The Department of Veterans Affairs just announced a new “breakthrough” drug it may use to treat pain instead of opioid medications pending future research.

The new drug, called ZH853, was developed by VA scientists out of the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System in collaboration with Tulane University. The goal of the research was to develop a drug that helps address higher levels of pain without the side effects.

Some of the more concerning side effects of opioids include addiction and depressed breathing. The developer of the drug, James Zadina, PhD, enjoys dual appointments at VA and Tulane. About the new drug, Zadina said, “A drug that prevents the transition from acute to chronic relapsing pain would represent a true breakthrough in drug development for pain management.”

Excerpt From Journal

The study Zadina published last week in the Journal of Neuroinflammation explained the conclusions of research on rats that sounds promising should humans experience the same benefits:

As expected, morphine increased and prolonged pain in all experiments compared to vehicle treatment. However, ZH853 treatment reduced the overall time spent in pain and the severity of pain scores compared to morphine. ZH853 not only reduced inflammation versus morphine treatment but also, in some instances, acted as an anti-inflammatory drug compared to vehicle treatment. Finally, ZH853 prevented the development of LS while vehicle- and morphine-treated animals showed robust relapse to pain.

Opioid Withdrawals

Since the Candyland scandal broke in 2015, VA has worked hard to reduce its reliance on prescribing opioids to veterans by more than 50 percent. The agency now supports use of alternative treatments over opioids including acupuncture, yoga, and chiropractic care.

However, many veterans do not agree in how the agency swiftly ran in the other direction away from opioid use toward alternatives without adequately reducing veterans’ reliance on the drugs, first.

Instead, many veterans report their providers suddenly refused to prescribe opioids resulting in severe problems with drug dependency and withdrawals.

One commenter on a VA article asserts the agency is not being truthful about opioids and the impact of sudden withdrawals on veterans:

As usual the article failed to tell the truth. The VA mercilessly took every veteran with chronic pain off opioids without any care of what the policy would do to us. Then they insulted us further by giving us nsaids that do not work and cause gastric disturbances as well as liver problems in people like me who have a damaged liver from chronic Hep C. Then because I have a doctor outside of the VA, they threatened my doctor that if he did not force taper all veterans that they would take action to take his license. I have CRPS AND CIDP and am paralyzed and in a wheelchair. I have had it with the strongarm tactics of the VA.

VA allowed additional discourse about the announcement on its public-facing blog. Feedback from VAntage Point is instructive:

Commenter 1

I love how the media now parrots acupuncture, yoga and chiropractic medicine as viable treatment for pain management. Repeating it over and over, even in print, does not make it so. Also, many of us who are on opioids have tried those things as well as many other approaches, including the other now parroted terms mindfulness, meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy.
I’m hopeful for this new drug, however, I’m curious if it rips up one’s stomach like NSAIDS do when on them daily. If they could just find a way to make Toradol stomach friendly, what a wonderful discovery that would be.

Commenter 2

Studies have shown that less than 5% of patients become addicted to opioids. Those that do often did so on a stolen prescription and moved onto stronger harder drugs. Millions of compliant chronic pain patients were cut off completely or forcefully tapered down in amount of medicine and are now either suffering and miserable at home or have committed suicide. The VA did the same thing many private physicians did and misread the CDC’s recommendations for non pain management doctors prescribing opioids for the first time. Consequently the results were people losing their pain medicine that they had been responsibly using, as well as being subjected to embarrassing pill counts & urine tests for drugs,

Commenter 3

Time for VA Guinea Pig trials

Commenter 4

It is highly premature to suggest that a trial in RATS is in any sense a “breakthrough”. There are too many potential pitfalls in the protocols with animal models. The most that can be said for a trial of this sort is that it seems “suggestive” of an avenue deserving further research. What we may have here seems to be an example of self-promotion triumphing over science.

Next Steps?

So what do you think about the new “breakthrough” drug to replace opioids? Is this a flash in the pan or is the drug truly something that will help veterans?

This reminds me of the hepatitis C cure created by a company owned by Ray Shinazi, PhD, a VA employee who developed the drug while working at VA seven-eighths time. Apparently, in the one-eighth left over, the researcher was able to build up a valuable medical research company that was then sold to a major pharmaceutical firm for hundreds of millions in profits to Shinazi.

RELATED: Shinazi Sells Hep C Cure Company For $400 Million

I recall each pill cost around $1,000 with the entire treatment costing around $84,000 per person. Meanwhile, the cost of manufacturing the drug was around $1,400 for the entire regimen. VA supposedly received a discount buying back the drugs, but it still cost a lot.

Now, for most employees, any invention created while employed is usually the property of your employer. However, that is not the case for at least some VA researchers.

I tried to FOIA a lot of those documents related to Shinazi’s invention and his award that same year, 2016, for developing the hep C cure that was so expensive. The agency has yet to produce all the records I requested without redactions.

In that context, it will be curious to see how Zadina is portrayed by the agency moving forward. Will he win mountains of awards like Shinazi? Will his invention be sold to Big Pharma? Will VA end up having to buy back the drug once it goes into production?

How Much Is Enough?

On the one hand, I want top researchers developing cutting edge drugs, and I believe – – 100 PERCENT – – that those researchers should receive adequate compensation when they develop lifesaving drugs. If you find a breakthrough that saves lives, you should be able to retire on what you earn from that breakthrough.

Now, does that mean you should be able to make $400 million from an invention you created largely from research resources that were publically funded?

The catch being that public taxpayers generally fund a great deal of that research. So, should the product of that research be privatized to the highest bidder, or should the price of the drug be commoditized as it is in many other countries?

Personally, I think a few million is likely sufficient compensation for any breakthrough – – enough to buy a small island and retreat for an upcoming zombie apocalypse.

I am curious about your thoughts not only about opioids but also the notion of taxpayers funding this research that is very frequently privatized once a breakthrough occurs.

