Is it addiction or dependency?

Addiction vs dependency5Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, Healthcare Consultant, New Hampshire commented that the distinction between addiction and dependency is constantly mangled by the press, lay people and even many professionals.  The difference between dependency and addiction is not withdrawal.  Withdrawal is a phenomenon common to both.

Addiction marks a transition into pathology; the chemical, activity or behavior to which one is dependent (oxycodone, heroin, alcohol, THC, sex, eating, extrovertism/introvertism) becomes harmful…physically, psychologically and/or functionally, to the individual.  Withdrawal or craving is not necessarily a pathology and therefore not necessarily an indication of addiction.

One would be hard pressed to declare a weekly snorter of heroin or cocaine an addict.  If a person dreams much about food, craves certain tastes or dishes, but lives a functional work and social life and is not obese, this can hardly be defined as an addict.  If another has elevated liver enzymes, presence of abdominal fat in an otherwise slender body, is thinking about drinking alcohol much of the day, has a couple DUIs, occasional blood in the stools, and yet persists in drinking alcohol, this is most likely an addict.

If a chronic back pain patient has had a laminectomy and then fusion, still requires pain meds but goes into intense withdrawal with sweating, shakes, diarrhea, and piloerection, when away on a trip forgetting meds at home, this is dependency, but unlikely addiction.


Gender inequality and income…

pay inequality 3Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, Healthcare Consultant, Barrington, New Hampshire commented that the media is once again exploding over the issue of gender inequality regarding income.  So no better way of making the case than parading out Jennifer Lawrence, the eminent female star of the Hunger Games series et al, who earns a paltry $14 million per film.  Apparently that’s not as much as what a star leading man commands.  Who knew?  What a damn shame.

Why is it, Liberals are so quick to aim their weapons at CEOs and Wall Street tycoons, and the perceived glass ceilings, and yet ignore the conspicuously wealthy in Hollywood?  Could it be that what really matters to them is the politics of the fat cats?  The horror of a stockbroker earning $200,000 a year…this deserves Liberal protests, chest pounding and screams of outrage.  But the fact that Oprah earns $200,000 a month does not cause them a stir.  Interesting.

Liberals have always given the entertainment industry a pass on its arrogance and innumerable individual misdeeds, and the industry rewards this nod by donating its celebrity (and celebrity dollars) to Liberal politicians.  If Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are truly committed to reversing the earnings’ disparities, as they both claim in their debates, maybe they need to start including those glaring examples that are among their very donors.


Kudos to Papplebon!

PapplebonDr. Michael J. O’Connell, Healthcare Consultant, Barrington, New Hampshire commented that last October we witnessed on the professional baseball field something that doesn’t happen but once in a blood moon.  A ballplayer (Jonathon Papplebon) called out a teammate (Harper) for not hustling his run to first base on a routine fly ball.  The two argued briefly in the dugout, then scuffled with a few punches flying briefly, all caught on televised broadcast.

Such laziness and lack of hustle is commonplace in baseball in particular (showing late for practice is commonplace in football).  In decades past this behavior was met with fairly severe measures including counseling by the manager (on and off the field), fines imposed by the team, possible suspension.  This discipline never happens nowadays, partly due to the union influence, partly due to our politically correct society.

The real travesty though is not Harper’s lack of hustle, that’s expected, but the fact that Papplebon was suspended.  Not Harper… Papplebon.  Jonathon should be rewarded for having the balls to do what today’s coaches/managers/owners are scared to death of doing. For what the players are paid, for such incredibly narrow talents/skills, they should run out all fly balls – run like they mean it.

Racial bias?

Racial biasDr. Michael J. O’Connell, Healthcare Consultant of Barrington, New Hampshire commented recently that predictably, not even minutes following this year’s Emmy Awards, claims of racial bias erupted on the internet and the next morning on the boob.  Not because blacks were under represented, in fact blacks were nominated for and the recipients of more Emmy’s than ever before in history.  So, why the uproar?  In our typically politically correct society, diversity is no longer something to celebrate when it occurs, but to loudly complain about past years of not measuring up to politically correct standards.

I feel it is time for a quota system.  A requirement that all races are represented in various societal roles commensurate with their representation in our population.  That would be fair right?  Let’s make it mandatory that blacks should account for 11% of Emmy Awards, 11% of Oscars, 11% of top level executive jobs, 11% of policemen, 11% of quarterbacks, 11% of teachers, 11% of basketball players….oops.  Hmmm, interesting there is no similar uproar over the under-representation of whites in professional sports.  Why no backlash clamor that blacks are hogging the professional sports arena (except hockey, I guess)?  I am sick to death of the Chinese domination of table tennis.  Do I not deserve relief by quota too?

Should we not reinstate integration busing of our kids?  Not blacks into traditionally white schools, but whites into black schools.  That should go over well.

Open letter to the Republican Party….

Republican Party TwoDr. Michael J. O’Connell, Healthcare Consultant from Barrington, New Hampshire commented:

  1. I understand the need to pander to the religious right, especially during the primary season, but let’s make sure we have a solidly right/centrist candidate for the general election – Mitt Romney where are you? Let’s not embarrass ourselves with a cretin like Trump or Cruz.
  1. Can you please forget Obamacare? It’s here to stay and it makes all Republicans look petty and desperate with these efforts to repeal.  There is no way legislation would successfully override a presidential veto, so it’s all window dressing.
  1. Likewise window dressing is the stance on debt with this menace, the monthly debt crisis – get things squared away after a Republican is in the White House.
  1. Gun Control – Let’s pull away from the NRA finally and ensure that assault weapons are banned. Sure they are plenty fun to shoot, but remember the Ford Pinto was pulled off the market?  It was fun to drive but turned into an inferno when rear ended.
  1. Abortion – I’ts here to stay. It’s a protection afforded by the Supreme Court.  Let it go—see #2
  1. Fiscal Responsibility – Definitely, Liberal spending must stop.
  1. Defense – Absolutely necessary to have a strong mobile force.
  1. The country, nah the world, needs measures to control population growth – the poor in this country are often ill-prepared to have more babies – Planned parenthood is the best tool to assist them in more thoughtful family development. Stop efforts to defund Planned Parenthood – again makes the party look stupid and totally alienates the left.
  1. Climate Change – WAKE UP REPUBLICANS – it’s occurring – only a few loony bin pseudo scientists reject – let’s admit to global warming, regardless of the cause. To deny is to look like a Monkey’s Ass


Freedom of speech???

freedom of speech 3Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, New Hampshire commented that a reportedly racist ‘chant’ caught on a privately made video at a large Oklahoma university fraternity has resulted in closure of the offending SAE fraternity on campus and expulsion of two drunken student ‘chanters’ a couple of months ago.  This seemingly extreme action by the University of Oklahoma raises many questions….such as how does freedom of speech enter into this equation?

