An Invitation: We Want A Few Good Men and Women to COMMIT Themselves

An Invitation: We Want A Few Good Men and Women to COMMIT Themselves

By Richard A. (Red) Lawhern, Ph.D.

Editor’s Note: The following “call-to-arms” was distributed to 25,000 people in 40+ Facebook groups last Saturday. National Pain Report supports “Red” Lawhern and his efforts and is happy to help spread the word.

Anyone who reads the Facebook groups where this announcement appears, will know that pain patient communities are in deep trouble all across America. We are being made scapegoats for the incompetence of our own government in its abuse and desertion of people like us — all in the name of solving a so-called “opioid epidemic” which we didn’t create. Our doctors are leaving pain management practice. Our legislators are imposing anti-opioid laws which deny us pain relief and plunge many of us into disability. Some of us are dying of suicide or medical collapse as we are denied pain relief.

Richard A. (Red) Lawhern, Ph.D.

We’ve seen online petitions come and go. We’ve seen letter writing campaigns come and go. And nothing has gotten the attention of Washington DC or our Statehouses. It’s time to do something different, and the Opioid Policy Correspondents’ List (which I support as corresponding secretary) needs YOUR help and your FAMILY MEMBERS help and your FRIENDS help to do it.

Instead of writing letters, it’s time to “get in their faces” with our State and Federal legislators. We want you or your family members to make a commitment to doing the following — in every US State, and multiple legislative districts within each State:

  1. Look up the phone numbers and locations of the nearest local offices of your State Senator, State Assembly person, Federal Senators and Congressional Representative.
  2. Call and schedule an in-person appointment with either the office Chief of Staff or a Healthcare Legislative Assistant (or equivalent) to talk in their offices.
  3. Drive there and sit down for half an hour to tell the legislator’s staff what we want them and their boss to do.
  4. We want them to tell their boss that pain patients’ lives are being destroyed by legislation which restricts access to effective pain medications and drives pain doctors out of practice. As their constituents, we demand that they take a stand in stopping this abuse.
  5. We also want the staff member to tell their boss that they need to schedule hearings for legislation to get the government out of medical practice and to repeal existing laws which restrict doctors from providing pain management to people in agony.
  6. At Federal level, we want staff to tell their boss that the legislation most needed is direction to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to immediately retract the 2016 Opioid Guidelines for a major re-write by an unbiased expert group including pain patient advocates and pain doctors as members.

The Opioid Policy Correspondents List is a group of 50+ medical professionals, healthcare writers, journalists, blog writers, support group administrators and informed patients. We are lobbying US media to stop the lies and hype which dominate much of the present public conversation on pain and addiction. We will support committed legislative advocates with accurate and unbiased information, briefing papers, telephone interviews and backup for your efforts to confront our legislators.

If you or a family member are willing to commit to actually DOING something rather than just talking about it, then please contact Red Lawhern at lawhern@hotmail.com. We will invite you into a google group where our internal discussions occur, and help you join a national movement to lobby for change with the people who might be able to make it happen.

Please join us in effective advocacy to STOP THE WAR AGAINST PAIN PATIENTS!|

Email Red Lawhern at lawhern@hotmail.com about this opportunity to make a difference

Regards and well wishes,

Richard A. “Red” Lawhern, Ph.D.

Personal Homepage — “Giving Something Back” http://www.lawhern.org

Publications:  http://www.face-facts.org/Lawhern

Twitter: @Lawhern1 ‚  Facebook #SpotsOfLight

About the Author:  Richard A. Lawhern, Ph.D. is a technically trained non-physician with 20 years of experience in peer-to-peer patient support groups for chronic pain patients.  His work and commentaries have been published or featured at the US Trigeminal Neuralgia Association, National Pain Report, Pain News Network, The American Council on Science and Health, The Journal of Medicine of the National College of Physicians, the National Institutes for Neurological Disorder and Stroke, Wikipedia, Mad in America, Psychiatric News and other online venues.

