Opioid Porn – I know it When I see It

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Wow, look at the size of that pork butt. Take a gander at the freshly whipped cream, that gooey cheese. Those sticky buns. And the size of those chicken breasts. And those hamburgers? They’re to die for! Great meatballs too.

Once again, Dr. Morty Fein hits it out of the park with another amazing post! Thank you Dr. Fein!


Small wonder that us foodies sometimes jokingly refer to cooking shows as food porn, but it is more a reference to big portions of artery clogging food or wonderous meals at restaurants that we can’t afford wherein we voyeuristically join in but it bears little or no resemblance to our actual foods or meals. It ignites the desire to eat (badly). Seldom do the narrators actually speak in terms anything like the above. The term food porn was coined by feminist critic Rosalind Coward in her 1984 book, Female Desire. It doesn’t draw direct parallels between food and sex but talks about how food preparation and the need to do it in a highly visually pleasing fashion that furthers the subjugation of women. Whether symbolic or overt, I can say this about food porn – I can’t really define it but I know it when I see it.

Likewise, when it comes to opioid porn. I know that when I see it too. And I’ve seen a lot of it.

Fifty-four years ago, United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stuart tried to describe his threshold test for whether or not material in a hardcore pornography adult film was obscene and therefore whether or not it qualified as protected speech. While he stated he probably couldn’t ever fully intelligibly describe the actual test of obscenity, in a moment of candor he stated, “but I know it when I see it.” Interestingly he was writing for the majority in an opinion in the case of Jacobellis v. Ohio and the French film in question was Louis Malle’s (1958), The Lovers. A major hit in France, Justice Stuart did not consider it to be obscene. He served from 1958-1981 and was ultimately replaced by Sandra Day O’Connor. He died in 1985 long before the Internet replaced the artful and relatively tame (by today’s standards) film with far more obscene material located at just a simple mouse-click away.

Justice Stuart knew it when he saw it and so do I. Whether it is on the news or even at an academic meeting, we are currently undergoing an onslaught of obscene material – on opioids. Obscene because it appeals to our most prurient desires and interests about drugs, drug abuse and addiction; it is voyeuristic and licentious. It’s about forbidden images of defeating drug formulations, of doing things that bear no resemblance to actual medication taking behavior engaged in by the vast majority of people with pain. It is about fooling and humiliating physicians and cops alike.

And it is mostly false. Americans are dying because of heroin and illicit fentanyl derivatives, the number of which are alarming and have been nicely packaged for your review by Dr. Fudin and colleagues. Every time the news media does a story about it though, out comes the stock porn roll they use – not of envelopes of illicit fentanyls being delivered to someone’s doorstep as purchased through the dark web, but of opioid pills flooding out of a vile or streaming like demon sperm cells on an industrial conveyor belt looking to ignite drug abuse in some unsuspecting and innocent person. Images of a pharma headquarters and doctors’ offices with a narration meant for a pornographer.

I vote to start a pain conference or an opioid policy conference with a video of a person with pain sitting motionless and quietly weeping in their chair for 30 minutes because their life-restoring medications were taken away. Their lives disrupted. Does that get you excited? Or talking about hiring more postal inspectors to end the crisis rather than building the legal and political careers of Elliott Opioid Nesses fighting the wrong drug dealers enacting prohibition at the expense of people with pain.

The tactics used to turn this into a cartoonish media spectacle, of a story meant to terrify and punish and titillate are difficult to combat and refute. The story of people with pain is not sexy. It is not titillating. It is not replete with obscene visuals. But if the field got back to providing adequate pain treatment, it would be redemptive. We need to sober up and get real about treating pain and dealing with drug abuse. It is not just about opioids, but when they are needed, THEY ARE NEEDED. I cannot define what constitutes adequate pain treatment for everyone. But I know it when I see it.

As always, comments are welcome!

17 thoughts on “Opioid Porn – I know it When I see It

  1. I have several conditions which were primarily caused by a high dose chemotherapy trial, along with multiple sclerosis and multiple surgeries. I was sent to a pain management doctor – this man ran a pill mill. I was on so much stuff I was afraid to go off of it. The guy solved that. I didn’t see him soon enough after I severely broke my hand and he took my strongest med away BEFORE I had surgery. Sadistic? Yes. I’m now working with anesthesiology to withdraw from most medications. Taking away my needed medication before surgery is outrageous, yet there is no med mal for these people. They can do whatever they want. I need instantaneous post surgical relief in the morning. My take?They want us to suicide while they keep narcanning addicts so they fill private jails. (Please help addicts, but leave a cpp’s treatment between them and their doctor.)

  2. I want the goverment to stay the hell out of my doctor’s office, this is betweej us and them not some beracuracy in DC. We know what works for us and everyone is diffrent and the doctor shouldn’t have to see people in pain and say sorry uncle sam says thats to high a dose. It has gotten out of hand and the real chronic patients are the ones getting hurt. The junkies are still getting there fix and overdoses on illegally purchased opioids are still happening. I guess pain patients dont have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness anymore. it’s sad and infuriating all at the same time.

