Democratic Candidates Amplify CDC Message on Opioids

Democratic Candidates Amplify CDC Message on Opioids

The three Democratic Presidential candidates generally mirror the CDC’s message about over-prescribing of pain medication being the driving force behind the nation’s opioid epidemic.

Vermont Senator, Bernie Sanders, pointed to the pharmaceutical industry, and doctors who he believes prescribe too many pain medications. Sanders says the problem is the sheer volume of pain medicines, which drives heroin addiction.

“I think we have got to tell the medical profession and doctors who are prescribing opiates and the pharmaceutical industry that they have got to start getting their act together. We cannot have this huge number of opiates out there throughout this country where young people are taking them, getting hooked, and then going to heroin.”

Like Sen. Sanders, former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, focused on doctors who she says prescribe too much pain medication and that is what creates heroin addiction.

“We have to do more on the prescribing end of it. There are too many opioids being prescribed, and that leads directly now to heroin addiction.”

Clinton has proposed a $10 billion plan to combat opioid addiction and alcohol abuse.

Former Maryland Governor, Martin O’Malley, shared the same views, noting opioid addiction is a “huge public health challenge” that has “taken far too many of our citizens.”

“We need to rein in the overprescribing,” O’Malley said.  “That’s what I said to my own public health people — ‘What would we do if this were Ebola? How would we act?'”

O’Malley has proposed a $12 billion plan to address addiction and over-prescribing of pain medications.

The candidates’ positions on opioids mirror that of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which recently announced it has opened a second period for public comment on its controversial Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.

Patient advocacy groups mounted great pressure on the CDC because many believed the guidelines were developed behind closed doors and without input from people who suffer in pain and need opioid medications.

The public comment period opened December 14, 2015, and closes January 13, 2016.

To comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=CDC-2015-0112-0001, and follow the instructions for submitting comments (NOTE: “Comment Now” button in upper right corner of screen).

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Authored by: Staff

There are 34 comments for this article
  1. Sandy Auriene Sullivan at 8:24 am

    Dr Rodrigues,

    Over the years I have learned to adjust my own back. I’m hypermobile so stretching has to be done carefully or I can injure myself. Massages. YES. Heat. YES. Gentle traction on the neck? YES. I do all of these and more but it doesn’t remove the pain completely enough to not need medications.

    I have a posture pump too for cervical. Had chiropractors teach me many things over the 3 decades I have seen them. In fact they were too hard on my neck.

    This week I have started to teach the wife of a man whose chin is inline with his toes and that’s murderous on c5-c8 and the top of the t-spine. posture pump is great for getting the chin back in – but even if one doesn’t have it available – or family to help – a really hot towel rolled under the neck giving it a high C arch and held for 30 seconds then flat – then repeated over 5-10 minutes per day will help pull his chin back in – even if it won’t give him the C back in his neck.

    There are several techniques is one has family to help that can use the above towel method plus gentle traction and using lidocaine on the neck. The simple act of holding the weight of the head, keeping natural form can ease pain too.

    IT just doesn’t last but used with opiate therapy one gets better relief. In my friend’s case he has excessive spinal fluid – receives at least one spinal tap per year. The pressure in his neck and head is one reason he’s slouched over and pushing his chin forward. He will still need his 12hr meds but he’ll look less terminally ill. [he does look like someone terminal. the pain is so severe].

    Chronic myofascial pain is curable but many other things are not. Many of us with spinal problems likely suffer chronic myofascial pain which can be ‘cured’ and relieved with proper massage – hitting all the right pressure points and getting the myofascial to release. It is out of reach for so many of us. I’m using a Christmas Mastercard gift card for a 90min massage. Last was over summer.

    To Heather,

    I didn’t think NPR was being unfair; just wanted to ask the question. BTW the GOP congress is questioning the guidelines now. Though I am very much pro-Sanders; help from the GOP is not going to be shunned. Thanks for your reply!

  2. Kristine (Krissy) at 3:02 pm

    Annette: Unfortunately it isn’t just the democrats, but the government in general is just hearing what its own agencies are saying. I am going to stay on board with the democrats (for me, Bernie) because I believe they will listen better when our statements come out and we are given more press. At least that’s my hope. I am so sorry to hear that your daughter has CRPS. The sheer number of people with serious chronic pain diseases is quite incredible. I wish the best for her, you and your family.

