Michigan Opioid Study Discusses Access to Primary Care Clinics for Patients with Chronic Pain

Michigan Opioid Study Discusses Access to Primary Care Clinics for Patients with Chronic Pain

The findings in a study in the state of Michigan suggest that access to primary care may be reduced for patients taking prescription opioids.

The study results were published in the past week (July 13) in the Journal of American Medicine (JAMA) Network and indicate that unintended consequences such as conversation to illicit substances or reduced management of other medical co-morbidities could occur.

The lead author is Pooja Lagisetty, MD of the University of Michigan. She and her team interviewed primary care clinic accepted both Medicaid and private insurance, took new patient appointments using a simulated patient call audit method. The “simulated” patient was an adult with chronic pain who was taking long-term opioids.

The survey revealed what many chronic pain patients who use opioids and are looking for a new physician already know—finding a physician is becoming increasingly difficult.

Citing media reports that call these patients “opioid refugees”, the authors state that the restrictions by primary care providers… “may leave patients without options for slow opioid tapers; non opioid treatment options”…

The study further states that abandoning this population could lead to unintended consequences including “potentially even increased risk of suicide.”

194 of 219 eligible clinics were interviewed. 40.7% said outright the providers were not willing to provide care for new patients taking opioids. 41.8% were willing to schedule an initial appointment and 17% wanted more information.

The study caught our attention because of the number of readers who have contacted the National Pain Report about finding a new physician.

We received this from an Atlanta woman via email this weekend.

Comment: Please, I need to find a pain management doctor in Atlanta. Mine has cut my meds by a third (so far, more to come) and the pain that had been managed for almost 20 years is back. Please help! Please.

For Richard “Red” Lawhern Ph.D., head of the Alliance for the Treatment of Intractable Pain, the answer is putting more pressure on State Medical Boards.

In an email to one of the reporters who covered this study, Lawhern said, “I suggest that this medical disaster is wholly unnecessary, and that State Medical Boards need to participate in correcting the false policy narratives which have caused these outcomes. The so-called “war on drugs” has been turned into a “war against pain patients and their doctors”. This has to change NOW, not next year!”

If you are having problems finding a pain physician and wish to be quoted, please contact us with a brief explanation of your experiences via email editor@nationalpainreport.com

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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For 8 years I used Fioricet to manage chronic pain from neck injuries. I was averaging one dose a day and refilled as needed. Then, suddenly the clinic suddenly told me they will no longer refilling my Fioricet. They refereed me to a Pain Management Clinic. The new mocking clinicians did not favor the use of Fioricet and THEY CHANGED my Rx plan TO OPIOIDS. I did not ask for the Pain Management Clinic. I did not ask to change my treatment regiment. Physicians and clinic policy took control of my wellness plan.

After five years of 24/7 use, I became physically dependent to the opioids. Suddenly, once again, the physicians changed my wellness plan. The plan threatens me now with the tortuous and debilitating withdrawal road. I am being treated as a junkie by those in the medical office and pharmacies. My experience now sees physicians and pharmacists thinking of themselves FIRST and wanting to dump me. I am UNCLEAN and an inconvenience in their eyes. Its very de-legitimizing!

I did not choose opioids, the doctors made this switch. Now they are planning to switch me back to Fioricet. Unfortunately, my brain and body requires a minimum level of opioids to be healthy. I was never educated on the permanent harm/changes which occur in the brain/nerves/organs from long term-opioid use. I am a professional with a wife and family. I am a responsible patient. After much trial, effort and research I summarized that I need the drug to maintain a level of pain management, positive and healthy productivity. No other substance work.

I feel that I am the victim and have no control over my body and health. I am about to loose my career, family, and productive lifestyle because Physicians and Pharmacists do not want to deal with the complexities and risks which comes with opioid treatment plan. Changing my current plan will be detrimental to my family and myself.

I did not ask for this. My life has been taken from me. What hope is there for responsible people?

Cindy Quigley

Is there a way to get a synopsis of events of the “chronic pain crisis” from the CDC ruling made in 2016 through the present?

