Doctors Argue For Better Pain Treatment

Doctors Argue For Better Pain Treatment

By Ed Coghlan.

There’s a growing momentum for returning to what many in the chronic pain community believe is a balance in the discussion on opioid prescribing.  And it’s coming from people trained to treat chronic pain patients.

University of Utah anesthesiologist Perry Fine has treated pain for the last three decades and worries that emphasis on opioid prescribing is hurt chronic pain patients.

In an op-ed published in the Salt Lake City Tribune, Dr. Fine warns that the war on drugs is leading to untreated pain.

In it he writes, “the heartbreak of drug abuse and addiction won’t be solved by preventing patients and their doctors from using and prescribing opioids appropriately and only when necessary as a component of interdisciplinary pain care. The interdisciplinary to serious unrelenting and life-altering pain as practiced in my academic facility and similar centers around the country, has been shown to be the most effective way to sustain improvements in health related and functional outcomes.  It is a lack of insurance coverage, insufficient professional education at all levels, and an astonishingly low level for pain research that has helped to drive inappropriate prescribing of opioids.”

Dr. Fine joins a growing chorus on pain specialists who are frustrated with the binary approach that the government has taken to the opioid crackdown. The people who have been fueling the considerable media and result public attention on the “evils of opioids” have simply given alternative strategies with how to treat pain.

In fact, often they don’t even talk about the treatment of pain–but simply the treatment of addiction.

Dr. Jay Joshi–a nationally known pain specialist in Chicago echoed these themes in a recent article he wrote for Quartz Media that the National Pain Report shared with its readers.

“This deeply misguided, if predictable, response threatens to deprive millions of Americans of relief from persistent, even debilitating pain. Instead of retreating from treating their pain altogether, we should focus on educating doctors on the multitude of safe, effective methods for treating pain in its various forms,” Dr. Joshi wrote.

Both Dr. Joshi and Dr. Fine pointed out more training is needed in the treatment of pain.

Joshi pointed out there are no residencies offered in pain management and estimates that 90% of the “pain specialists” in America have no formal, accredited fellowship training in pain management.

If we may be allowed an editorial note, the commentaries by Dr. Fine and by Dr. Joshi reinforce what we are hearing from dozens of pain physicians, advocates and patients that we speak with. The interdisciplinary treatment of pain must not be reduced to whether opioids are bad or good. The physical and mental health of millions of Americans and their loved ones depend on it.

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

There are 139 comments for this article
  1. Linda Godowsky-Bilka at 11:27 am

    Hi Dr Lawhern, thank you for that Link again in your comment. I read it all and I hope as many who see This, decide to do the same. It sure will explain exactly where we’re at, and why; and how easy it could be to make change happen if something like This, is what the Group rallied around to to make OUR ‘ big statement.
    For those who have been looking,
    The reality of being able to look these folks in the eye and have them listen to us! Real people who are suffering real pain with real-world-circumstances to tell.

    All of you who go, I wish you all the luck in the you all the world! My thoughts and prayers be you!

  2. Jill at 12:59 pm

    The is such a positive and uplifting article to read. My thanks to these doctors for standing up and speaking out.

  3. Richard A Lawhern Ph.D. at 1:13 pm

    For all who have been deserted or forcibly tapered down from their meds by their doctors, a suggestion. The FDA Opioid Policy Steering Committee is holding a workshop on January 30 in Silver Spring MD. They are considering even more draconian and scientifically unsupported regulations of opioid prescribing to add to the atrocity published as the CDC opioid guidelines in March 2016. To attend in person or speak before the Committee, you must apply by January 16th. The session will be broadcast online in real time.

    I have already registered to speak, and prepared verbal remarks and several “leave behind” papers. I encourage others who are able to travel and who understand the injustice being worked against pain patients, to do likewise. It is time these idiots were told by many voices that they’ve got the entire narrative WRONG.

    Details of the session and the measures they are considering are available at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/12/13/2017-26785/opioid-policy-steering-committee-prescribing-intervention-exploring-a-strategy-for-implementation

    Best Regards
    Richard A “Red” Lawhern, Ph.D.
    Co-Founder and Corresponding Secretary
    Alliance for the Treatment of Intractable Pain

  4. Kay at 8:33 pm

    I certainly hope 80% of “new patients” are seen by surgeons and Primary Care physicians … before having to go to a pain management doctor! Where do you get your belief that there is standardized training for all of these so-called pain specialists? I see a pain specialist who is part of a huge group in my state, yes, STATE, and he has ZERO training in such area. He is assigned his position because the Ortho Group simply needed/wanted one.

    Because of this they are now able to advertise “Pain Specialist”, and he is listed as such now, within one of the greatest hospitals in the world! His name comes up all the time as “pain specialist ” within the Hospital.

    Why do I know this? Because when my doctor sent me to him to manage my pain, I walked out of his exam room feeling like I did 30 years ago when I was raped by a stranger! That man didn’t know anything about anything.

    The next BIG pain specialty Group I went to, they first drew my blood and had me pee in a cup, before I even finished my paperwork in the lobby! What the hell!

    I then met with a doctor, and he said “well let’s take you off your pain meds and we’ll start from there”. That was that. 24 hours later or less, I see this big red line climbing up my arm from my wrist! Yup, they drew blood from my wrist. And now I had blood poisoning from them! Had to go back in, get checked out, get a prescription for the poisoning, and that’s the last time I ever went back there!

    All this year.

    Now what? Another so-called specialist, by the way- that requires me to see THERE new psychiatrist as part of seeing this doctor who knows nothing special.

    A human being can only be so gullible you know!

    We are not as dumb as you think we are, when you go to throwing words around as a statement of fact, trust me, we have all been around a block a thousand times that you obviously have yet to travel enough to know that you bring up foolish things we’ve heard over and over again

  5. BL at 1:49 pm

    I wonder if the fact that almost all Pain Management Doctors were not born or educated here might have something to do with so many of them thinking the CDC Guidelines are also aimed at them.

    Doctors in other countries do not receive the same level of training doctors in the U.S. do. They do have to pass,a test before practicing medicine here. But that is not the same a being educated and trained in the medical field in the U.S. Perhaps these doctors view the CDC Guidelines differently because they are not from here

  6. Still fedup formally fedup at 1:39 pm

    I hate to say this but I think our ship has sailed and left us in pain on the docks trying to figure out how to commit suicide without making a mess.The media is starting to shift away from the opioid epidemic and on to other lies they need to promote.They have ran a beautiful misinformation campaign on the horrors of pain meds.We have heard the parents blaming their child’s heroin addiction on the Vicodin they took 7 years prior for wisdom tooth removal,instead of looking in the mirror,we now have an epidemic of states and cities sueing the drug companies for millions of dollars that I am sure if they win settlements the money will be redirected into the pockets of politicians.The rehab industry looks similar to the housing crisis to the same greedy investors,drug addicts are now the ppl to save at all cost,etc.etc.etc. The CDC guidelines are in concrete.My best advice is for ppl who have children to advise them to pursue a career in the DEA,because they have managed to insure their budget will continue to increase and all they have to do is bust some Grandparents and their doctors,I got to take my hat off to them,for sure.

  7. Sonia at 9:37 am

    Opioids is one of those meds that most people’s bodies tends to get use to. That means it takes more of these meds to have the same effect on your pain as they did in the beginning. The government knows this and that’s why they put a max high on them for any given day. They are basically messing with our heads, and bodies. Showing us that there is a treatment for pain then stopping us from using it the way the drug works so it no longer works. So they show us there is a better life with pain relief then take it away so some of those people go searching for their own pain relief in the form of illegal drugs where some end up over dosing. They have created this mess by trying to regulate an industry they know nothing about. So people like me, who don’t go after illegal drugs, a chronic pain sufferer continues to suffer. The government needs to back off and we need real pain management doctors.

  8. Maureen Mollico at 7:47 am

    @StillFedUp You are absolutely correct! We, the very strong and responsible CP community, ‘do not’ believe that folks within us overdose, but that it is the irresponsible ‘user/abusers’ of opioids, that do.
    We are a ‘responsible group’ who wouldn’t think of abusing our meds.
    When you have the disease/syndrome/condition of Chronic Pain… your meds are life sustaining. Just as if you we were Diabetic or Cardiac patients.
    We wouldn’t chance abusing nor losing them.
    Nor do we have a need to abuse them. They do not make us high because our brain/pain works hand in hand with our meds.
    We are prescribed them for pain relief and to give us some form of normalcy, within this very difficult life in PAIN that we live.
    We believe that the abusers are a very separate group of whom mostly OD from Fentanyl, Heroin and/or other drugs mixed with them.
    Not to say that addicts also abuse the meds we are generally prescribed, but if we pay close attention to the stories… you see that it is much greater than what we are prescribed.
    The media has used the word ‘Opioid’ as if that means our mere pain relievers.
    But the true abuse is of much stronger street drugs etc etc. used by folks who have much greater problems and issues.
    Heroin, Fentanyl etc are OPIATES! NOT OPIOIDS. There is a difference.
    THE MEDIA NEEDS TO GET THEIR FACTS STRAIGHT, turn their message in a different direction and stop causing this huge avalanche of negative and devastating effect on our lives.
    While we have compassion, we do despise being grouped in with those folks who have the disease of addiction simply because we are prescribed ‘Opioids’ for pain relief.

  9. Still fedup formally fedup at 1:12 pm

    Reading thru all these posts it still amazes that so many ppl, especially CPPs believe that a good number of ppl die from overdose of their pain meds.Its been my experience that most overdoses are not CPPs,but ppl who steal,buy or fake their pain in the docs office to get the pain meds,and that most deaths include many drugs in their system.I thinks this is evidence of how well the media has convinced the public that all this OPIOID EPIDEMIC is due to us taking meds for pain.This just goes to show you how well the media can shape public opinion and how easy ppl can be shaped to believe everything they hear.SHEEPPL! ARE YOU ONE???

  10. Terry at 9:24 am

    You have hit the nail on the head. The pain management doctor that I go to is a anesthetist, all he ever wants to talk about his my back and the procedures fee offers. He won’t even recognize all of the rest of my problems. I have CRPS, which on the pain chart is at the top of the list, but all he wants to talk about is my back, nothing about my hands my feet my hips my shoulders my neck my toes all of the other things that I am going to a pain management doctor for. Maybe if he would have had some training in pain management he wouldn’t be so oblivious to all different kinds of pain. If you’re going to be an anesthesiologist you should have to take classes on pain management as well. Even if I do his back procedures and it helps my back feel better, the rest of my body is still in agonizing pain and he would want to lower my medication based on my back feeling better. So in my mind training is critical for pain management doctors.

  11. Brent at 5:01 am

    I too disagree, my physicians, pain management as well as PvP, are well trained. There seems to be a ” stigma” to it all thanks to the media, st am, who have capitalized on the illegal use of opiods but have yet to interview and publish accounts of those who do not abuse their meds.

  12. Doug Hilgers at 3:42 am

    Hello Chris-Not that it is to find a provider to administer it :Ketamine has FDA approval for both depression and pain management: None opioid and non-addictive : Abused under the street name “ special K “-It is approved under Meducare upon appeal- I live ina very rural area and providers are difficult to find ( for anything)
    It was studied by the US Army
    In 2008 and now the agent if choice in field trauma /. Pain/
    If You google it, there is a Ketamine Advicacy site with more info-As a retired Nurse, used it over 20 years ago in Burn Care-worth pursueing Chris .