  3. Annette Merkley at 12:03 pm

    I was on board for the Democrats until I read this. As the parent of a daughter who has suffered and had her life taken away by CRPS, I know how hard she struggles with getting the meds she needs to survive and function on a semi-normal basis. Opioids are the ONLY thing that works. She is careful with her pills…tries not to use them…tries to save one or two for those days when the pain brings her to her knees. With these guidelines people like her will only suffer more…making it harder to get these much needed drugs causes more stress which causes more pain. These candidates need to do some research before jumping on the CDC bandwagon and see how much grief this is going to cause!

  4. Candy at 8:37 pm

    It is extremely disturbing to find that a govt faction wants to control what medications a medical professional prescribes for a chronic pain patient. Cancer organizations were started by those suffering cancer or their family members, children with disabilities are represented by their families in fighting for rights but people in chronic pain are in a quandary due to the govt deciding what they will allow these people to do about their pain. Years ago when pain was not the monkey on my back I had no idea what patients were going through when I was their nurse. Pain?;Won’t a Tylenol do? I watched doctors prescribe 325mg Acetaminophen to a child with an entire craniofacial reconstruction. Their facial skin was pulled forward and bones were split to rebuild the facial bones. Back in their room for recovery these children screamed until their voices were hoarse and the medication allowed on their chart was Tylenol. As a mother I knew the sound of a child in pain. I made it my business to talk with those doctors about the trauma these children went through due to pain. 30 years later doctors are discovering that pain is not necessary for anyone. I’m in the percentage of patients now who could not get out of bed or stay dry eyed if I didn’t have a fentanyl patch. I sometimes must use break through medicine but if I’m catching up to my pain I don’t want to become cloudy due to an excessive amount. Many pain patients gave learned to handle their pain and work with their doctors but in the last 2 years I am now being urine tested every month and owing 20% of $140. Doctors are not necessarily doing what’s best for their patients they are trying to stay out of the scope of the federal govt who may come down on them and take their license. The CDC cannot determine what is best for pain patients without having those patients in the board with suggestions. I am not a crack addict or a heroin addict shooting in service station restrooms. I am a retired RN in pain who still has a life left but refuses to lie in bed in tears due to govt control over Ned’s that were developed to combat pain. It’s apparent that the govt can look affective by taking meds from patients than failing to stop the influx of heroin over the border. It’s obscene to think that as a medically scientific nation we’ve come this far only to cash in due to fear of getting a coarse cut drug off the street.

  5. Terry at 4:48 pm

    Krissy , Heather, Dr Rodrgues has his name here linked to his web site. Click his name and it directs you to his web site. http://www.drstephenrodrigues.com/
    When your pay check comes from certian things. This of course is what most will promote.
    I had an Acupuncture Doctor as a primary Dr for roughly 2 years. He flat told me because of my actual damaged nerves. Proven with Emg’s and more.. Acupuncture would not help me. He was the first Dr to prescribe me an opiate. He also had an in house pharmacy. He tried many cocktails of alternative meds first.. He flat told me his in house pharmacy/prescribing was a big part of his profits.. Opiates had a VERY LOW profit margin. Where the alternatives had a high profit margin.. The alternatives are the FAIL FIRST medications.. Due to high profits for Doctors and Drug companies.. Think we have to keep in mind how many people may comment .But is profitable to comment for them.. I expect more and more in the future will be against opiates who comment all over…:P Reality is Opiates and the use of booze is roughly 10,000 years old .. Used for a long time… I always mention, If everything was SO GREAT. Why aren’t dentist using this for patients.?? Nerve pain is very real… Everything they try is to some how cut off the pain signal.. Or dull it..

  6. Kristine (Krissy) at 2:14 pm

    Heather, good for you. I agree wholeheartedly!

  7. Heather at 10:59 am

    Dear Dr. Rodrigues,
    With all due respect, I have had massage, physical therapy and trigger point therapy. While they are beneficial, their effects are limited. I have cervical spondylosis, and I believe the alignment of bones also feeds into the tension of the soft tissue in my case. I’ve had cervicogenic headaches and they’re nothing to sneeze at.

    I felt amazing after walking out of physical therapy. Then, a day or two later, the stiffness would creep back in. My copay for physical therapy is $60 per visit and my deductible is $2,000. It is not at all affordable or practical to see a physical therapist every day or two. Nor could your schedule accommodate your patients if there were many more like me.

