First Stop, Naloxone

First Stop, Naloxone

It was a normally, scheduled visit to the pain management clinic this week to refill on my opioid medication. The opioid medication that I’ve been taking for roughly four years, without incident or issues. My visits alternate between seeing Doctor and Nurse Practitioner and I saw the NP that day. A normal visit in all respects as there was nothing new to talk about. My pain is being “managed”, not successfully, but in a way I can tolerate right now and because I will not consider any more surgeries, we’re at an impasse. Just as I thought we were good on the refill; she uttered the word I’d actually been waiting to hear for a long time: Narcan®. For those of you who may be reading this who are family of pain patients, and may not know, let me explain.

Narcan® (naloxone HCl) Nasal Spray: is the first and only FDA-approved nasal form of naloxone for the emergency treatment of a known or suspected opioid overdose. It counteracts the life-threatening effects of an opioid overdose; since most accidental overdoses occur in a home setting, it was developed for first responders, as well as family, friends, and caregivers—with no medical training required. (Because this is a brand, I will just refer to it as naloxone.) Narcan

Liza Zoellick

Signs of opioid emergency are:

  • Unusual sleepiness
  • Breathing will be slow or absent
  • Slow heartbeat or low blood pressure
  • Skin feels cold or clammy
  • Pupils are tiny
  • Nails and lips are blue

When she uttered that word to me, so very casually and with a smile, I shut down and I cut her off. I was angry that suddenly patients are being treated like junkies and that we’re being told that along with our prescriptions, that we need to pick up naloxone in the event we OD. The truth of the matter is, the first thing I did was Tweet my frustrations about it, and what I had heard her say was that she was going to send the Rx to my Walgreens. I was worried about the cost, having heard some of my followers paying upwards of $100 for it in the past and then when my pharmacy app was not working, I took matters into my own hands and began to Google it, come to find out naloxone is now available over-the-counter in at least 48 states. I actually had a moment where I’d felt like I’d been living in a closet or something. Where had I been that naloxone was suddenly available in 48 states at your local pharmacy over-the-counter? Oh yeah, I was just going about my life, taking my pain meds according to doctor’s orders.

The ease of accessibility with which you can now obtain naloxone makes it a perfect weapon of skirmish warfare, but in the end, does nothing to win this war against illicit opiates in our country. Naloxone will save some lives, but for how long? Saving a person after an initial overdose is great, but if they can’t get into rehab afterwards then what? Contrary to what people might think you can’t just walk up to a rehab facility and knock on the door and see if they have a room available like a motel. It doesn’t work like that. Not to mention, that you have to want the help and you have to want to be clean in order for all this to work. Naloxone does not cure you of the drug addiction, only the symptoms of the drug overdose. You have to do the work needed if you want to be rid of a drug addiction problem, and you are never cured. But naloxone sure does make it look like the government is doing something, right? Saving drug addicts, saving your kids from potential drug overdoses, even saving pain patients from potential drug overdoses. What naloxone doesn’t do, and what we have never done is tried to understand the root cause of drug addiction and stop it before it even starts. It’s just easier dumping money into a drug that stops you from OD’ing. It’s easier to criminalize everyone. Meaning: making little to no difference between chronic pain patients to people on the streets looking for drugs, re-framing the chronic illness story so that it is no longer about real pain, but about drug seeking behavior, and lastly, taking away any sympathy there might have been for the chronic pain patient and shifting it to anger and loathing.

When you make it so that these people have a choice to be a victim or victor in their chronic pain, and they choose to be a victim, people no longer have sympathy and people no longer want to help. People want to punish them and inflict hurt upon them for perceived wrongs.

We are entering very dangerous waters when we tread here, and chronic pain patients are being surrounded by sharks.

This isn’t just about buying naloxone. That may be the first stop, but this is about the future of pain medicine and about the future of millions of pain patients out there who may find that the next stop is having their pain medication ripped from them. They may be left in intolerable pain, forced into withdrawals from a medication that was working fine for them for years. Not only that but they may suffer the indignation of being called an addict, forced into a program, forced to admit that their years with pain was some kind of fabrication or some kind of result of weak will. They may be shunned by family, they may be rejected by a spouse, their lives may be broken and they will live the rest of their lives in pain.

I’m scared and you should be too.

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Authored by: Liza Zoellick

Liza is a chronic pain warrior from Houston who has been chronicling her journey through chronic pain and illness on her blog: http://lovekarmafood.com. She is a frequent and valued contributor to the National Pain Report.