  13. CT at 11:38 pm

    How do we Ban together and get everyone in Congress and Senate to help Fix this . I made 2 Hams for Christmas Dinner and by 7 pm I couldn’t even walk I was so misrible. They have cut my meds I’ve been on for 16 years by the same Dr and then different ones before that for a Few yers. But what they were giving me was working now they have to stop this will lead to something else I’m telling ya.. under ground.. vodka and I don’t even drink.. weed ?? Who knows.. I’m not dealing with the pain I did last night so I could give my family a nice Christmas Dinner

  14. Shelly at 10:49 pm

    As a chronic pain sufferer, I can say there are bad patients out there who DO abuse their medications, but those of us who don’t are getting penalized for their crimes.  The Government needs to stop trying to legislate literally everything in this country.  And this may sound cold or harsh, but if these people are stupid enough to abuse their medications, let them.  You can’t help them by terrorizing all of us.

    There are bad DOCTORS – such as Christopher Mocek in Little Rock Arkansas – that deliberately get patients addicted and then uses that to control them.  He stops being their doctor and becomes their dealer.  (Mocek triple books his appointments – that is nothing but pure greed.)  Doctors like this take advantage of patients, especially those with insurance, so as to to keep them dependent on him.

    And there’s the insurance companies – they like to dictate treatment despite never laying eyes on the patient!  I had to fight for three months with my insurance company to approve a DOCTOR-ORDERED MRI.  Doctors actually SEE and EXAMINE the patient and THEY ALONE shouldn’t have their recommendations questioned by an insurance company. 

    Due to my Narcissistic, abusive now-ex-husband abandoning me for another woman, I had to basically run for my life and I had to change doctors twice.  Each new doctor just HAD to mess around with my medication regimen, despite my former records stating I had been prescribed “x”, which was working for me!  This caused my mental issues to flare, causing trips to the ER.  Despite my pleas not to change my medication regimen, they puff out their chest and insist on doing their own thing which they feel is superior.  The patient gets messed up and aggravates the condition.  Doctors need to get off their high horse.

    I had FINALLY found a medication regimen that was working, but because Government invades the lives of patients because a few make ALL of us look bad, they have made things impossible for the doctors to treat patients properly.  I live in pain EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE because of the fiasco Government has created with the opioid crisis HOAX. 

  15. Jennifer Mitch at 10:44 pm

    Unfortunately, I live in back of beyond. The nearest actual pain management clinic is 3 hours away. A drive I am not able to make due to C-PTSD. I must rely on my PCP for help. The kicker in all this is that I moved here because my last PCP said the desert would help. Not true as there are crazy changes in temperature. I’d love to do something holistic.

  16. Jim at 9:22 pm

    For so long I have been waiting for the truth to come out. I have been living with chronic pain in my lower back and right leg for the last 15 years. Drs. only want to laugh at me when I say how much pain I’m in and now I have lost my job and my families income. Thank you very much big government and doctors who could care less!!!

  17. Angela Lugar at 8:33 pm

    This is a genuine concern I have as I get older and have more concerns with increasing pain. Not treating pain is cruel. I know people are dying from overdosing on opioid medications.
    Are we just going to put the burden on the death industries? Morticians, medical examiners and devastated surviving family members are who are left to deal with our growing problems. These are real issues. There is a compromise somehow. What are possible solutions.

  18. Jacqueline at 4:59 pm

    I stopped taking ixycodone 35 mg 3 – 4 x day in 2009. I started to drink alcohol to knock down the pain and now I am 75 lbs overweight at 55 yrs old. Out of shape and out of options since NO doctors will prescribe them in my city.
    I quit drinking daily but have little pain relief. If not for my son, I would take my life. Some days, weeks, months are neverending torture.

  19. Laura at 3:17 pm

    Early intervention of pain management would be greatly helpful also. I have had CRPS for two years and 8 months and I am just seeing a pain management doctor next month due to insurance reasons. I can’t help but wonder had I been able to have the injections to see if burying the nerve in my arm would lessen my current dibilitating condition. I was refused by the surgeon that was willing to do my surgery almost 2 years ago because I needed to be in pain management first. There are so many broken systems at this time and we are left to suffer. I currently take 50mg of tramadol one to two times a day. I definitely feel my human rights to seek stronger pain medication has been violated. Anticonvulsants are not the answer to pain.

  20. Carolyn Hincher at 2:12 pm

    This is true,persons needing pain medications are not the ones oding. So sad that ones truly needing them can’t get them .

  21. Randy A Cochran at 1:31 pm

    When I was 19 years of age I had motorcycle wreck that resulted with a compound fracture of the fibula and fibula and my left leg wound up being an inch and a half shorter than my right leg between my heel and knee which caused my hips to be at an angle and I never wore corrective shoes,then at age 48, I fell 37 feet off of a house roof and broke and car Ked a bunch of vertebrae in my lower and middle back,as a result I was prescribed oxycodone 10mg six a day and didn’t anusey prescription then a couple of rich Hollywood pricks abuse them and the government decides “We the People” and our doctor’s can’t decide what is the best treatment for ourselves,when I first started on them they made me feel like Superman and I soon realized that I wasn’t that I was still messed up in my back so I started paying more attention to my activities bit the opioids never made me feel “high” if they did I wouldn’t want them being that I don’t like being high,I don’t drink and I don’t smoke marijuana but I have had doctor’s suggest that I try these because they are scared to do there job,and suggested that I try them knowing that those drugs would make me high and potentially let me harm myself further,actually hydrocodone and oxycodone aren’t killing anyone it’s the fentanyl and [edit] that people are mixing in with it that is killing people,there is a lot of folks that or in serious pain and will do anything to stop it and there are too many that are taking advantage of this fact,my doctor moved and my new doctor want help me as a result I have no kind of life can’t play with my grandchildren have relations with my wife I have became mean spirited and combative,grumpy and secretly pray the Lord would just let me die at just 57 years of age I think this is ridiculous,in conclusion yes there are idiots who abuse opioids but no matter what they do there is and always will be idiots that abuse drugs whether they be alcohol,marijauna,tobacco,opioids or something else and as long as there are drugs there will be people who abuse but I do believe that there or way more people that don’t abuse and truly need these medicines,i myself had a completely better quality of life with them than,than without them,thank you for givinge an avenue to vent my frustration

  22. Addict Joe at 12:25 pm

    Physicians do not create addicts. When patients use opioids to get high or sell for profit they are creating the addicts and overdoses and epidemics. With government making decisions about health-related pain they are taking the right of choice away from our constitutional right and god-given right to choose. When someone buys a gun and decides to shoot someone or themselves is not the seller of the gun it is the owner of the gun that makes that choice.

  23. Carol Mateos at 12:08 pm

    I agree a hundred percent. I am one of those suffering with severe chronic pain and because of people abusing that stuff people like me has to suffer. It’s simply just not fair.

  24. Lora Gertsen at 11:54 am

    I moved to Ga 11-2016. My Az doctor knew of my OA, Fibromyalgia and Spinal Stenosis. He prescribed Hydrocodone 5-325 to help me through the day. Now in Ga my new PCP & Rheumatoid Arthritis won’t prescribe it due to the new Government law.
    People like me who have severe pain need help.

  25. Sarah E at 11:43 am

    I suffer chronic pain on a daily do to a birth defect. I have no ball joint in hip. I have DDH. Nothing else can be done. I’ve tried everything for relief. I known my body and what works and what doesn’t. The doctors will not listen. I suffer everyday. The doctors tell me to suck it up. I’m 54 and my hip is crumbling, arthritis, and a curved spine. I DO suck it up. I was born like this. Please Help doctors to get educated about chronic pain. Thank you.

  26. Debby Harmon at 10:57 am

    Thank God. I have been unfairly cut off pain medicine because my Dr. Pressured by government to do so. I tried to tell him I have a right to be treated for my pain and found that my Dr wouldn’t even compromise on the subject. Thanks for understanding that it’s not fair to have a person’s pain go untreated. Keep up the good work.

  27. KELLY M GOODSELL at 9:30 am

    After 6 car wrecks, 3 of which were me being rear ended, with 2 of those being on the freeway at high speeds resulting in severe whiplash. One of the wrecks was a high speed rollover accident, where I rolled 3 times at 85 mph. Then I broke my back in 2015, compound fracture of the L1. Two left knee surgeries and a surgery from severe diverticulitis resulting in the loss of 18″ of my colon. Arthritis in my neck, back, knee and hands. Also have planter fachitis in left foot. So obviously I live in a lot of pain. My medications relieve effectively half of my pain, which allows me to at least get out of bed once they’ve kicked in. I can’t imagine life without the relief they give. I have never doctor shopped, never ran out of meds early, never failed a urine test (which my pain clinic requires) or failed a random pill count. This is over the past 8 years that I have been going to my pain clinic. So the point is it can work and be effective, without everyone becoming an abuser or addict. I was worried at first and relayed this to my Dr., he put me at ease by telling me you may be dependent on the meds, but that doesn’t mean you’re addicted, if you were addicted you would be running out early and doctor shopping etc…

  28. Bon Nyberg at 9:10 am

    Adequate pain management is long overdue! When someone has to watch a member of their family scream in pain because their “caregiver” gave them an ineffective antidepressant which created WORSE problems such as suicidal rants and in some cases suicide itself since the pain was poor-poohed and misdiagnosed, it is obvious that NO relief is being experienced. Entire families are affected by this downward spiral. To then see the affected person turn to alcohol for escape because their doctor does NOT provide proper care, thus causing another health issue, is downright criminal! Blame Pharma, blame doctors as well as pork barrel politicians who spread misinformation, but STOP the madness regarding this lack of respect for the people who truly suffer and look for answers. Make the people who are criticizing the medications that work be deprived and instead undergo the suffering they perpetuate. I think it is only fair that they walk a mile in the shoes of the people who wake to blinding pain,-the ones who are contemplating a permanent escape because they can no longer continue to suffer while their doctors turn a deaf ear. I lived with such a relative. He chose suicide. Irrational doctors took my brother from me. Thanks for piling on the suffering. All the people who create and dispense useless medications with suicide listed as a side-effect should attend the funerals and spend time with the distraught families left behind. Your bigoted unfeeling minds created this problem, FIX IT! Or, you could take Lyrica like my brother and find out for yourself that our bodies, which were created with built-in opioid receptors for a reason, are not helped by head-meds. They worsen the problem! “Break a leg,” as all actors say before a performance, take an aspirin and don’t call me in the morning!

  29. Sachit Manocha at 8:59 am

    Another facet of this debate not addressed most of the time is the fact that the number one malprescribers of opioids are the surgeons and primary care providers. 80% of new patients I see have been given pain medication forever before they are sent to a pain doctor. Surgeons have a “protocol” of writing pain medicines for 3 months before they dump the patient on you. No one needs pain medication for more than a week post surgery unless there is a complication and if there is, that needs to be addressed. Never has there been any education done that explains anything about pain medication. And believe it or not even this is an unfortunate consequence of insurance pressures. Same day surgeries or early discharge, global periods, need by pcp’s to increase volumes to make up for declining reimbursements, insurance pressure to write “OxyContin “ as opposed to “ Butrans “. Well what do you expect? The end result is a patient dependent on medications, no education and dumped on a pain doctor who is portrayed as a “ drug dealer “. “ the pain clinic will take care of you. They have the license, we don’t “ is what they are told.

    And, when I spend an hour and a half trying to educate the patient, the insurance sends a letter saying why do you always bill a level 5 visit on new patients. They threaten to penalize you unless you pay them a settlement dollar amount. Yes sir this has happened to me.