    Why not use all tools available? Why does it have to be JUST your discipline? It’s not going to work for all of us. The rest of us need access to what works. The diversity of treatments is important, because the population of chronic pain patients and their complaints are diverse.

    My mother has severe osteoarthritis that was cutting her spinal cord. She has had surgery on both her lumbar and cervical areas. She needs a second surgery on her cervical spine because of the aggressiveness of the osteoarthritis. I watched mom suffer for years while doctors told her that it was all in her head. SHE DESERVES TO BE TREATED COMPASSIONATELY. One doctor finally did imaging and had her scheduled for surgery within a month. Now, the medications that help her, that give her some quality of life… are in the crosshairs of people who think all pain patients are addicts.

    Their focus is wrong. I watched my mother all these years get denied help and if I have to do it again, I don’t know what I’d do. I just… don’t. I know how I hurt. And I can’t imagine how she hurts. And there’s a point I know when suicide becomes more attractive than living with the pain.

    Compassion and treatment options are going to save lives.

    Frankly, you’ll rarely have a patient who will say to your face that you’re not helping them. Most of us will slip away quietly. Some of us will give into wishful thinking. Some of us WILL be helped. But I know from experience how hard it is to be forth-coming with the almighty doctor. I’m not saying that what you do isn’t helpful, that it isn’t beneficial… but I’m saying that when it’s not beneficial, you’ll probably be the last one to hear it from the patient’s own mouth. I say this respectfully… and because I’m one of those patients who struggles to speak up.

  8. Kristine (Krissy) at 4:25 pm

    Dr. Rodrigeus, How can this be true for all of the people all of the time? Some people are born with conditions, some get Juvenille RA in their childhood years, some young people get injured and some of us have so many linked or not-linked diseases we couldn’t be touched by deep tissue manipulation – even at the start. I understand what you say, but I don’t understand why you don’t mention, in your opinion, the “some people.”

    You cite your findings in the archives of medicine. That troubles me; certainly some archives are still spot-on truths, but some of us would already be dead without modern medicine. When one’s base disability leads to systemic breakdown because of complications of that disability, we become beyond the measures of natural medicine.

    I know things like Yoga, message, chiropractice (for some) is great. But like I mentioned in a comment before, since many of these things are not covered by insurance, people without means, or people on a disability wage, cannot afford them. I used to really appreciate my chiropractor when all I had was Fibromyalgia. He studied it and was a very helpful physician. I was 30 years old then (a former athlete). But now when a chiropractor touches me I am further broken, so those days are over.

    I can’t altogether disagree with you. I believe many of us would be so incredibly thrilled not to be taking a handful of pills several times a day, and further, be feeling like our treatment plans were “healthy.” As it is now, we worry about what goes into our bodies because we know it isn’t natural. But it is not practical to assume what you say will help many of us, or that it would have even in the early years of our diseases.

  9. trudy myers at 4:11 pm

    The rationale they are using-what if it were ebola? well ebola doesnt help anyone!!! If you take severe pain patients and make it where they cannot receive the very thing thay need to have any quality of life, your going to see suicides. What about those lost lives? I know I wouldnt be able to make it without my meds

  10. Stephen S. Rodrigues, MD at 1:58 pm

    This is what is not being discussed. The cause, source, location and the treatments for soft connective and muscle tissue pain problems.

    A few scientists fractured the foundation of science about 60 yrs ago. They literally broke a natural law of biology which opened a sinkhole, a Swirling Vortex of Death and Doom. Most elderly have been sucked in and are crying out for help in pain and misery.
    The muscle system and soft tissues is the only one that can cause your body to whine, ache cause all kinds of pains, misery and stiffnesses.
    Muscles need to be kneaded, massaged and stretched out on a daily and weekly basis.
    Forces applied over time and effort is the only way to pay this debt. Hands-on, leverage, traction, yoga or needling.
    If we do not give our muscles their daily doses of kneading and stretching, we will build up a knead deficit. Natural healing is the only mender of muscles.
    The kneading deficit of a 30 yr old can be replace in a few physical therapy sessions. The deficit of a 40 y/o = 30-40 visits. For a 50 yr old will take 30-60 sessions and for a 70 yr old will take >100 sessions of PT.
    Muscle will collect and store this Kneading deficit for as long as you are alive.
    A knead deficit can not be taken away by any combination of pills. NO human can that this debt away with a knife.

