March 14, 2018
Dear Mr. Bolling:
Anyone who has lost a loved one feels your pain and we are terribly sorry for the loss of your son; no parent should bury his child. I, respectfully, request you take but a moment to hear my story; it will only take but a few minutes. I can only pray at the end you will consider calling me so we can work together for real solutions instead of striking out blindly.
You see, Sir, the problem I and many others have is your actions, as they are harming millions of veterans and Americans. We were not responsible for your son’s death. We are Chronic Pain Patients with injuries and diseases which have no cure at the present time. Our medications are the only thing that allows many of us to get out of bed, to be able to work, contribute to our communities, even to be able to spend time with our children.
What you and the national media keep refusing to report is that the United States has an ILLEGAL drug problem. At the direction of Congress & the Honorable Jeff Sessions, the DEA and other governmental agencies will be responsible for genocidal policies for which Hitler AND Stalin would be proud. Granted, there have been some bad apples but they are long gone.
In case you are thinking I have not known loss from addiction, please let me set you straight; in 1998, my mother, Dorothy Buckles, was the victim of a drunk driver. The accident crushed her cervical spine leading to years of surgeries and rehabilitation. The end result was this wonderful active individual was paralyzed from the neck down; a quadriplegic. With God’s blessing, she was able to learn to eat, move about in an electric wheelchair, and even do her own makeup. She was able to create beautiful pieces of ceramic art and ultimately learned to use numerous computer programs. It is slow and frustrating for someone who used to enjoy dancing, camping, and even water skiing as long as she was wearing two life jackets. Still, her tragedy did not lead us to force our morality on others. Should we have sued GM owners for the car she was riding in? Demand all automakers shut down because of the thousands of deaths on the highways each year? This is what your narrative is leading to as government agencies target doctors such as Dr. Forest Tennant. The man knows more about properly treating pain than a GM executive knows about attaching a seatbelt.
Maybe we should have engaged with Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) to bring back Prohibition. History is very clear on how that turned out. The Kennedys became rich and famous running moonshine, speakeasies were the fad of the day and NASCAR was born. The Federal government was ill-equipped to make a decision of such magnitude with any hope of enforcing it nationwide. People wanted their whiskey and people acquired their whiskey by whatever means available. The result today? There are over 88,000 alcohol-related deaths and MADD is still fighting a losing battle.
Similarly, these attacks on our legitimate pain medications will fail. Over the last ten years, prescriptions have steadily decreased while ILLICIT overdose deaths continue to increase. The thing most anti-opioid zealots continually fail to mention is when reporting these numbers, that they are including deaths from all drugs; cocaine, Crystal Meth, Ecstasy/Mollies, et cetera. The death rates are only going to get worse for the 25 million or so addicts as illicit fentanyl is pouring into our country in staggering amounts. These drugs are said to be 1,000 times more potent than prescription fentanyl and are being used to ‘cut’ other drugs, including marijuana.
In the majority of the cases, the end user is unaware of these deadly cocktails with tears streaming down the faces of their loved ones in the morgue. Sadly, for many of those overdoses (similar to that of your son) is a result of polypharmacy. This is when the individual is mixing a variety of drugs together and/or with alcohol. Even from basic biology, I remember that mixing anything with alcohol will result in a synergistic effect; combining two or more substances to produce a greater effect than the sum of their separate effects, which can be deadly.
The saddest part, these individuals, no matter how much we love them, will not stop chasing this high until they choose life; usually after hitting rock bottom. Are we supposed to blame people living in chronic pain for our loved one's demise? In recent years, the anti-opioid zealots, have been pushing the scenario that little Johnny or little Janet stole a family members pain medication, became hooked and graduated directly to heroin. Please be honest with yourself; this simply is not true. This is a bald-faced lie. Well documented and replicable research has shown time and time again, individuals exposed to opioid pain medications in a medical setting have less than one percent chance of becoming addicted. If this is the case, how do our children become addicted that first time? Most children begin their addictions with stolen cigarettes (500,000 deaths annually with an additional 50,000 from secondhand smoke ≠ epidemic or crisis?). The progression continues to alcohol, followed by marijuana and then to harder drugs. How do I know this? I spent several years in alcohol & drug counseling with juveniles. I was exposed not only to numerous classes but also firsthand accounts from my charges. Still, in just two short years, six youths succumbed to the lure of alcohol or drugs. Still, this cannot compare to the loss of a loved one to drugs.
My younger sister, Melissa “Runt” Rose (April 30, 1969 — October 8, 2017), was left home with our mother after our sister married and moved, while I joined the Marines. I offer no excuses for her behavior or actions. I can only guess the lack of supervision; maybe the financial hardship or even the role reversal between mother and daughter led her to make many poor choices in later years. As an adult, she struggled with staying clean and sober but ultimately each time something would happen which led her to using again. In her short 48 years, by her own admission, she had used cocaine, Crystal Meth, amphetamines, Mollies, Xanax, opiates and of course marijuana. Even in her “sober” times, she swore she would never stop smoking marijuana due to its relaxing properties. “Runt” kept her word to the very end, even with respiratory distress and advanced COPD, the autopsy report came back clean of everything except marijuana. (Please see footnote.)In my heart, I know all those years abusing the various drugs, especially the Crystal Meth, led to her early demise.
Am I angry? Do I want to strike out? Of course but the only person responsible for this outcome is my sister. The choices she made likely led to her death. This does not mean I should target veterans and over 100 million American with injuries and illnesses with no cure. I am certain if she were still with us, she would be appalled by your actions. You are playing the sympathy card with President Trump because he lost his brother, Fred Trump Jr. due to alcoholism. He made his choice. Using the story of your son to cause fear and panic in people that do not understand the ramifications for those of us who need legally prescribed pain medications by medically trained and caring doctors is such a huge dishonor to his memory. My sister and your son made their choices. Now, please, may we choose to help one another to stop this genocide by working together to honor our loved ones’ memories? Please give me a call… (423) 794–8241
Footnote — As of this afternoon, March 15, 2018, I have been made aware by my family I was misled as to the cause of death in this case. As the facts become clearer, I will make the information available. For now what I know is the autopsy showed high levels of Prozac, OTC antihistamines, OTC cough syrup, OTC sleeping pills, and marijuana. Polypharmacy is an important factor in many causes of death.
Robert D. Rose Jr.
BSW, MEd. USMC
We defended your freedoms…
Will you support America in her time of need?