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There are 22 comments for this article
  1. Dee at 3:16 pm

    I will help in any way I can.
    My husband has been on long term pain medications for 12 years. Last year when the CDC guidelines came out his pain doctor told him not to worry because the guidelines were only addressing primary care physicians. This year he is tapering him very quickly. At first it was “we have to get you below 120” now it is “it is taking too long, you have to stop in September and be transferred to suboxone”. I feel there is an ulterior motive to all of this.
    At the same time the US and Canada are being flooded with counterfeit pain medication which is really Fentanyl or Carfentanyl; pain patients are being abruptly cut off from long term stable doses. It is as if they want the pain patients to die, either from the counterfeit pills or suicide because the pain is unbearable.

  2. Rusti at 6:10 pm

    In Canada, the Collage of Physicians and Surgeons are putting mega pressure on doctors to only prescribe narcotics for patients who have cancer. I am currently being withdrawn from opiates and am taking med marijuana (THX & CBD oils plus a topical CBD.) in replacement. It’s helping some, but I don’t know what I’ll do when I run out of my opiate. Do you know of any group in Canada that’s doing similar advocacy?

  3. R Belcher at 9:04 pm

    Hey!

    I feel all of your love. Please know you are understood. I’m not sure if this ordeal is political, money oriented or what, but somehow, I know it’s not about “us” or because of “us”.

    We are the Strong who understand!
    We are many in number and I know our voices will eventually be heard.

    I find it amazing – how stupidly problems are attempted to be “settled” now. It is a multi – faceted problem that has been going on for years!

    Damn! When I was having my spine come apart from my fusions. I could not find a pain doctor. I didn’t want to get stoned! I wanted to enjoy 5 minutes of maybe one day without my constant “little friend”. Pain!

    It eats at you, it destroys your humanity, your ability to feel simple joy. To say that you will be forced to live this way because of politics or MONEY!!! is so indicative of society today. It’s about greed, selfishness and an ostrich approach to the problem that was probably caused by the same offender.

    Ladies and Gentleman: addicts will find a way to kill them selves. It’s a choice they make with their own soul. It’s been going on for hundreds of years.

    But, to take away something that enables other to live!! We get a reprieve from 24/7 pain. We are not searching for a high. You are approaching this way too simplistically. Go out and have 3 cervical fusions – 2 of which fail – leave gobs of hardware sitting there. And have a surgeon put in metal you are allergic too. See if you may experience PAIN. Oh, and the doc kninched my C8 nerve and tried to tell me I came into The Cleveland Clinic paralyzed while also refusing to admit the metal error.

    So, now the “powers that be” : oh- these new one “elitists” now have the power to take treatment and drugs from me. It’s only a matter of time befits those in power will say who can afford a drug treatment or will live or die.

    MONEY These are doctors, our government and big business. Our protectors. If I told what happened to me on “Oprah” would it help? I mean – it was an incredible story.
    The means to hide things from patients for liability is incredible.
    This doctor lying, about cutting a nerve, using incorrect material – the denial. Until I tried to order the surgical wire myself and found it did not come in Titanium.

    People, I lost faith in “them “quite awhile ago.
    Big Pharma Gov’t Doctors Attorneys FDA EPA Congress

    They are not our protectors. We are ..,,,,, we are forced to deal with them.
    I won’t lose faith in you.

    Be strong You already are – don’t give up. It’s much more in the long run than pain victims. I wish people could understand.

    People like things black and white. Life is easier that way. You don’t have to think or feel. You just make choices based on money, stats, agenda. It’s scary to me. Psychotic comes to mind. A true lack of caring. Scary stuff

  4. Anon at 2:40 am

    Wish I could help. Can’t provide details because my doctor was one of the best. The state I live in is burying him in red tape as he tries to resume practicing. All of his patients, including me, have been cancelled indefinitely since the end of June. I’m down to almost nothing. Taking chips and grains from what’s left to stave off withdrawal. I’m disabled, live alone, and have no family. I’m sick from withdrawal most of each day. I haven’t left my house in weeks. I’ve called doctors. So far either they don’t take Medicare, aren’t taking new patients—& of course wont even hear me out about the med problem. I don’t think I’m going to survive this and at this point I dont even care. The quicker the better. But I do care about all of you in the same boat. I’m praying for a miracle. Maybe I can be of more help from the other side. If so, you can count on me, I promise.

  5. l at 6:31 pm

    Watch this DEA agent interviewed by a reporter in 2016 on the crack-down on opioids and it’s effect on chronic pain patients. It’s time to get the media involved in all 50 states.

  6. Rebecca Belcher at 9:17 am

    Thank God I am not alone!
    Addicts will kill them selves one way or another if hell bent.