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Tabitha shileds

Yes that happen to.me as well ..have been on long treatment including.opioids for 15 years ..I laughed however . No problems after 15 years , never once felt like sticking a.needle.in my arm or Robbing the local mini Mart for my fix . Lol. I laughed so I wouldn’t scream . I never filled the script . Pharmacy called saying it was ready and told them it is not needed . We are the victims of the politicians trying.to one up one another to make headlines , we are the victims of the massive money grab hysteria . A hysteria mostly built.on lies . Chronic pain Paitients protection act now

I agree with you. They are forcing us into mental health care system. Yes detox units are lock down areas I experienced a night mare hemrogen from to many meds they refused to allow me to take my portonex to stop the bleeding. Then discharged me. Leaving me in a horrific condition

Alan Edwards

The Narcan slap in the face hit me in the “you can take a little pain management clinic” two years ago. So Liza, like yourself, i was quietly angry when ordered to fill the profitable for cvs med. Its main purpose is to stigmatize patients.
It is also associated with the recent death of a bus passenger. He was fully alive when the Narcan was administered by supposed rescuers who shot and killed him minutes later after being accused of being an addict. The horrifying behavior of his rescuers is on You Tube and the Net. Find and watch it, please. It is outrageous how the weakest amongst us are not being treated because our health problems cause severe pain.

Jill

Ken, don’t you mean opioid abusers who get out of rehab? Unrelated to the chronic pain patient situation.

oldgoat

Lisa, I cant agree more emphatically with what you have written here. The only mistake you made is in your time tense. People are currently having their pain medication ripped from them. They are being left in intolerable pain and forced into withdrawals from a medication that was working fine for them for years. We do suffer the indignation of being called an addict, forced into a psychiatric care, told that our years with pain was some kind of fabrication or some kind of result of weak will. We are being taken off stable drug regimens that have been successful for decades because opioids dont work for chronic pain. lease dont make the mistake of thinking this is the future. Its here now….

Thomas Kidd

If my wife and I were in shape to do so, I would seriously consider moving to Mexico where people can actually be treated for pain with opioid medications without being labeled as an addict and criminal. I love my country and am thankful to be born here, but evil has taken over our once free land. I pray “Lord Jesus Come Soon.”

Thomas Kidd

Thank you so much! I was offered Norcan at a Walgreens a few months ago but rejected it. At the present I actually don’t get enough Methadone to overdose. Yes, we treading in dangerous waters and our doctors will not be there as they should. Funny thing about all these things happening, is that the Scriptures warned of these times more than 2000 years ago. But most people have written off God and His Word. Much more horrible times are coming our way and I for one have settled it in my heart and am preparing myself before my Creator, Redeemer and Lord. I spend as much time as possible in real prayer, secret prayer, and warn others to do the same. May you be about truly and honestly seeking God in these terrible times we are now living in. Time to Wake up!

Rosalind Rivera

I was given Naloxon several months ago by my pain management doctor and when I asked why, since I’ve been his patient for almost 8 years, his response was that it was now mandatory by the state. This article made me think as I felt degraded and untrusted worthy. I’ve never had an incident where I’ve overdosed because I wanted to get high or just wanted more opioids and therefore feel that this prescription was totally unwarranted. I have an appointment coming up and I’m going to bring this issue up. I’m going to tell me exactly what information my files contain and whether he personally feels that I need this Naloxon.

mikef

This happened at my pain management clinic too about a year ago. After fifteen years of using high dose opioids suddenly some great risk is perceived. I believe there are about 800 patients at this practice. We were all suddenly required to buy a dose of Naloxone at $200 each, and 800 doses were magically available at the pharmacy nearby.

Maureen M.

Liza, I guess my doc is ahead of your doc 🙂
A year ago this past June, at my monthly Pain management visit, my doc gave me my usual Rx.
As I was leaving the room his medical asst. handed me another RX. I looked at it and see it is for NARCAN! I was immediately insulted and asked to see the doc.
He said ‘don’t worry, the state is making us give these out to all who use opioids.’
I then stated that ‘I do not need nor want this Rx. whatsoever and I am insulted to be handed one’. He then said ‘its not mandatory that you fill it but we have to hand it to you’.
It called my insurance co. and found that they do cover it and so for some idiotic reason I went ahead and filled. I think that I felt like if I didn’t I was going to be in trouble or labeled somehow. The feeling within me was of sheer disgust when I dropped that Rx off at the pharmacy, let alone when I picked it up.
I thought, I will just keep it in my trunk and give it to a cop one day.
Fast forward, this June he offered another ‘annual’ Narcan script to me but this time he said ‘it is not necessary that I take it this time!’ HUH?!! Sooo naturally I refused it.
Therefore, I guess the importance of us having it has lessened in a sense. At least in his practice.
What kind of world are we living in?! If you have’t filled it yet, find out first if you really have to?!