    I believe there are ~5 Stages of Muscle Failure. The higher the knead deficit the sicker the muscles then they will began to die or fail. Once a critical density has been reached certain things will happen.
    1. Examples of localized muscle kneading deficit, stage 3-4 illnesses are pain in the headache, neckache, jaw ache, hipache, thumb ache, backache or wrist pain.
    Severe, stage 4-5, localized muscle failure illnesses are Migraine, Trigeminal Neuralgia, CTS, TOS, IBS, DM neuropathy.
    2. Stage 5 organ system failure problems would be RSD, Dysautonomia and bedridden pain problems. Eventually see secondary to severe localized muscle failure on MRIs are degeneration, bone-on bone.
    3. Examples of diagnosis that are used to describe muscle kneading deficiency or localized muscle failure are arthritis, nerve pain, joint pain, poor circulation and neuralgias.
    Knead deficit can even be the contributors to Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Hypertension and DM foot ulcers.

    Medical scientist in government are using this “broken foundation.” They have no clue that it is broken. To save money they took away all of the treatments for muscle failure. They call them luxuries and the government will not pay for your massages or your spinal or joint adjustments which may cost 100 dollars.

    They will pay for the most destructive, disabling, unnatural, illogical, unscientific and dangerous surgeries to replace a hip, knee or back @ 100,000 dollar. They will pay for lifelong narcotics @ 2000k/y.

    They will not pay for the cure which is full forced PT. They do not want you to get addicted to massages and PT. Duh??!! I wonder who set this up?

    Follow the path started by our most profound healer – Hippocrates; diet, breath, sleep, knead, stretch, massage, heat and exercise. Start repaying your Kneading Deficits. Remember this deficit will not disappear all by itself. You body needs you to and assisting Kneaders and needlers to help.

  11. Stacey at 12:53 pm

    I am so sick of the government thinking they are Dr’s! What they are doing is inhumane and WILL result in more suicides There area many suffering with horrible pain from injuries and disease. The guidelines are ridiculous and will only result in people looking to the streets for relief or committing suicide because they can no longer take the pain. I wonder if this is what they really want, for all of us that are in chronic pain to just die? They have pillaged SS so many times without paying it back and now while they pay into a different retirement system and sit there with their silver spoons they are thinking about how much more they can take from the average American who is barely making ends meet. We need to vote EVERYONE of them out of office and send a very stark message that they do in fact work for us and they had better remember that! Also they can take those anti psychotics and shove them, this is not acceptable treatment for chronic pain!

  12. BL at 11:32 am

    Terry, the objective with tighter restrictions was to reduce the number of deaths and that is being accomplished. When you compare the number of Americans that people say suffer from chronic pain and can’t get care and meds due to the restrictions and the number of Americans that let their voice be heard to politicians, those that voice their opinions to politician are very small. No politician is going to do anything that will affect the restrictions that we now have that has reduced death and those getting addicted. I also don’t see any politician doing anything that would make it easier for chronic pain patients to get care and their meds when, with the exception of a small number, chronic pain patients are receiving care and meds. Our only hope is to try and stop tighter restrictions from being added.

    Less than 500 people have commented on the CDC Proposed Guideline. If as many people were being negatively impacted by the FDA Guidelines of 120 mg as some say, there would be a much larger number of comments. It will be interesting to see how many people have commented at the end of the period.

  13. Terry at 9:42 am

    BL Pain is the nations biggest problem. The reason opiates have become a problem is because they do WORK to relieve pain. Booze was also used for centuries. Combined,pain patients voice to the candidates should help change their views. I mentioned maybe writing Ben Carson because he wants to end Obama/Hillary care. Ben mentioned the Opiate problem and also blamed Doctors..I believe he would be the one to also mention this will cause suffering with people with proven chronic pain….. The whole Behavioral therapy rehabs- and how they will deal with criminals.. Basically is copying Portugal programs…It appears…… Most bills and laws are written in back rooms. An sold to the public with politicians. —- Publications and people speaking out already. Are making some rethink how they are going to do all this. —

  14. Heather at 2:43 am

    Sandy,
    It’s not that the NPR is not being fair. They reported on what the democrats had to say because the democratic debate was on Saturday. When I heard that part of the debate, I was pretty sure I’d be seeing something from NPR.

