Are Pain Patients Being Heard On Impact Of DEA Ruling?

Are Pain Patients Being Heard On Impact Of DEA Ruling?

steven_passik_lrg“The reaction is that we are glad the (pain) patient’s voice is being heard on this, which is why we did this in the first place.”

Those words from Dr. Steve Passik, Vice President of Clinical Research and Advocacy at Millennium Health who was the chief spokesperson for a survey that assesses the impact of the DEA’s decision to make it more difficult for chronic pain patients to receive prescriptions of hydrocodone.

The National Pain Report filed this story on the survey over the weekend. The survey is sponsored  by the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association, Millennium Research Institute, American Academy of Pain Management (AAPMgt) and PRA Health Sciences.

The initial results were announced at the American Academy of Pain Management meeting in Maryland.

The study reveals that 88% of patients believe the change denies chronic pain patients their right to adequate pain treatment, and 72% say it is harmful to pain patients.

“Society has really struggled to deal with the prescription drug abuse epidemic and the epidemic of chronic pain,” Passik said. “At times, a positive impact on one has a negative impact on the other.”

We asked Passik whether he thought the DEA’s decision to crack down on hydrocodone prescriptions has had an unintended consequence on the patient. He said the people that took the time answer the survey catalogued all sorts of problems in access, inconvenience, and the impact on the doctor patient relationship.

“Prescription drug abuse is a massive problem and we have to deal with it, but I’d also to see more consideration given to the person in pain in the dialogue going forward,” he added.

Kathy Leeper is a retired registered nurse who lives in Iowa. She is a chronic pain sufferer who captured much of the considerable attention our original reporting attracted from our readers.

“I’m truly amazed how poorly pain is treated in our country.” she wrote to the National Pain Report.

Passik, who is a PhD and has worked both in industry and in academia says that efforts must be undertaken to make pain management safe and effective without necessarily hindering access to people who need medicine.

“Where opioids are concerned we dramatically expanded their use and then we went from having one tremendous public health problem, chronic pain to having two by adding the problem of prescription drug abuse and the pendulum has been swinging between the two to try and figure out an effective strategy to keep people with pain treated and to avoid, abuse, addiction, overdose and death.”

Dr. Passik added, “There’s a feeling that perhaps the pendulum swung a bit far in the opioid direction. We need to get that pendulum back in the middle again.”

Like dozens other letters we received, Samantha Adcock wrote to the National Pain Report about the impact of the DEA decision.

“Instead of making obtaining needed prescriptions more difficult for chronic pain patients legislators and government agencies should look into ways to reduce the need for pain medication. Until that happens the need for pain management medication will not decrease and chronic pain patients will continue to be mistreated and maligned by society in general, legislators and the governmental regulatory agencies.”

The survey, which attracted a far great number of women respondents than men, will remain online. They are especially interested on more men filling out the survey, which can be accessed here.

Other key findings of the survey are:

                     Patient Perspective: A majority of patients (52%) expressed an increased sense of stigma about being a pain patient

                     Patient Withdrawal: Patients noted experiencing withdrawal due to the regulation change, 15% because of the difficultly in seeing their HCP

                     Patient Challenges: 53% of patients say they are forced to drive more often to see their health care provider, with 42% driving an additional 20 miles or more to see their HCP

“Efforts to make pain management safe and effective without necessarily hindering access to people who need medicine,” Passik added.

Passik expects that the considerable data that has been (and will be) collected will inspire a medical journal paper later this year.

Editor’s Note: We have also noticed in our own surveys at the National Pain Report that we receive a disproportionately large amount of women responding.

Authored by: Ed Coghlan

There are 13 comments for this article
  1. paita at 5:44 pm

    Emily if u would like to see a copy of the complaint feel free to email me,,paita

  2. paita at 2:15 pm

    Sure,,I’ll explain anything u wish to know,,and then some,,knowing me,,email privately if u don’t mind,,,cmwmkw@gmail.com,,,thanks,,,,m

  3. Emily Ullrich at 11:16 am

    Paita,

    Before I write this email, exactly whom am I addressing? I see you’ve written “UN”…I was unaware that the UN has any chronic pain projects. Can you explain? Thanks!

  4. Emily Ullrich at 11:13 am

    Paita,

    I would love to help in any way I can. I will gladly email the address you’ve shared, as well as pass it on to other pain care advocates. Thank you for the info.

  5. paita at 6:56 am

    Emily,,care to actually do something w/all your knowledge??well,,i just tried to print my email,,and it won’t let me??O.k. well Emily share your knowledge w/our complaint to the U.N,,,at CP@ohchr.org,,maybe they will have the pull to actually listen and help us,,,worth the try jmo,,paita

  6. paita at 6:52 am

    Emily,,care to actually do something w/all your knowledge??email me,,,cmwmkw@gmail.com

  7. Emily Ullrich at 9:33 pm

    I find the statement, “The reaction is that we are glad the (pain) patient’s voice is being heard on this, which is why we did this in the first place,” absolutely frustrating, ironic, and borderline absurd. We are NOT being heard, and this was NOT a move done as a result of our needs! When is our national healthcare going to catch up to the standards of modern medicine created by credible MEDICAL organizations (American Medical Association, American Pain Society, American Chronic Pain Association, etc.), and utilize the guidelines and proven research to develop pain treatment guidelines, instead of listening to the DEA and politicians for these critical decisions?! I am sincerely baffled by this gaping hole in the logic of our society.