I very much agree with Lisa; we should be afraid. In the case of Narcan, please explain to me why we as experienced at PROPERLY taking our medications, need Narcan? I guess I could understand it if there were the possibility of small children getting into our medications and needing Narcan, but really, come on. I was a Paramedic for ten years before pain took me out and I can tell you Narcan is a very powerful drug. If taken too fast, not only will you get a complete cessation of any narcotic effect (including pain relief) you will feel like plain [edit]! So, please tell me the truth behind why we are being forced to obtain Narcan in order to get our medications??? I hear big brother knocking again, with an even more ominous note to his knock….I do not believe that there is a legitimate reason for us to be “forced” to buy Narcan in order to obtain out pain meds.; I truly find it alarming as in, ” we don’t trust you with taking your medications responsibly, so have this Narcan when you [edit] up”???? Where is the logic and the right to decide for ourselves? Will the next step be having to go to some clinic every time we take our pain meds????

Barbara Snow

Today I went to print my medical records and there it was. Under my health history, things that are wrong with me, you know, osteoarthritis, hypertension, OPIOID DEPENDENCE! WHAT. Well than they should put Atenolol dependence too? I was angry. Can I make them take that out?

Meg Taylor

If I see an obvious addict not breathing, I am walking right by them. I blame them for our difficulties and insecurities receiving prescriptions to manage severe chronic pain.

1oldbroad

Good post!
As for those getting upset st the word junkie…how might you feel if you’ve been taking your pain meds for years as prescribed (and being productive and able to have some sort of life) but due to those abusing these meds illegally we’re getting our meds taken away for the reason that folks like your son choose to abuse them? It is so unfair for those who use them as prescribed yet are being condemned for it. Now folks who never abused their meds are committing suicide because of this so called opioid crisis. I’m sorry for your loss, but it was not the drugs fault. It was the misuse. I lost my brother so I know how it feels too.

Researcher on PM

When the DSM-5 was updated, the definition for “addiction” was changed to the previous definition for “dependence”.
Since the DSM is the BIBLE for all DOCTORS & INSURANCE COMPANIES, everyone in pain management is now a “ADDICT”.
This was changed in part for INSURANCE purposes.
The Dr. who pushed changing this definition also worked for a PHARMACEUTICAL company that makes naloxone. Welcome to the US.

ElizabethR

I should probably add: I do understand that healthcare providers and insurers are running scared of law enforcement, specifically the DEA–an agency that has NO place in healthcare, IMO. Chinese fentanyl manufacturers/smugglers and large-scale illicit drug dealers are much harder to find and raid than doctors and chronic pain patients on monitoring programs, but going after the former might actually make a dent in the “opioid crisis”.

ElizabethR

Yes, I’m plenty scared even though I’m old. My “future” is time-limited. However, I can only hope that what time I have remaining will not become complete misery due to undertreated pain. I, too, was compelled by my HMO to accept a Narcan Rx although I have taken a low dose of a mild opiate, as prescribed, for years. I am 82+ Y/O and have several medical conditions that cause ongoing serious pain. The continual lumping together of legitimate pain patients and recreational drug users–who are often otherwise-healthy individuals in their late teens, 20s or 30s–is a source of dismay and alarm.

With all due respect to anyone who has lost a family member to a drug overdose, their family member had a choice. At some point the choice was made to ingest a high dosage of often-illicit drugs recreationally and, unfortunately, addiction followed; it is an illness and treatment should be readily available as well as affordable. It is absolutely regrettable when a life, especially a young life, is lost to drugs.

However, addiction is separate from and should have nothing to do with MY healthcare, but now it does. People living with chronic pain, which includes many older adults, do not have a choice about the pain we experience daily. We use the limited medication we are now permitted (if any) carefully and responsibly. We do not need Narcan. We are not the problem.