  30. Barbara Bell at 8:48 am

    I have had chronic and acute severe pain for 40+ years and am now on a morphine pump! I’ve tried doing forms of pain treatment, including steroids, nerve stimulator, etc! It’s getting harder to get pain medication to help boost the morphine at times when pain is ecruciatinng! I hope that this issue will improve with more education and training, less media exploitation!
    Thank you!

  31. Katie Simpson at 8:36 am

    As a disabled nurse, and now a chronic intractable pain patient I am pleased to see this issue addressed. What our government is doing is punishing the legitimate patient for an addict’s behavior. I hear many heartbreaking stories sitting in the waiting room awaiting my appointments. I hear the frustration in my Doctor’s voice as he calculates mg’s allowed. Although it’seems an irrational thought I feel guilty for being the victim of an MVA. Yes, grateful to be alive, but again I am faced with a diminished quality of life. Resigned to a couch and seeking other modalities to manage my pain. Many of us feel criminal. It seems we are categorized with the addicts. Maybe there is hope on the horizon.

  32. D.E.A agent mike at 8:35 am

    All this is going to Boil down to is people The Drs being pressured and forced to pain patients getting cut off there pain meds or down where they sent comfortable and where do u think that will lead too”It’s going to lead to a heroin epidemic”For sure 110%! It’s happening right this sec.a long term pain patient taking pain medication for over a year will go throu things that alot of people won’t understand.Besides there horrible pain”All it is is eaither the Government has there hands in the heroin money or they know they can’t stop it so they are blaming it on prescription drugs.Almost 99% of any opioid overdose is from a pain patient getting cut down or off there pain meds cause of there Dr being pressured or scared and then the patient has to resource from The streets and then Bang! You have the deadly combination of eaither somone doing both to stay comfortable or not having there meds and going to the heroin from being cut off! That’s it.that’s why u see it go from pain meds to heroin not because the want tooo like they are saying ohh..Pain meds get people adicted to heroin..NOT SOO”.You so called smart people need to get your heads out of your rears and wake up! You can’t fix somthing that’s not broke”

  33. Amy L Mielcarek at 8:27 am

    I would like to thank both doctors for having the courage to address the chronic pain issues that many patients suffer from. I agree that many people, including primary care providers, need further education about the effects of pain and the correlation between true pain and the disease of addiction. I broke both my tibial plateau last year and even my pain management doctor is afraid to prescribe anything that would help my chronic pain. To make it worse I’m having problems with the plates and screws in my legs and I have other pain problems as well. The new Ohio laws have​ me scared. Am I going to have to live with daily pain for the rest of my life using medications that are ineffective? I’m only 51!

  34. Christopher Blevins at 8:18 am

    Hi there I agree with this I have 5 partially herneated discs in my back have been referred to pain management have severe nerve damage in both legs and it hurts so bad to where I can barely walk some days I’m only 39 and I have legitimate mri’s and have had both knees operated on physical therapy and because if the way things have been going I have been basicly forgotten about because insurance is to expensive and the drs that rare good doing the pain management basically have there hands tied the bad ones are giving the good ones a bad name and can’t do there job effectively I would give anything to b taken care of but since everybody else out there has SCREWED it up for people like me…… I just get to suffer everyday and try to provide for my family in pain I wouldn’t wish on my enemies and I have no were to turn no were to go no help!?!? So my question is what does a person in pain do when they have numerous referrals to pain management but u can’t get help??? Any answers would greatly help and thank u

  35. Stacy at 7:35 am

    I would like to add that it would also help if insurance company were mandated to have better coverage for people that suffer with pain. I have fibromyalgia, no I haven’t taken opioid yet. I’ve asked my Dr what more I can do for my pain and was offered but choose not to because of the bad rap they are getting. From my insurance I get so many chiropractic care a year which after that I have to pay for. I get so many physical therapy sessions a year. And then they will help pay for prescription meds. But if you are lacking in supplements such as vitamin D or others that may play a part in elevated pain even if you have a prescription insurance doesn’t cover that. They don’t cover a TENS unit if you have a prescription for that any more. Instead of me listing everything that helps that they don’t cover for pain I will just sum this up. Insurance companies could help out a bit more since there is a large group of chronic pain suffers and all insurance are willing to help pay the cost for is meds. What do you think people will agree to take the pain away? The cheapest route out of pocket.

  36. Kathy Smith at 7:27 am

    I went thu a Tornado April 27,2011, I was sucked up in Tornado,my Husband died,God let me live I had Injurious from head to feet,,both of my feet were the worse,,I’m Blessed to be able to walk to day!! I live with pain every day,I live in Jacksonville AL! Why can’t I get the medicines I need to help me?I’m told by DRs can’t write pain Meds these pills would help me get thu the day,,

  37. Michael Flaherty at 7:04 am

    I was taking combination of oxycodone and oxycotin 180mg. I had mri’s and upper dorials. I was under care by my family doctor who monitor and tried other solutions. Now that the war is on against opiods, my family doctor was forced to send me to a pain clinic. The first words utter by the doctor (and I have a lack of respect) was they will not prescribe any more than 60mg a day. A doctor was to look after their patients and fight for them. I am down to 100mg. I am having a rough time but do able. When my meds are low my pain is constant. Changes my personality. I have always respected my medicine and took it as prescribe. My family doctor will attest that I don’t abuse it. I don’t get high it does what it purpose was for.
    The cost now is crazy because I see the pain guy once a month at a cost. I was getting a 3 months supply before.
    I hurt my back in Vietnam. I was a combat infantry soldier who received purple heart for leg wound. I am 69 years old.
    Thanks to the VA I am try accupuncture, Tim’s meter, back brace. I still get the pain over the easiest task. Sweeping, standing etc.
    I am available for more conversation.
    Thank you for letting me vent.
    As soon as you say you take oxycotin or oxycotin your looked at as a druggy.
    I worked for Verizon for 34 years. 18 years as management

  38. Denise at 7:01 am

    I am so sick of this false narrative about pain patients being addicts. We are sitting on the tsunami of opioid Addiction as honest pain patients are now rushing to Heroin for some relief, and dying. I was yanked, (literally) after taking Oxy for 20 years for pain From 9 back surgeries. I had voluntarily titrated myself down to only 2 40 mg pills a day to manage my pain. My doctor gave us 6 weeks to go off with no medical supervision. I had never gotten a prescription early or failed a urine test. I ended up in the ER three times for a dystolic BP over 200, vomiting and the ilk. It’s been 4 months, I don’t miss Oxy but I miss having a standard of living without any pain, a body completely out of balance with all types of symptoms. Doctors should have stood up to the DEA before now. I hope this ends up being the largest class action suit against the Doctors and the DEA because it was so mishandled it is beyond belief.

  39. Abbie at 6:58 am

    I had severe stenosis on both legs n no one helped me with pain I four facet joint nerve blocks that only lasted for a few weeks finally had back surgery n still in recovery mode quality of life means allot as we grow older they can’t stop treating people who genuinely needs pain controll to prevent suicide

  40. Doug Hilgers at 6:35 am

    Seriouse concern as to why the mixed use drug and often abused Ketamine is so difficult to locate Providers who are enthusiatic and may provide the induction protocal for CRPD or other neurological disorders ( ie. Nueroma) : it is , after all approved , at leadt black box by the FDA : now in general field use by the USArmy ( plus a benzo) : is excedingly inexpensive BUT ??????
    Help !!!!!

  41. douglas pitchford at 6:18 am

    As a board certified and fellowship trained pain management physician, I agree that fear has caused primary care physicians and emergency room physicians to avoid prescibing opioids for pain control. I disagree that there is no formal training for pain management.

  42. Alice Ambrose at 6:17 am

    Wait till something drastic happens to those opposing the use of these and medical marajuana drugs. That alter the brain so a person can deal with the chronic pain due to the many surgeries that cause scar tissue and arthritis in the spine.
    Who will show mercy to them when they are in dire need of pain relief.? Those opposing are extremely ignorant to what it is to live in such horrific chronic pain day in and day out.
    Total ignorant of the reasons for needing pain relief.

  43. sheri maguire at 5:36 am

    I’m a chronic pain patient I broke my neck twice and the second time at work. I now have severe spinal stenosis badly and need surgery. Without my strong iouods and speaking with my pain doctor I’d be bedridden I’m 58 and I get around fairly well because of being on SSI which I appreciate I’m not sure I can afford this surgery. I started writing a book on chronic pain versus addiction. At one point prior to my severe paralyzing inquires I was taking illicit drugs. Now I take as prescribed. I agree doctos beed to be trained their are people who sell medications which eventually lead to abuse and addiction. They don’t suffer from chronic pain. I believe a big problem are these dates. It angers me very much because I’m unfortunately disabled and have worked with kids and PTSD and people with PTSD. I’ve gotten my degree and miss my work. Please understand if you have e chronic pain you really don’t teach euphoria just gain the a ability to live and function. If you don’t have e a serious ere injury you get high. I use to live e. There’s a large different outcome. I’m grateful for my pain doctor . I need my 6 7th surgery I list count for spinal stenosis badly which can lead to my biggest fear being parLyizied. My back and neck are several ere I stopped driving what if I hurt a mid I can’t turn my name. Opioids have changed my life for the better. Before you cut tbis help learn the facts. I have severe depression pain severe PTSD anxiety sleep disorder agoraphobia and a few .ore. Please think before acting. And to those who came believe in karma Happy holidays. Godspeed

  44. Tamara Guice at 5:16 am

    yes I do have to call me Aunt you people out there that are abusing them that’s their problem pain chronic pain can be unbearable and makes life miserable and we are being ignored and judged by the idiots on the streets that is not fair most of us that have been on pain medication do not abuse that we follow the directions of the doctors so we can live life more normally not completely but more and better some of us can’t work some of us can’t get out of bed if it’s not for medication but we don’t abuse it but yet we are being ignored and judged by the idiots on the streets

  45. Kevin L. Norman at 4:46 am

    I’ve been saying for years, I even tried to apply for a grant at the Robert Wood Johnson faculty about pain. You must combine opioids with some medical supplies like EMS neuromuscular stimulators for muscles, tens units for nerve pain, moist heating pads to help calm down pain. You can not stop the use of opioid but you have to find a better way more safer way to deal with this treatment.

  46. Travis Smith at 4:23 am

    I have seen the two sides of opioid use. For one family member it helped with pain from nerve damage. Another family member is hooked on the pain drugs and have seen what it’s done to their lives. My mother has Parkinson and I am grateful she has pain meds which give her major relief. Maybe pot is one way to control the issue.

  47. Kathy Boriack at 4:14 am

    My husband is a disabled veteran. Spinal cord patient and chronic pain patient. I have been fighting with VA Fresno for about a year.
    We need a lawyer. Any recamendation? Have used all channels. Called crisis line twice.

  48. Linda at 4:01 am

    Unfortunately it’s not only the education that’s needed right now. Aren’t most physicians doing all they can to prescribe the least amount of opiod pain relief as possible to avoid some severe penalties?

    Doctor have so much on the line to lose, so I feel like they’re in the midst of a real conflict of interest internally.

    In one case, a physician is sending all pain patients to Mental Health in lieu of prescribing altogether. He says that the government has crafted these guidelines that have taken on a life of their own prior to any kind of vetting. They have allowed things to go rogue and wrong and has destroyed the doctor, the patient, and that relationship.

