From the Chronic Pain Community: Shame on You, NBC Nightly News.

From the Chronic Pain Community: Shame on You, NBC Nightly News.

Friday night I watched the NBC Nightly News because most nights I do. While I don’t generally get wrapped up in “are the media telling the true story”, I know that media credibility is an important issue.

I have all sorts of thoughts on the “fake news” narrative from the Trump Administration. But those are comments for a different time.

(As a former television news director in Montana and in Los Angeles, I’m one of those media dinosaurs who believe that both sides of a story should be told)

So let this dinosaur roar.

As I watched NBC News Friday tell the tragic story on Los Angeles Angels pitcher, Tyler Skaggs… who died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl, opioids and alcohol, I was moved. I live in Los Angeles; Skaggs was a local kid who was a stud and star pitcher who died July 1st, tragically.

Friday, we found out why.

​He choked to death on his own vomit–an example of how young people do some stupid–and often-tragic things when they apparently combine alcohol, illegal fentanyl and opioids as Skaggs is reported to have done.

The Skaggs family was understandably crushed…and said they were “heartbroken to learn that the passing of our beloved Tyler was the result of a combination of dangerous drugs and alcohol. This is completely out of character”.

Fair enough. From all we’ve read, Skaggs was a great young man, who made a mistake–a fatal mistake.

At that point, the coverage seemed fair.

Then NBC pivoted and said that “The Skaggs family, like so many, is being affected by the opioid crisis,” apparently oblivious (or worse) to their own report that Skaggs died from a combination of fentanyl, opioids and alcohol.

And then NBC promoted “an exclusive report”…where NBC has “rare access” from the DEA to “unprecedented raids in Florida”.

NBC (riding along with the DEA) went to a pharmacist that was providing “opioids without a license.” Not sure what that had to do—with well anything—but I was curious.

It was essentially –as NBC breathlessly reported–a DEA “unprecedented and sweeping opioid raid”.

They arrested 290 people and have $3.3 million in assets and 600 pounds of illicit drugs.

Uh, Ok!

Guess what wasn’t reported?

If you’re a chronic patient, you already know.

NBC made the case—unspoken to be sure—that all opioid “takers” are addicts.

​This is another case of NBC—and all the networks and local media—conflating any “opioid case” with addiction and danger.

For the millions of people who use opioids to manage intractable chronic pain, this is an opportunity to tell the media, “WTF”.

So, let us know what you think…and know that I’m going to send the best of your comments to NBC News.

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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Carol Anne Benack

Addicts are dying by their own adult choices they make just as they have for many years . Drug Wars are a little older than me. As always “illicit drugs” kill only now the Chinese and Mexico have figured out how to make synthetic street drugs. US Officials have, for reasons of greed, decided to blame it on Rx Opioid medications . Oh, and these addicts did not start off with a script for Vicodin as the media would have you believe either. My family member started off with Ridalyn as a child, at the insistence of her teachers. All the stats are out for the public to see yet the lies somehow continue over the airway ? Do your own research folks an don’t be misled. The medication I need for my very painful real physical conditions, CRPS for one, Spinal Diseases, Fibro, 2 types of arthritis are almost now impossible to get a prescription for. Doctors are petrified of PROP, CDC, DEA . Trump is right, it is fake news !

Calvin Linder

We shouldn’t have to suffer due to some idiot addicts problems I have stacks of paperwork showing my illness and without meds il be in wheelchair living off the government yaw need to stay out of our dr’s office and get back in the streets where the drugs are and if a addict is going to overdose they will do it and nothing u can do to stop them how bout offering them a free place to go get help I work 60hrs a week and need my meds everyday to continue

Carol Benack

Well NBC you’re certainly not the only network whom has been pulled into the false narrative in regardds to the illicit drug crisis going on in America. Every time the media uses the word “Opioid”, you are roping in CP Community to the addiction epidemic. Many of us with intractable Pain or (Pain unhelped by traditional remedies) . Do you know how horrible it feels to have a debilitatng disease or many of them and then be made to feel like an addict or a criminal ? So NBC, in future reporting involving drugs of any kind , please call a spade a spade. If someone died taking illicit drugs, do not tie that into our much needed Rx drugs. As it is the DEA has scared about every Dr in America off their jobs. Folks are literally dying out here in the chronic pain community. Twenty some odd years of this and you just get tired . I tried to get my local stations to listen to my 25 year noble fight. But nobody called. I will not be another statistic. After a cruel forced weaning after 19 years I am fighting this burocracy. It’s time you did some real investigative reporting !

Bonnie Holloway

Yep. This story is a WTF story. The truth was COMPLETELY left out. They jumped on the “opioid bandwagon” just like everyone else. Yes. WTF! Why doesn’t anyone tell our truth? That those of us that live in constant pain struggle every day to feed our selves, to do for our family and to just be able to wash my own self. Why can’t you sensationalize that. If you MUST use sensationalization to make a story, do it so it will help millions of us that have been kicked to the curb. No one caring that we use opiods to have a life that is somewhat normal. DOES anyone care that since this forced taper mess, CPP patients are taking the only way out, the only way to get relief from the pain. Suicide. And the “guidelines” have caused doctors to quit, harassment in the doctors offices, plus the patients. It has caused people in pain to be treated like criminals. Why? We didn’t ask for the pain, for the cancers, for the injuries. NONE of us asked for it. The greatest country in the world treats it’s sick and injured people like criminals. It’s barbaric. It’s cruel. And a stigma has come out of this on cronic pain patients and their doctors. Do a true story. One about the real ones getting hurt. Those that need relief, and the doctors that treat them

I am a chronic pain sufferer . I need to advocate for myself until hopefully others will hear my story .