Theresa L. Negrete

I had a thought the other day. Hmmm! Before 3 separate Docs. cowardly skirted responsibility and did finally rip my LEGAL Pain Prescription Medication away, I was being drug tested, just like, I’m sure most here have too. Makes me so angry! So, when I am the consumer, shouldn’t I have the right to drug test all of the Doctors who work to get money from me? Should all the Government representatives, from the President down, have to pass drug test to work for all of us American Consumers? Just a thought!

Stephen

Whenever I go to my primary care doctors office for a visit and I am assigned a PA or NP I get anxious. If my pc doc goes on vacation I get very anxious. PA’s and NP’s have, when my doc is gone: put me into withdrawal, started a medication taper, and prescribed the wrong medications. They don’t know me, obviously haven’t even looked at my chart, and are scared to death of chronic pain patients. They want nothing to do with us, we are treated like criminals.

Jodi

I was forced to purchase it a month ago, but by the pharmacy. They told me my insurance wouldn’t cover it, but they found some coupon that made it about $150. I said I never take more than I’m supposed to. Then they said “you have a child under 18 that could get into it. So we require you to have it.” Our daughter was going to turn 18 within the week though. So I had to buy it.

Liza thank you for a spot on article , always love your articles . Human beings are now and I guess always have wanted to leave the weaker / sicker/ disabled ,intractable pain humans behind bc we can’t measure up to their exspectations in keeping up the life of a normal person that does not have disabilities, suffer intractable pain or any affliction that is not considered normal & functionable. Humans not only like same mindedness but obviously no afflictions of the body . So shoves intractable pain people into their own click. It’s us against the normal humans. We are no longer wanted / accepted even for pain treatment at most medical facilities of any kind. Pain management facilities are closing. Are The Unwanted in the United States. If you receive an opiate prescription you are now tracked labeled as an addict & in the future B routed into rehab. We are now Public Enemy Number One. When we are abused by the ones in the white coats that are supposed to help us, we should be very afraid where are governments going.

Cindy

Liza, my PM also prescribed OD meds. He told me he had to, to stay legal.

But when I got to the pharmacy, I asked them if I had to buy it and they said no.

So, I didn’t.

I have zero concern about accidentally OD’ing on my opioids.

I write down every pill for breakthrough pain that I take; I started doing so almost immediately after they were first prescribed almost 11 years ago, when I realized that if I didn’t write them down, I couldn’t remember how many I took on any given day. If I take a pill when I’m not home, I call and leave myself a v-mail.

CPP’s will not abuse the meds they need to stay alive, and so Naloxone absolutely makes no sense for us — with a proviso attached :

It is possible for someone to confuse their meds — to forget what they took and make a mistake and take one too many, and so if a CPP is having that sort of trouble, then it may be a good thing to keep Naloxone around.

But it should be a choice for each CPP based on his/her competence with keeping track.

And it is a choice — for the moment anyway —-since we dont’ have to buy what our doc calls in.

But the govt will probably close that loophole soon enough, b/c the govt thinks it has a license to practice medicine and knows us as well as our docs do.

Also, for any Rx, dont’ forget those Rx discount programs like GoodRX which can save a lot of $.

And, the first OD drug my PM prescribed, and which I didn’t buy, cost over double what the Naloxone cost at my pharmacy with my insurance. He prescribed Nalaxone a few months after the first OD drug after realizing the cost issue.

The slacker family created naxolone bc they knew they were going to be sued therefore since it was a gov state regulations / insurance mandate that it be given to anyone prescribed opiates. Basically recouping their money from being sued w/ help from gov & insurance regulations. Note which came first naxolone than law suite very convenient for the slacker family. 2nd junkie came from the 1920s when people would use heroin, they would sell scrap metal to obtain heroin. Heroin was referred to as junk not the person. Addict refers any one that uses any substance / anything too much not just substances. There is such a hostile degrading against anyone that uses a prescription opiate they are considered an addict. This article came right before I had a conversation with in-laws about prescription opiate use as they knew someone they thought was an addict there for anyone who uses a prescription is an addict, the media has brainwashed them nor do they suffer with severe chronic pain. Therefore you have the ones who do not suffer chronic pain looking at the ones who do suffer chronic pain as addicts or lying about their pain. Why can’t we take a liar detector test to prove that we are in pain that is the cheapest test but even our MRIs /blood test show that we have pain. yet we’re still discriminated against all BC the pressures of the DEA on doctors & doctors taking it out on chronic pain people so is the media. We should be very afraid. I know I am since I don’t get pain medication how much longer can I take this.