    I get that we need more education for doctors to learn pain management. I just haven’t figured out how to get

  49. Brenda Fields at 3:02 am

    I am one of said patients that gets limited amount of medication for pain.have taken pain medicine since95 and probably built up a tolerance.having just receiving back surgery from c4 to s1, went from 20mg.of pain medicine every4hrs to 10mg,5a day.suffered unbearable and went to e.r probably ten times.I don’t have that kind of money.used ice packs,tens machine,heat.nothing touched it.Whoever makes the call on opioid allowance has same amount of pain I did.sorry.

  50. Badbackbarry at 2:58 am

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  51. Dr. Mark W. Helfand at 2:52 am

    Hallelujah! I’m not a very religious person, but hearing voices of reason make me want to thank G-d. I am a retired dentist and a chronic pain patient. Hearing the politician’s and so called “doctor’s” solution to the overdose crisis scares the h-ll out of me. If my doctor and/or pharmacist decided to listen to those medically uneducated or misguided people, I would be forced to make a decision that I preyed would never come. I have already tried the alternative therapies at the beginning of my chronic pain diagnosis. They didn’t help. It has taken me close to twenty years to reach my level of relief. (Which isn’t perfect but at least livable) I would be left with joining the true crisis group by buying pain meds on the street or doing the previously unthinkable and ending my life. Saying that will make most people think I’m crazy and disregard what I’ve said. Those are the people that don’t live in the kind of pain I do. The people with severe chronic pain completely understand what I’ve said. So I’ve become more religious. I prey that the voices of sanity mentioned in this article are heard and believed. And I prey that the crisis within the crisis will end for the chronic pain sufferers like me.

  52. Weston at 2:46 am

    This whole entire “issue” is a pure joke! Millions of hard working good Americans like myself hurt every damn day with excuriating pain to, take care of themselves and their families. I am a 36 year old Commercial Journeyman Electrician with scoliosis, bulging, and herniated disk from YEARS of manual labor that is under attack by the “narcotic” stigma. I have lost several jobs now and yes, I slow way down at work when my back and body start to act up. Doctors are so afraid to prescribe anything other than ibeprofen 800s that simple put don’t work! These same doctors and legal “drug dealers” had zero problems pushing pain meds out making trillion’s with not a single problem at all until, the “Doctors” were pocketing the cash only scriots not giving a damn about good folks getting junked out of these. Only when the media got ahold of it and the DEA dropping the hammer on pill Mills did it become an issue. So people actually believe this was not intintal for pure profit and big pharmaceutical?? Sure it was abused by both the users and prescribers!! Though the solution is to cut all off, with multiple MRI”s to validate real medical issues to hang out to dry and just deal with it? ‘Listen, pills suck! Though when you can’t get out of the bed or pick your ladder up it on you because screw back surgery, physical therapy is worthless, and the pain meds suck with withdrawal and other horrible side effects but it’s allows folks to continue moving forward the best they can! Let not forget this 3rd world insurance with $5000 deductibles, so it’s all out of pocket $150 for a PCP, $300 for a specialist!! The reality is pharmaceutical companies, Doctors, and pure garbage insurance is the real issue here and not everyone on pain pills is a junkie but just trying to make it! Not to mention the increase in herion and meth because it’s cheaper than seeing a doctor/specialist. No, I am not saying I agree with this nor does it justify it but, in my line of work I have seen people useing street drugs to cope with work. Also kind of funny how all the illegals liter the job sites and bring these hard drugs over while we do nothing!! What did people expect!? Beyond ignorance much like prohibition was, the failed war on drugs and all the other failed half baked million dollar complete failures. I can’t help but ask how much money is profited off the treatment for these folks hooked on prescription medication or the allowed illegal drugs continuously coming into our country!! I said NICE PROFIT MARGINS from sale to treatment!! The point is people will do what they wish if they choose and the rest whom play by the rules, drug test clean every month, hold a job, documened medical issues, continue trying to retain their careers. Greed from manufacturers of theses meds in India for cents to subhuman heathcare the EXACT same whom started this count their money and the rest of us hang on for life. Something must give!! Free country how exactly anyway?? More of an illusion IMO. Let the junkies die off if that the dice they wish to role. Fix healthcare especially for low/middle class citizens of this country and let the real doctors do their jobs without fear of DEA!! Focus on the real issues, illegals pushing hard drugs and pharmaceutical companies whom made trillion’s of the sales. Cease that money to rework healthcare

  53. Jack Butler at 2:31 am

    Until six years ago, chronic pain was not part of my vocabulary. But 11 years after an extensive hernia repair, I developed excruciating pelvic pain relieved only by fentanyl patches and Hydromorphone. It took over 18 months to finally get the pain under control, and that after numerous trips to the ER in the middle of the night. Four mgs. of Dilaudid every six hours was necessary to be pain-free. Then came the “opioid epidemic” and many anxiety-filled appointments with my pain mgt. doctor. I was forced to felinquish one dose per day, and as long as I don’t do anything unusually strenuous, I am blessedly pain-free. But I did a two week stint of dog-sitting and I was miserable! When next I saw my doctor, she told me my only recourse was to not take anymore dog-sitting assignments. Those gigs paid a very handy $30./day! Prior to the opioid epidemic, my regular dosage would have covered me or I would have received a temporary boost in my dosage. Because of the restrictions, I no longer am able to travel because sitting for long periods brings on incapacitating pain. OD risk? Virtually nil. For six years I have kept a diary of every single pill I take, from Hydromorphone to Tylenol. I’ve also never experienced a high or a craving.

  54. Judith Dockery at 1:56 am

    They keep talking about the opiate crisis but they aren’t making sense. Taking legally prescribed meds away from those who need it will only add to the problem when legit patients are forced to look for relief thru unconventional or illegal means. Why haven’t they addressed all the illegal fentanyl flooding our streets? Those of us who are in pain mgmt clinics are monitored monthly and give random urines. They declared the war on drugs decades ago and still cannot keep illegal drugs off the streets. Until they master their first plan they need to stay out of our doctors offices and clean up the streets.

  55. Felicia S Johnson at 1:36 am

    As a RN with an eCompact State license, it terrifies me that there is limited pain treatment laws being initiated.
    After a mere five days, SC patients must be reevaluated before more medication will be prescribed. This applies to acute AND surgical pain. Five days post-op or post-acute episode is unsafe and dreadfully inconvenient for patients to hobble back to a busy doctor’s office. In fact, some medicines have not reached their peak potential in five days.
    We were taught that pain is SUBJECTIVE to the patient’s report. It’s often named the “sixth vital sign”.
    I’m in chronic pain, and mask my pain very well because life goes on. I don’t expect to be treated like a patient in pain. In fact, I am often treated as a “drug-seeker”.
    Untreated pain increases my vital signs, especially my blood pressure. Since I have a small-vessel condition, I suffer the possibility of having ANOTHER stroke. Yet, I can’t recall ONE of my many personal E.R. visits which I was treated for pain which I decribed as 8 or higher. Not once have I been treated
    for pain, even using a FLACC scale.

  56. Tami McCormick at 1:34 am

    I am outraged at the attention given to punishing drug abusers with no regard to the devastating toll it is taking on we who have a crucial need for proper and compassionate pain management. This problem has not only put my integrity into question on every avenue of my life. And I find myself being treated like a low class indegent drug forager, and monger willing to do anything for whatever drug they can scrounge up and/or beg barrow or steal for. I am a strong, faithful christian woman of substantial integrity. And almost every day I am persecuted for my agonizing need for strong opiates. My situation is devestating enough, but because of the twisted view point the media attention has given to the problem I am separated from my colleges, job opportunities, family members and worshipping with my brothers and sisters. My illness causes debilatating chronic depression and offers no hope of relief from the vicious cycle it produces. The last thing I need is the impossible adversities caused by the Crack down on opiates. This is one life it has ruined and I fight constantly to keep ahead of the temptation to think of giving up and doing myself in. I love the Lord and I am grateful for the gift of life, but the level of rejection I suffer is so formidable I can’t get ahead of it. I find no compassion anywhere but only from others facing the same problem. I fear if something isn’t done soon I 5will lose the fight. My brothers and sisters have basically left me by the wayside. And that is the last straw. I am not a drug addict. I obey the prescription as much as I possibly can. But my pain is not properly managed and sometimes I just cannot wait for the timer to go off and I suffer terribly trying to make ot to the 28th day when my script is filled. My doctor admits to having such strong reservations about prescribing the blue pill that everyone snorts, but intravenous use of Dilaudid is what turns people into heroin users and he will prescribe that but not the other and the delay did causes a very bad allergic reaction. This situation puts me and so many others in a catch 22. I have suffered so much in my life and following this arrangement is NOT working. I’m very sad about it!

  57. Bettylou Workman at 1:27 am

    I was prescribed Opana Er 40 mg. Twice a day for pain relief. I had been taking it for numerous years. It was the only effective treatment that worked. Over the past 20 years i found that this worked the best for me. They pulled it off the market because it was being abused, but everything has the potential for being abused. Why choose to pull this one off the market because the “junkies” are abusing it? Anyway, now i must suffer because i’m on a less effective treatment and i attempted suicide months ago because of it. Please, bring Opana back, it was literally a life saver. Thank You.

  58. SN at 1:09 am

    I am a chronic pain patient. 47 y/o female, 5’8″ 130 lbs. Caucasian. Steady bp of 120/80 except for pain episodes that sometimes push me up to 135/90. No family history of chronic pain. I had a multiple level cervical spinal fusion in 2015. I was in horrible pain before the surgery. Burning sensations that would start as soon as I lifted my head. I would go from a pain scale of 2-3 to 10+. My family drove me to the emergency room more than a dozen times during pain episodes that were unbearable. Headaches. Muscle spasms in my traps & scapula so hard they felt like I had a softballs in my neck and my entire back. Before my surgery, I had an ablation from C2-C7 on both sides. I thought my head was going to explode. I had trigger point therapy, including shots, a myofascial therapist, a physical therapist, acupuncture, a pain management specialist and ultimately anterior cervical surgery at the University of Michigan from C4-C6. I also have herniated discs at C6-C7 & T3-T4. My surgeon fused C4-C6 only due to concern that that invasive surgery at the most degenerated section (bone on bone) came with a 60/40 chance rate of success. He was a good surgeon. He wanted me to have the best chance at maintaining some quality of life before throwing the baby out with the bath water and putting a rod in my neck. The surgery was a success. It didn’t fix everything. I still have neck pain, headaches, muscle spasms and radicular pain. I also have Raynauds and Iliac Vein Compression that was treated surgically 4 months ago via stent placement. Before my spine surgery my doctors prescribed Norco. Morphine. Fentanyl. Sometimes I would get it via IV at the ER during a pain episode. It took the pain away. It knocked me out. And, when it wore off, my pain would rebound and I would feel that my pain was worse than before I had treatment. I started to develop a tolerance to the medicine, I would watch the clock to keep track of my doses and turn my pill bottles upside down so that if I forgot whether I took it or not 4 hours later, I would know. I had a system. Those Opiods changed my personality as did my pain. They changed my appearance. Eventually, I started to feel like crap just because 4-6 hours had passed since I took my last Norco or Morphine. The medicine itself was making me sick and making me need to have it. That’s the slippery slope of Opiods. That’s dependency. That’s addiction. In 2016, my 25 y/o Son died tragically from a lethal dose of heroin laced with 26 milligrams of fentanyl. The heroin & fentanyl was mixed with delaudid & hydrocodone. He weighed 180 lbs and was otherwise healthy. His respiratory system shut down. He couldn’t breathe. His brain called for oxygen, but, as you know, his body couldn’t deliver. He died almost instantly. No amount of Narcan would have saved him. Even if he had been treated on the spot with every tool in the tool box, he would have been brain dead. I am upper middle class and live in a quiet quaint town. That didn’t matter, because these Opiods are everywhere. They’re coming from you. They’re coming from illegal shipments from China. And, they are killing people everywhere. The amount of public attention on this health crisis is long overdue and it’s still not enough. I hear about drug overdoses everyday. After my Son’s funeral, I flushed every pain medicine my doctors had given me. Flushed them right down the toilet. Cold turkey and I had a medical reason to have them. I hallucinated, I had cold sweats. I felt like I too was going to die. And, 3 weeks later all those feelings and symptoms went away. I reported to my doctors what I had done. That I destroyed the medicine and had horrible side effects. And, I haven’t taken any since. It’s been 14 months and I am Opiod free. I see my doctors regularly. I still get trigger point injections. I still get myofascial treatment. I soak in a warm Epsom salt bath twice a day. I wear menthol patches as needed. I have removed every toxic person from my life that ever caused me stress. I don’t lift more than 5 lbs and instead of washing my hair everyday, I do it every other day. I take vitamins & supplements. I exercise gently. Not as much as I would like, but that’s the trade-off. I used to be a runner. I used to be an athlete. Today, I’m not all better, but I am a lot better physically, mentally and emotionally. Opiods should be restricted to the hospital only. For surgery. To treat an acute pain episode. They should not be taken home. I fully support the War on Opiods. It has destroyed my family and it almost destroyed me. Good doctors will counsel their patients to exhaust every possible alternative remedy available. And, you should too.