Speech, regardless of how repugnant, is generally protected by the constitution after all.  Does the fact that alcohol was involved have any relevance?  I am told folks are disinhibited by alcohol, they may even have sex, is sex a crime between two consensual but drunken adults? The fact that the chant occurred in a private setting, is that important?  Geez.  Private.  Can’t folks do most anything in private so long as it hurts no one?

Amazing how every remark about recently hypersensitized blacks, even slightly negative ones, are scrutinized by the racism police.  Where are the rap police?  The lyrics of much rap music condones rape, even incest, and encourages liberal use of the “N” word, yet rap and rap artists somehow escape most any level of scrutiny.  Those who are so bold as to portray the Obamas as characters from the Planet of the Apes are hunted down as criminals, yet no such effort was engaged when millions circulated objectionable (but admittedly kind of amusing) images of George W. Busch evolving from a primitive ape.  Why wasn’t that criminal if a private video is?  Seems speech crime is somewhat arbitrary, to be carted out and punished when it extends a political agenda.  Hmmm.

Giving back summary…

Giving Back

1992 & 1993
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Program to repair facial deformities such as Harelip in young children
Dr. Michael J. O’Connell volunteered in the Dominican Republic two consecutive years and worked at a hospital in Santo Domingo as a surgical first assist and anesthesiologist.  These doctors worked 15 hour days in hospitals without air conditioning and primitive conditions.  He spent two weeks there each year.

Cocheco Valley Humane Society

Matching donation program over a few years
President of the Society Herman Stolzenburg gave Dr. Michael O’Connell the Society’s President’s Award for donating $15,000 in the past few years by matching the organization’s fund-raising efforts..

Fourar-Laidi (Executive Director) said Dr. O’Connell helped the society raise about $60,000 through his own efforts and inspiring others to donate as well.

“He (O’Connell) is just so hard-working,” Fourar-Laidi said. “He is so faithful to the cause.”

For his part, O’Connell said, “I don’t think any one person can raise enough.”

Cocheco Valley Humane Society

Increased matching donation amount
Dr. Michael J. O’Connell offered to match gifts of $100 or more made to the Cocheco Valley Humane Society by Dec. 31 up to a total of $7,500.

“We are humbled and thrilled to have his support. Dr. O’Connell has inspired hundreds of other CVHS supporters in our community over the last three years with a generous holiday matching gift. He’s really helped boost the fundraising for the animals over the last three years and this year is no exception as he has increased his $5,000 matching offer to up to $7,500 for gifts $100 and over,” commented Mary Lou Hendrick, Development Coordinator for CVHS.


Slide presentation
Dr. Michael J. O’Connell and two friends climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and upon their return did a slide presentation showing images of everyday life in Tanzania, with people dressed in bright clothing, outdoor markets and, some of the incredible African wildlife — giraffes, water buffalo and monkeys.

However, their trip was not all about climbing and sightseeing, they also visited two orphanages and a hospital for HIV positive children. The three men were still clearly affected by these children as they did the presentation.

During the visit to the orphanages, they brought candy and cookies, but were warned by the caretakers that they might need to help them open the candy, because the children had never seen such items.

Dr. O’Connell contributed to the purchase of a cow, a new well pump, and a used vehicle for the orphanage.  The children were then assured of having milk, water, and a mode of transportation.

The public was invited to the event that included a potluck dinner.

Arts Rochester

Dr. O’Connell’s staff aids Arts Rochester a non-profit arts education center
Following a torrential rain storm, the Gonic Mill that houses Arts Rochester was in danger of flooding for a second time in the past year from the rising waters of the Salmon Falls River.

Three employees were participants in educational programs at Arts Rochester.  Dr. O’Connell relieved them from their duties at the clinic and sent them to aid the community organization in need.  Dr. O’Connell noted that part of the organization’s mission is to be a good citizen.  They serve patients in need, but also make an effort to contribute to the community.

Cocheco Valley Humane Society

Matching gift program for homeless pets
Dr. Michael J. O’Connell renewed his support for homeless animals and the work of Cocheco Valley Humane Society this holiday season.

Dr. O’Connell has for the last five years pledged up to $10,000 to match holiday donations of $100 or more made to the Humane Society.

This year he increased his commitment to $30,000.

Through this challenge he hoped to help the Humane Society reach more donors and raise more money.

“I am committed to Cocheco Valley Humane Society because it is an important community resource,” said Dr. O’Connell. “Without them, there would be no safe place for surrendered, unwanted, and abused animals — and they need the community’s support to fund their programs and services.”

Cocheco Valley Humane Society relies on financial contributions to provide shelter, food, medical care and the hope of a new “forever” home for an estimated 2,500 animals each year.

They also offer resources and programs to help pet owners keep pets in their homes and out of the shelter.

Foster’s Letter to the Editor – Thank you

Matching donation program for Cocheco Valley Humane Society
To the editor:

Cocheco Valley Humane Society wishes to thank the many friends of the animals who gave so generously throughout 2007 and this recent holiday season. Donations of pet food, toys, treats and supplies, as well as financial contributions to pay for medical care, utilities and staff resources were gratefully received.

We would also like to thank Dr. Michael J. O’Connell for his sixth annual holiday challenge for the animals. The community response to his challenge to match up to $30,000 in holiday donations of $100 or more made to CVHS resulted in donations totaling just over $29,700. Amazing.