    1. You and me both, I’m 70 and in full possession of my mind. I know when something works, or doesn’t work. I’ve been on the Seizure med Valium 20 mg a day, it controls 3 health conditions that all have a 4 Letter word attached PAIN. The other is Meniere’s the mini form of Vertigo. It just happens to be a Benzo which the CDC is going to Force Taper. After 14 drug reactions, I don’t and can’t take any more. My Enlarged Heart with a small Mitral Valve lead can’t stand the Hypertension the seizures send me into. Or the wrong diagnosis when the Gastroparesis decides to go into spasm and I develop SIBO. Which a ER is not equipped to diagnose or handle. A simple CT won’t know the difference in a Diverticulitis attack from SIBO. Takes a fasting stomach and a 4 hr Breathe test to do that. Osteoarthritis drugs ruined my Gastro tract, So I live with that Pain. Nerve blocks, Steroid shots, Predisone destroyed my spine. I live with that pain too, nothing can fix a Degenerative spine with Stenosis, and Calcification.As a Gastro Patient I’m not all-lowed but a rare Opioid.

      ADHD drugs are next. Those I might buy need restricting. As they carry Suicide warnings.

      1. Please you say ADHD meds might need restricting bc of a suicide risk! What u r essentially doing is acting like the govt as bc u feel thy r not safe they must not be! There r many ppl that benefit from ADHD meds & again by u saying they need restricting u r carrying the same attitudes as the govt! Ppl stop it now we need all tools on the table, what may work 4 u will not work 4 me! Personally l think 20mg of Valium is a hell of of a lot of Valium but hey that’s between u & yur provider! I hope u chg yur disposition & judgement as this does no one any good!

  3. I suffer with chronic pain and am scared to death by the current tactics. I am afraid society is moving toward a time when we will be issued a white star, or some other symbol, to wear on our clothes to shame us in the face of the public. No one at all seems to be considering our plight. Medicare, a branch of govt. designed to help us, is reducing our dosage availability dramatically in spite of what they have been told by the CDC and other organizations. It seems they are doing it almost gleefully. The attitude seems to persist that we deserve to suffer for only doing what our doctors told us to do. At last, here is something government CAN do in the “War on Drugs” that is achievable – making millions of old Americans suffer needlessly. We should ld raise our voices! We want to raise our voices! But HOW DO WE DO IT AND BE HEARD?

  4. OPIOID PORN IS LITERALLY MAKING THE REAL ELIOT NESS QUAKE IN HIS GRAVE!

    You see, Eliot Ness is buried in an unassuming grave in Cleveland’s old, quiet and stately Lakeview Cemetary only a few blocks from Case Western Reserve University. I visited his grave a year ago when I was there to see my Grandmother’s grave just around the corner from Mr. Ness’s grave.

    It is ironic that the fate of so many pain victims will probably be settled with all of the “Eliot Opioid Ness” types (Fake Eliot Ness’s) convening in Cleveland where ALL of the lawsuits across the US against pharmaceutical companies will be aggregated and ultimately settled by a single judge. The specifics are described in the article linked below. In all probability that judge is almost certainly not even considering or being informed of the plight of the chronic pain patients. Judge Dan Polster is the single individual who is in charge of acheiving a so-called “policy decision” on the Multi-District Suits against the makers and distributors of medicinal opioids. His decision will ultimately erect the barriers to quality pain care for years to come. It is also likely that his decision will likely do nothing to stop the flow of the real killers of thousands of (non-pain) addicts and recreational users who get their poisons through illicit black markets usually delivered to the street dealers by none other than the US Post Office and other major package carriers.

    The real Eliot Ness would have gone after the real criminals and not the single end user of alcohol. Depending on Judge Dan Polster’s decision, the real Eliot Ness will be honored, or his nearby grave defiled.

    Perhaps it is time for the voices of the pain community to rise up and flood Judge Dan Polster with some real honest information about the victims of the war on pain patients, especially since that war simply enables and cultivates the poisoning of tens of thousands of addicts and recreational users of illicitly manufactured fentanyl (The DEA’s term).

    1. Richard,

      Has this already taken place? Yes, I will Google it. There’s just so much to keep up w/regarding the false narrative about prescription opioid medications that I can easily get behind and overwhelmed by all of it.

      Really appreciate your comment and completely agree with you.

      I hope that you have written to this judge. Regardless if this has taken place already or not I plan to write to him asap.

      Again, thank you so much for seeing the #truth

  5. Absolutely! It’s ” The Thing ” to give an opinion on pain medication, from the ultra ignorant to the cocaine and addaral self medicating advisor, each one searching for an arousing and eyebrow raising opioidish word.

  6. A voice of reason. How refreshing! I once felt nothing worse could happen to me due to having arachnoiditis, tarlov cysts, a severely degenerated spine and osteoarthritis in every joint in my body from lyme disease until the “Opioid Nazis” made my life even worse!!!

    Go figure…..

  7. Awesome! Perfect description. The mainstream media is feeding their “Opioid Porn” addiction to the masses, and now they’re all addicted too! Part of their addiction usually includes a story about a young, healthy athlete with a minor injury who was cruelly hooked on opioids by the heartless drug pushing physician and ultimately died of a heroin overdose. ENOUGH ALREADY! Thank you!!!

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