  59. Amy Brown at 12:28 am

    In this day and age with so many people misusing opioids as a “pleasure” medication it makes it hard on the innocent people. I live in pain everyday. Most days it’s Really Really Bad and some days its to the degree that I wonder if I’m not better off Dead. It’s scary to have such thoughts but that’s the harsh truth. I have severe Scoliosis with musculoskeletal and nerve pain. In all my tests nothing shows up as proof of these nerve issues but I KNOW they exist!! My pain meds help to a small degree but I need bed rest combined with those meds. I have been employed at the same job for 25 years and consider myself to be Mentally Stable…even so I HAVE had the bad thoughts about suicide. I am going to have to give up this job that I Love so much because I just can’t do it anymore. I pray every day for the pain to go away but I know things happen in God’s time and not my own. With that being said, what about people who are teetering on the fence of becoming mentally unstable due to pain that they experience that no one can seem to find the exact location to which that pain is coming from or Why? It is an awful life to live but I and Countless others are Thankful for the blessing to still be able to just go to the bathroom by ourselves or feed ourselves. Debilitating pain makes you feel like less of a person because you can’t contribute to things that are SO Very Important to us the way that we once could. If people such as myself have these pain meds taken away I can assure you that the suicide rate in America will increase. People such as myself don’t WANT to be on meds but we have to. It just is what it is. Thank YOU for letting me speak about something that is so near and dear to my heart…..People who suffer everyday!! God Bless, Amy Brown

  60. Joy Kendal at 12:25 am

    God Bless these doctors finally we, the chronic pain sufferers are acknowledged. How I wish the opposition would understand how horrified we are. As is I’ve barely had a life for more than thirty years. I would prefer death to go on living like this.

  61. Shane Ryan Southworth at 12:17 am

    I’ve been a pain management patient for ten years now. Treating my pain with opiods have given me the ability to do things with my family. Without I would be in to much pain to play with my kids. I am happy that Me and my doctor can manage my pain not my pain manage me

  62. Cindy at 12:13 am

    This no opioids movement has been very hard on a lot of people who really need pain management. And I’m pretty sure it will not overdoses, if people can’t get what they absolutely need from a doctor where will they go, many to the streets!

  63. Melanie Lassiter at 12:04 am

    Finally, someone sheds some light on the truth! Thank you.

  64. Mark at 11:35 pm

    I’ve been taking pain meds for 25 years and find it hard to believe that the govt dosent have studies on how to treat pain but rather how to remove pain meds from those who need it ..the only thing this is going to accomplish is more people going for street drugs like heroin,and other illegal drugs…then you will have more addicts due to the gov’t controll of opioid medications

  65. Buddy at 10:40 pm

    I have been suffering from pain in my lower back for a few years now, and i can’t find a doctor to prescribe pain meds,that I need, who can I turn to for help?

  66. Aaron at 10:25 pm

    Funny that the government treats everyone in pain like a criminal….. the same argument should be used just like they do with gun control. Punish the criminals all day and night…. But don’t make it impossible for law-abiding citizens to get there medication to live a normal life from their doctor.

  67. Shane Beals at 10:21 pm

    This is very true due to the fact I don’t get the proper pain management because the doctors afraid describe a stronger dose of opiates even though I need back surgery I have a fractured foot that was destroyed in a car accident and I built up tolerances but they won’t give me more. Instead they try to give you medications mess up your nervous system and your ability to function coherently mentally. It’s just brutal what doctors are doing to us patients in today’s day and age. I understand people abused their medication well I can’t abused it because if I miss a dose or do too much I’ve been more pain than I can handle.

  68. Cheryl French at 9:42 pm

    No one has come to the defense of people, me being 60 years old and diagnosed with RA and 5 other arthritis’s, and no longer being able yo be prescribed pain medication judt to have a quality of life and keep jobs. Being sent to doctors after being prescribed medication, to a so called pain clinic that is like a cattle train that doesn’t even take a blood pressure and bring made to jump through their hoops, being put into withdrawal even hospitalized to being prescribed very little for months just to prove you have pain. Then, insurance companies refusing to pay for the medication and taking every last time you have to pay for that little bit of medication. I’m so tired of fighting to live and work and having some decency of life!

  69. Melinda M Lassiter at 9:30 pm

    I have chronic pain and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I was so happy to read the article Doctors Argue for better pain management. Over the years I have felt like the people who abuse, lie, cheat & steal pain medication are the very ones who continue to do so no matter what laws are passed whereas the people who really need it are jumping thru rings of fire and not always landing right. My primary care doctor used to prescribe my pain medication then with new laws passed I had to go to a pain clinic to get medication. I don’t know about you but I don’t have a money tree and with all the laws passed I have to go see a doctor or PA every 4 weeks in order to get my prescriptions. That is $50. a visit and if they want me to have any xrays, mri, or other testing I have to go back to go over the results and that is another $50. I have paid over $200. in a 4 week period in order to get my meds and that doesn’t include what insurance won’t cover. My pain is real. I have plenty of xrays and MRI’s to prove it. My body is a lemon but I haven’t given up hope that one day it will be lemonade. With out my pain medication that will never happen. I am so sick and tired of being treated like a criminal because I have pain. I have to sign a contract stating I will not get pain meds from any other doctor and submit to random drug testing. Contracts, urine test, specialist and money all because I have pain. I know there are people who abuse medicine and I agree doctors need more training in pain management in order to give their patient the best care possible. Deciding opiods are either good or bad is not the way to do it and making people like me and millions more feel like we are just trying to get high and shouldn’t be taken seriously or that we don’t need the opioid to live a somewhat normal life is wrong. When you are in pain 24 hours a day 7 days a week your whole life changes. Opioids don’t take away my pain but make it tolerable.

  70. Bridgett Garcia at 9:28 pm

    I have had to have pain medication for the better part of my adult life and even though I have had chronic pain abdominal issues now I seem to have NO HELP, especially since the doctor I had has retired who has been well aware on my on going chronic pain!!!! Now I struggle Day to day with drawling from family and friends!!! Pretty much around anyone because of the day to day pain. Now you hat I have a new doctor it’s extremely hard to just get him to listen. God that’s all I need is a doctor that cares and will listen!!! I have NEVER been doctor to doctor so I don’t understand!!! It is HURTFUL AND EXTREMELY FRUSTRATING when I’ve done everything that every doctor has asked including seeing a pain Phycologist, more than one who have consistently backed me up!!! I hope SOON I WILL BE ABLE TO FIND A DOCTOR THAT WILL, LISTEN, LIKE THE ONES I HAVE SEEN COULD PLAINLY SEE THAT THIS IS NOT SOMETHING IN MY HEAD THAT I CAN JUST IGNORE!!!! PLEASE HELP!!! Sincerely, someone WHO IS EXTREMELY FRUSTRATED!!!

  71. Mareaeric Campagna at 9:23 pm

    It was encouraging to read this article. I have suffered with daily chronic pain for 17 years and what has happened over the past several years is destroying the normalcy we sufferers have found through pain relief, for us, and as well for our families. Change must happen.

  72. Paijon at 8:53 pm

    Thank you for this site. I have been on chronic pain management and ever since the “opioid crisis” my doctor was put under scrunity, he attended meetings, conventions and did what he could for the benefit and understanding of his patients. I’m a senior and have an inoperable tumor in my spine and herniated lower disk. I don’t want to go into detail, I had radiation treatment to a brain tumor in O6. Since this momentum picked up on this opioid crisis, it is not just me but those that are in need of pain relief are being treated like addicts, the doctors are getting out of pain management because of the pressure on them. DEA unanounced going over their records, patients are drug tested. These are elderly patients, illness happens to many of us as the path of life gets shorter, it can becomes so difficult I can’t make it thru a day without pain med, not because I’m an addict, I have unbearable pain. I worked all my life and cost of living has went up immensely. I’m over 65 and not every one can plan for this.

  73. Linda at 8:18 pm

    For me, all 3 gentlemen in this article nailed it.

    Thank you Mr. Coghlan, Dr. Fine, and Dr. Joshi, immensely.

  74. Jennifer Mitch at 8:07 pm

    Thank you, Mr. Coghlan for this article. As a person who suffers with chronic pain it gives me pleasure to know that cooler, more educated heads may prevail. There aren’t any pain management specialists within a 3 hour drive from me. My primary doctor doesn’t want to be fined for over prescribing pain meds. It leaves my hands tied. Thanks for the hope.

  75. Lori Janeiro at 8:06 pm

    Wow you said it. It would be amazing if one could separate the addiction from needs. I was on pain meds for 21 years. I’m getting worse not better. I spend many a night bawling cuz I hurts so bad. No one says oh just have a few I’m now on suboxtion. How does this help pain.NONE!!!! BUT if I go back to opiates n they remove them then I start over. I took my self off meds. Not my doctor not cuz I’m an addict but because they were doing very little and doc would not adjust my needs. So I’m suffering daily can’t take anything Sept opiates I’m allergic. Now treated as an addict cuz subs. I don’t ever leave my house to sore too grouchy. And no more drive cuz it makes me hurt. Thanks super smart doctors against what works. I’m sure ur happy!!!!

  76. Teresa Lanham at 7:29 pm

    I had a work injuries in February 2015, I have tried several different medications for the pain and have had 2 nerve repositioning surgeries which did not help. I take tramadol 100 mg 3 times a day to help with the constant pain, with that being said, I am not pain free taking this medication, however, I can still function and live with little restrictions on what I can do. Without this medication, the pain is almost unbearable. I have tried other pain medications, but I have had bad side effects while taking them. Another alternative is injections, I do not wish to go that route. I am satisfied with the way things are, however it is hard to find a doctor that will prescribe tramadol, they always want to do these injections to which I am afraid of. I don’t understand why the doctors now are against writing scripts instead of injections or nothing at all. I think I should have that right to say no, continue on with the medication. I am wondering if it is a money making issue….the injections are expensive and there’s no guarantee let alone the what ifs…. should I not have the choice and say ok I’ll try the injections or NO I WISH TO CONTINUE THE WAY THINGS ARE NOW WITH PILLS.