I’m a chronic pain sufferer without an advocate . I do not abuse drugs . I do not take them for fun I take them to gain me a small amount of a normal life . Like put my clothes on an go to a grocery store . To stand an cook food for myself to clean to do any normal thing people take for granted.
Please hear our pleas.

I’m 66 years old an have been dealing with chronic pain for 12 years due to multiple health issues which have become so intense as to make everyday life impossible .
I use a cane ,can not use stairs ,can not clean my house an can barely put on my clothes . My conditions will just keep getting worse as my spine fuses together as I said I have had this condition for years have received multiple operations, been in the hosp 17 times in 4 years 3x with major surgeries . Now I have to put my being an soul out to be criticized demonized ,an humbled . What has happened ? I have never abused my pain pills ,norco . I have never upped my dosage in fact I have done the opposite an lowered dosage instead .
Do they think I enjoy my pain ? Not being able to walk my dog or put on my shoes . No they rather insult me by not doing what a doctor is suppose to do an care for a person to the best of their knowledge an resourced. Now I guess their scared due to their licenses ,insurance an false hysteria . I’ve been thrown under the bus along with many ,many others an we are angry ,scared an unable to trust our doctors or our government .
Please people try to find understanding ,compassion an read between the lines . Your intelligent dont let others make up what you think . Please help us we are not drug addicts we just want some semblance of a normal less painful life ..


Like many chronic pain sufferers, my lumbar pain has been reasonably controlled for years by opioid meds. In 2016, I, like millions of others was forced to leave my personal physician and seek help from a “pain doctor”. He agreed I should be maintained at my then dose of hydrocodone and wrote prescriptions for 18 months then abruptly advised his practice was no longer prescribing opioids because of the risk to his license and the additional administrative costs imposed. Our stories are similar. So many of us are being punished by doctors who elect not to abide by the April CDC guideline, the AMA resolutions, the State statutes and, in my case the Florida Health Department, all of whom, as of this year, agree the limitations on opioid prescribing for chronic pain patients is a myth. In reality, the bottleneck is at the Doctor’s office. Doctors are electing to let chronic pain patients live in daily continuous excruciating pain rather than take any risk (which is bull_—-) to their licenses. The real rules are that there is no impediment to continuing a chronic pain patient’s opioid prescription up to and beyond 90 MME (morphine milligram equivalents) per day if that patient (pain lasting > 90 days per CDC) has been reasonably well controlled with that drug(s) earlier in time.

I am tired of being the victim of Doctor’s unrealistic fears. I believe our community will continue to suffer until the powers that be coerce the doctors to do the right thing, to observe the oath they took when they became Doctors.

To all chronic pain patients being victimized by the forced reduction of the drugs that made it worthwhile to wake up in the morning, write your state representative, the CDC, the AMA Opioid Task Force, The New England Journal of Medicine, your local Health Department and complain about how you have been unintentionally victimized.

If we don’t speak up, nothing will change.

Maxi Fedor

I sat there wondering why am I having to go through all these meds AGAIN?! IVE ALREADY DONE THIS and there were only a few that did help and caused the least side effects for me and helped bring up my quality of life. After all that it was deemed that I had 2 choices either nothing given to me for pain OR buprenophine. Obviously I choose buprenophine since it kinda helped like hydrocodone did. KINDA. My gastroparisis is out of control and my quality of life is so low. I’m still here waiting to die suddenly and am too afraid of being completely taken off everything that’s helped me thus far to speak up because I know it doesn’t matter. He was actually right in saying what he did because in this era with the so called “opioid crisis” it is true. Anyone who doesn’t have chronic pain doesn’t give a shit about you especially when all the fake news reports are showing them one thing, opioids are death. When that’s not the case for me and millions of others who have NO CHOICE in their chronic pain. I’ve come to terms with that. I don’t choose to be sick and I’m not TOO young to be in pain because unfortunately for me pain and illness (I have a lot of other health issues as well) doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t just go away either and no I don’t have a choice to just meditate and make the pain go away. That’s not how science works. That’s not how illness works, and I would know I watched my mother go through life with Lupus and no doubt that’s why I’m sick too. Genetics. I didn’t choose this nor do I want it. What I want is to be heard and be put back onto the medicine that made my quality of life so much better than what I go through now. I can’t even work or go out all because of this new supposed crisis. Thanks for reading and I hope you too can continue to fight and be strong but trust me when I say I know what it feels like to finally have had enough. A person can only tolerate pain for so long before they choose to end it. I hope we all can keep fighting together.

Maxi Fedor

(continuation of previous post) I would NEVER TAKE! I am allergic to it (that’s what the doctors have had to label it as) because it causes me to hallucinate badly as well as vomiting major migraines come back and overall feeling of sick and hallucions. And the kicker, it doesn’t help my pain AT ALL! of course they didn’t believe me and on fact after they suddenly just took away my medications because I was in the ER for severe pain right before my appointment I popped up positive for diulatid because that’s what they gave me at the ER. The doctor didn’t care he saw that they gave me some (by injection I never took any scripts home due to the pain contract I had previously signed for advanced pain care in Austin,Tx) and he was livid saying I’m an addict must be getting it off the streets, etc. I even had the record from the hospital and he said he didn’t need to see it or didn’t matter. Dto he cut me off and put me on buprenophine. This little magic pill that’s supposed to take the pain away and supplement what I was taking….so far this medication is VERY wrong for me. I cannot wake up in the mornings and will just pass out randomly while I’m in the middle of something. As for the pain…it’s WORSE than before. I am truly afraid this is the medication that’s going to kill me in my sleep. It is absolutely terrifying. No matter how much I complain and say this is happening and tell the pharmacist (which says they need to take me off it ASAP) the doctor doesn’t give a flying [edit]! I’m sure it’s for their numbers to show the dea they are good doctors or whatever but they are by far THE WORST practice I’ve ever been too and I’ve only been to 2 others. I complained of the medicine initially and guess what the doctor rx TRAMADOL! I took it to prove a point and within less than a week I was hallucinations and terribly ill. Then he put me on codine….CODINE. Not only did that make my gastroparisis worse but that TOO also made me so sick.