    I don’t think we’ll get clarity from the Republicans. There are other issues, like terrorism and gun control, that have wider interest. It actually took a long time for the democrats to get around to a response about pain medications. I’ve been following both Bernie and Hillary.

    I strongly think the Republicans will be even more naive and unhelpful. I supported Bernie, and I still want to, but I’ve been hurt deeply because I expected so much better from him. I like Hillary but she doesn’t go far enough with other issues. Bernie is straight-forward, no-nonsense. Can we all write to his campaign and let him know that chronic pain patients have been caught up in the issue of drug abuse — that we are not all drug abusers and that the medications have had very positive impact in our lives when used as the doctor directs.

    For me, the reason the issue is so important for me is that my medication allows me to continue to work. I’m very fortunate in that. Not having the medication would mean I would be unable to work, period. I’m able to do some dishes in the evenings and be more active physically and socially. My quality of life has dramatically improved from before I got my diagnosis and appropriate treatment!

    Chronic pain is REAL as we all know, but we also know that people who don’t have chronic pain can’t quite fathom what our experience is right. That’s why we have to advocate with politicians. We have to share our experience as clearly as we can and we have to try to address them in a tone that will help them to listen… We can’t rave, as upset as we are. We feel desperate because we want to preserve our quality of life… NOT because we’re addicted. When we communicate to people who don’t live with chronic pain, we have to do it through a filter understanding that they may be biased to begin with, looking at us as if we are addicts. It’s not fair, but we need to communicate clearly and carefully if we want to continue to have access to medications that improve our lives.

  15. BL at 10:01 pm

    Terry, politicians that are also physicians are as strict if not stricter than the others when it comes to opiates. And you have to remember that they are looking at the Greater Good. When you go by those that are vocal and visible, those with drug problems far outweight the small number of people that are having problems getting adequate pain management and their meds. The estimated number of chronic pain patients that you see in articles has nothing to do with those that take opiates or with those that aren’t receiving adequate pain management.

  16. Kristine (Krissy) at 5:55 pm

    Sounds wonderful, Dr. R. But natural healing has become as much or more expensive than seniors on disability can afford. It is an ongoing effort, and many of us have been out of the exercise thing for too long and our bones are broken. If I had known about natural process healing when I was a young athlete and an addict to exercise, I would have kept going and delved right into that world. Now it’s unfortunate that many of us can’t afford to even have one message a month.

    Thank you for your comment. It is brilliant!

  17. Stephen S. Rodrigues, MD at 5:32 pm

    Modern medicine has dramatically advanced in the last few decades, especially with the advent of technology. However, my findings in the archives of medicine mostly from reference textbooks, suggest that we have thrown out the baby with the bathwater in the treatment of everyday pain. Modern medicine though it could just forget about a natural law of the human body and get away with it. NOPE. Even the ancients knew better that to defy a trusted ally our perfect God given bodies. They trusted this natural ability like we trust the sun:
    The most common primary cause of everyday aches, pains and stiffness is life and living.
    The most common primary source/location of this type of pain is in the soft, connective and muscle tissues.
    The basic treatments for soft tissue pain are:
    One must engage in a self care program; wellness, sleep, yoga, range of motion exercises, traction, inversion, diet, and stress management.
    Manual labor into muscles and connective tissues stimulation. i.e., massage, spinal adjustments, formal traction, formalized range of motion exercises and active tissue release.
    Inside of the muscle as in Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) needling or injective type stimulation as per dry needling, myofascial acupuncture, CraigPENS or GunnIMS, hypodermic needle stimulation as per Travell, Hackett or Rachlin injections.
    All of the above are delivered in a patient guided, customized and personalized manner.

    The reason why our soft tissues hurt is because of an evolutionary design where the tissues collect and store the stresses and strains of life for future repairs. Soft tissues can only heal from the inside by nature by the application of a “stimulating force” to ignite and fuel natural healing. There are no medications which can accomplish this action. This action can not be cut short with a quick fixing surgery. This is because the sources of the tissue defects are so deeply embedded within the fabric of the muscle fibers. No human being can touch them directly with any modern surgical instruments. The activation of natural healing can only be done with stirring the tissues with kneading, chopping, stretching, heating, unwinding and lots of needling. No medications cannot reach these tissues which is one reason why medications can not suppress or remove these pain signals. It is up to each and everyone of us to actively stay ahead of the collection of stresses in our soft tissues by being vigilant with proactive kneading and stretching.