I feel the same. WE did not cause this opioid epidemic. And it went end with us having beds taken away. Am furies. These addicts want Crack & Fentynal. Not what we take. It been going on since Nixon only got worse. Somebody is barking up the wrong tree. Michagin, Pi hear you. Pa. is pain killer phobic too. All the ” policies” have changed nothing. Except to hurt decent people who just want to have a simple life with out pain. Do these people realize in a War Pain is. form of torture!!!! I thought this as America. We only want to live. Not just be alive. Most of us have many years of life to look forward to. The whole thing for the past 3 yrs. has made me furious!!!!! I DID NOT START THIS EPIDEMIC. NO TRUE PAIN SUFFERER DID!!!!!!

davidkenberg kenberg

I agree with all of you.We are all suffering in severe pain because of what there doing.My case is severe in nature and I have been very sick for 17 long painful year’s.I had to fight to live and I can’t even begin to tell everything that I did to help myself along with my primary Dr. who was the only one who stepped in because I was going to loose my life if he didn’t help me.We worked so hard together for many,many year’s.My disease is progressive and my injuries are severe.My GP retired after being there for 43 year’s and I was there for 40 year’s and when I made a appointment for help because I’m not taking any pain medication’s at all.I’m on basic med’s .They canceled all 3 appts. that I made with no explanation. I was thrown away like a piece of garbage.I was in shock. They seen my file and just didn’t care about me at all. All of our research and hard work together went to hell. They were trying to take the little bit of med’s that I’m on and none are pain killer’s at all.I’m burning to death and in a lot of pain.I don’t understand how our right’s are being taken away.They took a oath to do no harm and they are killing patient’s or there killing there self. I would write my story but it’s to much to explain.I just know the people that are responsible for doing this to us patient’s who are really suffering pay big time for every death,suicide,heart attack,stroke ect. This is not humane.If our animal’s were sick and we didn’t do what was right we would be in jail.Right? We are human being’s and you don’t fight for 17 year’s for nothing.I burn from my head to my toes and I’m suffering in a body that I can’t control.I’m so sorry to all of the real patient’s who really suffer as I. We have to keep fighting this the best we all can.They make abortion illegal and call it a crime.What there doing to us is a CRIME!! Please help us we are sick people and don’t abuse our med’s so stop killing us.A lot of us will die or kill our self and our death’s will be there fault.

erik w bjornson

michigan is a terrible place to live i’m just waiting until the day i have enough $$ to move outta here i live in the u.p. where the doctors are the worst in the nation you would never believe what they have said to me i think they feel threatened when a good person who helps others comes to their office asking for help at least in my case , dr hoenke and dr archambeault are TERRIBLE doctors who don’t care at all for their patients but collect a paycheck for sure they always get paid even after cutting me off cold turkey not sure what to do now ??

Nadia Edwards

I have horrible pain in my low back.
I have had spinal fudion surgery and have developed post operative fibrosis.
I have tried 8 Epidurals with some relief but in order to be functional I need my two percocet tablets every 6 hours.
My pain has been under control with this regimen along with physical tgerapy once a week for the last 7 years.
Now I have been cut from my pain management doctor because of the government crackdown.
This is ridiculous.
I am not an addict.
I do not take the pills when I am not in severe pain.
Please help. 🙁



I have read the post by all FST to John , about the methadone 1999 was prescribed methadone for pain, worked good but soon I was prescribed just about every other med including fentanyl patches and actiq and bucal tabs. I didn’t care for the fentanyl and was
changed oxycontin at high doses.little did I know how effective of pain control I had after changing to Morphine due to outrageous Co pay cost from the Medicare donut hole ,then 2016 hits , original Dr. “Retires” , Other pain Dr. Gets arrested for trading script’s for sex , primary care steps up until pressure from the man bounces me to pain management who tapers me to one 10 of dose in the last year ,me I’m ready to off myself or go cold by drugs because I can no longer take it , or maybe I will go to the Methadone clinic full circle comes around but never in my mind did I want to reach older age and not supported for well documented pain.p


20 long years on pain meds with what I Know now was pain reduction to a tolerable point. Now I am hating a world of pain , depression, interrupted sleep night after night ,I really cannot take this much longer but really have not been given any hope in Future. Tapered to a 1/10 of my doseges that were working , now I’m having trouble finishing this I have so much more to add but in too much pain to think.

Darlene L. Evans

I have been in critical pain and am NOT being served by the Pain Mgmt Community. My only options are to live with excruciating pain until I kill myself or die from a stroke, heart attack.. or .. ??? Why, this Community has turned a deaf ear to people in need.


God bless you Red Lawhern! You are our Angel on Earth.
What is wrong with US physicians? Selective ignorance or sheer indifference? Both reasons are wholly unacceptable for all who took the Hippocratic Oath. They are doing SEVERE harm.
Thank you for fighting for all of us who are mostly too ill to fight for ourselves.