Ken

Did you know that opioid users who graduate from 28 day abstinence based rehabs are 30 times more likely to die of opioid overdose than those who continue to use opioids and get no treatment? Even Hazelden gives opioid patients suboxone those days. Killer rehabs are not the answer. Methadone and suboxone, along with naloxone, are.

Sandy

Thanks for your post. I must agree when I was first offered Narcan I was insulted, offended and angry. I refused it from my Walgreens. Then I thought about a couple of things. Although I am very careful in the storage of my meds what if children got a hold of them? They can be as deadly as a loaded gun in the wrong hands. The moments it can take for help to arrive can be the difference between life and death. The second thing is overdoses are so common these days if someone showed up in my vicinity in trouble and I could help I wouldn’t hesitate. The second time it was offered to me I took it. It sits in my cabinet ready for use. I hope it sits there for the rest of my days and I never have to open the box, but if I do it’s there and could save a life.

Lenore

this was given to me 4 years ago when I was on 5 mg hydrocodone 3xday!!!!! No other controlled drug.

@Janice And also, I am sorry for the losses you’ve endured. My words here were not meant as an attack on drug addicts. My words were meant to bring awareness because I fear the tone in an area where patients should be cared for and looked after. Much the same way I feel that drug addicts should be cared for and looked after and are not. If I did not make that clear enough I am sorry.

Thank you for the comments and to everyone who read. Your comments are always appreciated.

@Janice Respectfully, I only used it once, and there was a purpose for that usage, which was for the exact reason you cite yourself. Patients are being treated like something to be thrown away, useless. I don’t want that.

Thank you @Casey for reading and giving your valuable input. I do appreciate it.

James McCay

IF Narcan has anything to do with the CDC’s STUPID “War On Opioids”, then why isn’t Narcan given away FOR FREE in every pharmacy?
This just proved to me beyond any doubt that the only reason the CDC is involved in the “Opioid Crisis” is POLITICS & MAKING MONEY that the government wants to make off of ANYONE IT CAN!

Plus they’re ignoring all the the patient’s that NEED Opioids to live & have NEVER OD’ed in 15-20+ years on the same medication- AND NEVER WILL! Once again, CHRONIC INTRACTABLE PAIN patients are being lumped in with degenerate scum drug addicts who use OUR MEDS in an illegal way & obtain them illegally! Then if that wasn’t bad enough, they don’t take the pills like we do!
NO!, that would be “A WASTE” in BROKEN minds of addicts because they want to get “the best possible high” for their money SO THEY SMOKE OUR PILLS! Then the REAL MORONS smoke our pills in e-CIGS (Vaping) which has FINALLY been announced by mainstream media that e-Cigs ARE DANGEROUS & are causing many deaths; just by smoking nicotine alone. I knew BEFORE any Media…

But not one state (OR THE CDC) investigated e-Cigs that were being used ILLEGALLY by DRUG ADDICTS almost right from the start of e-Cigs! Want to know why the CDC
didn’t care about e-Cigs? Correctamundo; MONEY!

What was the US South going to do with all of this perfectly good world famous tobacco after the US was FORCED TO CONDEMN IT? e-Cigs was the answer to make big tobacco, a MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR A YEAR US BUSINESS AGAIN (they’ve been marketing it to kids in impoverished nations for 20-years now, since they lost the US business! But who cares about third-world kids?). Certainly NOT the CDC or DEA!

So NO ONE CARED about the how or why; regarding whether e-Cigs were dangerous UNTIL BODIES STARTING DROPPING DEAD ON THE FLOOR IN RECORD NUMBERS & IT KILLED SOME CONGRESS MEMBER’S KIDS!

At least this is taking away from the CDC’s INSANE “War On Opioids” against CHRONIC PAIN PATIENTS for now.

