they didn’t test everybody who died under unclassified circumstances.
Five years ago, coroners began receiving federal money to determine the true cause of deaths considered unclassified. The truth is, there is not actually an increase in drug overdose deaths, there’s an increase in unclassified deaths, but now, since the coroners are getting money and training to find the cause of death, they are now testing the blood and, lo and behold, there are “more deaths due to opioid overdose”.
There really aren’t any more deaths due to opioid usage. It’s just that out of the 20 percent of unclassified deaths out there, a small percentage of them who did die of a drug overdose now get put into the system as a statistic.
Hence, the “rising numbers”.
A Ridiculous Data Transfer That’s Destroying Lives
In addition to more individuals who are found dead of unknown causes being screened for opiates, there’s an even more disturbing reason that there is a sudden “epidemic” among those who use opioids for any reason.
Is there an increase in deaths due to opioid addiction? Yes, there is a slight increase. However, this increase is in the street drug population (in other words, drugs like heroin), NOT the population using medication for chronic pain.
There is a huge difference between these populations.
Most people who struggle with addiction will admit they use drugs to get high and escape from life. On the opposite end of the spectrum, people who use prescribed opioid pain relievers will emphatically tell you that they use these medications to reduce their pain to manageable levels so they can participate in life.
To those who are behind the opioid crackdown, this distinction does not even matter. Street drug users who struggle with addiction and patients who take opioids as prescribed to manage their chronic pain are lumped into the exact same category!
”“If you do a study on cats, you don't apply it to dogs, do you?” Dr. Kline asks incredulously.
Of course not. So why is this data transfer being so widely accepted into opioid crisis culture?
“Patients almost never die of opioid overdose in standard practice.”
In 30 years of practice, specializing in chronic disease, Dr. Kline has never once come across a patient who died from an opioid overdose by using opioids to manage their chronic pain. 30 years.
If the “opioid crisis” was really affecting chronic pain patients the way they claim, Dr. Kline would have run out of patients by killing them all off! I wouldn’t be interviewing him, he’d be in prison!
In 1936, a propaganda film called Reefer Madness came out, which attempted to make using marijuana akin to devil worship, debauchery, and insanity.
In 2018, it’s “Opiate Hysteria”. Different drug. Same ludicrous mentality.
A couple of years ago, they began investigating a specialist in pain management by the name of Lesly Pompy, who is said to have prescribed more than 1.2 million doses of controlled substances to 1,500 patients in one year.
So, what happened to this man who was giving prescribed relief for his pain patients? He had his office raided by police.
“When they look at the patient’s pain problem and issues, they will see the medical necessity is there,” said Dr. Pompy.
“This is the problem,” Dr. Kline explains. “There will always be a highest prescriber because only a few doctors are willing to take these high-risk cases. That doesn’t mean he is over-prescribing, it may simply mean he is one of the few who still is.”
Over the past two years, doctors have found themselves threatened, harassed, and even raided due to prescribing opioid medication to patients who desperately need it to function in their everyday lives.
This is making doctors wary about continuing for fear they will lose their licenses to practice medicine.
In Order to Become Addicted, You Must Have the Gene That Causes Addiction
”“What if a doctor went down to Walmart and gave every single person exiting the place a bit of heroin to try?”
When Dr. Kline asked me this question, I went bugged-eyed and silent. I had no idea what to say to this. My first thought was, “Well, that would be unethical”. Yes, it would be, but there’s something I didn’t quite understand about the point he was trying to make.
He quickly explained.
”“Did you know that out of 1,000 people given heroin, 999 of them would not become addicted?”
Wait. What? I was completely gobsmacked by this revelation.
“In order to become addicted to a drug, you have to have a gene that causes addiction,” Dr. Kline said as I furiously typed to keep up with his rapid-fire, eye-opening explanations. “It is the addictive gene that causes addiction, not the act of taking medication.”
Isn’t that astounding? You may have known that already, but I sure as heck didn’t!
Dr. Kline went on to break the types of addiction down into different categories:
Type A – Choice
“This is your casual marijuana user. Maybe this person uses coke or amphetamines, too. But, in this case, there is no purposeful seeking. If they can’t have the substance, they can’t. These are the people who can walk away fairly easily. These are your 30-day rehab success stories.”
Type B – Opiate Addiction
Opiate addiction is a rare and fatal disease. It is almost always triggered by opiate use where the person experiences what Dr. Kline calls a “magic carpet ride” after the first pill. Meaning the person taking it experiences unbelievable euphoria, and it makes it seem as though they have no problems in the world.