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64 Comments

  1. The headline of this article is sooooo far from what the journal article states.
    One has to understand the approval process for medications. If this one is still in the ‘rat’ stage, it’s more than likely years from human use. Rats can’t tell you what else they are experiencing; and, the neural biology of rodents (as well as other mammals) is not the same as that of humans. Plus, when any medication is taken, it not only locks on to the cellular receptors identified as those which affect the target goal, but can also latch on to receptors of thousands of other unrelated cellular locations throughout the body. This is what ‘side-effects’ are about.
    I wouldn’t want to be involved in any pharma trials unless I was two steps from death in the first place.

    • Benjamin, please take a look at your Voc Rehab guide after Veteran has purchased it. I purchased it but I cannot access it. I tried both of my emails with different passwords. I cannot log in to access any of your materials. I replied back to the email that you sent with my purchase receipt with telling you I cannot access the material. Please look into it.

  2. I remember the “Shinazi Scandal”! He made a shitpot full of money for himself. All while having “…a dual appointment with the VA and…” a university.
    Here we have another person, James Zadina (PHD), who has a “…dual appointment with the VA and Tulane…” university!
    Coincidence? I wonder how much money Zadina expects to make off of this bullshit. How much more “testing” is Zadina needing to perfect his “miracle pain retardant”? How much “VA work time” is Zadina missing, while he’s trying to perfect a “miracle pain retardant”!
    Seems there’s plenty of assholes out there, in the VHA, who don’t want to do the work they were hired to do!

  3. It should be noted, the veterans administration was the worst abuser of prescribing opiates for pain. They prescribed the opiates thru their so called “pain clinics” .
    A pain clinic did one thing and one thing only,
    They prescribed opiates to veterans in Liu of actual treatmemt. The v.a. administrators who came up with this plan received large bonuses for avoiding the expense of actual treatment. It also led to “death lists”. I.e.;
    Phoenix and Albuquerque where thousands if patients, myself included, were placed on a list “not to be treated” and assigned to doctors that did not exist. In other words, medicate the veteran until he or she dies. Saving large amounts of funds that should have been spent on the treatment of veterans, but was retained by v.a. administrators who in turn received large bonuses for causing suffering death to veterans. The v.a. is now attempting to distance itself from the abuse in an effort to save its own ass.
    As to the so called new pain killer, there is no indication what type of drug this is? We veterans with chronic pain should ensure it is not some form of euthanasia.
    I for one after 15 years in the v.a. medical system and. 7 v.a. hospitals would not trust the v.a. any farther than I could throw the v.a. director!
    Note: opiate based drugs are the only drugs that provide immediate relief for chronic pain.
    All other forms of pain killers such as; anti inflamatories take hours to work and are not efficient.

  4. From *”military.com”* this morning:

    *”https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/06/12/new-coalition-fighting-vets-sickened-environmental-hazards.html”*

  5. And yet they refuse to prescribe CBD products…..and we know they work for over 80% of the Veterans. I was told by a pain clinic doctor that any doctor that prescribes opioids can prescribe cbd or merinol or deribinol and he even admitted that he already had three or four patients that were on this drug and that I was a perfect candidate for it. So can someone please tell me why I still dont have the drug?

    All this did was get our hopes up as if they are still testing this on rats, its going to be 5 to 10 YEARS before they can even start human trials and once they get this done then its going to be yet another 5 years or more before they can get it authorized by the FDA. Which means I am 58 years old now and I MIGHT see this drug by the time I am 72…if then

    • I am in the same boat. The VA and TriCare both went after my offbase pain management doctor to get me back on base for yoga, Acupuncture, and aura-therapy. Luckily, with having a suffered a broken neck and back during my service, my pain management doctor was able to fight them off though they increased my co-pay for medication exponentially. I thought they said if we retired honorably, they would take care of us. I guess by they meant suicide or euthanasia….

      • @Dan – – – Yes, CBD Vape juice made from the hemp plant certainly has more than a placebo effect in reducing chronic pain. May not work with all veterans, but it certainly does with some of us.

      • Did you say you were able to keep your opioids from the VA? My husband broke his neck in the service also His vA doc told him if he didn’t wean him off they would give him a new doc who would. He has now resigned. Doesn’t help us. I would gladly pay a copay to help hubbys pain

    • CBD oils are placebo, Veterans that have real chronic pain. Will tell you, it does not work, CBD oil has nothing in it, to prevent pain. According to CDC and Europes experts as well. You can drink water and get Same effect

      • Hate to tell you this Smitj, but the CBD products made from the HEMP plant and not the ones from the pot plant, actually DO work. They are called merinol and deribinol and they are used for cancer and aides and pain relief and so on. Any doctor will tell you the same thing or you can look it up on google and see where you are completely wrong. Please know what you are talking about BEFORE you start talking.

        Oh and one more thing, not all medications work the same way for every person. If they did then we would not need so many different ones now would we?

  6. What can be found that’s cheaper in government purchasing, and what takes less doctors for patient reviews and time. Cost: That’s driving this study more than anything else. Secondly, what is less dependent-forming but still effective. If the in-your-face hard nose businessman, Donald Trump, cannot fix the illnesses of the VA cattle car mentality, than there is little hope any other Administration in this century ever will.

    That’s the VA.

    • Barry Moore,
      No matter how far back in time, or what “name” the VA has been called, corruption was its middle name!

      Do some research and see where one director, in the 1920’s, made a contract with a floor wax company in Indiana.
      He was a “Poker Buddy” of the president. That’s how he got the job! When the president learned of it. The president was caught choking his buddy!

    • Donald Trump is not for Veterans, hard nose trader is what he is. Has no money, he praise leaders from country’s. That 80% of our veterans, fought and died, to protect us from.

      • At least President Trump isn’t globe trotting and “apologizing” to the leaders of countries!

      • Steven it’s not all about or because of Trumpster, period. Issues here, the severe ones plus being told by VA staff to vote Dem for better care and treatment began circa 2010 and when the SJW activist came out of the closets at the VA and all over. Showing that many can not keep their politics or activist agendas outside of our health care. Yet many sheep are fine with that as long as they aren’t the targets or will bow to it all in silence. Plus the United Nation’s agendas and global war on drugs were gaining strength alone with Agenda 21 and more.