    We need common sense; not politicians or black & white thinking.

    I’m in this with all of you. Anything I can do to help; I will.

    Post cervical fusions failed 3xs

    You are all in my prayers. We do have power. Do not give up, please!
    I need you all.

  7. Richard A. Lawhern, Ph.D. at 11:30 am

    Thanks for posting this, Ed Coghlan.

    To all of those who have reached out thus far by email, thanks, and welcome aboard. To those who haven’t yet, the invitation is still open. If you can’t physically travel to lobby your legislators, then is there a member of your family or a friend who would be willing to on your behalf? We need multiple activists in all 50 US States.

    Our message must be courteous but clear: if the legislator is ill informed, then we’ll help get them and their staff the facts. If they are actively working against pain patients by promoting restrictive legislation, then we’ll make that mistake very expensive in the next elections. We will be HEARD! And our government needs to get its collective head out of a very dark place and act decisively to help people in pain.

    We’re preparing a briefing paper for your Senators and Representatives, State Assembly and State Senate members. There will also be a prep sheet for people who intend to do interviews in person with these folks or their staffs. There’s room for a wide variety of opinions and experiences in this group. But we do have to act in concert if we’re to get anything done.

    Y’all know where to find me. And I’m not alone in this advocacy. Our Correspondents’ List has doubled in size during the last week. Many of the new folks are medical professionals – doctors or nurses. Others are pain patients or family of pain patients. Together we can move this mountain. Divided we all fail.

    Go in Peace and Power
    Red

  8. Michael G Langley, MD at 7:22 pm

    My representatives and Senators are too ignorant to listen. They depend on old wive’s tales and gossip to substitute for scientific studies and reasoning!

  9. Terri McFarland at 5:13 pm

    FINALLY, I HAVE HOPE. Thank you, Sir, for your commitment to stop this madness. I and my health care provider were bullied and threatened approx. 2 1/2 years ago by an OHP insurance rep. who also heads up our opioid prescribing group here in S. Oregon. she states she wears two hats. She made an app. to meet with us saying she was going to cover my medication when in fact it was the opposite. She made threats against my provider’s license and told me I would taper off meds whether I liked it or not. She appeared to take great joy in this threatening action. when I tried to complain to my insurance co. they stated I was just an addict mad about losing my narcotics. I have been taken down so low at this point I am weeks away from going to the methadone drug clinic and saying I’m a drug addict I can’t live with this pain any longer and although suicide runs through my mind every day, I could never create that pain for my family and friends. The pain specialist I see encourages his patients to write letters and make calls but when you are in this much pain you can think of nothing else, it consumes you. He and the other Dr. won’t stand up for fear of sanctions and or punishment. He tells me they have briefings all the time on this matter. What is happening in our country right now should be a crime. We invade other countries for causing pain and torture yet our own government is doing that very thing to its own citizens. Mabe not with bombs or gas but with propaganda and lies. The government has no place in the in the doctor’s office between a doctor and their patient and what that doctor deems the best course of action is for that individual patient. I apologize for the long winded rant but I am at the end of my rope. I stand with you, sir.

  10. NPR Plea: rae at 10:55 am

    We should be so greatful to have NPR, Dr. Lawhern & many others here contributing an exhaustive, unwavering effort on our behalf!! There are many ways we can contribute as I expressed in my e/m @
    lawhern@hotmail.com
    Please sign the petition at: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/167/501/384/dear-mr.-president-please-help-your-pain-community/

    WE NEED TO DO WHAT WE CAN!!
    Thanks Again: I can’t express enough how appreciative I am of this effort on our behalf!!!