Reading more of the comments made me want to add another. If your practitioner refuses to treat your pain, consider filing a formal complaint to their licensing board. Every state is different and you will not know the outcome for months, but there is always the chance that some good will come from it. But bear this in mind; according to the Oregon Medical Board, NO practitioner can be made to prescribe chronic pain medications. In 1999 the Oregon Medical Board was one of the first states in the US to discipline a physician for NOT prescribing enough pain medication to dying patients. Providers, hospitals, medical boards, and other agencies misinterpreted the 2016 CDC Guidelines and made them into “laws” and “mandates.” The guidelines were directed at PCPs only and for starting new patients on long-term opioid therapy, not for chronic pain patients, cancer patients, and palliative care patients. Yet too many have been forcefully tapered off medications by these “guidelines” under those situations. If you or a loved one has cancer or is being treated for palliative care, then you may have a very good complaint to file with the appropriate licensing board. Unfortunately, chronic pain patients will continue to be discriminated against more than likely, because it will be argued that they can do without their medications in preference to something else less “dangerous.” Beware though that many clinics are forcing chronic pain patients to sign forms stating that they are “addicted” to their opioid medications before starting them on Buprenorphine. Once you sign these type of “agreements” you will probably never get opioid medications again, even after surgery or injuries, because of you self-admitted “addiction.” Buprenorphine can be used to treat chronic pain “off-label,” but most of the clinics that prescribe it want it covered by insurance and federal grant monies, so they need you to admit that you are an “addict” to get it covered and make lots of money.

sandy auriene sullivan


The medication being substituted is suboxone. They give it to my brother with terminal cancer too.

Its the only thing he can get!

It’s not quite approved in US for pain but the 2yrs I’ve been on it; better than 2yrs prior with forced tapers making me sick.
Suboxone has an opiate. Plus naloxone to prevent euphoria; which we don’t get anyway.

In Florida the doctor must be SAMSHA (sic) certified.

Meaning, treats addiction. Many will treat pain patients too.

Make sure that abuse us NOT put into file. Redact if they have for insurance.

FDA allows us the RIGHT TO TRY this instead for pain.

And I’m a 48yr old female who’s had to go to ER twice since being prescribed suboxone; unrelated to pain.

Was treated very well. Wasn’t treated like an addict or booted etc but like a human with complications.
The hospital made sure no dose was missed; offered extra dose for excruciating pain while there for heart.

Best of luck! Remember to review files and redact anything stating abuse/misuse!
It was put in my file incorrectly; I’ll hire a lawyer to fix my medical records if any doctor is unwilling to. (They should if you have not been arrested for any type of possession)


I to am stuck without a doctor, I have a array of back problems, with sever chronic pain that’s only getting worse, so I’ve become the no gooder and get pain meds, wherever I can, I’m so upset with all the spineless doctors (and yes that’s what you are) because there’s no law I’m aware of that forbids doctors to give pain med’s. And the clowns running the government couldn’t care less, I’ve come to realize that our best chance for pain control lies with the good people we call scientist , doing the research that will revolutionize pain medication, not the doctors, government, advacocy groups because nobody seems to hear the the pain that Burns and pounds the body’s of chronic pain stuffers..


Chronic pain sufferers have been singled out, degraded, disrespected and tortured. Our government and the media has deemed we are deplorable and unworthy of the American right to quality of life. Their accusations and refusal to treat has left millions with no desire to live as the pain is simply unbearable. Someone needs to take a stand and demand our rights be restored, tthat our respect be restored, that our lives are restored.
I am a fifty three year old mother of three special need children. I have raised and cared for them alone while working various construction jobs to maintain a stable home. Through no fault of my own I became disabled by chronic pain. Once treatment began I attended a university to further my education and open the possibilities of a new career, a new life. Here I am, a degree, a future almost in sight and suddenly I am no longer worthy of the right to live a pain free life. My children are not worthy of a mother. The pain is so severe I cannot continue my education and my future has faded. How can I be expected to live like this? It is cruel and unusual punishment when human beings are deemed no longer worthy of life.

Debbie Nickels Heck, MD

Over a year ago I saw a new FP. 2 months later I developed the most extreme pain I’d ever had due to a bizaare neuropathic rash covering most of my body. I’d just had the severe fibromyalgia I’d suffered with for 18 years abate 8 months before that and had been able to go off my pain meds except for an occasional use of a low dose opioid for arthritis when it flared because it caused by BP thi elevated. THIS was the most extreme pain I’d ever had and obviously I had had severe pain before. This new FP, just 5 yrs out of residency, REFUSED to give me ANYTHING to decrease my pain. My BP was skyrocketing so she sent me for a multitude of tests by several Drs. Fortunately during this time, the rash was beginning to fade and the pain was decreasing but not without the use of pain meds I obtained from an unnamed source, which I loathe to admit but was the only way I literally could breathe or dress myself. The conclusion of the final specialist, a nephrologist regarding my HTN, was INTRACTABLE PAIN and I needed opioids to control it. My FP REFUSED to act on this recommendation, called me “uncooperative,” and fired me from her practice. Fortunately, I’d just found another FP within the DPC network not restricted by any outside influences who completely understood my needs and placed me on the meds I needed. When an ignorant, wet-behind-the-ears FP refuses to legally treat legitimate pain causing up to malignant levels of HTN, there’s a major problem in the way our new residents are being trained. She haughtily said to me “I want trained like you were.” I suggested 2 different organizations whose meetings could give her training and she REFUSED to CONSIDER obtaining any education in pain management. Of course she wouldn’t listen to someone who used to practice pain management! And I was considered the “uncooperative one”!