        Oh, and when and who put us all on the veteran domestic terror watch lists? Before Trumpster it was. And I don’t play the two party game as stated before and do not jump on anyone’s bandwagon to support them all. They are all guilty, worthless, live above us all, have been, is, and will be.

        Indiana Makes Progress On Opioids, Decreasing Prescriptions
        “https://indianapublicmedia.org/news/report-indiana-makes-progress-on-opioids,-decreasing-prescriptions.php”

        That is from the usual college rag styled news we get, their studies and wants complete with the names of those who refuse to get involved in corruption but seem to have mafia family members (Tabor for one like Azar) locally clear to the top and none caring about our pain, but they and family members can get whatever they want or need. So the evil ones to the AMA for profits and control are just as guilty as politicians or pig Pharma. Big money is out there for some playing the recovery games to selling the rest of their non-functioning snake oil or therapies that don’t work for all, like CBD crap.

        Oh and from the same universities and people my group was warned about ruining our health care state wide if we left the VA and talked negative about the VA, staff and unions. Real nice to be able to be so bold threatening and get by with whatever their little hearts desire.

        Now they claim a mere 35% down? More lies and propaganda. At the VA back when we were told each clinic and PCP had to cut about half of their pain patients meds regardless if the new pain clinic told them we patients needed them and had zero issues using them. More conflicts and vets being treated differently… just because.

        There are vets here 100% disabled still roofing, tree trimming, landscaping work etc. and still getting their pain meds and mailed to them. No change at all or decreases. Our group was told all mailing of meds was ceased. More lies. Some here are claiming to seeing no change or having had no communications with the PCPs over getting pain med. Odd, damn odd while other groups like mine were lab rats and names “picked out of the hat” to drop.

        ( I was told I could not make a dime extra while on SSD (no not SSI) and attempting VA dis. I was called out for collecting aluminum cans and selling them cause the law says to show Ids and run checks on those dealing with scrap yards. Love that police state living.)

        Some I’ve encountered on the Illinois side are getting what I was in triplicate and no issues at all. One gal showed me the list of ills she dealt with and another showing her pharmacy list. Holy shit! I’d just need one quarter of the stuff they allowed her and others to use. Valium, pain meds two types, muscle relaxers, oxygen for migraine I can’t get and much more. Oops I smell sexism huh. Another couple of gals stopped by to chat and read my signs. She, they, were traveling the different states to get their VA care and loving the travels and sight seeing. One gal was on …. 28…TWENTY EIGHT meds and what I could see around five were head meds plus her thorazine, trazadone, etc. Seemed happy as a lark and proud to be on so many pills and traveling around. Nuts!!!

        OT a bit but shows some things out in the real world.
        I’ll save space and not go into detail or what was said, or told this would be about but to join them, per a VICE student citizen reporter. But it was not over veteran issues or corruption, or how I and others were treated here. Nope, drove by and it was about real hate against us who don’t bow or assimilate into the group-think and staying quiet when attacked or messed with like over health care issues, the VA, and local health care professionals and associations. They hid the signs about wanting open borders, the BLM, Women’s March, issues, the usual crap, etc.
        “https://www.wthitv.com/content/news/No-hate-in-this-state-words-that-were-ringing-around-the-Vigo-County-Courthouse–511220772.html”

        Nope, they wanted me and my sign for their use and activism. Apparently I am pissed off over not getting my “white privilege,” upsetting the local Marx-feminist and corrupt in health care, complaining about all the corruption, college kiddy, total Dem lefty rule, and mafia rule, to my complaining about all the censoring among their list of issues with me. Having mentioned the problems with foreign health care types that can’t speak English and free to commit fraud freely. And my complaints about the illegals and refugees heading for high government office and VA care employment. Ha ha. Gotta love those activist. Media and town movers and shakers will show their side of things and their real hate and issues but run from me while community black-balling the hell outta me over some very real severe issues like censoring vets and not reporting the many suicides, the fear, VA incompetence, corruption and suffering locally. Nope, it’s all twisted into me being a ‘nutty baby boomer veteran,’ getting everything for free, my “supremacy” to abusive towards VA and health care staffer and their unions. Worse of all not voting a straight Dem ticket, oh my. The horror of it all it’s all me and my fault. Hope Vice runs my face world wide. LOL

  7. When I first signed up with VA care there was no general “pain clinic” but was sent to neurologist in a spinal clinic. Full circle I was told that was their pain clinic. They and my PCPs then, plus another neurologist, plus a said to be just visiting “world renowned liver specialist/surgeon outside the VA, and one (1) inside told me to stay on narcs never to return to OTC dope and some other meds the VA was forcing me on, and they found over the years I’ve never had any issues taking them. thirty plus years clean, no booze, no street dope, no abuse issues, nothing. But ended up with NAFLD with all the other meds. And when cut off totally had no real problems except for 100% pain returns and zero for migraines. I was addicted to being a bit more painless, more mobile, prepared, not having to take road trips in pain or not able to move, not about addicted to narcs or their demanded psychotropic doping which ruined years of my life being “compliant.” Being a slobbering zombie in pain does one no good. But we are all alike, correct?

    Long time readers know my story by now. But then they went the way of Gabapentin to the new pain clinic’s requirements to “force,” “ordered” to take head meds to get pain meds to never using civilian health again for anything, period. Sign all their contracts and special agreements or was told to never finding health care in Indiana again, per VA, associated medical colleges, Eskenazi owner types, all other medical cabals, or ‘hit the street corners for some heroine or crack or go back to drinking for our pain issues. So WTF is up with that and totally supported by those top to bottom and by all concerned. But I am and have been ignored by media, VSOs, every agency and politician out there, and had to play every game in the book with them plus all the retaliation full circle VA, special interest groups, the college cliques and much more.

    Gaba was supposed to be miracle cure for pain with head meds on board, like Prozac and crap was supposed to be life changing meds. Then VA and civvies wanted to push both Gaba more even after reports of side-effects and Tramadol that put me (this lab rat) in bed for three days heart racing and pounding thinking it was my final end… oh happy day. Just one pill! Then told by the professionals they just couldn’t understand such reactions to Tram, Gaba, head meds, etc. Really? Then caught hell for not taking the entire script and not getting another one refilled when later pharmacy background checks were made. Then told most people would fill the script and sell them. Why didn’t you? Dumb-asses.