Maxi Fedor

I have been a chronic pain patient for 6 years. Now going into my 30’s I have always been told “omg but you’re to YOUNG to be in so much pain! ” Unfortunately that has BEEN my reality after I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and have several bulging discs in my back as well as averaging a surgery 1x a year due to things in my body just NOT working…from kidney stones to an entire gallbladder that was so full of stones it looked like a geode to ankle surgerys and my routine nerve burnings in my entire back and neck areas. Recently my pain doctor passed away and since then I was forced to go see an addiction specialist in the same practice. Mind you I’d already seen them and had been cleared but they recently started to trail me around by telling me MANY different reasons I was there NONE of which was because I am an “addict”. I’m not. I’m just in constant pain and also have an unresolved autoimmune issue going on (looking more and more like rhumatoid arthritis) and a positive rhumatoid factor as well as high white blood cell count and unmanageable low grade fevers on a DAILY basis. Being told by this new doctor “No one gives a [edit] about YOU or your pain” was one of the most hurtful and emotional things I’ve ever been told by someone who claims to be a doctor sworn to help. This man even asked me if I was ok with him diagnosing me as opioid tolerant. Low and behold I recently spoke with my insurance and they tell me he’s got me marked down as someone with opioid dependence aka addiction. Why are they constantly lying and telling me the entire practice and all other pain doctors are just going to STOP all rx of opioids to people that actually NEED it! I do NOT meet ANY of the requirements to be LABELED as such and of COURSE this makes it virtually impossible for me to even find a new doctor or an old doctor who will listen to me and believe me when I say NO I’m NOT an addict! This all started because my UA came back as positive for tramadol. A medication I would never


I just read that a pain patient lost his daily 3/10mg Hydrocodone.. He is now contemplating suicide. So little for him to maintain a job, household, & be there for his family. He’s now feeling pretty lousy & unproductive having to go on disability.

I walked out of the hospital after 2 months (1/2 that time in ICU) with 20 tablets of Tylenol #4. I was on a morphine pump & breakthrough oxycodone during my hospital stay after a near fatal accident. This was years ago.

After that initial prescription following release/discharge, I didn’t go into PM or have opioid therapy for aprox. 8 years. This is due to degenerative changes, failing hardware & a very bad surgery. Am I an addict? Was I an addict after that hospital admission In my 20’s. This narrative is false! If your going to be a repeat offender chasing prescriptions & jumping through all the PM hoops, your not going to be a very successful addict in that regard. Theres way too many safeguards in place today – the PDMP & urine screens etc. ALL cpps know this! It’s almost laughable if it weren’t so sad.

Actually, TODAY one might say anyone fortunate enough to obtain “A” prescription is rationing & definitely not selling or diverting. I imagine it’s under lock & key. Bravo Government & media/NBC, you managed to increase street use & make a very cheap practical medication worth gold!

Lorna Fins

Another tragic story resulting in furthering the misinformation around opiate use. It has caused so many other sufferers even more suffering. My heart goes out to anyone that dies prematurely or accidentally. I just wish they would report these things accurately so it doesn’t make it harder for those in need of chronic pain support.


Why am I considered an addict because a so called man put his hands me and caused me to have 3 failed back surgeries and left with Chronic Intractable Pain since 1998 I’ve been on pain management I had epidural shots tens units….I can’t use NSAIDS you see I also have Crohn’s disease and from all the Crohn’s meds I have Cirrhosis so that makes it hard for me yes I have been on oxycodone for many years and I do my drug tests never have I asked for additional meds over my scripts yet now I am being tapered..,…I also have depression anxiety oh yes and seizures and now I have no life. But people have the right to say I am an addict. I don’t get high off them but I can function and leave the couch. The man that caused this is out and out drinking and beginning happy it’s been since 1978 since I freed my self I thought but with the pain comes flashbacks my doctor said that I had PTSD which was controlled when pain was controlled. Guess what the flashbacks are real. Hope something happens soon. I can’t take the pain anymore 😢 I pray we all get relief soon. Thanks for a place to vent. Family do not understand they listen to all the propigranda (not spelled right is it sorry) Good Luck to everyone.


Again, Somebody Famous did SOMETHING STUPID, and we the Actual Pain Management Patients are suffering the consequences. While I feel bad for this person’s family? Not my monkeys, not my circus, not my problem. Oh wait – I suppose it IS my problem. Someone with everything decided to play at being someone with nothing and paid the price. Yes, it’s sad that Prince died of Fentanyl – but it has absolutely nothing to do with me. John Candy ate himself to death, but they still sell Big Macs. Where is the personal responsibility in ANY of these cases??? I cannot tell you how many times my so-called friends have warned me about my medication because ‘fill in the blank’ died while using opioids. (Never mind that said hypothetical person had a blood alcohol content of 1.8 and was mixing it with cocaine and sleeping pills.) The medication I’ve been using responsibly for over a decade is obviously going to kill me in the next 30 seconds, because it’s ‘bad for me’. The only thing currently ‘bad for me’ are the deliberately obtuse people who need to be the ‘Morality Police’, without a second thought to the impact they are having on my life. My antibiotics aren’t anyone’s business, my thyroid medication? Same story. Why are my pain medications fair game to total strangers who have likely never heard of my ‘orphan disease’, and therefore not qualified to render an opinion?