Katherine Wolfe

I live in Portland, OR and when I mentioned chronic pain when looking for a new primary last year, the receptionist said “we don’t prescribe opiates” right off the bat. My variety of pain doesn’t respond to opiates so that isn’t a problem for me, but regardless of whether they helped or not they weren’t prescribing any. This is apparently a system-wide policy for them.

Danielle Morrison

I have been writing my state representatives and senators for months to no avail. As an RN for 25 years I understand after a tragic fall of 30 ft that resulted in 27 surgeries to save my spine and my leg and I need to take pain medication to even get out of bed. I have an implant..taken the shots. I’ve never taking drugs in my life and I submit to monthly drug screenings for drugs and alcohol which are always negative. The point I have been trying to make unsuccessfully is that the data is skewed severely. People suffering from chronic pain are not addicts we do not get high from taking our pain meds. Many days it just helps us get out of bed and maybe walk to the bathroom. Without pain medication Life is seriously not worth living. What I have tried to educate my representatives and senators in the state of Connecticut is that it is unfair to classify heroin in the same category as an opioid as it is illegal now this may be common sense to most people But apparently our politicians do not understand this. Most people who OD are drug addicts. They take heroin methadone and mix it with oxycodone or fentanyl. It is not fair to categorize the use of heroin in the same category as oxycodone. Oxycodone is a legal medication. I do happen to agree with banning fentanyl. However any studies done or statistics revealed have not decreased illegal drug use what it has done is taking a witch hunt against doctors and pain clinics and the patients and made it a political battleground. This is the most egregious act our government has committed against people who are truly suffering. I never understood pain until I became a patient. I have heard so many stories of cancer patients and chronic pain patients being dropped so that the physician can protect their licenses. This has to stop today. I have been fighting to help other chronic pain patients to no avail. Yet the drug addicts continue to obtain these medications and overdose. Someone high up needs to help us.

Ann Suter

It’s [edit]! For the ones that don’t abuse their medicine. People shouldn’t sell their medicine, or give it to their children. We need Drs. who are not scared to do their jobs. Thus is barbaric what these pain management clinics are proforming on their patients,just to prescribe them a pain pill,for their pain,that they are having,and another way for them to make more money. Not even if their doing love Ng term damage.

Melissa Souliotis

If you are working or had worked for the Federal Government & got Injured on the job they Screw u. You CAN’T SUE the Federal government. But when we are in so much pain, had Multiple Surgeries On My Own dime what do u do. One medication works for me, 5mg 4 x a day. AND I can’t get that! I cant even get 2 pills a day. I served the U.S. Federal Government Over 12years & the van care less about Us that are truly injured! I get that there is an opioid problem! However, the ones ALREADY INJURED & on Medication to help alleviate the pain You just Cut us off completely & was told you are a liability to get audited!!!! WOW, thank You, & I’m not the only one. If an Individual has chronic pain & has been on medication you cant just cut us off like you did. Suicide has been on my mind like many others. U have Claims Adjusters intendualy ignoring us. This Must be addressed. Give us our needed surgery, Therapy & Medication!!! You want us to be proud of living in the U.S.A? You are not giving some of us to be proud when your (Government) the ones Screwing Us!!! I’m not the only one! You took my life from me, I have not been there for my only son due to being in bed All day! My Son now hates me & rightfully so. How can you give me all the years I lost with my son. WELL,This whole whistle Blower, My Whistle is Big enough to where I cant hold it. Mr. Trump Would be floored to what is going on behind His Back!! We all Need To Speak up, I’m ready.

Chris Ward

It’s been terrible in Texas and Arkansas .I been hurt since 2003 from a botch surgery!

Richard L. McCall Jr.

Richard L McCall Jr. Ihave been suffering from failed back surgery for 20yrs. My current physician has cut my medication to less than half. I’m in parma Hgts., Ohio.My current physician is pushing injections the first one sent me to the E.R. He is pushing for the injections while ignoring the pain issues that are present. I am pleading for proper medical treatment (please)!!