  77. Rachael at 7:28 pm

    I am your typical test book chronic pain sufferer that is now living with daily debilitating pain not being treated. After seven years under the care of a primary care provider practicing family medicine who treated my pain with a combination of Cymbalta amd Vicoprofin. I was on small doses of each and took my meds regularly which controlled my pain well. Upon activation of New Obamacare health care insurance I lost my doctor because he was not in network with my insurance company. It took so long to find a network provider in my area that I went through full blown withdrawals and detox which brought my pain fully to surface disabling me. I am recovering from a multi level lumbar spine fusion due to ostheoarthritis, degenerative disk disease, and Scoliosis. Prior to my surgery I was told to take Tylenol for pain. I was bed ridden. The year of unmanaged pain I endured completely crushed me leaving me jobless, and almost homeless, often planning out my suicide because no one should have to live with this kind of pain. I would rather have a shorter lifespan while being out of pain then to love a long life in pain. That is if my elevated blood pressure due to the pain doesn’t kill me if heart or blood disease first! It’s my life, why isn’t it my choice?

  78. Vicky Alonso at 7:24 pm

    This “opioid crisis” that has caused so much attention is not a true reflection of the face being put on it. Pain management patients who take their medications as prescribed are not the people who are overdosing. The overdoses are caused by people who are buying it off the streets or misuse their meds. Why should patients with true chronic pain, who take their medications properly and are not using street drugs have to suffer from this? I hear the statistics of the deaths, but the reality of the studies/research are not exposed. The fact remains, people taking their medications properly are not likely to overdose unless they have some unusual chemical reaction going on in their system. Just tell the whole truth.

  79. Jamey Breerwood at 7:20 pm

    Thank to the many Drs. who have been brave enough to speak on our behalf. My Dr. has written to the government as well as my wonderful Congressmen Steve Polazzo. My Congressman sent all my medical records to the DEA committee. All of you can’t be thanked enough.

  80. Sian at 7:04 pm

    It is about time that a doctor stands up for patients with chronic debilitating pain.

  81. Daniel Mooneyham at 6:28 pm

    I used to go to a “pain MGMT company”. What a joke.Doctors who probably barely received a degree.But,they do still have a m.d. behind their last name.Drs keep jacking up the office visit charges. I said enough. I receive my meds from outside the US. I very closely monitor myself,try to take less if possible. I don’t sell or take more than absolutely necessary.Pain mgmt? Yes, I am managing my pain. I am tired of making doctors rich from my pain issues

  82. Sherry Edwards at 6:28 pm

    Thank you for making a stand .its getting where our md wont give pain medicine. I go to a pain client .i dont mind but i wish my doctor could treat me.i am 62 i have been on zanax. for 20 years now there taking me of of them .my blood pressure going crazy.im scared.they said i cant take both.i take my medicine right.i glad some doctors are not scared to treat there patients.i dont want to died.but getting off of zanax it is scary. I take 4 15 of oxcodon a day .it doesn’t make me high it takes my pain away.please can you tell me what i can do.

  83. Anonymous at 6:26 pm

    I live in the GREAT STATE OF COLORADO ! ! FORTUNATELY IN COLORADO WE HAVE LEGAL ACCESS TO MEDICINAL MARIJUANA AND CBD OIL EXTRACTS. THIS HAS LEAD A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF CHRONIC PAIN PATIENTS TO BE ABLE TO SAFELY REDUCE THEIR DEPENDENCY ON OPIATE PAIN MEDICINES. WHY THE HELL CAN’T DOCTOR’S AND PATIENT’S GET MEDICINAL MARIJUANA AND CBD OILS LEGAL FOR CHRONIC PAIN TREATMENT ? ? THERE IS SO MUCH POSITIVE MEDICAL EVIDENCE THESE DAY’S ON THE THERAPUTIC USE OF MARIJUANA AND CBD OIL. UNTIL THE DEA and FDA ALLOW MARIJUANA TO GET OFF THE SCHEDULE 1 DRUG LIST THERE WILL BE NO CHANGE IN THE AMOUNT OF PAIN MEDICINE USE BY LIGITIMATE CHRONIC PAIN SUFFERERS. I STILL DONT SEE HOW THESE DAYS THE DEA CAN SAY THAT THERE IS NO MEDICINAL USE FOR MARIJUANA?? HOW FREAKING STUPID ARE THESE PEOPLE?? I BELIEVE THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY HAS BOUGHT OFF CERTAIN GOVERNMENTAL OFFICIAL TO KEEP SAFE CHEAP MEDICINE OUT OF PATIENT’S HANDS IN TURN FOR THEIR EXPENSIVE ADDICTIVE OPIATE BASED MEDICINES ! !

  84. Audrey at 6:21 pm

    People with chronic pain need options that may include pain pills and its a sad day when the Feds get involved. When did they get a medical license. More people will die committing suicide because they cannot get the painkillers they need. This world takes everything to extremes. My man has poloyneuropathy, 8 different back problem and other issues and he get nothing to help with the pain. Things need to change
    Wy

  85. Brandy Hoover at 5:58 pm

    If one of these fine doctors will please accept me as a patient, let me know. I am a pain patient in West Virginia–“opioid crisis” Ground Zero–and I have had my whole LIFE taken away from me by pain that my doctors are too afraid of DEA punishment to treat. I have intractible, constant, life-shattering pain from a degenerating spine, damaged nerves in my lower body that make me feel like my legs are on fire, and several autoimmune conditions. I barely sleep. I take several unnecessary psychiatric medications that my doctors are trying to use as alternative painkillers, and the end result of playing with my brain chemistry like that has been panic attacks, massive anxiety, and suicidal urges. My sister just had a hole drilled out of her skull and half her face peeled back to clip two ruptured aneurysms, and they treated her post-surgical pain with TYLENOL. Plain Tylenol. Not even the kind with codeine in it for the tiniest bit of relief. They told her that the brain doesn’t feel pain–but bones and muscles and skin sure do!!!! She cried in agony for DAYS, and is now having nightmares and flashbacks over it, like she has PTSD!

    I have had to resort to buying pain medication from cancer patients who had more than they needed, because otherwise I would have been bedridden for holidays, appointments, benefit recertifications, etc. As it is, Ppi am bedridden on every “typical” day. I can’t afford to buy pain relief every day. Frankly, heroin is cheaper and easier to find a regular supply of. I have not given in to the temptation to try THAT route for pain relief yet, but I know other people who have. Their doctors suddenly cut them off for reasons they refused to explain, or worse, got arrested and lost their prescription-writing privileges, so their patients turned to heroin as a replacement. How sad is that! People are being shoved toward a terrible risk like heroin just because our nation has gone *berserk* over painkillers. I swear, Percocet has become the new Casey Anthony of the news cycle. Anything to keep people terrified and tuned in to those commercial breaks, I guess. But people like me, innocent collateral damage patients whose lives have been RUINED by pain and the opioid media frenzy, are the ones nobody seems to give a care about.

    I often wonder if there are ANY doctors left in WV who dare to treat pain with opiate painkillers, anymore. 🙁

  86. Charles norris at 5:29 pm

    I had my lung taken out , because of cancer. Then had chemotherapy, and radiation. Every day for month . I have been cancer free for 4yrs. But since then I have had two neck surgeries. I have had back surgery. Now my right side burns constantly. I also have chronic pain in my lower back for six yrs. Do you think laraca medication would help. All ready have had several injections no help. I am about at the end of my rope.

  87. Patricia Scott at 5:16 pm

    War on illegal drugs. I’ve been to Rhemitoid Drs since the mid 90s.I was prescribed Celebrex. In 2013 had to go to kidney specialist. Noone explained back then the dangers of insaids.Not a whiny person and the Celebrex worked great.Now I’m @ the point of pain management. Laws are so strict.I can’t get relief. Sometimes I feel suicidal. Too strict laws for people who need comfort just to work and do everyday chores.

  88. Judy Sexton at 5:15 pm

    Thank God!…have been waiting for this subject to come to fruition!…under close supervision…many many patients should be prescribed pain medicine. Our senior citizens and so many that are disabled or have diseases, even chronic arthritis suffer needlessly …when there is help there for them but it is denied because other people misuse it. Its a crying shame. How can the government ( who havent been to medical school) interfere with a Doctors diagnosis? What would they do if it was their mother or father or family member suffering?? Thank you all for your input and I pray something can be done so our taxpaying citizens wont have to suffer all this agonizing pain that I’ve witnessed!!!

  89. Lisa Howard at 5:10 pm

    Reading this article just confirmed what I’ve thought for sometime about the lack of knowledge that many doctors and nurses have concerning pain medication. I’ve unfortunately been seeing a pain specialist since 2012. Most ppl who have to take opiods take them responsibly please continue to inform these government officials about the difference between addiction and required usage. Some of us would have no quality of life whatsoever without our pain medication

  90. Julie at 5:01 pm

    Finally doctors who understand the predicament some of us are in. I have stage 3 kidney dease, thrompophila
    with both knees bone on bone (just had the left one done); arthritis everywhere, plus other issues. Because of these aliments I can’t take any nasids or asprin. Tylenol doesn’t work, the only thing that takes my pain away are opiads, I take Norco. I’ve even tried the Butrans patch 20 mg, it takes about 60% of the pain away, cost a fortune & stops working all together at 5 days, not 7 days as advertised. Thanks

  91. Alex at 4:36 pm

    Great article and while the subject is very controversial in some households or communities, I have been on the fence for quite some time being a chronic pain separated for over a decade now I was able to get epidurals and pain medication prescribed to me while not a beauty my medication for my pain I was an alcoholic so finding the balance between pain management and abusing is a difficult task. I feel that is opioid pain management is working for somebody in the doctors involved in the treatment and monitoring their situation it is a validated solution unfortunately there are some bad apples that are out there seeking a buzz or high that are taking it away from those of us who really do suffer. And I believe it should be up to the doctor’s discretion is the prescribing physician but they should not have to fear their careers that can somebody years and Decades of misery and pain. It’s unfortunate that some people like me can I qualify for surgery for their situation and I have just been dealing with it and found myself looking for medication on the streets. And that’s when it gets very unfortunate and Wendy addiction aspect of pain management Rises into the scary Zone because people that don’t need the medication or not speaking it from the doctors to sell it to the people who need it in the people who need to make medication are accused of” drug-seeking” and the doctors who are prescribing them if they’re not monitoring the situation and losing their jobs which makes the good doctors fearful for their livelihood as well I don’t have the solution but I do feel that pain management is a valid resource to people like me I think the public needs to be just as educated as the doctors are. And I know a lot of good people that were prescribed pain medications that have not turned to street drugs and over-the-counter supplements like Kratom and you want to talk about scary there’s some people that are really getting into trouble because now there’s nobody monitoring their situation. Let’s let doctors be doctors then let’s stay out of the wig big government because the lobbyists are only looking out for their wallets and that’s not a healthy solutions I think we management needs to be regulated by the doctors and Physicians are taking care of their patients…..