  18. Geo Sims at 4:44 pm

    It looks like the goverment site may be experiencing temporary problems, so you may also try sending your comment to their recommended email address below…
    “The Regulations.gov Contact Us page is experiencing technical difficulties. Please send any Contact Us inquiries in an email to regulations@erulemakinghelpdesk.com.”

  19. Terry at 4:27 pm

    How about writing to Ben Carson? He has the most connections to the medical industry. being a Doctor himself? The Democrat candidates told personal stories about people dying from addiction. Maybe Ben Carson would mention both sides. Need to stop the drug problem but their are people with Chronic pain.??

  20. Paul at 4:10 pm

    I hope they all know they’re older Americans that might need pain management for their own pain, but when your lying there screaming in pain you will understand why they only will bring you a Tylenol. The abusers went to heroin as prescribed opioids are difficult to get now. . The overdose death rate is through the roof from heroin. . So if your goal was to kill more abusers you have succeeded. . Suicides from real needs patients will be next

  21. Gary Snook at 1:06 pm

    The DEA abd CDC Are Barking Up The Wrong Tree!

    Why has the DEA, the CDC, and PROP for that matter been silent about the tsumani of counterfeit pain medications that has flooded in through our porous borders then talking about overdose deaths? A brief google search yielded a website that offered China White a powerful fentanyl based narcotic they claim is 5-40 times mor powerful than heroin for 7000.00 US dollars per Kilo with a money back guarentee that it will get through customs. https://www.benzochemicals.com/?product=acetylfentanyl
    When you consider that an amount equal in weight to two grains of salt is enough to overdose an opiod tolerant heroin addict, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out where all the overdose deaths are coming from. I say that the DEA and CDC are barking up the wrong tree and that their mandate to protect the American people from outside threats to our health has been an utter failure. They have not been their job and it is now easier to attack pain patients and the doctors than to admit defeat.

  22. myst7 at 12:56 pm

    I sent a message and it isn’t showing on comment page

  23. Dee Green at 12:39 pm

    This is what I was concerned about, when I watched the debate. They sound more like the Reagan era republicans! I thought the democratic party was more in tune with the voters & would seek to address the Pandemic of Chronic Pain (which involves 100 million people, their families & physicians-Voters for 2016) but if they continue supporting the CDC secretly designed “guidelines” , then I will have to reconsider who I will support in 2016! I don’t want “Big Brother” between me & my healthcare provider! The democrats are going to have to decide if they are for the people or the Big Brother policies 😔

  24. Terry at 12:24 pm

    Krissy, I believe the Candidates do know. The behavioral Therapy programs for rehab. The main purpose to to “stop all opiates completely”. Switch pain patients to the alternative..Anti-depressants, Anti -seizure, Anti-Epilepsy. etc. Cocktails.. These are less expensive for insurance. Plus high profit margin for drug companies. WIN WIN for Drug Companies and Insurance companies. Hillary/Kennedy/Obama care is about reducing costs for all medical care. Baby boomers will cost too much.. So Government is scrambling to reduce costs. But NOT hurt profits of the Corporations. Hillary/Kennedy/Obama care is already running deeply in the red. They want to rob Social Security and Medicare again.. Insurance companies are threatening to leave Hillary/Kennedy/Obama care because of the big losses already from it. On the Democrat side. Only Bernie is for legal POT… Which many use as a replacement medication for pain.. —- I think this will be a very tough battle for chronic pain patients who benefit from an opiate.

  25. Heather at 12:13 pm

    I was crushed. Especially by Bernie Sanders not thinking things through critically. It’s hard feeling like you’re invisible. I hate to say I’ve taken it personally, but it affects me… personally. I need to be sure I will have access to the medications that will help me. It stings, to fall into the same category as “drug addicts” just because I happen to have chronic pain. It’s not right and I’m so disappointed in all the candidates now.

    I did write to Bernie’s campaign about this very issue. I wrote weeks ago. I got a generic form response in return that didn’t even address my comment… it made it clear that I’m not going to be heard by his campaign. Saturday’s debate was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me.

    I’m also thinking of my mother, who has aggressive osteoarthritis that was cutting into her spinal cord. She’s had two back surgeries. She has rods implanted. They need to do a revision on the first surgery because of continued degenerative change. The thought that she could be left to suffer because of mis-directed and irresponsible policies… it just crushes my spirit to imagine. My mother is a strong woman who has lived with pain for so many years.