Dr Dianne Raymont

More of these and less recrimination – as a physician who is now in a wheelchair and could write a book on the errors and misunderstandings around opioid use. If I did not have my pain meds I would have not survived – the media just like the Trump announcements and ads today oversimplify and dramatize the issue for gain. Meanwhile genuine sufferers miss out on programmes and sensible regimes eclipsed by wrong narratives about addiction/dependency.


I have a challenge for the media. Always talk about the specific drug and always whether or not it was legally prescribed for that person.

Here is another challenge: If there is a suicide, ask if the person had chronic pain. That’s a story you are missing. I have heard the statistic about how many vets die from suicide every day. It is horrible… What role does undertreated or untreated chronic pain play?

The use of the word “opioid” or even “narcotic” is causing harm. The news media does not need to add to the stigma and to the harm that patients already endure.

Hallie Villano

ADDING TO MY 9/2 POST RE: NBC NEWS …… REPORTER/P-T ANCHOR KATE SNOW is the reporter who did focus on one woman’s stuggle w/ pain mgmt, without her meds. LET’S TRY TO CONTACT KATE SNOW AT NBC, NY … perhaps ‘we’ can ignite her interest in the cause. we can try..?


Another media story on the evil’s of opioids. I’m lucky and very grateful that i receive my small amount of opioid medication that takes the edge off of my constant pain. I’ve been on social security diability since 59. The VA started there crack down on veterans taking opiods several years ago. Luckily i started receiving Medicare around this time and found a pain management clinic. What most people don’t realize is the VA doesn’t have a pain management department. Or if they do its one doctor serving thousands of patients. They rely on there GP’s to handle the management of pain for there veterans. My VA doctor told me that Doctors are discouraged and told not to prescribe opiods. And to be able to see specialist is a 6 month wait. This is why you see so many veterans killing themselves. Its news stories like this that have damaged patient, doctor relationships. The war on drugs has failed,and instead of the DEA, CDC treating addiction as disease, they continue to fight this problem as a crime. As the DEA continues its raids and persecution of pain doctors and the clinics, they have zero concerns of the patients that were being treated. This failed philosophy only creates more demand for deadly illegal drugs. Cutting off legitimate pain patients is now the DEA’s and CDC’s objective. Just follow the money! Chronic pain patients
Cost medicare and for profit insurances companies billions of dollars.

Linda Olds

The news media are no longer interested in getting the facts or telling the truth. They only care about producing stories that “sell”.
They put on sad, concerned, or angry faces, pretending that they care, but they don’t. It’s just a story to them, and it doesn’t matter to them if they hurt people.
Judges and juries in lawsuits against drug companies are influenced by these stories, and give billions of dollars to states that sue. These states are just greedy politicians wanting to show the voters that they are doing something about the “opioid crisis”.
All that the lawsuits are doing is decreasing the supply of opiates needed by chronic pain patients, and making those patients seem like drug addicts.


Just my opinion and I’m sure I’ll get flak for this but this young man made a CHOICE to do drugs!! He CHOSE to overdose and as I say, MAKE STUPID CHOICES, WIN STUPID PRIZES!! I have been on prescription opioids since 2006. I take my meds AS PERSCRIBED. I CHOSE to get off Fentanyl in 2014 after first hearing of the deaths associated with it. My doctor agreed after I showed him the stories.. What I’m trying to say is that these addicts are making CHOICES and making it bad for ALL of us that require opioids to function daily..


An epidemic used to describe a medical term for a disease!

This is a man made crisis from greed and stupid ppl. And really ill people are paying the price. You could be doing something to help. Not hurt.

People die from huffing paint or gasoline.
Or from drinking too much..

Why aren’t y’all limiting that??

You know, I’m sorry for anyone dying while they didn’t have to… but it says on our bottles of LEGALLY prescribed medication not to mix it with alcohol or anything that could suppress our CNS. ( no anxiety pills etc).

If you have to lie about it then you should not be doing it!

I’m a responsible patient just like millions of others who are having to deal with fall out bc of some people abuse medication. I go through rigorous tests and pain booklets every visit bc some bozo wants to shoot heroin in their neck. My insurance has to cover $ 1900 a month for these tests. Multiply that by all the truly needy pain patients.

How is this right?

If addicts were abusing chemo meds would you guys limit those meds? Why do you do it to bipolar and epileptic people who need these for seizures or for pain from treatments? Or cancer patients or Ehlers patients.

I wouldn’t be able to move from my lupus/ neck and back joint problems so that I could make it to a shower. In fact there was a time that I could not take a shower for a week at a time. That’s pitiful that a person in America who has paid her taxes and social security would have to live like this. Thank god I have a great doctor!!

Y’all need to show the other side of this.

Rosalind Rivera

The media has always been known for exploitation on anything that it views as newsworthy. Now, conveniently and of course for better news ratings, it’s jumped on the bandwagon labeling all opioid takers as addicts regardless of the fact that the majority of us take our medications because we have to in order to just live and not merely exist. The media also fails to note that most of us take our pain medications as prescribed. I for one have never run out of my pain medications because I took too many too fast. This gentleman took opioids that were not prescribed. I don’t drink alcohol. Never! I know what it can do, especially when combined with opioids. The death of this person could have been avoided. It’s critical to note that he had been taking and combining these drugs for some time with no ill effects and this in turn caused him to become lax and unconcerned about the very real consequences. He had the means in every possible way to acquire all of those drugs found in his system which made it very easy for him to do so. Put the blame where it belongs NBC and stop crucifying the rest of the chronic and intractable pain community. Most of us know the dangers of combing drugs, especially those not prescribed and also alcohol which in itself is a killer! We follow our prescribed plans and we do not abuse our medications!