    For example, in the 1990’s, The American Pain Society declared pain “The fifth vital sign,” according to American government and the most credible medical sources in this country, this is part of the standard American medical assessment protocol. However, from my experience (and that of MANY others) this is most definitely not the practiced modern medical “norm.” Why is this the case, and who should be held accountable for this neglect and irreverent behavior by medical personnel and establishments, who do not adhere to this?

    I could write an entire book about the proven scientific benefits of adequate pain control, but there have already been studies and scholarly articles written ad nauseum in this regard. If these studies and articles were stating that cancer or heart disease could be controlled or prevented with prompt and adequate care, and doctors and hospitals ignored and blatantly defied this advice, our society would be in an uproar. We would demand proper care according to proven, trusted research. Why do we allow this kind of injustice when it comes to pain control? We would NEVER just sit down and allow ourselves to be run over if it were another realm of healthcare that was so grossly negligent. Why are we allowing it in regard to pain care?

  8. frew at 10:35 am

    Men aren’t going to respond as much as women. I think men are more likely to bury their hurt whereas women will voice it. Though in this crisis…I hope the guys get on board verbally.

  9. carolyn cook at 5:27 am

    Third night no sleep this pain is torture. So depressed I cannot stand neing in pain anymore. What to do

  10. Brenda Alice at 10:18 pm

    Thank you for speaking up about the treatment of patients with chronic painful diseases. The DEA interference has caused unreasonable suffering and suicides from those that can’t get pain management and medication. Right now we are being discriminated against and forced to to even find a pharmacist that will fill our prescriptions. I am so ashamed of the medical professionals that I found have lost their compassion and ethics. I am a disabled 59 year old R.N. that had to give up a 20 year career that I loved to live in poverty and constant pain despite the narcotics. The government officials have created a crisis that has patients treated as criminals. Why is the DEA more concerned about hassling legitimate pain clinics instead of making sure patients can get medication that is ordered? Why are they not focused on the dealers,smugglers and meth makers? Narcotics allow me to leave the bed for short periods but I am never without pain. We have a great clip on utube by Ken Mckin on the loss of compassion that should be required for all. Pharmacist Steve blogs show the depth of the problem. Pain can kill in many ways. Why is there no one that cares about the disabled?

  11. Deborah Bainbridge at 7:11 pm

    What has happened to the patients right to pain relief? People are important. People need enough relief from pain to at least do their activities of daily living. I remember when my legs hurt so bad I was always judging to distance I had to move to get somewhere even using a cane. I guess I could have used a wheelchair but I did not WANT to use a wheel chair. I am better after 4 surgeries and 4 years. My new knees have a time limit that I can stand still on them. I take ibuprofen 800mg every 6 to 8 hours. I have a few tramadol left that I save for busy times. In the winner.yet ,when I sit around more, my knees feel almost normal. Now that spring is here ,I want to do some work in my gardens to also help loose the weight I gained during the winter, I feel my knees more. My new hip is GREAT! They want to give me a new left knee replacement even thou it is it is only 6 years old. I am afraid of the pain. I remember how it was with the original surgery . I am trying to put off more surgery. Please allow people to be comfortable. Pain really messes up a person’s life.

  12. paita at 11:35 am

    pss,,However,,after reading this Dr.s report futher,,jmo,,the words like epidemic hardly defines 4% of human beings over 26 + years of age who according to the 2012 National Drug Control Strategy,,who use someone else prescription or there own for non medical reasons,,,4% out of 550 million chronic pain suffers hardly justify’s ,”epidemic,,”..Furthermore,,after doing a lot of research for a report on chronic pain,,this whole mess perpetrated on responsible chronic pain people is the D.E.A. fault, plan and simple! In every report,they refer to our MEDICINES as drugs,,they refer to epidemics drug abuse in every category of ,,””Drug Demand Reduction Program,”,,,The program was set-up in the late 1990’s,,and fully functioning starting 2003,,,The D.E.A,, got there butts chew’d out for absolutely no progress on their ,”war on drugs,” basically,,and using the tax payers money for salaries,luncheons,etc,,but not using it to actually reduce drug activities,,soooo,,,here comes the D.E.A. after the easiest targets,,the sick,,the doctors in their own country,,instead of going out of the country,,because the D.E,A’s isn’t very welcome in any countries anymore because of all there human abuses,,,They got their butts chew’d out for having no data to prove they had done anything for this ,”war on drugs,” sooo in comes Michele Leonhart with this preconceived ideation that the D.E.A. must show ###’s,,data,statics of this ,”Drug Demand Reduction Program,”,,and the easest way to do that is,prescription MEDICINES,,and the people&,doctors who help us chronic pain people,U don’t believe it,,look it up yourselves,,in the ,”Audit Report Department Of Justice Drug Reduction Activities,,”03-2012,,,Then check out the 2012 National Drug Control Strategy Report,” its all-in there folks,,The assault on us legitimate chronic pain suffers/doctors is about proving data,tax payers monies,and proven the worthiness of the D.E.A.by the numbers.’,,,it has NOTHING to do w/our welfare,or humanity obviously,or humane treatment of the peoples with chronic pain,,nothing!!!check it out yourself,,,they are torturing us,, for 4%,,,sickening but true,,,lets hope the U.N,,,,can help us,,,gods speed,,,paita,’

  13. Paita at 9:02 am

    THANK GOD!!!!!!!!!!!,, and for real here Ed,,,thank u,,,for publishing and writing about all these articles about the quest of all chronic pain people,,thank u Ed,,,,