Mike Ellery

If you look at the whole picture,you will understand why a chronic pain patient is less than happy with people who take opioids to stay or get high.When you play that game,you are a JUNKIE or some other name which fits…The mother whose son died has one person to blame,her son.It began and ended with him.In my teens and early 20s,i was a JUNKIE.I didnt blame anyone else,i understood i was responsible for my actions.I finally grew up and STOPPED getting high.But now,40 years later,i am a CHRONIC PAIN PATIENT.I have illnesses for which i take controlled substances.I take them to reduce SOME of my pain.For this i pay a high toll in money,scorn from others and political correctness about JUNKIES.Listen,i did nothing to incur my pain.I have valid scrips for everything.I still have a lot of pain….etc…So,to all who have lost or are losing loved ones because of opioids,dont blame us because we are a bit pissed off.I was like your son once but i will tell you one thing,if he didnt take responsibility for his actions,sooner or later,he would die.I know,i have been both and i can tell you i am as responsible as is humanly possible with my pain meds.I hate the DEA for storm trooping the doctors.I hate the people that see us as addicts.And i hate the ppl who take these drugs to get high.Either stand up and take responsibility for your actions or stay sick and die but dont hurt me with your actions.Ps,The vast majority of ppl dieing now,die from heroin or fentanyl or a combination of both,not pain pills so tell the DEA to get out of my doctors office and start shutting down dealers…do your f…ing job DEA.The truth is they arent good or effective enough.Going after Pain Patients bumps their numbers up,makes them feel like heros,which they are not.

Katie

You are so right. I was in the hospital and I had so much pain. I was called a addict by the nurses because I take suboxone for my pain. I couldn’t stop crying. I will never forget that day.

Rose

Janice,

I am terribly sorry to hear about your son. Many are naive about the disease of addiction. I doubt Liza meant any harm. Being a chronic pain patient, we are being treated horribly by our government because of people who use illegal drugs. But it’s not their fault either. If treatment would be affordable many may seek help.
A carpenter who did work for me overdosed multiple times and was brought back by Narcan. He violated his probation many times! He was put into outpatient programs when he needed long term treatment. One night fueled on heroin and alcohol, he was speeding on the highway and killed a good samaritan help change a motorist tire. He has been sentenced to 40 years in prison. The judicial system failed him by not arresting him due to probation violations, and our government failed him by not giving him access to long term treatment. While my heart goes out to people suffering from addiction, people with chronic pain have become the unintended victims. So we too have a right to be angry.

Cindy Deim

I’ve had Narcan sitting in my drawer next to my bed for about a year and a half. I had to buy it, I think it was around $60.00. I know at this point all I can do is do what the doctor, our PA in my case, says. There was no discussing, it was in with the rest of my prescriptions. I didn’t say a word, just picked it up and put in my bedside drawer.
I know I have no control over all of this right now. I do believe things will turn around, we all just have to survive it. Sounds simple, nope it’s not. But for me right now, that’s my game plan, survive.
I also write to my congresspeople. I write emails a lot to anyone who might hear me. We have to be involved in this fight. And, at the same time survive it all.
I think about all of you often and I hope that each and every one of you survives to a better day.

Jennifer c

It incites every core in my body. I live day and night in debilitating pain. I wonder how our bodies can take so much and not just explode. I often say if more doctors had this there would be a cure in 24 hours. My life as I knew it is over, the dreams, the future plans, my loved ones future all of it has changed. I’m scared everyday that they will get just as tired and leave. Would I stay if this was reversed? And to be treated every month like I’m a criminal, urine tests, contracts, narcan, the stares absolutely ridiculous. The percentage of chronic pain patients taking there meds as prescribed overdosing is under 2%. People can overdose on water if they drink to much. Anything in excess is and could be harmful. I am not taking my medication to escape life, I’m taking my medication so that I may live life. The government thinks that reducing pain medication will stop drug use is completely delusional. We have got the worst epidemic of mental illness in our country right now. We as parents have not allowed our children to deal with life. We rescue them at every failure and have taken there ability to cope away. So that when something does happen they have no idea how to solve it. So they turn to other things to help. That is why we have such high suicide rates. We have social media access to give our kids the guide to how society appears. Not reality. We need to take back parenting. We need to have parents home. We need to be the guide and role models and we need to allow them to fall and learn how to get back up. I dont have all the answers but we need to go back to the basics and allow our children to be children and stop putting such a high bar that is not achievable for some and that’s ok . I tell my children as long as you give it your best then that is what is expected.

Sara Nolan

I am scared. Every single day.

Joy R Louters

Is it legal for your pain management doctor to call you at home and demand that you come in with your meds. for a count? This happened to me and it’s something that upset me a great deal. I had no transportation. The drive is 45 minutes one way. And the girl talking to me said, “You have to come!”. My regular appt. is the day after tomorrow and I am prepared to discuss this incident in detail with my physician. I was never told that they might be doing this. I had regular urine tests done at the appointments. I can feel gloom and doom and uncontrolled pain in my future.