Erik Landry

I have arthritis in my L5 lumbar for 5 years now. Doctor’s told me to do floor exercises,and stretches. Which is good,but not great(being honest). I’ve done the teeter hanger. Again is good,but not great. The pain increases as the day goes along. Again doctor’s say “take tylenol” which does help,but don’t take the sharp pain away. My dehlima is. Keep taking tylenol about 6-8 of them for the day. Or no more than 2 painkillers in a day?

Diane Falkoski

the same story.left out in cold.lost job.in agony.treated like dirt.my former primary misdiagnosed me with fiber myalga so he couldblame it on”my brain processes pain differently.I had abuldging disc that crippled me and this was his diagnosis.I don’t have fm.this is a horrible witch hunt.yes..going after easy targets because the heroin trade is controlled by politicians cia etc.suicide come to many in this dillemabut no one seems to give a shite.


Hi, I have been chronic pain patient for 5 years, with foot pain, knees, lumbar and cervical spine surgeries. I was going to a pain doc in 2016 and had multiple injections and RF ablation of c spine. Then he became out of network for me and the insurance (Cigna) refused to cover any more treatments but would pay for pain meds. I know my pain doc was extremely frustrated and scared of the coming changes. So, I went to my primary care doc and explained my situation and he agreed to write my pain med scripts. In 2017, at a dr appt, the nurse practitioner I was seeing at my pc office told me I was going to be tapered off pain meds. That I was taking a very high dosage, 65 mme a day. So they took away one pill a day to start. At my next appt, this time with my pc doctor, I diplomatically voiced my displeasure and so far they have not tapered me anymore. But, I am very cognizant that it could change at any moment. I don’t know what I would do if I lost my pc doctor!

The first thing clinics used to asked prospective new patients was “What’s your insurance?” Now it’s “Do you have chronic pain?” They do NOT want to see any patients with chronic pain even if they already have another provider prescribing pain medications. It’s outright discrimination especially if you are on Medicare or Medicaid. In Oregon where I practice, the locally contracted Umpqua Health Alliance took most of their chronic pain patients off opioid medications in the summer of 2013, long before the 2016 CDC Guidelines came out. Why? Because it was all about the money! Too much was being spent on pain and associated treatments. After a few years state officials realized that there were big savings to be made. So now they are trying to deny all chronic pain patients their medications and forcefully tapering them off. The CDC Guidelines were meant for PCPs, yet even pain specialists are forcefully tapering patients off. Some are receiving threatening letters from insurance companies and such. Providers are refusing to treat chronic pain patients due the risks of DEA raids, medical board investigations, and more. I personally have been investigated by the Oregon Medical Board due to claims of “over-prescribing” by gutless malcontents in the area of Roseburg, Oregon. They complained about five of my patients, some of whom were below the 90 MED recommendations of the CDC Guidelines. After nine months of investigation the medical board found nothing wrong with my care, even with patients well over the 90 MED level. Unlike other providers, I actually review medical and pharmacy records for the past two years, search the PDMP before every visit, do a criminal background check, use extensive questionnaires before I even prescribe for a patient. I actually do a physical examination that many other providers lie about doing. For them it’s ALL about the MONEY; I don’t put money ABOVE the care of my patients, that’s why I’m still in student loan debt.


I’m going to share a small version of my story. I’m 29, I’ve been judged and mishandled by doctors for years. I’ve been through 100 medications 20 different diagnosis and over 40 doctors easily. When I was finally prescribed something that helped it was by a caring doctor and of course it was an opiate. We actually went through some strong opioid medications that wouldn’t help me because of the way they metabolize so it showed on my record that I had turned down some of the most addictive pain medications and settled for one that’s strong and of course addictive. But is one of the only medications listed as necessary to the population on the WHO. Anyway my doctor quit because he couldn’t handle the stress and the [edit] of the politics and fellow physicians shaming him for helping others and going over the 60 MME recommended for many patients including me. Anyway I went to another doctor at the same clinic feeling defeated and depleted and of course they were disgustingly rude and told me I was an addict. I finally broke down and said I’m done with it all and went to a methadone clinic. I lied to them about being hooked when I wasn’t taking them for anything more than pain and I was honest about my pain to the clinic. They admitted me and I’m the happiest I’ve been in years. I get as much methadone as I need for both pain and “addiction” and although it sucks going everyday for something that I’m not even addicted to…it gave me pain relief and my life back. I know patients who turned to street drugs so I figured why not do it this way and just lie. It’s safer and better for pain patients and as it turns out 8 of my doctor’s patients were treated the same way and came to the same methadone clinic. We are chronic pain patients and we are survivors. I have multiple illnesses and I hate it but I refuse to lay down and die or commit suicide when my wife and son need me. I’m not condoning methadone clinics but it saved my life so I did it.