Hallie Villano



Chronic pain patients are not addicts! We are your Mothers, Fathers, Sisters and Brothers! At any point in someones life they could be struck with a chronic illness, have a car accident or a failed surgery and be in horrific, unstoppable pain. Opiates are normally a last resort for most people. When you take medications as prescribed you do not get high from them. There are thousands of chronic pain patients who are suffering because they cannot get the medications they need for a better quality of life. Addiction is an awful disease caused by trauma, mental illness and genetics. Addiction is not created by the drug.

Thomas Kidd

We the people who suffer daily from chronic pain had zero to with what happened to Mr. Skaggs. Nor any of the DEA raids. We are not criminals we expect NBC or any of the other networks to honestly report the truth. NBC is helping to cause more suffering by their biased reporting on the illegal drug trade in our country. I nor the other millions of suffering and dying people in our country have anything whatsoever to do with illegal drugs. We are sickened by the fake news and their biased reporting. We are not addicts nor are criminals. This biased reporting is causing millions of innocent people to have the only medication tapered to the point of being useless and has be part of the cause for suicides among many Veterans as well other chronic pain sufferers. Go after the real criminals and stop treating us legitimate pain patients as part of the illegal drug problem. The CDC has acknowledged that their recommendations were miss applied. How many of your news people have actually read the CDC recommendations? We are sickened by the unfair biased reporting by the news media. We ask that you check your sources and look into both sides. What is happening is nothing less than evil and wicked. Mr. Thomas Kidd a 30+ year sufferer of chronic pain.




NBC reporters….get your facts together from both sides before you tell your story! I’m sorry for Skaggs’ death, but you not once said a word about how opiates help people who are suffering every day. Skaggs chose to take a risk of combing alcohol with opioids.

Why didn’t you report how the DEA is raiding Dr’s who have done nothing wrong but try to help their patients who are suffering with horrible pain? It was so one sided! Why can’t you report on the suicides of chronic pain patients who cannot get their pain medicine? Why can’t you do a report on how those of us who have had our doses cut back so far that our lives have been ruined! I’d be the first you can interview!


It is sad that Tyler Skaggs and many others have mixed substances that are not to be taken in conjunction with each other. I think pretty much everyone knows that alcohol and pain medications are never to be mixed, excepting the obvious like small children. Sadly Tyler did this anyway. It was a huge mistake an adult made that can’t be rectified. From what I’ve read it wasn’t even the substance cocktail that killed him, aspirating on his vomit did. Mixing the substances he took could definitely make a person sick. (I did read conflicting reports that there was an amount of fentanyl that “significant and could produce death” and “significant but not outrageously high.”)
We only see and read horror stories showcasing poor choices and loss. Key elements are left out and facts are cherry picked for public consumption to fit the narrative of “opioids=delinquency and death!”
Media can find many more stories to fuel sadness and outrage. How about my husband’s friend that ended up killing himself with acetaminophen when the VA cut off his opioid prescription?
He was in unmanaged pain, so he ate acetaminophen because that’s what he had. Then he swallowed some more because it wasn’t helping yet, then some more. He kept taking it, praying for relief because the CDC/DEA, government, doctor, state, your choice, took what mitigated his suffering.
This is a story that the public should hear. Our veteran that served in our military in our nation was left to die alone in agony from both his condition and accidental acetaminophen overdose. From what I’ve read acetaminophen overdose is a nasty, painful way to go.
Garth, victim of intractable pain and the “opioid crisis” is dead because he was suffering when he didn’t have to be. He could still be with us. He’s not because there are people that abuse opioids, just like there are people that abuse alcohol, food, credit cards.. so many things people can abuse, gambling, even our own adrenaline! Please help us


NBC producers, any of you ever have a sweet gray haired grandma you loved? The one who hugged you as a child and was so proud of your success? Can you picture her doubled over in pain so severe tears are streaming down her face? There’s a pill legally available, ordered my her doctor to ( not erase) but reduce the pain so it doesn’t hurt so horribly, but she’s not allowed to have it because a drug addict in her town took fetyanl, booze and illegal street opioids and after using for years finally overdosed. Grandma is sobbing with pain, begging for relief. There is no cure for her disease. Are you proud of yourself for all the grandmas and vets and truly sick people your newscast has harmed? Would YOUR sweet Grandma be proud of you? Selling your soul for money? God help you.

James Harrison

They can’t make opioids harder to get. They can only make sure we get them off the drug dealers or order unscheduled opioids or illegal fentanyl from the internet. I will do whatever it takes to stop my pain. F U DEA and media Nazis.

Timothy J. Miller

It is becoming glaringly clear that the “opioid epidemic” has nothing to do with doctors, hospitals and pharmacists. The illegal drug supply in this country has been poisoned with illicit fentanyl.

The feds cut opioid production quotas (APQ’s) year after year, aggressively police the medical community… and nothing has changed other than opioid overdoses soaring.

You said something very important.

“They arrested 290 people and have $3.3 million in assets and 600 pounds of illicit drugs.”

They seized $3.3 million in assets. YAY for them.

How about focusing on busting the cartels and other black markets flooding our communities with drugs… drugs poisoned with deadly fentanyl. Oh, wait… the cartels embarrass law enforcement and are not easy “marks” like tax-paying, record-keeping professionals in the medical community. Considering the DEA’s decades of failures… no wonder they needed to change their “mission.” It’s all about tangible results.

See, instead of focusing on the real problem… law enforcement realized they can use a 1660s maritime law to seize assets and bolster underfunded departments through the use of Asset Forfeiture. Policing for profit.

The only casualty of the “war on opioids” are the chronic-pain patients, the doctors brave enough to treat them and the pharmacists who fill the scripts.


This is just another example of the media using a tragic event to advance the lopsided reporting on the war on opioids. They don’t mention the fact that the young man was most likely using the medications, and alcohol, for purposes other than prescribed. Millions of chronic pain patients have been using opioids without issue for many years.