  11. Chris S. at 8:52 am

    Hello
    I live in the state of Ohio and the so called opioid epidemic is really a heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil epidemic. Our politicians are suing the opioid manufacturer’s. Our politicians
    are spearheading blanket bills into law riding on the back of ‘ an opioid epidemic’. Our politicians are seeing $$ dollar signs. Money to be made for their states. The entire chronic pain community has been targeted by our government. I contend that our civil rights, as citizen’s of this great country, our rights as disabled person’s by Social Security Administration and our rights as chronic pain patient’s are being trampled upon by our governments muddy-watered agendas and blanket policies trying to rid our country of ALL drugs. Our government has been trying to rid our country of drugs for decades. What our government is doing to the chronic pain community is unconscionable and discrimination. Where is the common sense decisions in ONE solution fits all people. What the government is doing should not apply to law biding, rule following medical patients being treated by their (pcp) primary care physician for chronic pain. I suggest that the entire pain community group ban together as ONE MOVEMENT and retain an attorney law firm for our cause and we ALL donate our money and get a class action lawsuit started right now against those that are abusing our civil, disabled and medical rights as citizen’s of our country. If we do not speak up louder and fight back NOW it may be to late. Let’s get it together as one.
    If we all donate $100 each and there is 100 million of us, well, do the math I’m sure we can hire a law firm somewhere in our country that would represent our pain community. Thanks for listening.

  12. Michelle Harford at 4:21 am

    I live with Rheumatoid disease. RA is an component of this disease. I live also with Osteoarthritis, Degenerative & herniated disks in my lumbar & cervical. That’s the beginning of my list. So I won’t go on.

  13. David Cole at 4:45 pm

    Mr.Lawhern, You Can Count me and that’s for sure, I will reach out via email shortly.
    Thank you so much for your continued support of chronic pain patients. It really means the world to me.
    Sincerely,
    David W Cole

  14. Matthew J. Smith at 2:40 pm

    Damn, I am trying to decide if I can stave off pain, depression, and fatigue enough to take up this cause. I met and spoke with Dr. Lawyer at the Chronic Pain demonstration in D.C. last year and was inspired, I just wonder if I have it in me to fight and wonder about coming out and drawing attention to myself…. Maybe I shouldn’t be such a coward, this is a life and death issue, after all …..

  15. Lisa Osborne at 8:01 am

    I also own several domain names.
    Painpatientsfightback is mine.
    Let me know if I can help. I want too, very much!

  16. Lisa Osborne at 7:56 am

    I am an hour north of Seattle, in Washington State. If there are others here who are going, I would love to participate. I cannot go by myself–the stress will trigger illness. Also right now I do not have a car.

    I also write. I just completed the first draft of a short story about a group of 535 pain patients and terminally ill individuals who go to the nations capitol for a protest about healthcare repeal. While they are there, Congress repeals ACA with no replacement. Believing they are going to die, that they are going to die invisible to the men and women making and repealing these laws, they commit mass suicide in the hallways and on the steps of the capitol.

    I am not suicidal nor am I advocating such a terrible thing. I wrote the story to make a point about disabilities, invisibility, and the human cost of what the thousands of dead we hear about in the news will look like.

    535 is one for each member of Congress.

  17. Anonymous at 7:13 am

    My daughter suffers constant pain, the kind people kill themselves on. I wish I could go, I need to, but I am caregiver for her, advocate for her trying to find help medically for late stage undiagnosed Lyme disease.
    I am a full time plus overtime worker, single parent, deadbeat ex. Those that support the opioid supposed crisis to take away meds from those in dire need will very likely end up in a super bad way themselves. God will see to it.

  18. Dave at 7:01 am

    The sleep of reason breeds monsters. Our government has slept too long when it comes to being reasonable with the needs of people pain. The result of their sleep is clear for now we have a monstrously inhumane pain care system that in addition to the monstrous it has and is causing to people in pain and their families is causing homicides and suicides. The social contract between people in pain and government has been destroyed.
    Government via the fda cannot even get doctors to have education on pain and opioids as they are protectionists of market fundamentalism or laissez faire or lazy fare on pain care. Theyre tragic failure to understand or care about the millions in pain is more evident then ever with their cruel disempathic fascist opioid policies.
    Big brothers brave new world of pain carelessness can only be fixed by those folks in civil sooiety who care about suffering and the importance of reason in society

  19. Kathleen Kempken at 6:51 am

    Finally something we can do! How do we share this on twitter? I find there is a lot of pain patients that only use twitter. Thank you Red!

  20. BethAnn Shoenfeld at 5:52 am

    I have CRPS, and I can’t afford treatment. I don’t know how long I can go on. Not well enough to write, but I will later in the day. It is criminal! They might consider lawful assisted suicide if there is no help for those of us with Chronic Pain. ☺️☺️☺️

  21. Tim Mason at 3:53 am

    I reached out you Dr, Lawhern via e-mail.
    Count me in,

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