This week’s story on the National Pain Report that the U.S. Senate has started a prescription drug abuse caucus stirred up some reaction among our readers, and one of our contributors.
She thinks the Senate’s focus is on the wrong thing – however well intentioned.
Terri Lewis PhD. wrote the problem isn’t prescription drug abuse – it’s our medical system. Lewis is a Rehabilitation expert and advocate for consumers. She’s currently working in Taiwan consulting on efforts to decentralize that country’s health care system. She is the daughter and mother of chronic pain sufferers.
“There is mounting evidence that the galloping numbers associated with chronic pain are correlated to persons who were recipients of medial harms, and who were left with injuries so severe that they now endure painful conditions that are secondary to their treatment,” she said.
Lewis points to the data and says that more children and persons of working age are being impacted by this approach to dealing with pain – resulting in disability.
“This is not an old person’s problem. This is not a cancer problem. This is not an addiction problem. This is a problem that belongs to a medical model that has turned the art and practice of medicine into the drive through approach typified by drive through approaches to care,” she added.
Like most chronic pain advocates, Lewis believes drug abuse is a problem, but she says it’s not the root cause of the failure of chronic pain care. But the DEA crackdown on pain medications isn’t the answer. That puts the blame on the patient – which she thinks is misguided.
“The DEA sees failure to cure as abuse of drugs which maintains the chronic pain problem rather than a model failure – after all legitimate doctors cure, don’t they?,” she asked.
She concluded, “The most adherent, conforming patient cannot be cured from their chronic health problem by the medical model. We need new definitions and new measures of success that have to do with how people live, not how they are not living.”
The story about the Prescription Drug Caucus started by Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina also generated some chronic pain sufferer’s comments on the National Pain Report Facebook page. Those comments centered more about their care – and indicated they aren’t thrilled about the idea of the Caucus either.
Dawn Holly Norton wrote, “When are doctors going to learn the difference between abusers and REAL chronic pain sufferers. I’m a legit patient yet I cannot get adequate health care for my fibro, peroneal neuropathy and degenerative disc disease.
Erin Marie Maples-Zevecke had a similar reaction. “Doctors would have to start having compassion again to help us fight this insanity. They’re more worried about all these regulations affecting their pocket book now than in helping the sick. Chronically ill people are the new criminal class.”
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