I personally know many chronic pain patients who use opioids on a daily basis while maintaining a normal, productive life. In fact, it is the opioids that allow these chronic pain patients any sort of a quality of life. By painting the use of opioids with such a generalized, broad brush; the audience of these stories are left with the belief that opioids are all bad and should be banished from our society.

The unfortunate truth is that there are millions of chronic pain patients who absolutely rely on their opioid medications to function. It is always a tragedy when a young person dies; however, it is equally, if not more, tragic when a chronic pain patient takes their own life after being force tapered, or worse denied completely, the medications they require. There are hundreds of stories of chronic pain patients who have taken their lives when faced with the desperation of living without the medications they have been prescribed for years. Unbeknownst to many is the fact that the Veterans Administration (VA) refuses to prescribe opioids to patients.

By demonizing everyone for using opioids, the media is lumping everyone; chronic pain patients, acute pain patients and those who use opioids for recreational purposes into the same category. This results in chronic pain patients being denied the medications they REQUIRE.

By airing stories like the one detailing the story a few nights ago; NBC does a great injustice to the millions of chronic pain patients who have enough on their plate without having to worry about the fallout from yet another obviously skewed story aired on nightly news.

Part 3
Excuse this last addendum to my “novel”, but technical glitches kept me from fully explaining myself. When I became allergic to the IV Remicade in 2016, I was left with nothing but hydrocodone, at 30 mme’s , and small doses of Tylenol to relieve my pain. NSAIDS and steroids were off the table due to my kidney disease and allergy. My neurosurgeon and pain management physician confirmed this to my physician. My primary care physician of 35 years also retired that same year, and the CDC released its ludicrous opioid guideline policy. Since that time, I went from functional chronic pain patient, chronic aggressive sarcoidosis patient, and respected nurse practitioner to suspected drug abuser and addict. I have had to sign pain contracts and submit to urine drug screening. I have never been so offended, so angry, and so worried for myself and my fellow chronic pain patients. My complaining even led one RN at my doctor’s office to THREATEN ME with not getting any more pain med prescriptions. I was infuriated and just kept going up the administrative ladder until I was heard and treated properly. It worries me how other patients, without my expertise and comfort with the health care system, get good care, and get their meds! So now I speak out at every opportunity to advocate for us, to educate physicians, nurses, and pharmacists who care for us. I urge everyone to do the same. Keep fighting, speak up, be heard, get action. We deserve relief from our pain, and to make the most of our lives. Thank you.

John Ryder

It seems the main stream media or even most media have all kinds of stats on how many people have died in the “opioid crisis” not once have I seen anyone make the case of separrating illicits or illegally obtained substance deaths from prescribed overdose deaths. I recently saw a news show interview a Florida doctor in jail for 150 years for over prescribing, even though he had prescribed some patients up to 90 pills a day out of thousands of patients only one had died. Now I’m not saying that a person could actually need that much medication even by my own experience this seems way over board. After 15 years of opioid therapy myself I had been on about a morphine equivalent of 400 mgs a day. I’m not going to get into my own injury’s and pain but the point is the media puts responsible patients who need and benefit from these medications in the same category as criminals. I am not a criminal but my life was completely different less than a year ago when the DEA shut down the pain management office I’d been going to for years. You might think we’ll just find another doctor, it ain’t happening ! Thanks to all the lies and bull shit spread by the media, the DEA and any other dumb asses of “the powers that be”no doctors will take a patient who has been treated with opioids even if you’ve been responsible law abiding and benefited from treatment .My primary care Dr. will only prescribe about ten percent of what was keeping me on my feet, self reliant and a contributing member of our so called “society”. Thanks to the “powers that be” people can get heroin easier than a prescription. I’m not saying I do, just stating a fact. This will be the norm going forward as long as doctors are scared for there licenses. This is what the government has created with there “opioid crisis” a thriving heroin business for cartels and criminals. I’ll continue to look for a doctor because I don’t know how much longer I can live in pain. Thanks to the “OPIOID CRISIS”


When I was a little girl, my daddy kissed away my boo boos, put a bandaid on them if any were THAT serious. He was my first memory/experience of what happens in life if you got pain. He or our mommys eased it if not took it away completely.

As we grow up, we learn by experience that doctors did all they could to fix our ailments and make the pain go away.

We live out our life with that SAME experience. Regardless of what’s wrong with us, doctors first or second order of business was to ease our pain.

Not any more. Now they do everything possible to keep us in pain because if they can accomplish that, then they know their jobs will be safe. They’ve lost their integrity, have no backbone, go against what they have been taught, left a trail of death and suffering, BUT HEY, THEY GOT TO KEEP THEIR JOB FOR IT.

Had doctors done the right thing once this whole thing about not treating people’s pain started blowing up, this end of pain relief and suffering and death and addiction would have never ever happened. Physicians are a loud voice in this country.

Why they stood by and let this happen is nothing short of criminal in my opinion.

Opiates for treating patients pain are wonderful drugs and we are blessed they exist. Their impact on giving people back a life, on taking awful pain away from the deeply suffering should be celebrated as the blessing they are.

I want doctors to join forces to take a stand against these agencies that want to destroy them for treating people’s pain. This will only get worse until THEY DO.