We want to express our sincere gratitude for the tremendous outpouring of support. As a private, nonprofit, non-government organization, our work for animals in need and our programs to help pet owners would simply not be possible without the community’s support. Thank you.

Martha Jo Hewitt

Executive Director

Cocheco Valley Humane Society


The Homemakers Health Services
7th Annual Charity Care Golf Tournament
Dr. Michael J. O’Connell’s organization hosted the 7th Annual Charity Care Golf Tournament.  The Homemakers provide services including, but not limited to, skilled visiting nurses, rehabilitative therapies, case management, medical social work, home health aide, homemaker, in-home care provider, Alzheimer’s respite and adult medical/social day care services.

All proceeds from the tournament went toward The Homemakers Charity Care program, which provides some of the services mentioned above to people in need in Strafford County.

·         Dover Chamber of Commerce

Dr. O’Connell’s organization sponsored this new event – $1,000

 Inaugural Apple Harvest Day 5K
When the Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce announced that it was adding a 5k Road Race to the Festival, Dr. Michael J. O’Connell’s organization immediately stepped up to support the event.

“The Apple Harvest Day 5K is one of many components of this year’s festival that are promoting healthy living,”

·         Strawbery Banke Museum
30th annual Candlelight Stroll

With nearly 7,000 visitors in attendance at the event in 2008, Strawbery Banke Museum geared up for the 30th annual Candlelight Stroll. Dr. Michael J. O’Connell was one of the major sponsors.

·         Life & Hope Haiti

A nurse from Dr. Michael J. O’Connell’s organization traveled to Haiti following a devastating earthquake that destroyed a hospital.  She planned to help treat patients comprised of elderly, disabled and orphaned residents..

Dr. O’Connell  donated medical supplies, over the counter medications, pain relievers and vitamins, as well as the generous sum of $5,000 to go toward medical costs and rebuilding.

·         State of New Hampshire
Prescription drug monitoring
Dr. Michael J. O’Connell was lobbying the state to help prevent “doctor shopping” by creating a password-protected, online database that would make available all of a patient’s opioid analgesic prescriptions written in the state over the previous year. Due to the software being very expensive and not a priority for the powers that be, Dr. O’Connell had offered to pay for it just so a program could get started.

·         Homemakers Health Services
Golf tournament

Dr. Michael O’Connell’s organization participated in and was a major sponsor of The Homemakers Health Services Golf Tournament “Fore the Elderly and Disabled” at Nippo Lake Golf Club in Barrington. The tournament raised $10,000.  All proceeds were slated to go toward providing healthcare services to the uninsured, underinsured, and elderly poor in Strafford County.

·         Dover Chamber of Commerce
Apple Harvest Day 5K

“Our practice is based on enhancing the quality of life for our patients, so supporting the Apple Harvest Day 5k is a natural fit,” commented Dr. Michael J. O’Connell.

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell’s organization sponsored this new event for its second year with a donation of $2,000.

Jan. –June 2011
·         Lutheran Church, Dover
Soup kitchen

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell volunteered along with 6-14 staff members.  Dr. O’Connell paid for all the food for monthly dinners for 30-50 recipients .

·         Cocheco Valley Humane Society
Matching donation campaign up to $20,000

This past holiday season, CVHS and Dr. Michael J O’Connell kicked off a large matching campaign, for which Dr. O’Connell agreed to match all donations up to $20,000. That amount was met and then exceeded.

·         Foster’s Daily Democrat
Letter to the Editor – Re:  Endorsement of Dr. Michael J. O’Connell
Quality care

To the editor: Dr. O’Connell was my doctor for almost 10 years before assuming the role of Administrator at his organization. If it had not been for the care I received from him, and now with other providers at PainCare, I would have succumbed to three major surgeries and a continued poor quality of life. I have been pain free since starting this journey without the use of narcotics.

Over the years, I have referred many people to Dr. O’Connell and his organization, and they too have had very positive results with the use of cutting-edge procedures that are offered there. In many cases, patients travel from extremely far distances for treatment; I am one of them. The very full parking lot, on a daily basis from early morning until late in the day, has to say something for what the providers are doing for their patients at PainCare.

·         Prescription Drug Outreach

“Dr. Michael J. O’Connell brought former Rochester Police Executive Capt. Robert Pease on board as Community Outreach Coordinator. The goal of the new program was intended to work at reducing the amount of illicit prescription narcotic available on the streets, and reducing the stigma on legitimate pain patients.  Robert Pease explained that there is a perception that prescription drugs are safe because they are prescribed/administered by doctors, which is not true.”

Robert Pease would be lobbying for the passage of an online prescription monitoring bill, promote education in the local community and collaborate with local drug enforcement to identify those citizens who may choose to obtain and divert medications for illegal use.  Dr. O’Connell was the first strong advocate to try and bring to the forefront an online prescription monitoring program.  Software for such a program was very costly, but Dr. O’Connell went so far as to offer to finance that without any interest from the Governor or legislators at that time. Also, Dr. O’Connell pointed out that with a monitoring program, “doctor shopping” would end.

He explained that the medical community bears a large responsibility to ensure that powerful narcotic painkillers are administered appropriately and not in a fashion that would lead to addiction.  “It is a difficult conundrum we’re in.  If we don’t treat people, are we liable for what happens to them?”

·         Foster’s Daily Democrat
Letter to the Editor – Re:  Letter from a former patient

To the editor:

Why do good people, people who help others, seem to offend the unhappy person? And their complaint generally comes in the unsigned letter or anonymous complaint of some form?

Is one or two jealous or unhappy people worth all the trouble they cause? It is the patients who lose out when good, caring, doctors like Dr. Michael O’Connell can no longer help the person who is sick and in pain!

It is a shame to lose a doctor who cares about his patients because of this type of complaint.

I have been a patient of Dr. Michael O’Connell’s since 1993. After going from one doctor to another, only to be sent home, with their words ringing in my ears, “There is nothing we can do for your pain”, I was pretty depressed.