Allie Golightly

I am so sorry for your loss Janice. Addiction is a disease and needs to be viewed as healthcare issue, not a criminal one. Unfortunately the modern media and a high percentage of society continues to portray a person with this disease as some kind of criminal degenerate.

Barbara Caldwell

You are definitely not alone in your dismay at this sudden push for everyone who takes an opioid pain medication to have “Narcan” on hand. When confronted by my pain management’s STRONG recommendation to purchase Narcan, which she arbitrarily called in to my pharmacy, I resisted.

I am a 20 year chronic pain patient who has over time reduced my opioids by 80%. I am not a drug or alcohol abuser, and have never taken more than prescribed or obtained any medication legally. I am 71 years old and live alone. So…let’s assume as a result of some currently unimaginable circumstance, I am rendered unconscious by opioids. Just who will be administering the Narcan…my cats? So I told the pharmacist I was not going to pick up that prescription, costing $140, just so my provider could check a feel good box on her list.

As you can imagine, it did not end there. While not actually threatened, at each subsequent visit, that prescription became an issue. I finally just said, I can’t afford it. If you have a complimentary sample, I will take that home. We finally settled on an injectable form which was less than $40, and it sits unopened in my locked medication cabinet. As useless as the inhaled variety, but $100 less. Useless because there is no one to administer it. If I were found unconscious, 911 would be called and they would decide what to do.

However, the appropriate box was checked, I am “compliant” and no longer have to talk about it at every ritual monthly visit to my pain management specialist. I am tempted to comment on that money making scheme of “oversight”, but will let one of your other readers address those monthly nuisance visits, where the same questions are asked and answered, they check their boxes, I get my meds.

The fentanyl and heroin crisis has been arbitrarily expanded to include the entire community of chronic pain patients, and is causing unnecessary expense, appointments, and prescriptions. It is wrong. I wish I knew the answer.

Stephanie

Amen

Beth

I must admit I was kind of surprised about this post. You talk a lot about addiction. Each time you talk about the med you then slide into what should be done in rehab.
When I was prescribed it I saw it as a welcome. I never thought, oh I’m an addict. I never even thought about addiction. For me, this has nothing to do with addiction and my pain.
Instead I truly felt for the first time that I was being heard. I’m not an addict, Ive never have been, don’t treat me like an addict ( like most pain centers).
But I know how easily one can overdose. I used to be with a dr that had me on benzos and pain medication. I needed both but he prescribed too much of each. I began falling asleep in the middle of picking up a French grid to putting it in my mouth. Literally in my food.
Had I been prescribed narcsn then I would have understood. My pain dr told me, this isn’t because I feel you are an addict, this is about saving your life if you overdose accidentally.
Now, off benzos I realize how very close I was. It went on for months until I began lowering my pain meds by myself. Truly scary when I look back; I was at home for ten hours a day alone.
So I see narcan as a blessing ,not a negative. Everyone on pain meds for a prolonged period should have this in their home. I’ll go as far as if you have pain meds coming in your home , teenagers that you know are experimenting, ( yes I know they shouldn’t experiment, but you’d be surprised how many do). Also if you have any elderly family members with pain issues.
This is a battle, the pain battle, but let’s see the dangers and protect ourselves.

Kristen

First and foremost ,I agree with Janice Referring to someone’s beloved son,Brother,cousin,etc as a Junkie is very hurtful to the whole family and should never be used.If god forbid and I don’t wish that on anyone the tables were turned and it was my loved one I too would take offense to that.AS far as Naloxone.I personally don’t see it as a problem.I have been prescribed it for two years and never had to use it or use on anyone Thankfully.I do take my prescribed med as I’m suppose to every day for well over 9 or ten years.I know the chances of Overdosing is very unlikely but I was told even if I was to drop say 5 pounds it can make the med more potent and therefore I could accidentally OD.These are words out of my PCP mouth.She also said though she thinks I will never need it,there may be someone that does.Yes ,I would use it without hesitation if it ment saving a life.My insurance requires me to have it and with that said I don’t take offense.I see it as part of their safety precautions .I know not everyone will agree with me but furthest thing on my mind is arguing with my PCP about how I shouldn’t need this.I rather focus more getting my monthly prescription so I can get out of bed.I know a few people who argued and they refused to get it and were cut off cold Tukey from the meds that gave them some quality of life and you know what,they kick themselves for not complying.My heart goes out to Janice for the loss of her beloved Son.