    Sure they’ll find something they can patent and make big bucks on… as prices increase on everything. If anything will work as well as narcs which I doubt. Makes about as much sense as think all level 8 vets can affored a thirty dollar charge for their new Missions Act while leaving years of corruption and incompetence, retaliation against some of us ignored and supported.

    It should be in my files that I’ve tried every damn thing out there, everything. At the va, during the VA and using outside people. Done it all. Wasted a lot of time and money doing so. Now they want to force us into phys therapy, and other treatments that fail to work or is useless but we are expected to do it all, or try it all again, just so they can rake in the bucks and make us jump through hoops to pacify the petty tyrants. With all those scum claiming they can reduce pain or eliminate it all together???! It’s predatory practices, medical fraud, gross professional misconduct on many levels, marketing, control, oppression, fake studies, collective punishments for some, fake reports, scientist lying again, and more. Than I am an enemy and supposed to believe in Santa and Tooth Fairy and told how to feel, what to do, how many times to try things or get harmed from, be a good little compliant lab rat, how to think, what to have faith in or trust. Horse poop.

    I just spent my morn re re-cording (making copies) things about a local hospital not giving me copies of my files, or those they got from the VA with some secret inner-office communications included. Piss me off. Like I need reminding of all the corruption, threats, gaming, attacks, stupid studies or claims going on. They all need to back-up, do not pass go, and do what is right and what worked for us instead of game playing for profits and control and to appease all the filth, activist, and tyrants out there. Trust, have hopes, believe in just who? Those in control of our files or records, college kiddies, activist, pig Pharma, VA liars, who?

    There are way too many people out here suffering and dying now. Way too many suicides and wrong doing going on that is ignored by media. Plenty of news on the streets people fear discussing or afraid to share with others and fearful of contacting media scum over any real issues. Great country we turned in to.

    • T, you are correct with everything you have commented on here. I agree with you 100%. I do not care about Republicans or Democrats. They are all involved. We veterans get caught in the middle as their pawns. When Trump was running for office, honestly, I actually got slammed by a VA provider because she had learned that I was voting for Trump instead of Clinton.
      She said, “””””””””'””people like you.”
      I did not deserve that. It is my right to vote for who I want to. I have my own brain. I have my own individuality, experiences, and knowledge of the American Constitution along with understanding of American History. But, “T” you are right on.

      • I hope if the drug is truly successful that it is made accessible to the American veterans. See in the Socialized Medication Importation plans and this topic is a little side ways but it still pertains. Socialized Medication Importation Legislation strips choice and reduces the quality of drugs that are given and sold to Americans. Ultimately, I pray and hope the VA will follow thru with this Medication if it proves to be of quality. I hope they are not dangling it just to get the Veterans’ hopes up. Best.

  8. Breath taking new drug? From past experience, I am assuming the v.a. means, “breath taking” literally.

    • “Breath Taking”, when only taken in small amounts over extended periods of time…like between va dr visits.

  9. Newsweek Magazine. “How the VA Fueled the National Opioid Crisis and Is Killing Thousands of Veterans”
    By Art Levine 10/12/17.

    Send more meme’s. that suggest I’ll be A real Veteran/ Warrior, if I eat meat! lol.

    You left the part out on how my last chain of command railroaded me out of AGR position, and A permotion they gave to some joe who had no previous deployments! Chain of Command took pride starving, changing permotion packet structures as well…bla.bla bla.Basically blue falconing me, and shorting me around every corner! Only to come home to my and EX-wife told me to; “stop eating her food!”

    Good thing I brought her degenerate mess over here from Germany, and sponsored her to marry a Russian. Cue the Russian Meme’s more please! They are entertaining at this point! Degenerate hooker!

    Before VA experimented on me, sending me to get hazed in the Executive Branch! Thanks, Bummer! Homeless once again! Yeah, I hard a hard time eating for a while! Sorry, I’m not as high speed as who ever is sending me those MEMES. lol. Duchbags!

    My money is this is Another dirty med, with severe side effects only to come to light in another 15 years after X Amount of Joe’s have kicked the bucket! Meanwhile, you guessed it. More musical chairs, and Kickbacks for the “Elite” VA employee’s who get to continue to experiment! Deny TBI Service connections! yodi, yodi! all noral “S’ to be expected per your local trip to the VA.

    As as stated above. The book “Dishonoring the Honorable” Describes Agency was rocked by scandal since the beginning of inception. Nothing new herer folks! Nothing to see here folks. Next story please.

    SEND BETTER MEMES! lol. Im eating MEAT AGAIN!!! RRRRRRRRRR!

    • I cannot believe how angry and nasty most of these complainers (commenters) are. If you don’t like the system A) leave it or B) try to fix it! Nothing ever got done by sitting on our asses guys! We could all be living in 3rd world countries with absolutely no access to healthcare! ?

      • You must live a Sheltered Life, And Who’s angry.
        And you can’t fix something that is Totally smashed, There isn’t enough glue in the world.

        “We could all be living in 3rd world countries with absolutely no access to healthcare!”
        And I’m sure they are better off without our 3rd world sickcare

      • And I can’t believe our culture or society is near full of people like you, Lisa. You prefer the censoring and attacks on those who dare to question or would like to change things? How many suicides this week alone?? To try to expose every aspect of evil and corruption out here is “complaining?” Since the VA, health care, the police state, censoring are symptoms of deeper issues, intentional divisiveness, chaos and corruption going on. Ignorance is truly bliss. Those with near zero real life experiences telling others how to think, react, what to “complain” about or do… that group-think or expectations to suffer in silence, that never changes a thing. So is cognitive dissonance, seeing and believing what you want to while unable to grasp the dying, suicides, suffering of many out there? Being sociopaths with zero lack of concern for others. So gas-light on. Astro Turf over some real issues, excuse it all, and tell others what to do or this country can be fixed? “Sitting on our asses?” Funny. And with a smiley face? Really funny.