The comment from the Atlanta women touched my heart and made me cry. Her desperation is common to so many. This issue is out of control and causes us so much anxiety.
And what Katherine Hicks below mentioned is now typical for the haps with town doctors etc.
God help our community! Keep strong warriors.
Red, as always, your persistence, care and help on our behalf is tremendously appreciated! Thank you!


Glen, I know fully what you are talking about concerning the VA. I have over 300% of infantry combat related disabilities accepted by the VA S/C. I am 100% Permanent & Totally disabled accepted by the VA. I had been treated for many years by my VA Primary Care Dr for residuals from one back injury in combat in Nam. I took NSAIDS for many years until my kidney function was so bad I was told no more NSAIDS ever! I also had more PT visits than I could count, acupuncture, Tens, steroid injections, Nerve Blocks, surgery and I could go on with more things tried by the VA. I had been prescribed a low daily dose of Oxycodone for many years which was my only small relief allowing sleep, daily functions of life had long been gone. My Dr reassigned in 2017 and for 6 months I was placed on a Waiting List for a new DR, went to a VA Clinic who provided the pain meds interim. First time I met my “new” Dr, (a Muslim young woman) I came in requesting a referral to a Neurosurgeon to see if they could help…she would not listen to me, she said…NO PAIN MEDICINE..it will make you want to hurt people, make you want increase after increase, and “Studies” show pain medicine does NOT relieve pain” She said “the VA is not in the business of relieving pain, only death will do that.” If I had not been so shocked by her, I would have asked did she give prescriptions for that. I simply told her that I disagree with all you have said and you will NOT be my Dr. I immediately went outside and filled out a Form for a new Dr for the first time EVER. The VAMC DIRECTOR wrote my Senator that I had requested 3 transfers to new doctors seeking pain medicine…a total out right lie…which they were forced to admit was a lie, I had 3 dr’s in 25 years all either retired or transferred. Finally I was shipped out to a local private Pain Clinic through Choice after being told the “VA does not do pain anymore.” Combat wound residuals with severe pain and the VA does not do pain???

Daniel Foltz

I have grown sick and weary in my lack of trust for any primary care physicians now. I currently have a new primary care physician who doesn’t seem to care about anything when it comes to my discussion leading to pain. I know that he treats other pain patients because he has new policies posted on the wall of every exam room. I’m simply trying to find someone to care for me without stigmatizing me I wish that I could find a doctor willing to work with me because my 12-hour medication is very strong. Even though marijuana is not federally legal and lied to find a doctor who does not test for it which is a CDC recommendations I could go with less opioids. Why has it been this way and why do I feel like I am a second class citizen. We all have these problems and they need to be corrected immediately before more people die or go to Evie ball drugs for no reason whatsoever other than the government has pushed them in that direction. Have you know a doctor that cares enough to dig on pain management and discuss the synergistic effects of marijuana with opioids and it will I need you allow me to use both I would be so grateful because my work will I need to work with me on this but doctors are not. Hopeless and chronic out very… Please help


Not only did my PCP drop me when the feds and the state implemented their rules a few yrs ago, but I haven’t been able to find a new PCP since! Nobody will take me on as a PCP bc of my “complicated case issues” aka the fact that I take pain meds. It’s gotten to the point of extreme ridiculousness. Btw, my dr cut me off cold turkey after having treated me for over 5 yrs bc he was afraid of losing his license.

Rebecca Hollingsworth

In Maryland and Delaware as a cpp I was referred to pain management 15 years ago. At first my primary care provider took care of the prescriptions, but it wasn’t but a year later I was directed to a pain specialist. I have seen all of the signs posted in many doctor offices stating that they do not dispense any opiate prescriptions so dont even ask. Nobody wants the liability or harrassment from the powers that be to prescribe anything anymore let alone benzodiazepines or opioids. After 10 years both myself and my husband were discharged from our pain management doctor. He said he had to give a statement and hire an attorney to cover himself and his practice. I personally think he discharged every patient who was currently above the “guidelines ” and cherry picked his remaining patients. It took 3 doctors before I found one that would actually treat us but they will not prescribe above the 90 mme. We were told that unless you are a cancer patient you get the baby dose of medication. Most push worthless injections and physical therapy, everything but what actually helps- medication. So for now, its suffer in silence and keep your thoughts to yourself.