    Politicians need to show me that they’re educated on this issue. That they’re not going to lump chronic pain patients in with drug abusers. Hey, it’s not that they don’t share my viewpoint that hurts… it’s that they’re perpetuating a stigma that anyone who uses painkillers is an abuser. It’s irresponsible and harmful, just so hurtful and mean!

    And they want my vote. Hrm.

  26. Terry at 12:06 pm

    Another thing being avoided. People are not given just and opiate for chronic pain. The last ten years. A big push of adding Anti-depressants, Anti -seizure, Anti-Epilepsy. etc. Cocktails of mixing of all these drugs. Some are specifically meant for conditions like severe manic depression. I can find NO studies of the side effects of mixing these cocktails of drugs. ( Only anti-depressants with morphine.) Many of these drugs were added off label as a pain medication. The military suicide rates have sky rocketed. COINCIDENCE? Suicides sky rocketing since mixing these cocktails of drugs? Many of these same alternative pain medications. Have been given to most of the school shooters. If people review the medications of the school shooters. You will notice again a connection. —- Dr’s also will not add to your medical records. The alternative pain medications giving any one bad side effects. Many of these drugs come with a black box warning for suicide… How can they track bad side effects of these cocktails of mixing so many drugs. Everything now is just being blamed on Opiates… This is a complex problem that hasn’t been studied properly. It is a shame our leaders are just blaming one thing. And from studies funded by the people/companies who benefit from pushing high profit margin drugs. I hope some sanity comes to this. There are many people with proven chronic pain already suffering. I myself have 2 bad emg tests, RSD/CRPS which rates higher the cancer for pain. On the McGill pain chart Dr’s use to determine pain. Also Arachnoidtis. Currently my insurance company refuses completely to pay for any pain medication. I have lost all appeals. The insurance company claims my Doctors have not proven my need for any pain medications. Their ruling of NO payment for medications is good now for 12 months. Look at the money they are saving.. I’ve been forced to pay cash for my prescriptions to many times…. With Candidates proposing 10 and 12 billion dollars. A part of this will be behavioral therapy. John Hopkins is currently studying how well Behavioral Therapy works to stop coffee addiction… << This makes it pretty clear they are going to do all to make money from the Governments 10 to 12 billion dollars.PROP too.. The most out spoken groups about opiates, appears to be those who will make the most money doing these behavioral Therapy rehabs..Warren Buffet just met with Hillary Clinton.. Warren Buffet is a giant investor into health care/ insurance. This will clearly help Warren Buffets profits..Thank you National Pain Report for helping people with chronic pain. Shame chronic pain patients are suffering due to the CHEATS/Druggies/ etc..Appears this will be a hard battle to get Government leaders to mention people with real chronic pain.

  27. Sandy Auriene Sullivan at 11:54 am

    I’d like to ask what are the positions regarding these guidelines by the GOP candidates? Sadly the GOP field is filled with paid for by billionaires so they do not need to listen to us little people. [I lump HRC in there too despite being a Dem candidate she’s funded by big dollar donors not individuals like myself.]

    I hope to see a comprehensive point of view regarding the GOP side on these issues and as my previous comment stated – I personally contacted my candidate Senator Sanders and urge everyone to but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t contact others or those within the GOP who we feel would *hear* us. Thanks again!
    Be fair NPR. Tell us what the GOP has to say! I’ve not heard it. And I work with my state senator on this issue just to raise awareness.

  28. LouisVA at 11:54 am

    I agree that they are getting the wrong info, Kristine. Both of the candidates mentioned are thoughtful, intelligent people and it saddens me that Sanders & Clinton would fall for the bogus “anti-science” being spouted by the CDC and others.

  29. Sandy Auriene Sullivan at 11:48 am

    I’m a long time supporter of Senator Sanders and believe him to be a reasonable man when presented with the facts. I’ve sent a letter to him about the issue at http://www.sanders.senate.gov/contact

    I have no faith Mrs Clinton would be as reasonable when presented with the facts as I do Senator Sanders. He has my vote, my support and several small donations already.

    If there is one person we can convince on the Democratic side about the plight of CPPs and our caregivers it is IMHO Bernie Sanders. He does care about individuals and he won’t take PAC money. He isn’t swayed by billionaires but by people like you and I.