        You have a lot to learn Ms. Activist/cheerleader. Got any stories and such you’d care to share?? A vet or SJW or VA staff? First learn about things and others then engage brain before putting mouth or texting fingers in gear.
        A. I left. For damn sure I left and cut off all communications with ALL the lying filth.
        B. No fixing this culture of corruption and cover-ups, period. None of it.
        C. Been living in “Murica” without proper health care. Can’t get med files from some too. I’d have more access to goodies and many more freedoms in a “third world country.” (of my possible choice.) Compared to the open-air prison camp living of the new America.

        If it ain’t broke don’t try to fix it.
        Don’t keep trying to re-invent the wheel.

        You wanna play lab rat, test subject, waste years playing games, believe what media or modern medicine, Pharma, or the VA claims? Deal with the ever revolving doors of PCPs and much more? Have faith in all those claiming to be experts (“practicing”) and scientist? Deal with countless contradictions of care. Join in the fun of retaliation and hate against some of us. (while we sit on our asses) Be my guest. Like most in America… you need to wake up, leave the matrix. Or enjoy rooting for the enemy.

        Right on OM.

        Gotta go get back on the traction device.

  10. This must be the VA’s “final solution” drug for we veterans, err, nonhuman test subjects- anything with a few consonants and numbers for a name is way too handy short to fit on future toe tags from future side effects the VA didn’t think it important to disclose to the cattle….

    Wait for it…

  11. The VA cut my pain meds in half when my Doctor retired and my new doctor was anti pain med. Two month later I was cut off cold. I was fortunate at that time to find a good pain management clinic and they immediately returned me to my previous dosage. Along comes all the selfish street drug addicts dying from OD’s and the CDC and DEA conspire to screw over the pain patients following all the rules and cut their doses in half. The dictatorship move did not save one street addict or pain patient from OD’ing. Pain patient suicides are up 38% according to my pain doctor. We can legally murder a baby in the mother’s womb, but can’t get pain relief for chronic pain resulting in lost innocent lives both ways. When is enough?

  12. I am one of those ‘ cold turkey’ cut off vets. Despite being prescribed pain meds by no less than 5 VA doctors and never violating protocol, or failing a drug test. A VA administrator Mary McGill at Bay Pines cancelled my pain meds without first consulting my primary care physician. My PCP and I were already working on a voluntary tapering program at my request.
    McGill never examined me, not did she speak to me in advance. When I finally tracked her down, she was glib and condescending. I migrated to a professional pain management practice after five days of withdrawal symptoms. They immediately put me back on my meds and provided counseling. I contacted my congressman and senator and the VA danced around the issue. They also intimidated my PCP, advising him that he was ‘flagged’ and he is concerned that they will fire him because he objected to the way things were handled. I recommend that if you are treated in a like manner that you contact your representatives, the Presidents VA experience office and the Director of your VA clinic. And keep the pressure on..the VA management is notorious for dodging responsibility, covering their tracks and shielding their co conspirators from inquiries. The whole game is not..serve those who served, its serve ourselves..try to advance our careers and avoid best practice in the service of self interest.

  13. Pfft this has happened nationwide. They put a Andrew Kolondy, not a pain specialist mind you but a full blown substance abuse doctor in charge of wiping the CDC guidelines out. His own employer Phoenix House was being investigated while patient who was supposed to be under care were running around the grounds stoned out of his mind on Fentanyl.
    Not to mention the Congress who stripped the power from the DEA, NO FAULT OF AMERICAN CITIZENS except for voting for these fine individuals, right AFTER the Bank DEBACLE of SELF REGULATION they decided anything Oxycontin should be Self Regulated. Who’s palms got greased on this one? How many drug lobbyists were sucking up? How much Pay did you take for this McConnell? How much was contributed to your campaign funds? Congress plays long ball, they knew this would happen and they wanted to kill all the money going towards pain meds and killing off Medicare, not to mention the expense to the VA. Lets spend more on Military spending but when our men and women come back wounded they are no longer an asset they are a liability. FALSE. What a liability is, Congress made up of no experts of any one profession using the common sense of a Chicken Nugget to make laws that wrong, morally contemptible and bad for the health and care of the nation.

  14. Check this utube video out from a patriotic retired military person:
    *”https://youtu.be/Ml60Mq9-gnw”*

    Looks like “…the VA’s Crisis Health Line is putting veterans on hold…” – AGAIN!

    • “VA Suicide Hotline, please hold….if you’re trying to hurt yourself or having thoughts of same to you or another, please hold, local SWAT will be right with you…..please hold….”

      • namnibor,
        It was great watching Douglas call the va and listen to him being “put on hold”! Priceless!

  15. “As expected, morphine increased and prolonged pain in all experiments compared to vehicle treatment. However, ZH853 treatment reduced the overall time spent in pain and the severity of pain scores compared to morphine.”

    I didn’t know Rat’s could talk and give Pain scores, That’s a new one on me, But no thanks I’ll take the Opioids I know they work for me.
    My VA had a sign up that said opioids reduced by 52%, And I thought to myself 52% more people in Pain and your proud of that.
    FUCKING ASSHOLES.

    • 100% agree! All the VA advertise they reduced opiods. 50 -70%. So we have Veterans that are now in 50-60% in more pain.
      Great life we have. Cut pain med in half, and try to get sleep without pain. Well the cut me by 75%. And all I do, is sit in bed 24/7. What a great fucking life

  16. Too bad and sad , only how many years ago the corrupt VA started using Acupuncture for Chronic Pain . Though not surprised , it took how many years ago and you are limited to 6 – 8 sessions per year . Rather as it should always be , a case by case issue depending on the Veteran Patient’s needs . As most definitely performed by any and all local sources , ” Choice Program ” . Rather the Seattle VA and American Lake VA Hospitals each only have one Acupuncturist . I have had a degenerated disc in my neck [ lowest ] for years and of course prescribed Tramadol , which seems to work . Though best relief and longest lasting has been from Acupuncture , once a week sessions . For any other Veteran it might be they need twice a week , every week , month after month and year after year , so be it . Thankfully at least in the Seattle area there are ” Community Acupuncture Clinics ” . That offer it low cost / sliding fee , $ 20 – 50 per session . I’ve taken advantage of these for years . Thankfully it has greatly reduced my PTSD , Depression , Anxiety and OCD . The dysfunctional VA has always been a failure in not providing me successful ” Mental Health Care ” .