Danny moore

You all don’t get it if you are all dead no problem


Not only is there a lack of pain managment Drs but I am having trouble with finding regular practitioners who will too treat me because of being pain managed Too be disabled and get no regular care is unforgivable I’ve tried for over 2 years too talk too the regular practitioners about the severity of my blood pressure that has incurred because of the lack of proper medications and mental abuse that the US government has encouraged against the disabled and pain managed too be told I don’t need high blood pressure medications because it’s from the pain I suffer NO REGULAR care shame on all who started the war against people like me also forced too take faucet pain shots that turns out I’m allergic too and caused high sugar and has almost killed me when I went too a regular practitioner I was given nothing and told I’d have too follow the rules no regular respectful care in America what so ever NOT EVEN a human being allowed too revive regular care I sit here and wonder how long it will be before I die of a stroke I’ve already had one or from complications from sugar problems let alone my disability DEATH ROW In What used too be America by or government sucks I’ve decided when I do die from this crazy lying hysteria that has been created because the government had too blame someone and could not say they failed at their jobs I’m going too put the US government and both my senators names on my tombstone and put them as my cause of death it’s going too read my name died before my time due too Goverment policy’s and the 2 main senators names from Ohio who think my life’s a joke and thanks too the discriminating policy’s against the disabled I will make sure the National media is made aware of me doing this I hope they like their legacy! And I hope other pain patients think about doing this also as the permanent black mark of our Government harassing discriminating and hate they have caused towards the pain managed and disabled

Gail Honadle

Over 300 Pain Clinics CLOSED, but 65 Pain Clinics in TN were. Then 1 more closed. We have 64 for an Entire State which can’t even cover Nashville and Memphis. There is no program to DETOX STREET JUNKIES who are the cause of this Fake crisis.

Diane Real

Not only are we being abandoned…we are being treated like criminals and being put in jail for so called doctor shopping. It will be horrible growing old in this country and yes if the pain becomes unmanageable suicide will go up because that is what they want. They want us gone…they cannot afford us.

Katherine Hicks

I live in southern Illinois by St. Louis. My experience with my primary doctor was that their new policy as of 2010 was that he was referring all patients with chronic pain to a pain management specialists. But he kept proscribing my codeine until I found one. But no primary doctor will prescribe them to begin with anymore. They also stopped prescribing lorazepam, Xanax, etc. for chronic anxiety. Very few pain management specialist will prescribe opioids anymore. All they want to do is torture people with injections that don’t work.

Walter Strickland

Ed,thanks for this update .As CPP what do we have to do before these unqualified people see what they are doing to the CPP community?We know,and I believe they know,they are going after the wrong people.We need these people who are making these suggestions to show us what state they are licensed to practice medicine in.NONE !!! Just politicians fighting the wrong people because , again I say,we are the easiest targets.And will give them false numbers to show they are doing some good in the fight against opioid deaths,but it is not true.They need to look at the published reports, illegal Heroin and Illegal Fentynal are the cause of the majority of the overdosing deaths in this country.Its not a SECRET ,so they do know this .But they cannot win that battle for what ever reason.So again , they pounce on the easier prey,US in the CPP community.Most CP patients follow what their Pain Management Doctors instruct them to do.There are always some bad apples in anything.But most just want the releif from 24/7 pain so we can live as close to a normal and productive life as posible.Without the proper medications this for the majority of the CPP community is not possible.Thanks again Ed.What you do is very much appreciated by all of us in the CPP community!


I have no problem sharing how mean Doctors have been to me. I have Adhesive Arachnoiditis from a failed miligram in 1975 with contrast DYE that was banned from the United States in 1978. I have been poorly treated by a group of 5 doctors and 3 hospitals who all colluded against me and refused to treat my chronic pain. I was almost forced to commit suicide then at the last minute I was referred to a pain specialist who saved my life. I have the Doctors chart notes I’d love to share with the world to prove I was mismanaged.

Gail Honadle

My Primary doesn’t script pain meds. He won’t even script my Valium, sent me to the ENT just to have ear wax removed from my ears, I wear twin hearing aids and it is a frequent issue. Took the ENT’s PA 15 seconds to clean both ears. Heck of a bill for Medicare/Tricare Life to pay, when he could have simply done the procedure.