Dianne MacKay

Being in multiple chronic pain and veterans groups, I have read of multiple suicides due to this overblown and misguided opioid crisis which ultimately harmed us chronic pain patients. Many forced tapered, many cut off, many denied any treatment at all, and many refuse to now adjust opioids when your condition progresses, leaving you back to where you started from, in chronic pain.
Putting limits on dosage and quantity is a huge issue. That creates the assumption that ‘one size fits all.’ And we all know that with medications in general, it does not work that we. We metabolize differently. We react differently. We all have our own personal reactions and needs when it comes to any medication. What works for one won’t work for all which is why we have so many different drugs for the same issue.
As a chronic pain patient and Zebra, I had a high starting tolerance and metabolize pain meds very quickly. I can’t take ER meds due to my system so it’s already stacked against me. But they WORK! At the right dosage, I have a bit of my life back. Does it take all of my pain away? No. I don’t expect it to. But what I do expect, is that my pain is reduced enough to function, at least at home, if not in the community. And yes, I’ve first tried other options that were of no benefit for me so it’s not like I was just handed opioids right off the bat.
Blaming doctors and pharma companies and assuming legitimate prescriptions are the problem is counter-productive and just plain wrong. It’s the illegal usage of drug purchased off the streets that have the highest number of overdose and deaths due this ‘crisis’ and yet, that’s not what’s being projected to our communities. This false narrative is creating a bias and negative views on all patients who take opioids. It’s demonizing us. We already submit to pill counts, drug testing, scrutiny on multiple levels, all because we take a specific type of medicine. Guilty by association. Guilty for having chronic pain. Stop the stigma.

Debra Yates

Thank you so much. What would we do without each other?

Rebecca Hollingsworth

Again…the blame game begins! NBC (Nothing But Crap) is just putting their own spin and twisting the facts to suit their own narrative. Personal accountability and responsibility is the only thing at fault with this situation. Mr. Skaggs made a bad choice and lost his life. So the media instantly starts trying to assess who is to blame for his death. Well guess what? They needn’t look far because they had already decided that the blame lies with everything and everyone else instead of the truth… it lies with the individual. Sadly in this case and others, the result was death.
How many chronic pain patients, especially legacy patients, have overdosed? You can count the number on one hand. Why? Pain patients don’t get ” high” when we take opiods, we don’t mix them with alcohol or abuse them, PERIOD. We take this medication out of need, not for fun. It is useless to try and make others understand because they refuse to even try. They are too busy finger pointing and accusing and blaming everything but what really is at fault, and that’s the individual. We all have free will and sometimes it ends in tragedy. Life is full of choices and we all hope we make the right ones .


I have been using oxycontin for 10 years, i had no idea what Americans were telling the public, i am not dead, nor a drug addict, nor do i know of anyone who has overdosee on their scripts, i only know of heroin overdoses.
I found out that doctors were refusing pain patients opioid painkillers from the website Reddit, on chronic pain part. It is laughable that US calls itself the greatest country in the world, yet are literally torturing people with pain, this is not humane. Luckily i don’t have to live with American rules, i have humane doctors who treat my pain. US has a fentanyl epidemic not a painkiller for pain patients one, but still they are branding pain patients as drug seekers, addicts and all the rest of this discriminatiry crap. Good luck America, lets hope your scare mongering media and government are replaced with humane people.

Gail Honadle

Feds: Hampton Roads drug ring had enough fentanyl to kill 14 million people

Coast Guard cutter’s crew makes massive 4,600-pound cocaine bust, 2nd in 5 days

Mexico Seizes 52,000 Pounds of Fentanyl From China

Fentanyl Flowing Into US Overwhelmingly Sourced From China

A record cocaine seizure last week in Philadelphia weighed nearly 20 tons – CNN

We have an Illicit drug problem from a border that is not secure. If they can’t get it over the Mexican Border they will ship it via Container ships and USPS.

Debra Furphy

Many who do not live in the world of chronic pain do not seem to understand OR I should say desire to understand what happens “out there” on the streets is not/has not been caused by us ~ the chronic pain patient.
It’s really quite ironic that our government is trying to remove illegal drugs from the streets when the government was who introduced drugs to the streets many, many years ago! They’re now backpedaling on an issue that they can not win. There will always be illegal drugs out there … Always!

I have said so many times that I truly wish they could all live with my pain for just 1 day … JUST 1!
What they have put all of us thru ~ is shamefully!
When you take away the one thing that helped make so many of us productive in our daily lives you take away a HUGE window of hope that we can get thru another day. When you deprive many of Hope ~ you take away our ability for forward motion in our very beings! When that happens the results are devastatingly disastrous.


Walter Cronkite was my favorite News commentator growing up.
He told the Nation the news stories of the day.
When he told the news he did his research and spoke the truth.
He wasn’t biased, or opinionated.
When NBC did this story I wanted to puke.
I suffer from a extremely painful disease called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome to name just one.
It’s terrible news broadcasting like this that has made it so hard for the Pain Community.
Hard because the public believes this junk reporting and blows it up even more.
Pain patients like myself that number in the millions and most all have had their pain medications tapered or stopped entirely.
Friends have died from strokes and heart attacks because their bodies couldn’t take anymore due to the pain.
One’s blood pressure rises dramatically when pain goes unmanaged.
Friends have commuted #suicidedue2pain.
Then main stream media like NBC comes along and makes it look like our doctors are all bad.
Opioid are all bad, and so on.
I’m sick and tired (literally) of the bad rap.
It’s past time NBC and other media find some empathy and interview pain patients, not just one.
They must hear our side and speak only the truth and facts.
Facts like prescribing is way down and suicides have skyrocketed, minus a brief lull in suicides.
Our government is literally killing people who suffer from intractable pain and debilitating diseases.
I agree. NBC you should be ashamed.
So shame on you.

Wren Lum

NBC, you’re so right, I live to take opioids!! How stupid do you have to be. No CPP wants to take opioids, we have to so we can live a somewhat normal life. I didn’t choose to have over 8 surgeries on my back and neck. I don’t want to live with neuropathy either but I have to. Taking these medications is a part of my life, just like someone who has high blood pressure has to take their medication to survive. Please quit spreading this propaganda and tell the truth!! Because of stories like yours, we can no longer get our, must needed, pain medication.