    • I’m glad it worked for you. Mine didn’t. I did it for about 3 months for my DDD . It didn’t work. The Dr. said I’m wasting my time. After 2 years he’s still waiting to be paid from the VA. It didn’t do shit for my PTSD or depression. BUT! I did make $25 for gas per visit! JEEZ!

  17. Fort Knox Vaults Harbor Millions In Opium, Morphine — Stockpile Held For Emergencies

    By Gardiner Harris

    Louisville (Ky.) Courier Journal

    The glittering vaults of gold at Fort Knox and West Point, N.Y., harbor a deep secret: enough black opium and white morphine to satisfy the legal needs of the entire nation for a year.

    Since 1955 the drugs have been part of the nation’s strategic reserves and were intended to tide the country over if foreign opium supplies were cut off in an emergency.

    With the end of the Cold War, the huge stores of narcotics no longer make much sense, Defense Department officials say.

    But Congress won’t let the department sell the drugs

    Now you can sell off your reserves For the new Zombie-H853, Don’t worry Con-gress It’s Rat approved, Especially for rat’s like YOU……LOL

    “https://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19930916&slug=1721425”

  18. I’m not sure why the VA thinks cutting these medications so fast is something to be proud of. What it’s says to me is either they were over proscribing the hell out of opiates, or that they are refusing to provide proper treatment now. So someone tell me please. Were they violating fed law, or are they simply sadistic idiots? My guess would be both. When this all started my VA primary care provider told me that since it had been more than 2 years since my last MRI, and pain management consult the new rules required him to stop prescribing my pain medication. Once I had gotten an MRI and a pain management consultation he could (assuming the results supported the need for them ) start prescribing the pain medication again. The MRI took 11 months, and then 5 more months waiting for my appointment with pain management. Three more months to get in with my primary doc all just to be told that the pain management doctor had recommended the same pain meds I had been taking. Then he looks me in the face, and tells me that since I hadn’t been getting them for the past 19 months I must not need them. Then he says you’ll need to see pain management every three months ( a six hundred mile drive 300 each way) because they would be doing the prescribing. Further more I would need another MRI sometime in the next four months because they were only good for a year. I got up, and as left the room told him to go choke on a d#$&.

  19. You cannot undo all the harm you have caused, They have put their lives on the line to be treated LIKE dog shit! My dad his dad & grandpa befor him, and my son ae all(or were) all vets. The care I see my son have, and my dad had has been worse than horrible. I can only hope you go thru some of what most vets have. They should be treated the best way known how in all aspects, medical, housing, everything. Yet NO……..they sign their life away for ours. and NO one in Govt Cares.it sickens me

  20. Been there done that, my so called Dr. Was a replacement for my Dr who retired. I had never seen him, talked to him or even knew his name, when all of a sudden no hydracodone or tramandol that I have been on for 10 years. I dont think of myself as a drug addic but that is what it took to be able to function halfway normally. After contacting him, he said the pharmacist told him I was on to many drugs so they stopped them. I asked why no step down and he said youve been off of them for two weeks, you should be good. Going into withdrawls is not pleasant, so I know why so many vets are committing suicide. Guess I will call the pharmacist when i get sick since they are running the show. I will switch to civilian Dr,s with the new program. They may still take me off drugs but at least they will talk to me.

  21. The VA fucked up my outpatient surgery… and they think I’m going to willingly ingest something they say is ok to take? Even when they finally get to that stage of their “medicine”? Fuck out of here. I trust Kasey Anthony watching my son more than the VA.

  22. I am a female disabled US Army Veteran. I have a cyst on my spine and it causes almost constant severe pain. I also have fibromyalgia. I have fibromyalgia since 2008 and it is really really bad now. I have problems standing, walking and using my hands. I have been told that both conditions can’t be causing you any pain. Then the doctors said well the cyst on your spine might be causing you some pain so here is some Naproxen. I said it makes my stomach burn and I have a history of bleeding ulcers. The look on his face was of disgust and that I was wasting his time. I told him that the pain was also in my female areas. I said if I was a man and said my pen-s was hurting you would have given him several pain meds. I told him that I deserved to be treated equally and he went back to his computer and ordered me a reasonable pain prescription. So all of my pain prescription problems start about 5 years ago when I moved here to Florida. I just got a Marijuana card but I don’t know if marijuana works for my type of pain so I can’t use it anyway. I get prescriptions from VA and I would have to get off VA totally and then try Medical Marijuana. I am in a horrible place. Also my doctors want to cut my meds in half. Probably more then half. I would be “bed bound” or kill myself. I am almost bed bound now. I am begggggggggggging for an electric wheelchair. I can’t move back to Las Vegas because my family is here. My name is trapped and hurting?. P.S. When it come to these Pain Management Contracts. These contracts are bullshi$. The veterans are the only ones that have to abide by the rules of the contract. You know we expect the doctor to talk to us before they change our prescription but they just change it right before Christmas, the prescription comes in the mail and it is 70 MGS short. It being Christmas everyone is gone and you call and call and call but no one can help you. I was sooooooooooo sick I miss Christmas with my family and my only niece, when she still believed in Santa. These doctors try to remind you to follow the rules but they never do. I feel like a slave to that contract. They act like bullies and act like God. They also lie.