I then found and went to see Dr. O’Connell. He told me and my husband after that first visit, he would never give up till I was pain free. It took twelve years, but today I am pain free from the pain that was destroying my life. He was there for me 24/7 during those years. I have no idea if I would have survived without Dr. O’Connell.

Both my husband and I found Dr. O’Connell to be very professional and still compassionate.

We are very fortunate to have the clinics for pain in New Hampshire. Other parts of the country are not so lucky, and we owe it all to the talented and caring heart of one man, Dr. Michael O’Connell!

I know in my heart and as a long time patient, Dr. O’Connell would never do anything that would harm anyone! The patient’s health and well-being comes first. He is an upstanding man and doctor!  Beatrice Miller, Dover

·         St. Charles Children’s Home of Rochester
Healing the Heart of the Family program

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell’s organization donated $5,000 to St. Charles Children’s Home of Rochester, a group home for children from families in crisis.

·         Cocheco Arts and Technology Academy of Dover
Financial support

“Dr. Michael J. O’Connell,s organization and its affiliated branch, the New Hampshire Suboxone Program, announced their donation of $10,000 to Cocheco Arts and Technology Academy of Dover. Cocheco Academy is a college preparatory public charter school dedicated to serving 9th through 12th grade with curriculum that integrates arts and technology into a rigorous academic program.

The average cost per student in New Hampshire’s public high schools is $12,000. Cocheco Academy receives $5,450 per student in state support and has no access to local property tax monies. This means that fundraising is a necessity in order to continue to offer a quality, tuition-free education to New Hampshire students. Meeting this year’s fiscal needs was especially challenging. Next year, Cocheco Academy is on track to enroll 90 students, which will greatly decrease their operating deficit.

Dr. O’Connell’s organization and NH Suboxone Program stepped up and offered to provide the monetary support needed to help bridge a serious gap in funding for this school year.”

·         Pain management center’s
Suboxone program

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell held a presentation for local law enforcement on the new up and coming replacement drug Suboxone.

According to the presentation, Suboxone is an opiate replacement drug that is used to assist patients in discontinuing their use of opiates, including heroin, Oxycontin, morphine, vicodin and percocet. Unlike methadone, Suboxone has no real side effects other than drowsiness, and does not affect an individual’s ability to perform certain tasks, like driving or operating machinery. If mixed with other drugs, like benzodiazepines, side effects and resulting feelings may differ and could become dangerous.

The drug is available in pill form as well as in strip form, which is placed underneath the tongue. The strips are typically stored in a foil packet. Typically one dose of Suboxone, between one and two 8 mg tablets, will last 37 hours, on average.

At the Dr. O’Connell’s organization for addiction, Suboxone is used as part of a treatment plan that includes weekly to bi-weekly checkup’s, including urine tests, and attendance at 12-step meetings.

·         Foster’s Daily Democrat
Letter to the Editor – Re:  Open letter to Gov. John Lynch appealing for support of a Prescription Monitoring Program
Speak out

To the editor: This is an open letter to Gov. John Lynch.

I am a physician in Somersworth and own several medical facilities throughout the state, employing over 160 people. My primary business is pain management.

I am deeply concerned about the status of the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) in the House of Representatives (HB 332). I have written to Carol McGuire, chairman of the Executive Departments and Administration Committee, to express my views but received no response. In fact, she recently garnered considerable public exposure on network news regarding her well-meaning, but in my opinion disastrous views.

Despite being a life-long Republican, I am dismayed at the “free stater mentality,” especially when it comes to this bill. More kids and young adults die from experimentation with street-obtained prescription narcotics in our state each year than are killed in motor vehicle accidents. As a pain manager, I can say we do everything in our power to prevent the medications we prescribe from being misused. I am certain, however, that some end up in the wrong hands, due to prescriptions being sold, stolen, or otherwise diverted. Much of the time, the “patient” has multiple providers who are unaware of the duplication of prescriptions. This must top. If all physicians used the PMP, it would put a halt to “doctor shopping”. Recent pollings by medical societies indicate a vast majority of physicians would support and heavily use such a system. Without a PMP we are often simply part of the problem.

I ask you to speak out in support of a PMP. We are one of just two states in the country without a PMP in place or in the legislative process.

As governor, you can help by concurrently energizing the move toward a prescription monitoring program.

Michael J. O’Connell, MD

·         Foster’s Daily Democrat

Presentation to educators from across Strafford County of a model that may be introduced in schools to reach the 12-24 year olds in addition to younger children

“The startling numbers related to drug abuse out there has driven Dr. Michael O’Connell’s organization and its nonprofit subsidiary to create a new approach for reaching out to the 12 – 24 year-old group, as well as younger children.  Today Dr. O’Connell’s program was presented to educators from across Strafford County at his offices as a model that might be introduced to students.  Robert Pease, Dr. John Schmermerhorn, with the NH Suboxone Program Dr. Michael O’Connell and two recovering addicts attended the presentation and spoke about their experiences.

The presentation revolved around three main principles, which are considered the core aspects of the PeopleCare Foundation: putting the decision to use drugs in the listener’s hands, forcing the listener to think about the future, even as little forward as the next day or month, and using peer-to-peer counseling as a way for kids to better relate to what drug abuse is capable of. This counseling is done through having guest speakers close to the audience’s age speak at a presentation, rather than a middle-aged expert who may not be able to relate to the experiences of a 12- to 24-year-old as well.”

·         Sharon Clough Memorial Golf Tournament Against Lung Cancer
Annual golf tournament

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell’s organization, was the major sponsor again this year of the Sharon Clough Memorial Golf Tournament Against Lung Cancer, which was at the Links at Outlook. The tournament successfully raised $2,000, to go toward the foundation to help raise awareness of the disease and to help find a cure.

The Sharon Clough Foundation was founded by Chris Clough, PA-C, a provider at Dr. O’Connell’s organization, in memory of his mother. Sharon Clough, a non-smoker, who passed away at the age of 68 from lung cancer. Most are not aware that lung cancer is the deadliest cancer worldwide, and nearly 50% of its victims are non-smokers. Chris began this foundation to honor the memory of his mother and to help in the fight against the invisible disease.