Reporting from Canada. Unfortunately, like the U.S. there is not that much information published in regards to indepth numbers that distinguish between legal or illegal drug use. The government has made it mandatory for the patients to provide their prescribed used Fentanyl patches back to the pharmacy before you can get your next refill. In respect to other opiods, you can only purchase a month’s supply at a time.

I have been suffering for 11 years with a rare condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), it is said to be the most painful medical condition known to man, at a 45/50 on the McGill Pain Scale. Since it is so painful and it is hard to find good doctors to treat this condition. CRPS has a grim nickname: the “suicide disease” because there is no cure and there are limited effective treatments (none has worked for me).

When my pain doctor retired there was no other experienced doctor to deal with my condition. This left me with my GP which initially was fine since I had been on a consistent regiment of Hydromorphone, Fentanyl & Lyrica, amongst some others. However, my GP was later put up before the Discipline Committee of the Board of College of Physicians & Surgeons of Ontario “having engaged in sexual abuse and/or in disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional conduct with respect to a patient and staff members.”

I have unsuccessfully tried to find another doctor however, they all want to take me off all of my pain meds, despite admitting they are not aware of CRPS! Even when I tell them that I would rather jump in front of a train than be without them!

So as a result I am FORCED to go to a doctor who is basically “a pervert” in order to get my legitimate opiods for my chronic pain condition, which IS NOT because I am addicted but rather because I am dependant upon! There is a difference!
Do we not matter just as much as the addicts NBC? When will our stories be told? Once I sit in front of a train? TOO LATE!

Alan Edwards

I saw the slanted NBC propaganda piece. Like Jimi Hendrix, vomitus in the windpipe was cause of death. And like Hendrix, his airway should have been cleared. I am wary of any information from the dea. And they are killing and stealing with abandon. They made clear their targets were pain patients in 2016. They have the guns and media. I have a diseased body wracked with agony. They have new high wattage tasers which they use on pets, livestock, etc. And after swatting a home, the 9 or 10mm glock is for you while watching NBC on your sofa petting your pug.

Noelle Ciancio

Stupidity and.lack of knowledge. Anyone that gets pain meds COULD choose to abuse . However most of us in the chronic pain community take our meds to be able to try and have
a normal life. Articles like this irritate me so badly. No one
Understands that life as a chronic pain person is hard , relationship, work and life itself

Part 2
….continued….which is another topic that must be addressed in prescribing for pain patients – that my surgeons could not believe I had tears in the first place. I had to prove it to them via CT scan, which I had to fight hard to obtain. It amazes me how, in Nursing and Medicine, we are carefully taught that every patient is unique, but in practice we keep trying to put everyone in the little boxes in which we fully expect them to fit. It’s wrong, and so harmful to our patients! Besides my history as a provider, patient, and consumer of narcotics, I am also, very sadly, the mother of a child deceased from accidental drug overdose. My beautiful 25 year old daughter was in drug rehab, in Arizona, when she was given what she was told was a nasal inhalation of cocaine. It was instead Chinese-produced fentanyl, and killed her instantly. Given all of this, I can tell you with knowledge and certainty, that there is no opioid crisis. There is an addiction crisis, a crisis at our borders which allows these illegal drugs to flow easily throughout our country, a crisis in rehab facilities which get rich giving poor care to their patients, a crisis among the suffering chronic pain patients, unable to seek relief due to their provider’s fear of legal penalty, and finally the crisis of physicians and nurses ourselves, who should be ashamed for not shouting this travesty of our patients in untreated pain from the rooftops! Our patients are KILLING THEMSELVES due to pain! And where are we? Fighting for them, or cowering in fear of losing our practices and our licenses? Since when does the powerful AMA cower in fear? To whom do we serve and our oath give loyalty? Our patients. At risk of self, it’s our patients. So while we can blame the news media, we providers must bear blame ourselves and fix this injustice. Even at the risk of our licenses and businesses, we must join with our patients and fight with them and for them!


I find it extremely difficult (+ frustrating and maddening!) NBC and virtually all other news media have still not done their homework re: chronic intractable pain! They continue to be unable to separate those who choose to use substances for recreational/mood-altering purposes and those who suffer from the disease of addiction from those of us who have no choice but to use physician prescribed medication in order to function and, hopefully, receive a measure of relief caused by very real, very well-documented medical disorders…disorders from which those of us affected suffer greatly and have no way of escaping or evading. The three populations cited above are VERY FAR from being “one in the same,” as continues to be all-too-often suggested by ignorant news sources and others equally as uneducated and uninformed. This paucity of awareness and knowledge further stokes fear, compromises perception, and serves to reinforce an inability to separate genuine suffering from the chosen self-destructive behaviors of abuse and the ravages of addiction. Additionally, as disinformation and indistinguishable fear around the disparity between abuse, addiction, and physician prescribed, responsible use of pain medications continues to persist and grow, there has been a noteworthy decrease in much needed support, understanding, and compassionate care for those of us who suffer endlessly from pain-creating, devastating, often life-destroying medical disorders.
Principled, enlightened, well-informed, all-inclusive, unbiased, reporting from the media would go a long way toward effective, humane, supportive treatment of intractable chronic pain, serve to promote the creation of well-informed, fair-minded policy-making, and provide accurate, fact-based information to the public.

Continued enormous, endless gratitude, and blessings to my two heroes, Ed Coghlan and Red Lawhern, for their VERY MUCH appreciated advocacy on behalf of those of us challenged with chronic pain.


Yes it is infuriating that every sensational overdose report blames everything on prescription opioids. It is just wrong for these to never have the other side of the story. The parts where millions of CPP’s are being punished because of this. What will happen when there becomes a severe shortage of pain meds because the drug making companies go out of business?? It is truly frightening!! How do we get our side of the story out there?