  23. Off-Topic:

    “https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2019/06/14/grand-rapids-veterans-home-audit/1454074001/”

  24. I’m a 38 year old 100% SC disabled veteran, and in active cancer treatment for esophageal cancer. I have several discs herniated in my C spine, a compression fracture of my T4 vertebra and DDD throughout my spine. Along with a fractured sacrum which caused bilateral SI joint ossification. All this causes me to experience chronic pain. I was on a steady dose of percocet 5mg 3 times a day for years, no increase needed or requested. It helped me have some quality of life. In 2016 I was switched to tramadol and 1200mg of Gabapentin 3 times a day… Not only did this not help with my pain, but it made me increasingly anxious. 50% of my service connection is for anxiety/panic attacks. I had a fantastic psychiatrist in the mental health clinic who after reconciling my medications prescribed me 1mg of Clonazepam 2/day to control my panic attacks. Once Tramadol was labeled an opioid my PCP unilaterally without speaking with, decided to completely stop the tramadol. I had not failed a drug test, was taking the meds as prescribed and when he completely cut me off, no tapering I went into withdrawals. Not a pleasant time to be sure. Now even with cancer, and in chemotherapy, I’m not prescribed anything for pain which has only increased, as the 4 chemo drugs I’m taking are destroying my bone marrow and I’m taking a drug that promotes red/white blood cell growth in the marrow is causing extreme bone pain throughout all my long bones and even my skull. I had to have an emergency MRI because of all the headaches I’m having daily. Even the MRI of my skull shows extreme bone marrow abnormalities caused by red blood cell turnover. I was given an antihistamine for bone pain… what a fucking joke! Has it helped? Not at all. Before I started treatment I asked to be seen by the palliative care team, they’re the ones that treat the symptoms of cancer treatment ie pain/anxiety. No one took my request seriously, I’m 4 chemo infusions into my treatment and only now have they put in the referral to palliative care. I was very clear that I wasn’t refusing the chemo treatment, but I wanted palliative care along with the cancer treatment. When I spoke with the palliative care social worker, who was the most compassionate person I’ve dealt with since my diagnosis, he was so upset at the system. He was like, “You should’ve been seeing the palliative care team since before you started chemo, that’s what we’re here for.” It seems that even with cancer, the VA is afraid of treating pain efficiently, instead they’re pushing “mindfullness and acupuncture” which might work for some, but not all. We’re all put into the same boxes and no one is treated as an individual with unique problems and situations. Then when I see an outside doctor, I’m accused by the VA of doctor shopping. As if because the VA stops treatment my problems and pain stop existing… The VA is doing more harm to veterans than even being in the military and fighting for this country could ever do. It’s a damn shame…

  25. @T – – – Your entire post that ended with ” Nope, it’s all twisted into me being a ‘nutty baby boomer veteran,’ getting everything for free, my “supremacy” to abusive towards VA and health care staffer and their unions. Worse of all not voting a straight Dem ticket, oh my. The horror of it all it’s all me and my fault. Hope Vice runs my face world wide. LOL” was pure F*n GOLD.

    But you only can only claim 50% of the blame for all the world’s ills (chuckle), as I have and (hopefully) am still doing my part. We did our duty, and now ‘they’ want to play F*ck F*ck with us by using us as pawns to score votes, rather than delivering the benefits promised us.

    Fuck them all. I will never donate money, nor will I ever vote a straight ticket. And after my one brief, sad experience with having to be registered with a political party in order to vote for the candidate of my choice in a Primary – – – I will never register with any party again. I formally resigned from that party shortly after that Primary.

  26. Maybe this is another reason why our VSO’s aren’t fighting for us anymore:
    From: Judicial Watch

    *”https://youtu.be/cNKVkDlpI5I”*

    Thank You JW!

  27. My vast experience with the veterans administration leads me to believe that any new “pain killer” developed by the v.a. will
    actually be euthanasia.

  28. There an ad here where I could go to get ZH853 here in las Vegas NV area
    Could furnish the list to me I’m a disabled Veteran with chronic pain issues.
    I’m

  29. So let’s sum up:

    Narcotic analgesics DO work. Synthetic analgesics DO work (Gabepentin &c…). Physical Therapies DO work. Alternatives to Western-Style Drug-Therapies DO work. Cognitive and Behavioural Therapies DO work.

    Yet NONE of them ALWAYS work for EVERYONE. And therin lies the problem for the VA, because like the DoD, the VA wants “one size fits all”—and for the same reason, Congressional obsessions with cost. Everyone has to have the same therapy, because to provide specialised therapy for differently-responsive groups is not the business-oriented model Congressional Staffers like and understand.

    Thus, our (Veterans’) choices MUST be EITHER/OR. We cannot have both narcotic analgesics AND acupuncture AND Cognitive Therapy. It is not “good business” to have more than one thing that does the same job. We’ve all seen that too many times to be surprised that it’s still here—McNamara was not the first genius to be an idiot, and Trump is not the first business guy to find that things are more complicated than he wants them to be.

    To be fair, the VA were more aggressive in applying the Federal Guidelines criminalising narcotic analgesics—through the DEA and the CDC—but the civies got there, too. There was no “mistake” in applying the “CDC Guidelines”; the DEA forced State Boards to strip the license to practice from several big-name Pain Management physicians who tried to “interpret” the new rules just the way the CDC is now claiming they “always” meant—the CDC raised no objections and made no “clarifications”.

    The facts are that Drs. cannot get arrested, nor loose their Medical License, for refusing to treat a Pain Pantient; but they can suffer BOTH for agreeing to treat a Pain Patient. A Cancer Patient can be given heavy metals, which irreparably damage their body and which are ruinous to the patients health, and which carry a very real risk of death. But a patient suffering chronic pain—even from a combat wound, or from that Cancer therapy—cannot be given narcotic analgesics because they pose a risk of abuse or misuse. That is the essence of nonsense thinking.

    Pain Management in humans is difficult, and the results are often imperfect. Every therapy has drawbacks and weaknesses. In this respect, Pain Management is no different than anything else in the practice of medicine—a multidisciplinary approach almost always produces consistently better results than a single-therapy approach.

    It would seem to me that eliminating a therapy that improves the lives of veterans because it is associated with a social ill—illicit drug use and consequent death—is contrary to good sense. By the same token, over-reliance on a single therapy, to the exclusion of other modalities, also seems to be illogical. I should think that pursuing all possible means for alleviating the pain of suffering veterans would be pursued.