·         Somersworth HS Hockey Association
Support for the hockey team

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell’s organization announced their support for the 2011-2012 Somersworth HS Hockey Association.

·         Cocheco Valley Humane Society
Matching donation program

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell once again showed his support for animals in need in the Tri-City area during this holiday season by matching all donations made to Cocheco Valley Humane Society during the month of December. He again matched up to $20,000 in donations to the animal shelter.  Last year, the $20,000 limit was matched and exceeded by a substantial amount.

Donations to CVHS go toward a number of programs and services, including placement of homeless animals into homes throughout the community, assistance in animal cruelty and subsequent rescue cases and community awareness programs, among others.

·         Conway Village
The Grinch didn’t steal this Christmas!

Let there be lights:  Christmas is on in Conway Village
Dr. Michael J. O’Connell joined with other members of the business community, town officials and local residents to make a donation when new lights were needed to be purchased to continue the tradition of a  tree lighting ceremony.

·         Winnipesaukee Playhouse
Fundraiser for Capital Campaign

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell contributed to the Winnipesaukee Playhouse Capital Campaign.

Jan. – June 2012
·         Lutheran Church, Dover
Soup kitchen

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell volunteered along with 6-14 of his staff.  Dr. O’Connell paid for all the food for monthly dinners for 30-50 recipients .

·         Foster’s Daily Democrat

Letter to the Editor – Re:  Touting the excellent work of Cocheco Valley Humane Society and noting that he has lent matching financial support for the past 7 to 8 years.

As busy as he is, Dr. Michael J. O’Connell took the time to send a letter to the editor about the donations this December and to defend the organization and all they do for the animals.

Congratulations to Cocheco Valley

To the editor: I would like to congratulate the Cocheco Valley Humane Society on one of the most successful Christmas fund drives since I have lent my matching support seven or eight years ago. This organization provides very high quality care to animals of many species in often desperate need, and with an extremely slender budget. Those who volunteer their services to the CVHS are to be loudly applauded for their totally unselfish giving. Also to be thanked are the many kind and generous donors who opened their wallets during this holiday season and very difficult economic times. I am truly ecstatic with the community response.

I read with chagrin a couple letters to the editor that were less than flattering about the CVHS’s detailed questionnaire regarding animal adoption. It is befuddling to me that anyone with free will, who disagreed with a CVHS policy would publicly complain, particularly during fundraising time, rather than simply go to another facility for adoption, one with perhaps less stringent criteria. As a heavy contributor, perennial admirer of CVHS, and multiple adopter of wonderful animals at the facility, I can state with confidence that their policies are consistent with those of its board, with my own personal code of ethical treatment of animals, and with the best protection of the adoptees. While it is a common adage for women looking to marry, to explore how a man treats his mother, I would offer that we should judge CVHS on the basis of how it cares so deeply for its unfortunate, temporary residents, and the careful policies that guide their adoption.

Dr. Michael O’Connell


·         Plymouth Area Community Closet
Keep the Heat On Fuel Assistance Fundraiser

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell sponsored the Plymouth Area Community Closet for its Keep the Heat On Fuel Assistance Fundraiser.

The goal of the event is to raise funds for PACC so that they may provide heating assistance to needy families in the area. Last winter PACC distributed $45,000 for fuel assistance.

·         First Star Tonight

First Star Tonight 25th Anniversary Benefit and Gala Event
Providers and staff of Dr. Michael J. O’Connell’s organization attended and supported First Star Tonight, an organization serving chronically and terminally ill children and young adults of the Pemi-Baker Valley, and its mission is simply to bring light into their lives.

·         Foster’s Daily Democrat

Letter to the Editor – Re:  Dr. Michael J. O’Connell is trying to work toward a resolution without the local newspaper’s recognition.

To the editor: “The recent summit on prescription drug abuse held at the Oaks Golf Club was a marvelous event, with many of the primary stakeholders present, offering their opinions and perspectives on solving this huge problem in our communities. It appears that slowly though surely, progress will be made; and, appropriately, on different fronts. There is no single magic bullet.

One very disturbing aspect of the Foster’s article was failure to mention the sponsors of the event. One of them was a nonprofit wing of Dr. O’Connell’s organization, which donated over $1,600 to pay for the meals of attendees. He also donated much of the time of Robert Pease in coordinating the event, a retired Rochester Police Department captain, current employee. The other collaborators were: One Voice for Southeastern N.H., Dover Coalition for Youth, and Bridging the Gaps of Rochester.

Among other things, People Care has championed the concept of a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. Over a year ago I started my own personal campaign of writing letters to the editors of several major newspapers warning of the growing abuse problem and coaxing our legislature to stop killing bills for PDMP and start working together to shape a good one.

In short, we need to work together to start controlling this massive drug problem; the media included. Not paying homage to those who have accomplished the grunt work is not a good start at all. Foster’s can either be part of the solution; or part of the problem through incomplete and disrespectful reporting.”  Michael J. O’Connell, MD

·         Clinic on the Commons
Assuming responsibility for this practice

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell was approached by Dr. Terry Bennett, owner of the Clinic on the Commons to take over the ownership of his practice because he was financially strapped.  Having been friends for a long time, Dr. O’Connell agreed to help Dr. Bennett who was not in the best health.  In the agreement, Dr. Bennett would work for Dr. O’Connell after ownership was transferred for a nominal fee.  Dr. O’Connell paid for modernizing the computer system to a state of the art system that was compliant with electronic medical records (EMR).  All was well until Dr. Bennett publicly and continually admonished the administration of Frisbie Memorial Hospital where Dr. O’Connell and his practices had a good relationship.  Dr. Bennett resisted Dr. O’Connell’s pleas to discontinue this behavior.  However, Dr. Bennett would not desist leaving Dr. O’Connell with the only option of terminating him.

·         Plymouth Area Babe Ruth Baseball, Inc.; Seacoast Breakers Fast Pitch Softball
Sponsoring local sports

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell sponsored local sports organizations in the communities surrounding their office locations.  Dr. Michael J. O’Connell’s Plymouth location is a sponsor of Plymouth Area Babe Ruth Baseball, Inc., and the seacoast offices sponsored the Seacoast Breakers Fast Pitch Softball.

