60 Minutes – Telling the Wrong Story

60 Minutes – Telling the Wrong Story

I watched 60 Minutes.

And my heart sank.

Pain patients don’t matter.

Rosemary Lee

Rosemary Lee

I know those people are hurting. They lost someone they loved to addiction and the problem all started with opioids. I basically heard them tell me that I don’t know what it’s like to lose someone and that it could have been different if they hadn’t gotten hooked on opioids.

They’re wrong.

I know very well what it’s like and it makes me angry.

Very angry.

I’m not angry at the system and I’m not angry at the drugs. I’m angry because the typical reaction is, when any tragedy happens, is to blame the object and outlaw it. It doesn’t matter that there are many law abiding people that depend on these medications to live a functional life. The only thing that matters is that some people have died and that they are somehow not to blame; the pills are to blame.

Funny, it doesn’t work that way with alcohol related deaths.

We don’t blame the car.

Let’s put this under a microscope and have people spend more than 30 seconds in pain management. Instead of throwing hydrocodone or oxycodone at patients who have a tooth pulled let’s try using some common sense. Instead of spending less than ten minutes with a patient in pain management and leaving with narcotics wouldn’t it make sense to have some counseling go along with it? Let’s also do some genetic testing so we know what the dosage should be and how it will be metabolized by the individuals system. Instead of throwing prescriptions at people could they just talk to you first and find out what is going on? Would that be too difficult?

And while I’m on the subject…….

All this so-called “shaming.” There’s fat shaming, body shaming, skinny shaming, illness shaming and now pill shaming….. all this garbage. When is just being mean “shaming.” Puts a sweet spin on someone who just wants to be cruel. Everyone has an opinion behind a keyboard. Social Media is wonderful in some respects but, I’ll tell you, I’m REAL glad it wasn’t around when I was in school.

If you don’t agree with someone it is now ok to be cruel.

No. It isn’t.

So we are now going to pill shame. It’s not like I’ve got a boo-boo on my finger and prescribed pain medication. Voodoo pain is the pain that I live with. I know that at any point in time someone is going to stab that little voodoo doll with a pin and I will feel a stabbing pain somewhere. If they hug and squeeze that little voodoo doll I’m going to have a dull ache all over my body. Again, this pain I’ve learned to handle. It’s when the pain increases to whole other level; my whole body feels likes it’s being compressed like a junk car that is being compressed to the size of a box of cornflakes. That voodoo doll? It’s being stabbed all over….over and over again with a ferocious intensity.

It is that pain that makes have to take pain medication to make it tolerable.

There are a lot of people like me. Maybe I don’t have an addictive personality. I heard that one from my doctor. Maybe it’s because I metabolize opioids slowly. I can’t take very much because it stays with me. People that metabolize it quickly may have to have a different dosage or maybe that’s where the trouble comes in. I don’t know. I just think we have to do things differently.

The knee jerk reaction of taking it all away will not work.

It didn’t work with Prohibition.

It didn’t work with the war on drugs.

All it serves is to push it underground.

Which is precisely what is happening.

Editor’s Note: Rosemary Lee is a writer who lives in Las Vegas and suffers from fibromyalgia. She writes for the National Pain Report. To see more of her work visit her blog (here).

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Authored by: Rosemary Lee

There are 10 comments for this article
  1. Dave at 9:10 am

    I strongly recommend the book “Dream Land – The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic” by Sam Quinones for anyone who wants to understand the relationship between the relentless marketing of pain pills and the rise of heroin addiction in the good old USA.
    It would have been an excellent reference tool for 60 Minute’s inept producers who ‘followed the money’ for ratings & profit just like the pharmaceutical / medical community who ‘follow the money’ first and think of patients last.

  2. LouisVA at 10:00 am

    @ Kurt W.G. Matthies

    You are so right that pain, left untreated, will centralize. If interested, see the following articles by my pain specialist, Dr. Forest Tennant:

    “Centralized Pain”: A New Consensus Phrase. @ http://www.practicalpainmanagement.com/centralized-pain-new-consensus-phrase

    and The Critical Necessity to Diagnose Pain That Is Centralized @ http://www.practicalpainmanagement.com/critical-necessity-diagnose-pain-centralized

    Pain puts stress on the body, and if untreated, pain can cause death, usually by stroke or heart failure.