“Only 1 in 1,000 people will feel this way,” Dr. Kline stresses.
Only those with the addiction gene will get this high. That's a warning that you're dealing with a fatal disease. A FATAL disease.
Type B1 – Nicotine Addiction
Since nicotine addiction is so widely accepted (even though it does lead to a whole host of health problems), it is not considered a serious addiction. What I learned from Dr. Kline is that nicotine addiction is very similar to opiate addiction in that there is intense seeking without regard to consequence.
Type C – Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol is another widely accepted and widely used substance. It can trigger an opiate addiction or it can trigger a type of alcoholism that you have a withdrawal from. Meaning, you don’t necessarily have to be drunk, but you do have to have alcohol in your system all the time because you’ll get delirium tremens if you don’t.
What type of negative effects have you seen the opioid crackdown having on chronic pain patients who legitimately need opioids to function in their daily lives?
When I asked this question, I already partially knew the answer. After all, I found Dr. Kline from his popular Twitter feed, where he pulls no punches in explaining the devastating effect this crackdown is having on the chronic pain population.
I could almost feel the frustration humming over the phone lines as Dr. Kline answered.
“You can get that information from my list of suicides,” the doctor replied. It was at this point during the conversation that I started crying. Thankfully (hopefully), I didn’t show it over the phone and just kept the interview going.
““I know of 60 people [who have committed suicide] in the past two years due to having their opioid medications taken away from them. This is information given to me on my Twitter feed from family members of patients who have died this way.”
”“So many lives have been ruined. The total number of people in severe pain (meaning pain every single day for 3 months or more is 25.3 million people, and, of those, 10 million are taking opioids. None of them have an addiction because they are using these pills for chronic pain, not for getting high.”
“The Magic Carpet Ride” That Sends a Clear Signal of Addiction
”“In my 30 years of practice, only one person got addicted to an opiate I prescribed, we laughed about it, and she stopped.”
Dr. Kline goes on to explain how one woman he prescribed oxycodone for went on a “magic carpet ride” the very first time she used it for pain. She described how wonderful it felt and went into great detail about her experience. She literally said she “fell in love” with the stuff the first time she used it.
So, what did Dr. Kline do? He explained to his patient that she had the addiction gene, and, in order to use opiates in the future, she would have to have them given to her by a friend, loved one, or visiting nurse, but she was not to take them on her own.
(Remember that 1 in 1,000 Walmart/heroin example? She was that person, the one exception.)
“Have you ever taken an opiate before?” That’s the first question Dr. Kline asked his patients before prescribing. The second was, “Does addiction run in your family?”
With these simple, basic interventions, any patient who possibly could become addicted to an opiate through prescription means would be automatically treated for their disease (their addiction), and there would be no chance of them dying from prescription misuse.
How can frightened chronic pain patients get the medications they need?
When I asked this question, I was hoping the good doctor would suggest some alternatives to opioid medications that patients could try in lieu of their usual prescriptions.
Unfortunately, that’s not the answer I received.
“It’s hopeless,” Dr. Kline said gravely. “It’s completely hopeless. Over 10 million people in the world are living with painful disease, and this puts it in the medical model.”
Of the 20,000 people following Dr. Kline on Twitter, 93 percent are living with chronic pain and of that 93 percent, 60 percent are being actively taken off their medication. That’s 6 million people or 2 percent of the population.
“These are people who cannot function without it,” Dr. Kline adds.
This Retired Doctor Is a Tireless Crusader for Chronic Pain Patients
Dr. Kline was a chronic disease specialist for 43 years. He is now retired, but after having seen the devastating effects of the opioid crackdown, he works eight hours a day collecting stories about chronic pain and the opioid crisis.
In addition, he’s taking what he terms “opioid pain refugees” and inviting them into his practice.
Dr. Kline feels he is doing the right thing by relieving pain and the suffering with the loss of function that goes with living with chronic disease. Furthermore, it’s still legal for him to prescribe any opiate using the FDA guidelines.
However, should anyone misunderstand his intentions down the line, Dr. Kline has a lawyer on retainer and strongly recommends that any doctor prescribing opiates do the same.
Unlike other doctors who’ve been frightened away from prescribing opiates, he’s not going to crawl under a table and hide. Dr. Kline took an oath, and he intends to defend that oath until his dying day.