·         Sharon Clough Memorial Golf Tournament Against Lung Cancer
Annual golf tournament

Dr. O’Connell’s organizations were major sponsors again this year of the Sharon Clough Memorial Golf Tournament Against Lung Cancer, which was at the Links at Outlook.

The Sharon Clough Foundation was founded by Chris Clough, PA-C, a provider at at Dr. O’Connell’s organization, in memory of his mother. Sharon Clough, a non-smoker, who passed away at the age of 68 from lung cancer. Most are not aware that lung cancer is the deadliest cancer worldwide, and nearly 50% of its victims are non-smokers. Chris began this foundation to honor the memory of his mother and to help in the fight against the invisible disease; lung cancer.

The tournament successfully raised $3,000, to go toward the foundation to help raise awareness of the disease and to help find a cure.

·         Foster’s Daily Democrat

Letter to the Editor – Re:  Pain management practices and the drug abuse epidemic
To the editor: There is a widely held notion that pain management practices are responsible for the drug abuse epidemic. Allow me to disabuse you of this notion (pun intended).

First, pain clinics are few in NH, and as prescribers of opioid, small contributors. Chronic pain typically starts with back injury, may even result in an attempt to “cure” through surgery. Spine surgeries, while successful fixing the structural problem, are often unsuccessful eliminating pain, well documented by spine surgery research. Family practitioners are then left with patients who from then on have pain. Pain clinics are FAR outnumbered by ERs, family practices, and spine groups in prescribing opioids.

Second, 90% of the referrals to us are patients already on large dose opioids, prescribed by very well-meaning practitioners who are trapped in a tenuous bond with the patient, attempting to help with extremely resistant pain. Dr. O’Connell’s organization doesn’t start patients on opioids.

Third, opioids do not kill, opioid abusers kill.

Fourth, legitimate compliant patients do not die from even very high opioid use. Those who consume illegally obtained opioids, looking for a weekend thrill, die. Opioid deaths among our youth outnumber motor vehicle deaths, frightening and factual; however, this should not imply for one moment that pain clinics are responsible or legitimate patients are dying.

Dr. O’Connell has taken the lead in reducing prescription abuse. We have supported a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program since 2002 when Kentucky first instituted its own program to stem the tide of opioids to Appalachia. In 2006, Dr. O’Connell volunteered to purchase and maintain the extensive computer servers necessary to connect all pharmacies so opioid prescriptions could be tracked. Dr. O’Connell was a major supporter of and delighted in the recent passage of the PDMP in NH, and we continue to press for the final step, program funding.

Dr. O’Connell’s organization developed its own laboratory years ago to rapidly analyze urine for the presence of illegal chemicals or absence of prescribed opioid, so that diverters and abusers could be identified and tossed from our program. We established a Suboxone drug addiction department at PainCare in 2006 that is more effective and safer than methadone and allows for gradual weaning as the addict is returned to society.

We are not the problem; we are part of the solution.

Michael J. O’Connell, MD

·         Midway Buick Somersworth
A Ride for Morgan

Midway Buick GMC in Somersworth hosted a fundraiser for A Ride for Morgan. Dr. Michael J. O’Connell matched all donations raised up to $1,500. All proceeds went toward the purchase of a wheelchair accessible van for Morgan Merrill, a young girl who is restricted to a wheelchair.

·         Dover Chamber of Commerce
Apple Harvest Day 5K

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell’s organization was the underwriting sponsor of the race, along with Bernson Legal, PLLC and Kennebunk Savings.

·         Center for Wildlife

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell made a generous $1,000 donation of medical supplies to the Center for Wildlife in Cape Neddick, ME.

The Center for Wildlife is a non-profit organization that rehabilitates and provides sanctuary for sick and injured wild animals through its medical clinic. In addition to this, the organization also promotes respect for wildlife and the environment through educational programs.

Marge Pelletier, a nurse practitioner at Salmon Falls Family Healthcare and an employee of Dr. O’Connell’s, volunteers at the Center for Wildlife every Sunday. She noticed the constant need for medical supplies and brought the opportunity to help to Dr. O’Connell.

·         13th Annual Caring and Sharing canned food drive

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell’s organization teamed up with 98.7 The Bay and WTSN AM 1270 to sponsor the 13th Annual Caring and Sharing canned food drive that was held in Dover.

·         Somersworth
Holiday parade

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell was one of the sponsors for this year’s holiday parade.

Jan. – June 2013
·         Lutheran Church, Dover
Soup kitchen

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell volunteered along with 6-14 of his staff.  Dr. O’Connell paid for all the food for monthly dinners for 30-50 recipients .

·         Cocheco Valley Humane Society
Holiday matching donation program

Each year during the holiday, Dr. Michael J. O’Connell donates to a matching program at Cocheco Valley Humane Society.

This past season, he went above and beyond by matching up to $25,000 in donations.  A total of $100,376 was raised that would go towards the medical care, food and shelter needed by 2,300 animals that come to CVHS each year.

·         Prescription Drug Abuse program for the public

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell sponsored a public program in conjunction with the NH Suboxone Program to educate parents about the epidemic of prescription drug abuse. The program was designed to educate parents on their vital role in helping to prevent prescription drug abuse.

Executive Director Robert Pease, former Police Captain for the City of Rochester, provided the audience with the latest information on the problem of prescription drug abuse and the steps that parents can take to address it. This presentation was an opportunity for parents and anyone who spends time with young people to learn about the role they play and the power they have in preventing their children from abusing prescription drugs.

The presentation was followed by a talk with recovering addicts, who shared their stories of pill addiction and offered their thoughts on how parents can better help young people live lives free of addiction.

·         Cornerstone Christian Academy
Annual Benefit Auction

Dr. O’Connell’s was the Silver Sponsor for the annual auction.  Cornerstone Christian Academy was established in 1985 and offers an outstanding education to students from pre-school to 8th grade.  An annual auction benefit is held to raise money to support the school.