  92. Brent at 4:25 pm

    This is a welcome article! As a chronic pain sufferer I have felt the effects of the crackdown as doctors are scrambling to appease the feds. Truth is, for someone who needs the pain meds for a bona fide pain related issue, mine being adhesive Arachnoiditis, the meds are being withheld because another group of people are abusing those meds for their release from emotional pain. I have just been recently diagnosed and have experienced the difficulty of having to suffer endless doctor visits where physicians subject you to undue scrutiny or outright refusal to listen as you explain your need.
    The irony of the “opioid” issue is that many people abuse food, alcohol and tobacco to devastation of their bodies but we have supermarkets on every corner, state liquor stores on our highways and smokeshops on many main streets. I wonder when the feds will announce that we have alcohol, food and nicotine epidemics too?

  93. Ward Tyler Daughters at 4:25 pm

    I have chronic back pain. 2 surgeries, injections, microwaves, name it. The only thing that works is mild opiate treatment. There has been no change in my work efforts, in fact I excell at what I do. This opiate thing is changing my quality of life. I use them correctly and I have no problems. Stop this madness. I beleive it says somewhere that I have the right to pursue happiness.

  94. Sharon Hummel at 4:12 pm

    I really hope someone is fighting for the people in pain. Me being one of them. I don’t know how long I can hang on due to pain. Doctor cut me off after being on meds for 25 years. I have no life without them. I am no longer married, kids are grown and I am only 61. My point is I have no one to help me. The only way I can so anything is with my meds. I cry all the time. I just hope someone is fighting for those that are really in pain. The only people getting hurt are those that are in true pain. Educate parents, kids, about the dangers. The real problem are the drug dealers. Get the herion off the streets. I never hear or see anything about that problem. Just prescription drugs. Wake up! Government! You are screwing this up just like everything else.

  95. Bill Gillerstein at 3:53 pm

    What is going on in this country because of a severe herion/ fentanyl problem is scary. There are millions of patients who were being treated successfully with opiods as part of their chronic pain management. Because politicians and the media have taken up this cause without the proper knowledge millions are doomed. Patients by the millions have been left to suffer, lost jobs and had their lives ruined. Doctors are being forced to practice medicine by politicians. Would you want a politician to operate the space shuttle? That is what is happening in pain management. The physician of the year for a major hospital who is a ortho surgeon told me he can only give a few days of opiods for knee replacement patients. I know another women who had her skull removed to have a tumor taken out and a muscle from her leg grafted onto the same skull due to infection. Horriblypainful procedure. She was sent home with 9 vicodin!!! HELLO WAKE UP AMERICA!!! You could be next

  96. Lynne Gemme at 3:47 pm

    I am a 59 yr old mother of 2 & grandmother of 5. I am disabled due to a number of factors, but my daughter is 40 & has been sick since she was 7. She initially was diagnosed with JRA, then @ 15 w/systemic lupus, secondary schogens.We left Denver & came to Cape Cod as the violence in Denver was unbelievable. About 2yrs. after arriving my daughter started to go down hill. She lost all her teeth, hair, got graves disease & psoriasis. She went to all the rheumatologists & neurologists we could find.For the past 4yrs. She has had peripheral neuropathy and lives in a hospital bed in my living room. I was an EMT in CO. & never saw anybody that was in such horrific pain treated like my daughter. Thanks to the opiate bill passed in MA patients all over are being treated like medseekers. My daughter can’t walk or hold anything, she cries day & night & even in her sleep & we have been to every Dr. & Hospital in Boston and on the Cape & none will prescribed anything for her pain except antidepressants that do absolutely nothing.She’s between a 9&10 on the pain scale. I am not only her mother I am also her caregiver and I am begging for help for my daughter. She is in so much misery, I am afraid she may take her own life. I need help! Frankly I don’t know how much more of this that I can handle. Please , if there is anyone who can help us I can be reached at Lmgemme@gmail.com. Thank you!

  97. Kim Graber at 3:39 pm

    Taking away pain medicine from people is not helping “addiction ” it only hurts the people who need it. Look if someone wants illegal opiates, they will get them, at any means which leads to more crime. Wake up this is not a solution, it’s another avenue for more crime!!!

  98. Sonia at 3:20 pm

    Why should we have to suffer because of these selfish morons that want to abuse and use the best treatment for pain that we have yet. Regulating it so only a certain amount can be taken daily hurts those that do require higher dosing like over weight patient or those with high drug metabolisms. But regulating it says we are not going to fully treat the over weight patients pain because they some times need more than the federal limits allow. Also those with a high drug tolerance, like myself, who need more of the meds to get the same effect as everyone else to help their pain, but the government says no to doses higher than the equivalent of 100mg of morphine. That isn’t much of you are over weight and have a high drug tolerance. We are basically being denied our right for proper treatment with these restrictions in place. We can only get proper treatment if we are dying. Uncontrolled and not properly treated chronic pain patients become suicidal or search for other, more heavy duty drugs, illegal like drugs. Pain meds are not the gate way drug to other drugs, uncontrolled and not properly treated pain is. One question, why are opioids the only kind of drug to date that treats chronic pain? I think it’s time to design a new drug.

  99. Jessica Reible at 3:09 pm

    Amen, It’s about time someone starts addressing this issue. All of us chronic pain patient have been left high & dry. It’s simply inhumane. When animals are in excruciating pain, we put them down. Pain patients are just made to sit in our pain now.

  100. Byron Smith at 2:46 pm

    In 1985, l was a passenger in a Jeep on I-16 in Georgia. I broke my back, sternum and ribs on right side. Also my face was reconstructed with wire ( including orbit socket ) braces on upper and lower jaw, plus a loop of packing in both nostrils. In addition left hip and right ankle broken. My right shoulder has 10inch scare which was also reconstructed. In 1999, had metal plate installed in my neck at The Houston Clinic and was told my neck was also broken. I was an automotive mechanic and taught at Swainsboro Tech at night. I worked 6 months as a mechanic and realized l could not do it anymore. I took a full-time teaching position at Athens Technical College. I earned a BSEd and MEd at UGA. After surgery in 1999, l had lost the tactile ability in my hands, plus back and legs would not take the walking on cement 8 to 12 hours a day. I now am sequestered in my house with a TV and black cat .Lost family and everything. My Dr. James Ray Swainsboro, says l don’t hurt as bad as l think l do. The point I’m trying to make, if the government is going to impose sanctions on pain medication, why is there not some kind of verification test that establishes the fact you need pain medication. I get 3 15mg oxycodon a day. I think several times a day about blowing my brains out. This is not even existing!!! It’s Hell

  101. Margaret at 2:39 pm

    I have had to find alternative pain management on my own. I’m now taking Kratom in small doses several times a day. It helps but I don’t no the long term effects. It’s sad

  102. Charles moffett at 2:28 pm

    I’m leaving a comment for all those like me who have been on opioids for treatment of chronic pain I have had a shattered leg broken back and have Steel in my back from L1 to L5 when they did the back surgery they cut several nerves and tendons and the surgery was a failure now opioids do work for me and relieve pain to make the day tolerable other things I have tried do not work for me the one being morphine does not work for me everybody is different now for those who abuse opioids I can see putting a little stricter level on them but there are people who absolutely need opioids to control their chronic pain with the symptoms they have everybody’s different you can’t take away what works and think that something else is going to do as good as something that is working now that people abused there are honest people out there that use them correctly the people that are honest test them if you don’t think we’re using it correctly but there are several of us like me where the opioids actually work to control the pain when nothing else does we also don’t want to do surgeries every three to five years to put in stimulators and stuff like that they really need to rethink on how to control it a little better but there’s a lot of people out there that actually need this pain medicine to actually survive day by day

  103. James Dickson at 2:02 pm

    Grouping back-alley heroin and cocaine users with chronic pain patients who have genuine medical conditions is pathetic ignorance, labeling all as addicts. This has caused reputable doctors to become afraid, refusing to write prescriptions, and some suicides by patients unable to live with their now-unbearable pain.
    Inability to legally obtain appropriate prescriptions for opiate medications, has brought a shift to medical marijuana, outrageously expensive, and not covered by ANY insurance. Medical marijuana is now cultivated and sold by some states, and also has some extremely influential investors. Follow the money, not quality of patient care.

  104. Linda Newton at 1:42 pm

    Excellent article! As a stage 3cancer survivor with chemo induced peripheral neuropathy, I have tried every treatment before using a combo for the last 10 years, including long acting opioids. I used a certified Pain Management doctor, but am worried. I am only 55, and still work, without addition of opioid medication, I was unable to work in my career as an educator. Until someone experiences chronic debilitating pain, they have no idea of the impact it has. It never ends, but is down to a level I can live with. I went through extensive testing prior to being prescribed opioids. I also tried all the available treatments and still use many today. This isn’t normal pain, I do not think someone who is not trained or has experienced chronic pain, can understand the devastation it wrecks on a person, mentally, spiritually, and physically. It never goes away or gives you a day off. Without the treatment I receive now, I would be a burden on society and my family. I battled stage 3C advanced metastatic breast cancer, I am no wimp. Taking adequate pain care away from patients like myself is cruel. I never feel high, or under the influence, and do all the requirements my pain doctor requires. After Jan 1st my health care is making me jump through hoops to keep a treatment my educated and certified pain specialist has prescribed as the best treatment. Taking away pain care to those patients is cruel and unjust medical treatment. I hate the addiction rate, but treat all cases needed individually, pain patients are not addicts. If opioids are part of a comprehensive treatment plan by a specialist, then it should be seen as medically necessary. I would say walk in my shoes for a day, but I would not wish that on even my worst enemy. The pain I live with now is much more debilitating than my cancer pain was. Thank you for a wonderful and truthful article. We need real pain doctors on the decision making committees of any policy making plans.

  105. Mary at 1:35 pm

    As a chronic pain sufferer, I have had to endure a reduction in my medications per the maximum amount that can be prescribed per State Law.
    In addition, my insurance carrier Cigna will no longer cover a medication that has helped me fully function in my life!
    And my doctor must write for a medication by Collegiate Pharmaceuticals because of their agreement with Cigna.
    Lastly, I have anxiety that I can remain on “CIGNA” chosen medication. I received a letter this week that I must get a prior authorization to have any and all opioids approved by CIGNA
    Does anyone but me see the problem people in chronic pain face ahead?

  106. Ellen Vickers at 1:20 pm

    The government doesn’t live in my body every day from having two failed back surgeries and living with unhandled breast cancer.My pcp is afraid to prescribe pain meds for me cause of the government trying to control how he treats me I think it should be between the patient and doctor to control my pain not the government.I have tried this physical therapy and alternative medicine but still live in pain every day.

  107. Julie Broome at 1:14 pm

    I saw a show about cone snail venom for pain, it is way stronger than morphine only it has no aditive properties, I have told a few Dr.’s I’ve been to, but they have never heard of it. Maybe y’all could look into it. Hoping for pain relief.

  108. Steven Smith at 1:04 pm

    I couldn’t agree more with this article doctor. Why is it people with disability are the collateral damage of the so-called opioid crisis? Time is running out four people 4 months ago who had their medicine reduced by 1/3 with the mme guidelines. If we tell our doctor that we can’t make it on just that much they say sorry I guess you’ll just have to die. This looks a lot like depopulation in camouflage.

  109. Rob Bassie at 12:57 pm

    Its a shame how crazy this world is getting.The sick are treated as criminals and the criminals treated as there sick.Most doctors wont even think about prescribing any pain medicine anymore.Im someone who has been disabled for a long time.Ive seen these last few years my specialist who treated me for 14yrs stop prescribing me and all her other patients pain medicine.We were sent to pain management.What a bad joke!Now im treated as if i did something wrong.Urine tests constantly (never a bad test)No compassion or specialized treatment.Have to spend more,go to another doctor so more of my time.Such a extra hardship for what?!?Now certain MEDICINEs are Taboo because of drug addicts.Doesnt matter they were effective in treating my pain.THIS IS WRONG!