Holly

A girl in the next town over from me died. She and her boyfriend used narcon sooo much to save each other from oding. This time it was too late. Noone was there when she shot up and even though they revived her, she was brain dead. This is what many addicts are doing due to the Fentanyl coming in.

Alice Carroll

The more I read the more I’m thinking it’s time to leave this country. I will research where people in pain can live better, less painful lives and are not subject to harassment by those who are supposed to be helping us. What happened to empathy for those who are sick and in pain? It is not our fault that we find ourselves to be chronic pain patients. Many of us suffer from car accidents, failed surgeries, war wounds and diseases ie. CRPS that are horribly painful and there is simply no cure. What are we supposed to do? Give up the only medication that works because there are other people who obtain this medication and use it in dangerously high dosages to get high? Does that sound as stupid to you as it does to me?

Naloxone offers the gift of TIME- another chance. Dead people don’t recover. Drug poisonings with fentanyl are a whole new ballgame. We need to keep folks alive until they learn to make healthier choices. What if you could die from a “bad” can of beer and there was an antidote available? I think folks would think differently. Prohibition is our common event here. Carrying naloxone is a good idea.

LMC

My doctor said he was required to write the script and send to pharmacy but I was not required to purchase. I laughed about it only because I have been stable on my meds for over a decade. I got it anyway and yes it was expensive. My doc said that it might come in handy if I run across someone else who is overdosing. And that’s when I really laughed because unless that overdosing person knocks on my door and asks for it, then that medication is going to sit in my cabinet until years after it expires.

Saul

I agree my pharmacist had called me . He had said we are giving you narcan it cost me nothing. Two doses I was shocked,he stated in case my children get into my medications and I should have them in a safe place , I advised him I don’t have any children which brought back pain of my only son passing away at 26 from als . That would get into my medications, he said well just in case someone or you by accident. Well I was shocked to say the least I said I have stage 4 liver cancer . What was worse is he ask me about my treatment and what was going on I told him my treatment is going well but I will be on this the rest of my life it’s a mutated cancer around my liver . His response was oh that is not stage 4 cancer? I didn’t know what to say I was mad as hell and want to kick his ass but mostly shocked. Why would he say that all this because of my question of the narcan . It’s like you take opiates your a drug addicted junkie . As a law Enforcement officer I took offense to his questions and assumptions And am about to write a letter to his corporate office. They have been both but rude professional but rude as though I’m a drug addict . But I got the narcan and the other people that work there are very kind but the One pharmacist is extremely rude . If you wanted to get drugs you can buy them on the street cannabis is legal in Florida for pain I could always get that but I don’t like the way it makes me feel . So I don’t see why we are all treated like drug Addicts . Very sad

sharon l schmidt

I am scared for good reason that happened to me in March. My doctor walked into the room and said I have bad news my lisence has been taken away I cannot write your prescription. I was in shock what was I going to do he said here is a list of pain doctors and don’t worry I can get you into a doctor to help with the withdrawal. The withdrawal doctor never happen though I asked for his name. I ended up at a methadone clinic until I found another pain doctor. My new doctor weaned me down to 30 mgs of methadone a day which barely works and wants to take me down farther. I don’t know what’s going to happen but I am very scared.

Angelica Heavner

I agree completely with the article and most of the comments. The comments with pain pumps make sense to have the narcan on hand because those pumps can fail or malfunction. The last comment about the word junkie, sorry about the loss of your son so young. But the term junkie refers to someone who is taking anything they can get there hands on with no thoughts or care for anything else but a “high or buzz”. Believe me I have family members that are addicts and lost my younger brother to overdose because they couldn’t find the correct problem in time so he turned to the street to fix the pain and unfortunately enjoyed the “high” he got from it not just the pain relief. We lost him 6 yrs ago and he left a his (at the time) 3 year old little girl. My mom is raising his daughter now and she is 9.
I have lost 2 pharmacy’s because of not being able to afford getting the narcan. I have been stable on my meds for 6 yrs and dealing with pain management since 2011 when the hospital screwed up and caused me to get CRPS/RSD. So yeah right with you. Hope you can continue to work as long as possible. I could not, lost my career at that time.