·         National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine

Scholarship for Spaulding High School student
Dr. Michael J. O’Connell awarded a $2,195 scholarship to Spaulding High School student, Emily Benway, so she would be able to attend the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine in Boston. Emily was nominated to attend this forum by a teacher at Spaulding High School based on her academic excellence, leadership potential and interest in a career in medicine. She earned a $500 scholarship through the leadership program already, and Dr. O’Connell helped her with the remainder of the cost.

·         Children’s Museum of New Hampshire
28th Annual 5K Road Race

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell sponsored the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s 28th annual 5K road race.

“We are so grateful to Dr. Michael J. O’Connell for once again taking the lead on this important museum fundraiser,” Justine Roberts, executive director of the Children’s Museum, said in a public statement. “Their generous support through the years has helped (grow) our race from a few hundred runners to more than a thousand now. We appreciate that Salmon Falls and PainCare are community minded and ready to step up to make our race a success.”

·         The Homemakers Health Services
Replaced benches that were stolen

“Thanks to the generosity of Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, The Homemakers Health Services was able to purchase four new benches for its Day Out Adult Day Care program. Upon learning that four of the benches used for the participants of the Day Out program were stolen from the Agency’s property, PainCare generously offered to replace the benches.”  A check for $400 was presented to the organization.

·         Sharon Clough Memorial Golf Tournament Against Lung Cancer
Annual golf tournament

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell’s organization, was the major sponsor again this year of the Sharon Clough Memorial Golf Tournament Against Lung Cancer, which was at the Links at Outlook.

The Sharon Clough Foundation was founded by Chris Clough, PA-C, a provider at Dr. O’Connell’s organization, in memory of his mother. Sharon Clough, a non-smoker, who passed away at the age of 68 from lung cancer. Most are not aware that lung cancer is the deadliest cancer worldwide, and nearly 50% of its victims are non-smokers. Chris began this foundation to honor the memory of his mother and to help in the fight against the invisible disease; lung cancer.

The tournament successfully raised $8,000, to go toward the foundation to help raise awareness of the disease and to help find a cure.

·         Adaptive Sports Partners of the North Country (ASPNC)
Sunrise Ascent on Mt. Washington

For its third year, Dr. Michael J. O’Connell’s organization was involved in the Sunrise Ascent on Mt. Washington, a fundraiser held by the Adaptive Sports Partners of the North Country (ASPNC).  The mission of ASPNC, a non-profit organization, is to provide year-round opportunities in sports and recreation for persons with physical or developmental disabilities. ASPNC’s goal was to raise funds to support its annual budget so it can continue to provide athletic opportunities for people with disabilities.

·         Seacoast Runners Series
37th Annual Saunders at Rye Harbor 10K

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell again sponsored  the 37th Annual Saunders at Rye Harbor 10K. This year, the race was to benefit the New Hampshire SPCA, where each year, nearly 3,000 animals come for food, shelter and medical care.

·         The Circle Triathlon Program
2013 Circle Triathlon

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell was again a sponsor of the 2013 Circle Triathlon, which has been held annually since 2008 to benefit The Circle Program. The Circle Program’s mission is to provide skills, confidence and courage to socially and economically disadvantaged girls by providing adult and peer support via residential summer camp and year-round mentoring.

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, believes in supporting the communities they are a part of.

·         Dover Chamber of Commerce
Apple Harvest Road Race

For the fifth straight year, Dr. Michael J. O’Connell’s organization was the underwriting sponsor for the Apple Harvest Day 5K Road Race.

The race, organized by the Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce, attracted over 50,000 people the previous year.

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell’s organization has been the race underwriter for each of the five years in which the race was organized.

“Our organization is focused on enhancing the quality of life for our patients, so supporting the Apple Harvest Day 5K is a natural fit for my organization” commented Dr. Michael J. O’Connell.

·         Cocheco Valley Humane Society

The staff and directors of Cocheco Valley Humane Society announced a new partnership with Dr. Michael J. O’Connell and his Salmon Falls Family Healthcare practice to establish an Animal Wellness Fund that would be dedicated to the medical needs and care of the 2,300 animals CVHS serves each year.

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell committed to a monthly contribution of $7,500 that would be made to the fund to cover approximately half of the costs associated with providing quality care for the animals.

·         Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce welcomed People Care to the Chamber’s membership. The non-profit organization has been in business for two years.

PeopleCare provides prescription drug abuse prevention services through innovative educational presentations to students and parents throughout New Hampshire. They also produce public service messages about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and sponsor public community forums to implement solutions to the problem.

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell initiated this program because of his passion to try and end the ever present problem of prescription drug abuse.

·         Foster’s Daily Democrat
Letter to the Editor – Re:  Efficiency of CVHS  in managing their tight budget

To the editor: There are few nonprofit organizations in our state that are operated so efficiently on a microthin shoestring budget as Cocheco Valley Humane Society. I recently decided to donate half my salary to one of the finest nonprofit groups with whom I have ever dealt. They care for the totally innocent homeless: pets that have to be forfeited due to insufficient family funds, moves to apartments that do not allow pets, as well as for those who have been outright abandoned, neglected or are no longer loved and wanted. I have heard and read in these columns some criticism of CVHS, including complaints about the nominal adoption fees that it charges for their animals. This is regrettable criticism, since with a larger reserve of donations, CVHS would be able to reduce these fees and allow the adoption of more pets. In the meantime, these fees, which are hardly exorbitant (though understandably unaffordable for some), are a critical source of support for these wonderful caregivers.

My support of the CVHS Christmas fund drive has been a inspiring annual event going on seven years now, but I would like to throw down the gauntlet and challenge any other CEOs, administrators, physicians, lawyers, business owners, and higher compensated members of our community to share their wealth on a monthly basis as I do. Make a firm commitment so that CVHS can start construction of their new facility soon. Only with your support can this dream become the reality that so many loving animals deserve. Remember the truly the innocent ones — the animals

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell

·         Addiction

The First Annual Charity Auction held on September 14 was a resounding success, netting over $3,000 to help fight prescription drug abuse in the region.