  3. Hollie Sterling at 2:13 pm

    How dare anyone ever make you feel shamed or labeled an addict. I too metabolize meds different than normal.. Oh there’s no normal. We all metabolize different. I can take an elephant pill and be wide awake. That would knock the “normal” person out! What’s the death toll per year of people suffering from depression?? Hmmmm..
    Now how many from people suffering from chronic pain? I know there were times that if I had not had 2 kids I love dearly I would not be here today living with the unknown each day you wake up.. Is it going to be a good day? Semi good? Semi bad? Really bad? I need a gun to my head bad kind of day?? The only ones that should be shamed are the Drs prescribing meds to people that take advantage of being prescribed drugs and sell them on the street to the addicts! The Drs that don’t take time to find the cause of a person truly in pain but just prescribes away without really looking at the inside of a persons body, the medical records or their condition. Just here take this pill and you’ll be fine.. No I won’t be fine! I’ll never be fine ever again in my life! I make it through each day because I choose to live with the life God dealt me. It’s not my choice to leave this world it’s His! Sure I prayed to get me through til my kids were grown. They are.. Now I pray to get me through seeing them become successful in life and having my grandkids someday. I live for the man that has stood beside me all through this and hold be crying in pain. The man that can look me in the eyes when I say I’m good, I’m ok, I got this.. Yet he sees without a word I’m in pain. He sees it in my eyes, my face, my movement. 5 minutes with a dr that isn’t going to see what my children and my husband see 24/7 is not going to help me! I’ll be on pain meds the rest of my life! I dare a dr to try and shame me! He will not like what pain does to people being shamed! I will not tolerate it! I’ve just in the past couple years(30 yr chronic pain sufferer..I’m 44) found even more relief from Botox shots. About 18 shots of 200 units down my spine.. But still have to take pain meds on BAD days. Though they really don’t do much but take the edge off the pain. NOTHING will make it go away completely! Shame on them Drs and shame on the people addicted to drugs fooling ignorant Drs that don’t know how to “see” what real pain looks like! Shame in 60 minutes for wasting people’s time trying to shame the wrong side of the story! God bless everyone dealt this life. I do not wish it on anyone but there’s many I’d love to see in my shoes for the day,too! Shame shame shame on them!!

  4. Kristine at 11:28 am

    Kurt, that is interesting and I am just starting to learn about CPRS. It sound devastating. You might want to mention that after my article too. It’ll just help get our word out more and get more people commenting. We need them, as you well know! Thank you.

  5. Connie at 6:23 am

    Pain is what’s dangerous. Pain can kill all on its own without treatment.
    If opioids are the only answer then medicine has failed.
    I have a chronic incurable pain that has been with me every single day for five years. Please don’t treat me like a criminal. Don’t shame me. I didn’t ask for this!
    Please don’t “should” all over me either!
    The administration makes it harder for people in pain to be treated.
    Then they wonder why heroin use has increased.
    Walk a day in my shoes and find out what it feels like to just want the pain to stop!
    I would never use illegal drugs. But I can see how that desperation can develop.
    People in pain just need the pain to stop.
    This is a crisis in our country.

  6. Kurt W.G. Matthies at 5:46 pm

    Thanks Rosemary. Welcome.

    One part of the story completely neglected is that untreated pain can cause central pain conditions like CPRS.

    It’s in the medical literature, but it has none sleaze appeal of Heroin addicts.

    60 Minutes has proven once again that it job stopped being a ‘news’ program 30 years ago, and is yet another mediocre purveyor of infotainment.

    @kwgmatthies

  7. Patti Jensvold at 4:18 pm

    Thank you for speaking reality into the 60 minute segment.

  8. Lynn Jones at 12:37 pm

    I totally agree. Why do we that have diseases like yours and RSD Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy whom would never be able to function on a daily basis if it weren’t for pain meds. It is difficult enough dealing with what is going on within our bodies now because people who overdose or sell to people have to suffer? Maybe these lawmakers should spend a day in our shoes. They wouldn’t last the day! Tired of people pointing fingers the wrong way.

  9. LouisVA at 12:26 pm

    I have a similar problem that has caused me to be “pill-shamed.” Due to a genetic defect, I am a poor metabolizer of opioids; thus, I must take an ultra-high dose (approx. 2500mg. morphine equivalence/day) to get the same relief that most would get from a much smaller dose. I had to have some oral surgery done and unfortunately I was not knocked out by the anesthesia. I could not move or speak but I must have reacted in some way that clued the oral surgeon that I was awake and in pain. Then, I overheard him say “this happens to all these ‘drug addicts’ that come here.” This occurred even though I went to the trouble to tell him before the surgery that I was a chronic pain patient and submitted a list of all my medications.

  10. Kristine at 10:18 am

    Well said! I am the victim of a voodoo doll too and I understand the “all-over” body pain that is so horrible you just curl up (if you can) and cry. Out loud. Alone.

    There’s a lot of fixing that needs to be done! Thanks for bringing up the metabolism issue too. It’s very important and I pray medical facilities (and insurance companies) will get their butts ready for that step.

    Krissy