  110. Helptheneededpain at 12:49 pm

    It’s so sad people who need pain meds to work n support their families are not getting what they needor cut off. The people who don’t need it are getting it its ridiculous that’s part of why people do Heroin sad enough Dr are so affraid to get n trouble the don’t help . How can they tell u how much pain ur in when every person is different. Instead of fighting war on drugs their fueling it because pain patience who get meds cut in half or cut off are now withdrawing and can’t go to work their in so much pain so its ruining families there losing their jobs and commiting suicide or getting on street drugs to cope then they lose it all. #Whatneedstochange Helptheoneswhoneedit. It’s a Damn shame. Shame on all of u in the government there will come a day they might need pain meds. Bet they will get what they need because their the government.. FR HELP CHANGE IT BACK TO THE DR IN THE 80’s 90’s that believe in patient pain relief..

  111. Karen at 12:49 pm

    Finally someone has voiced my predicament. I’m on a pain contract because I have pain since having 8 back and neck surgery. My pain meds are carefully administered by a pain doctor. I have no sympathy for people who are on opioids because maybe they weren’t prescribed the med or even if they were. They messed up their lives and i shouldn’t have to suffer from their problem of not controlling themselves. They blame everybody but themselves. I’m visiting out of state and it’s been a problem filling my script. Then they look at you like you are a loser pill popper. Tired of being in pain because of them

  112. Brenda Pugh at 12:39 pm

    I agree with this 100%. Aa chronic pain sufferer, I am now treated as a drug addict instead of someone who needs help with chronic pain. My elderly mother who also suffers from chronic pain has now been pot in a situation where her physician is gradually taking get off pain meds without an alternate solution on how to treat her pain. Something needs to be done. We need doctors in our corner who are willing to speak up for chronic pain sufferers. There are now situations where chronic pain sufferers are committing suicide because they cannot deal with their pain. Pretty soon that will be a big problem that will be Sept under the rug because the government is more concerned about the opioid “problem” than with treating pain successfully.

  113. Jennifer at 12:30 pm

    As someone who suffers from debilitating pain, due to three autoimmune diseases, & fibromyalgia, I say “thank you” to the doctors who speak on our behalf.

  114. Eileen Legge at 12:21 pm

    It’s deeply gratifying to hear the Medical community speak out about the need for balance with regard to opioid prescribing in chronic pain disease. I was diagnosed with RSD/CRPS in 2013. CRPS is a relatively rare neurological/immunological disease that attacks/damages both the peripheral and central nervous systems. IT IS THE MOST PAINFUL DISEASE KNOWN TO MAN. That’s not my opinion but known fact, it has the highest rating on the Magill Pain Scale. Imagine that your body/brain truly believes that you are on fire and at the same time your bones are breaking. It’s not a pretty disease. If I had not had various methodologies of balancing both long and short acting opioids to bring the pain down to 8/10, I would have ended my life. Sadly, CRPS has a dismally high rate of suicide. How can anyone imagine leaving another human being in this amount of distress? The doctors who treat us can’t, which is why their voices are now being raised, because the government is asking them to abandon their Hippocratic oath – “First do no harm.” I had very much wanted to try a Spinal Cord Stimulator fairly early into my diagnosis, however it was deemed an ‘end point’ course of action for when all else failed. My SCS knocked the pain down 4 points in my worst affected limb and I eventually regained some use … and was able to eliminate the long acting opioid. They’re an expensive option and often need repeated surgeries due to equipment failure (I’m headed for my 3rd in 9 months) BUT they show/teach us a critical line of thinking…stop/block the pain signals at their point of origin. They should also be considered a FIRST step not last, to help mitigate the inevitable physical disability that this disease causes. To all the doctors who listened to me, agonized with me, and stood by me … I owe you my life BECAUSE of the opioids that you prescribed for me … and I was also thrilled to get off the strongest most dangerous one. We don’t WANT this medication, we NEED it to be able to take our next breath.

  115. JoDawn at 12:13 pm

    It’s a relief (haha) to hear some voices of moderation, instead of a simple good/bad response, coming forward!
    Of course, as patients, we still have a lot of advocating for proper care to do, but for today, I take this as a present!
    Merry Christmas, and God bless you all.

  116. Carla Hanks at 11:34 am

    I am a cpp, a58 yr old disabled RN who has been taking morphine and oxycodone for 20 yrs. My Dr dropped me and nobody is taking new pts. I am considering ending it all if I cant get relief from my pain. Ive never been in trouble. Went to my appt every month, pills counted and drug tested AND treated like a common criminal. Ive lost my house because I could no longer work without meds. Please help

  117. Craig at 11:32 am

    I’m stuck in the middle..been on a 75 mcg patch for 16 years.. now my pharmacy is getting involved to say how many.. I was on 15 patchs for 30 days.. now they say 10 for 25 days. Sometimes they peal off also.. this is crazy

  118. Andrea at 11:19 am

    Thank you for FINALLY bringing to light the negligence that chronic pain patients face on a daily basis. More attention and resources have been provided for people with addiction than for the treatment of people who actual suffer from chronic pain. Chronic pain patients need support from their medical professionals. The government should provide more support these individuals and less for the addicts.

  119. L ganak at 11:15 am

    Yes yes yes suffering from nerve damage from surgery has been a year of nightmares & pain any s suggestions besides lyrica with horrible side effects , nerve blocks that have made pain unbearable @ pt that doesn’t work Acupucture that inflamed nerves help!

  120. Mike at 11:15 am

    As a person with chronic pain that is a result of a disease for which there is no cure I appreciate those article. I understand the risks of opiods, but for me the alternative is disability, sever pain, depression and a very poor life. The meds I’m on along with diet, exercise and physical therapy have allowed me to be a husband and father all while not being a financial and emotional drain on everyone around me. The meds are by no means perfect, but the give me at least some sort of shot at a semi-normal life. I’m depend on the meds,but I’m not an addict and don’t take them to escape life of get high. Unfortunately there are addicts out there that abuse opioids, however if not opioids it be another drug of choice if they are drug addicts. These people and public perception really put me and my family at risk of losing the life I enjoy. Chronic long term pain left untreated would lead to a miserable life and ultimately lead to an early death on most cases….I do everything I can naturally in an effort to maximize the results and it works pretty well. Hopefully in time people and doctors will understand that those with debilitating chronic pain need help and most want their lives back, not a way to check out of daily life….

  121. Buck at 11:02 am

    What about chronic pain patients that are suffering that give life and limb for our country and they’re getting cut back suicide rate is up to 80% for chronic pain patients anybody in the government that’s hurt and their families that are hurt I’m sure they’ll get the right amount of milligrams per day I think they’re thinning the population out with this do away with the poor and the suffering and the rich get treated just like the old days

  122. Debra Allen at 10:21 am

    Finally, some sanity. People with chronic pain are panicking. Not knowing if the next doctors appt will be their last script. Thank you for your report

  123. Chad C. at 9:41 am

    Been dealing with and been a volunteer for different treatments for 18 years and finally find a treatment that was working great and my count at my clinic was always good never had a bad pee test and then they want to treat my pain like they are treating the pain of someone with a headache now instead of living my life I sit around the house just crazy that I’m being treated like I done something wrong

  124. Pc at 9:21 am

    They complain about alternatives but how hard is it for someone with a solution from company to get to a doctor because they won’t see a sales rep. You saw the same sales rep for the pain meds you prescribed. Illogical argument

  125. Beckys at 9:19 am

    Thank you, well said!
    We need to address addiction not helping chronic pain patients.
    How about we start with the alcohol which is approved for use, yet causes so many deaths, and wrecks entire families?
    Yet another Super Bowl will air commercials glorifying alcohol, which is an encouraged drug in itself and often leads to alcohol addition in this country.
    Back to the issue. Severe extreme pain can cause death. No one in chronic pain wants to take pills. They just want to get better, but if their conditionis not solvable, hey if there are no pain meds then do they become all day alcoholics to try to relieve pain since that is widely accepted?
    I don’t understand seems folks are not considering the root of setting stage for addiction, which yes is the issue, not chronic serious pain patients need to live.
    Great post, one of the best.

  126. Stephanie Scarbrough at 9:08 am

    Absolutely! With out long acting opioids, there is no way that I would be able to function; let alone work full-time and take care of my child as a single mother. These people that are preaching for opioids to be cut off to avoid addiction will cause untold suffering to millions of chronic pain patients who depend on them to live with some quality of life. We need to have common sense thought about this issue, not the one sided approach of most people in power. This thought process demeans chronic pain patients, and opens the door to us being treated poorly because we need pain control. I have yet to meet a single chronic pain patient who has become addicted. A large majority of us take her medications responsibly and never misuse or divert them. They need to realize that not everyone is an addict!

  127. Rob at 8:45 am

    I’m to the point to where I’m gonna stop taking my pain meds cause doctors are not giving me enough to last a month, And the pharmacies say they don’t have em in stock. I just had my 2nd Back surgery , in pain even With taking pain meds, But I’m tired of the hassle. I’ll just take something over the counter, Probably mess up my liver with Tylenol having 500mg of . Acetaminophen in one pill

  128. Charles Day at 8:32 am

    It’s Dr’s who have to be careful who gets pain relief . And patients who need to lock your meds up !!! Kids are stealing them from grandma’s and grandpa’s.. Or irresponsible parents who keep them in bathroom cabinets.

  129. Charles Day at 8:27 am

    My husband has multiple myeloma , perifial neuropathy in his hands. Legs, and feet . He said if he couldn’t get relief from his oxy,and methadone, he would eliminate his existence.

  130. Maureen Mollico at 7:35 am

    Very well said and written! It gives me hope knowing that there is yet another fine physician out there acknowledging the issue against our community and standing up and fighting for us.
    I am forever grateful.
    Thank you Ed and staff for all that you have done for us this year!
    Merry Christmas to all and may our prayers for better pain management be answered in 2018.

  131. Barrow at 6:45 am

    “Dr. Fine joins a growing chorus of pain specialists who are frustrated with the binary approach that the government has taken to the opioid crackdown.”

    I’d love to see more and more articles about this growing chorus. Even more, I’d love to see a true holiday miracle happen, right now.

    “God bless us, every one.” — Tiny Tim Cratchit, December 1843

  132. Holly Davidson at 5:38 am

    I just don’t understand why Drs. cannot get together and face the CDC and the DEA as a team to help those of us who are now suffering terribly!

  133. LYNN HUTCHENS at 5:27 am

    I have been in chronic pain for almost 2 yrs. Now. I have4 different drs. NO ONE WILL GIVE ME Anything! Need help so bad. Fibromyalgia and back pain. Degenterent joint and sick disease!!! This is inhumane!

  134. Jeremy Goodwin, MS, MD at 4:13 am

    Yes, finally, I am not feeling alone in this miscarriage of justice. The old champions of pain management laid low. Others have paid a price for speaking up, but now we are being joined in significant number by yet others whose conscience will no longer allow them to hide and fail the patients for whom they had long professed to care.

  135. Jim Moulton at 4:07 am

    YEAHHH!! Here is an article that makes sense and needs to be out there for people to read.

  136. Candee Heller at 3:59 am

    BRAVO!! A voice of reason in this dark night.

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