Dr. Michael O’Connell, announced a major gift to the non-profit through the use of a life estate deed. Dr. O’Connell explained that by using this deed, his home will be donated to PeopleCare upon his death, without the complications of probate court or estate taxes. The estimated present value of this donation is $700,000.

“I want PeopleCare to grow and thrive far into the 21st century,” said Dr. O’Connell. “This gift represents my commitment to seeing that addiction prevention services are readily available in our area, both in the short-term and long after I am gone.”

·         The Homemakers Health Services

The Homemakers Health Services Senior Health & Wellness Expo,
Dr. Michael J. O’Connell’s organization was once again a Silver sponsor of The Homemakers Health Services Senior Health & Wellness Expo.  With over 60 vendors in attendance, visitors are able to get the most up-to-date, helpful information about how to care for their aging loved ones. This event gives seniors and caregivers what they need to make educated health care decisions.

Jan. – June 2014
·         Lutheran Church, Dover
Soup kitchen

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell volunteered along with 6-14 staff members.  Dr. O’Connell paid for all the food for monthly dinners for 30-50 recipients .

·         Cocheco Valley Humane Society
Matching donation program

“Dr. Michael J. O’Connell has once again shown his support for Cocheco Valley Humane Society by generously matching $30,000 in donations made to the shelter’s annual Holiday Appeal, a 20 percent increase from his donation to the 2012 campaign.

In addition to the donation, Salmon Falls Family Healthcare, located in Somersworth, has also set up a dog house shaped donation bin in their lobby to collect wish list items like food and toys for the shelter.”

·         Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce
30th Annual Apple Harvest Day 5K

For the sixth straight year, Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, was the underwriting sponsor for the Apple Harvest Day 5K Road Race.The race, organized by the Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce, kicked off the 30th Annual Apple Harvest Day.  Dr. Michhael J. O’Connell’s organization has been the race underwriter for each of the five years in which the race has been organized.

“Our organization is focused on enhancing the quality of life for our patients, so supporting the Apple Harvest Day 5K is a natural fit for us,” commented  Dr. Michael J. O’Connell.

Opioid addiction…

Opioid addictionDr. Michael J. O’Connell, New Hampshire recently commented that the horn blowing by politicians and law enforcement over “complicity of physicians in the heroin crisis” is an attempt to affix and thereby shift blame for the recent spate of overdose deaths.  The current theory goes that by ‘over-prescribing’ opioids to patients in the ER, post operatively for pain control, and in family practitioner offices for chronic maladies, that the consumers ‘become’ addicts, get ‘hooked’.  This is utter nonsense, and for which there is not one shred of evidence.  While an understandable layman’s intuitive conclusion, but nonsense nonetheless.

Perhaps officials, governors, drug czars and police chiefs alike, are too familiar with the old model of blaming the demon alcohol for the alcoholic.  To blame prescriptions for opioid addiction and Jack Daniels for alcoholism is like blaming a deck of cards for a gambling addiction.  It’s like blaming malls for compulsive shopping, or restaurants for obesity.

Addiction is an extremely complex condition, and reducing it to a simple ‘cause and effect’, while serving the accusers very well, does nothing to solve the problem of addiction.  Addiction requires a susceptible individual (the right combination of social experience and genetic makeup), stress, and yes, availability of agent.  With respect to availability of opioids, they always have been, whether by black market or by prescription or by cultivating poppies. Nothing has changed in overall availability in a century.

Opioid addiction among more young pregnant women…

opioid addiction pregnant2Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, New Hampshire, recently commented that as addiction to various forms of opioids is becoming prevalent, more young women than ever are presenting for delivery on methadone, heroin, oxy and other drugs.  This causes a considerable nightmare for these newborns and for those healthcare workers administering to them.

Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is the withdrawal of the baby from the drugs mom abused before and during pregnancy.  The treatment for the newborn is a continuation with gradual weaning from some form of opioid, often IV morphine.  The process can take weeks in the hospital and costs are staggering.  The treatment for the mom is less complicated and requires little additional hospital stay, but is just as unpalatable from a societal perspective.

There are few answers to this gestational addiction problem, but buprenorphine Opioid Addiction among young pregnant womenis a solid drug to address the issue while society figures out the underlying problem.  If the pregnant addict confesses to her addiction, and converts to buprenorphine (Subutex, Suboxone) early in pregnancy, the NAS is markedly reduced to just a few days.  The problem is how to convert the mother from the methadone, or oxy or whatever potent opioid she is taking to the buprenorphine?  Many studies are now emerging that support the safety of doing this in a gradual manner during the first trimester.  The process must be monitored by a provider experienced in such a transition, is very familiar with buprenorphine, and also has access to urine tox screening and quantitative LCMS.

Gay rights…

gay 5Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, New Hampshire, noted that the governors of Arkansas and Indiana both caved recently to pressures from gay rights groups and other “piggy back” activists, and quickly amended their recently signed, nearly identical laws which ostensibly reinforced freedom of religious expression as protected by our Constitution.  The laws have been interpreted by many to license discrimination under the guise of religious principles.  Specifically, opponents of the laws fear that a restaurant owner, for example, whose religion does not acknowledge or condone gay marriage, could be justified and legally protected, in refusing to serve a gay couple.

There is no evidence that such discriminatory practices would actually happen, or that they have occurred in the many states that have had similar laws on the books for many years.  While such a practice would be decidedly repulsive and perhaps shocking in today’s progressive society, the legitimate question remains, should folks be forced to deny or at least compromise their religious beliefs?  Can we insist that business owners not discriminate on any grounds?  Does the Civil Rights Act deny entrepreneurs the right to choose their clients based on their own religious criteria and personal beliefs (right or wrong)?  A restaurant is hardly a “public good” that is to be cherished and protected for access by all humanity, isn’t it?

The controversy over these laws appears to be much ado about nothing.  The enactment of the laws in these two states would have gone unnoticed if not for the hypersensitized environment we live in, one that has cried ‘racism’ and ‘discrimination’ at the slightest provocation (usually committed by a white individual), and totally ignores blatantly racist, sexist and discriminatory actions of its minority population.