    Please write to him. Please tell him a bit about yourself and why you believe he should review his support of the CDC’s new guidelines. Especially important for the editors of NPR to contact him at that link to explain how these guidelines were done and the conflicts of interest involved. WE ALL ARE IN THIS TOGETHER. Our best chance at having someone reasonable about it is Senator Sanders. He’s fought for the average person for over 50 years. He won’t stop now when presented with the facts.
    Thanks NPR for the heads up. I contacted him straight away to say “please review your support of the CDC guidelines” and filled him in about myself. We need everyone to have input.
    Senator Sanders is an independent who caucused with Democrats in the Senate. He is very different from the current Democrat/GOP field even though he IS running on the ticket to avoid splitting the vote.
    He is a ‘Democratic Socialist’ which is the type of politician for the people that I am used to having raised a family, owned businesses and bought a home at 19 in Australia. Because the so called American Dream exists there. We need it back here. I’m *NOT* paid just honestly believe he will change his view when presented with all the information.

    Thanks!!

  30. dave rosen at 11:23 am

    Everybody should write to all candidates. democrate and Republican. AT LEAST THE TOP 2 IN EACH PARTY SO THEY KNOW OUR SIDE OF THE STORY BEFORE THEY JUMP ON ANY BANDWAGON. MAKING STATEMENTS WITHOUT THE TRUE FACTS IS WHY THIS COUNTRY IS IN THE SHAPE IT IS.
    CDC SOULD BE FOCUSED ON CONTROLING DESEASES, DEA ON STOPPING HEROIN FROM ENTERING OUR COUNTRY, POLICE SHOULD CONCENTRATE ON THE HEROIN DEALERS AND DISTRIBUTORS.
    NOT TAKING AWAY OR REDUCING THE.PAIN MEDICATION THAT ASSISTS OUR CITIZENS AND INJURED WAR VETERANS IN HAVING A QUALITY LIFE THAT REDUCES THE HORRIBLE AGONY THEY LIVE WITH DAILY.
    THEY ARE LIKE BULLIES ON THE PLAYGROUNG. PICKING ON THE DEFENSLESS LITTLE GUY. THEY ARE ALL COWARDS IN MY OPINION, AFRAID TO GO AFTER CARTELLS AND STREET DEALERS. THE HEROIN DEALERS OPERATE OPENLY IN SEVERAL LOCATIONS IN EVERY CITY IN THE COUNTRY. IF THEY SPENT HALF THE MONEY AND TIME ON THOSE CRIMINALS AS THEY DO THE PEOPLE THAT LIVE IN CHRONIC PAIN AND.TAKE OR MEDICINE AS DIRECTED. WERE NOT JUNKIES AND GANG MEMBERS GUARDING OUR STASH.

  31. Opie at 11:18 am

    The funny thing is it seems like only the junkies are getting prescribed anything. While people in true agony are forced to find things on their own because of the pansy doctors letting the DEA bully them around.

  32. Scott michaels at 11:08 am

    WELL THAT JUST CONFIRMS IT. I AM OFFICIALLY GOING REPUBLICAN. WHY CANT THE CDC JUST DROP IT ALREADY. ITS AMAZING CANDIDATES HAVE NO IDEA HOW THE PAIN COMMUNITY FEELS ABOUT THE GOVT BEING OUR DOCTORS AND WHAT PEOPLE IN CHRONIC PAIN GO THRU.
    ALL THEY SAW WAS THE CDC # THAT PROP GAVE THEM, THEY.PASSED IT THE CANDIDATES.
    A REPORT CAME OUT TODAY FROM UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN OPIOID USE IS DOWN 40% WITH TEENS SINCE 2004. THE ONLY RISE IS HEROIN, MAYBE WHILE OUR TROOPS ARE IN AFGANISTAN THEY COULD BURN DOWN THE OPIUM FIELDS. OH WE CAN OBAMA IS FUNDING THEM.

  33. Kristine (Krissy) at 9:32 am

    Clearly the candidates have no clue about what’s going on with opioids and patients. “Over-prescribing” is a word that is getting old. But why don’t they know real facts? Because healthcare has been largely left out of the discussion. I would think after all the healthcare crisis we’ve had over the past few years, and beyond, a presidential candidate would have some narrative ready to go.