    Ought not the choice rest with the veteran? What is a Death List to Christopher Miller is a Wish List, to me. I’ve never even SEEN a VA Pain Clinic, and the one supposedly in Temple, Tx., is run by a single Dr. who does nerve block injections and nothing else. Several Veterans mention they cannot have more than 6 visits to an acupuncturist, yet I just finished a round of ten, and am waiting for my next round. But I cannot get so much as an aspirin from the VA for Pain.

    Why can’t we try ALL OF IT? After all, if the VA can’t do Pain, I have to ask the question Angela and others are always asking me: why have a VA at all?

    My nickel.

    • Nice sum up, Steven. And there would be in my mind many reasons for having a VA. Mostly not for the good. Having all our info and not securely, passed around at will is one, to pacify and suck off tax dollars for unions, SES types, contractors, keep certain ones employed, for the grand facade, etc. Oh and population control since suffering and killing us off seems easy to do and all legal. Especially ones that can threaten to ruining our civilian care after such a cacophony of liars, contradictory care, incompetence, etc. Then the guinea pig part to the joined at the hip universities and medical teaching schools to the same ones plus getting tax dollars for redundant studies or claimed research. To stick those foreigners into government jobs (fill all those visas) along with positions for “prominent medical family’s” off-spring from around the nation or world. I think most of us could write about out experiences and questions.

      Another good questions would be why some can get and others can’t. I talked to many here that have had no change at all with their meds, with being mailed etc. Some think I’m lying my ass off about it but they won’t spend the time to read Ben’s blog or real news. VSOs won’t discuss much. So what’s us with all the various groups and people getting different care? Just because they are in a Gold team Purple team, Green team etc., or this or that CBOC…should not matter.

      “New Pain Clinic” MD told me on my first visit I should not have been sent to her but Dr. Sleazy Golla at Roudebush should keep me on track and amounts to what I’ve been doing that works. And having had no flagging or negative reports, no dirty test results about my care, compliance, or character. Nope, Golla and her team said no to my specialty care and refused the pain clinics orders and prescription. Just like during Healthy E-vet communications were deleted and toyed with didn’t matter, and she and other clinic’s staff and the PAs played games with all my consults for years. She “had orders from the top” to cut their picks and amounts.

      Then to have the clowns, cliques, colleges, hospitals, medical boards, types, come in to do the audits/inspections/investigations over civvy care too and new CBOCs to new medical or nursing schools. So for some it’s a no win situation with the fine networks and collaboration for retaliation (and cover-ups) they’ve all set up.

      Happy father’s day.

      • Yep…I hear you, T. I avoided the VA completely until my gsw came back to say hello to my mTBI(s), but then I was surprised—the VA was actually really great (for me, in Austin, Tx, in 2003).

        Oh sure, the C&P thing was a scam, and the formulary was put together kinda like my daughter’s puzzles used to be…but the care was really good.

        And then came a new Medical Director—and I got to experience the downward spiral that only a true bureaucrat can produce when he is desperate to appear More Everything than anyone else. My, what a big penis he had (he got fired three weeks ago, and I did my part to make that happen).

        In place of our half-dozen great Drs., we got guys with 50 years of “I pray god for you” as medicine, or women who’s answer to Testicular Cancer was “I’d as soon cut ’em all off before puberty”. Lovely.

        So yes…I get it. It’s a no-win for me, that’s for damn sure. Unlike Angela I’m not independently wealthy; I don’t have my own Law Practice and cozy VA friends like Krause (the local TV station doesn’t swing by my house when the VA fucks me over…again); my wife just lost her job and we can’t afford Affordable Care…and Medicare is even worse than the VA…so what do I do but take what I get.

        As far as I can see, it’s not the college kiddies that are giving it to us—they’re mostly full of high words and fine-for-them-ideals—it’s the ancient white men in Congress, the Executive, and the Courts, who have been and will likely continue to, see us as an inconvenience. The VA is a cost they want to eliminate—they want us to vote for them, but not to expect them to deliver.

        And I don’t mean dumb BS like “the jobs are coming back” or “universal health care for free”—shit like that flies in the face of reality; in my day, it was called “pandering to the uninformed”.

        I suppose I’m just too old, T. I remember when people could disagree about stuff—even pretty seriously disagree about it—but still understand that nothing is perfect; that compromise is what makes a Republic function, and you don’t get everything you want, so prioritise. I don’t think our Republic does function any more, T. And that blows (in the bad way).

        Back at ya, brother.

  30. One dose and it probly kills you see there been hearing on VA police killing veterans and falsifing records on veteran committee. Half these knuckle heads don’t know what constitutional rights are

  31. My life was destroyed by va opiod crissis my health issues got worse instead of my federal employer helping me they were caught with there pants down sending emails get rid of there disabled employees that’s the federal goverment

    • Well, Dick…my life was saved by long-acting narcotic analgesics. Instead of having to cycle through three different levels of short-acting narcotics and then, eventually, go through a three day hospital stay to have all my “receptors” reset, I could take one pill three times a day, and have fifteen-odd quick-acting pills for breakthrough pain.

      Suddenly, I could drive again with worrying I would kill some one. I could go to the park with my kids again; I could have a life, of sorts.

      The bullshit “opioid crisis”—it was an “epidemic” just a few months ago, btw…—wound up taking all that away from me. Now I suffer, not because the meds are some how different—same shit—but because some one read part of a medical journal that said what they wanted it to say, and skipped the rest. And boom.

      If some Dr. fucked you over with narcotic analgesics, that sucks (in the bad way). But it ain’t the medication, it’s the Dr-Patient thing. The overwhelming majority of “opioid” ODs are in people using illicit opiates, like Chinese fentanyl, for one.

      Your case is exactly why we need to use ALL the tools in the toolbox, and not just the one that’s popular at the moment. If you got worse on narcotic analgesics, your Dr. should have taken you off of them—possibly rapidly, if it was that serious.

      I had a Dr. give me heavy metals. Deliberately. He ruined my health. And saved my life. That’s what the state of Cancer Therapies is: we take bomb and set it off inside the patient, and hope they survive the bomb while the Cancer doesn’t. But the alternative to my ruined health was no health at all.

      The difference was that **I** got to choose; the feds didn’t choose for me.

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