I’ve not only had problems finding a physician, but the last steady constant Dr I had at a concerige Dr facility was prescribing me opioids for two messed up knees a bulging disk in my back as well as fybro, and problems I’ve been experiencing with plates in my neck put in place in 2010. My Dr wrote me an rx for 40 opioid pills and told me that once I got them filled, the next day I was to call him on his cell phone and meet him around the corner from his office and give him 10 pills of my RX. Not only did I not do such but one of his nurses turned him in. And the medical board bullied me to testify saying I had to sign this form. When I read it the bottom line was My medical info could become public knowledge and or record. The Dr went away on ” medical leave”6 months later. Leaving me getting nudged rejected from dr to dr. The end result… He’s now back at work as a dr working for Muhammad Etnamin who falsely clams I abused perscription hydrocodone before I saw concerige dr., Etiminam was supposed to fix my neck but when I asked how ,the morning of surgery , HE decided that a piece of bone would be taken from my hip. I didn’t want that due to the knowledge ,I’d seen a chiropractor for years before with back n neck problems and one day that chiropractor mentioned he had many patients with allignment issues due to bone being used from hip. Dr. Etiminam came back in room as i was being administered anestisa as I objected not to take bone from my hip he threw a disc ( of someone else’s medical recordsno less )hit me in the forehead with the disc throwing it at me. Funny thing that concerige dr is now back at work with the disk thrower.
I suffer every day n night. I have been ” rejected” by dr after dr. I don’t even bother going to ER for the misery I suffer. I just pray that what comes round goes round.
Dr lee Kirk dr Muhammad Etiminam when I have had all I can take and kill myself. It is on the both of you! Deal with it!!!


“Potential risk” to suicide is putting it mildly. It is not just a “risk” either; it happens all the time. What has been put at “risk” is Medical licenses.Naturally, VA patients are given a “form” for requesting a different provider. They recently added a paragraph excluding drug prescribing as a valid reason to change.I could have told these patients that it now makes no difference. VA doctors that still prescribe are being “weeded out”. I can relate my own stories about the VA. They have cut me without taper three times. I called the “white house hotline” and the VA gave them back, re-imbursed me for six months of private pain prescriptions. They told me I did not need to go private and as soon as I cancelled my Private Prescribed, they cut me again. They sent me to the Pittsburgh Pain Specialists with a promise to comply with the recommendations (twice). The experts said oxycodone was well below the 90mme, tolerated well, was helping significantly, and to continue. They do not prescribe, but recommend to Primary Care which cut it anyway. In my long Behavorial Health record it stated (10 years ago) that I was not ruling out suicide if I became more debilitated. They are cutting opiates without regard to their own directives. Some of us have been getting opioids for 15 years at no cost. We have no health insurance. Just the private lab is $700, and with the doctor and pharmacy it comes to $950. That’s street prices and there is no lab. Just 7 years ago private costs were fractions. With our “supply and demand” culture, smugglers are happy as are the new industry of Drug Treatment. As we have seen, insurance is getting out of reach. If a Veteran had declined Medicare Part “B” he can not get supplemental insurance. (Didn’t need if you had VA). We are more screwed than most citizens who never got shot or blown up.

I have an issue and woudering if this has happen to anyone elsa. I have had back issue since my early 20s. Had been on opioids for over 10 years. The pain Doctor office I had gone for 6 years switch company’s. The first time I meet with the doctor was in January of 2017. He suggested that I need to switch to Marijuana and get off opioids because of how young I was. I told him that it doesnt work for me and didnt like the way I felt on it. In February I took a drug test. In March and April I saw the doctor again he told me the same thing. Then in May when I went to see the doctor they said the Drug test I took last month came back positive for heroin. I told them that I didnt take a test last month, that the last test I took a drug test was in February and that never in my life had I done heroin or even seen it. They said well it show here in the computer and kick me out. Two month later they did it to my dad and numerous others. Now no doctor will touch me once they see my medical records they won’t even give me an appointment. I been trying for over 2 years. I cant live with this pain anymore i feel so hopeless.


Y’all remember when this witch hunt started, what I said would happen? Yup.
My choices: go underground, or kill myself. Withdrawal is horrendous and I personally will never go through that again (my meds were stolen by an invited guest before we started locking them up), so it’s not an option.

But here’s my dilemma: I’m afraid I’ll get caught buying off the street, so I’d like to take the med available to drug addicts. Is it methadone? I have no idea who to go to. Don’t suggest my personal doctor; I’m too embarrassed because he’s anti-everything.

I’m running out of time and I’m getting more disorganized and disheveled by the day. As the consummate professional in my work life, now that I need the help I’ve no idea where to turn.

Caroline Bellis

I agree with the article’s conclusion, but would like to add that pain patients routed to pain clinics may lose access via a different route. Since my PCP had to stop managing my pain medicines in 2016 I have been to see her perhaps three times. It takes time and money and energy to make it to yet one more doctors appointment, resources for which I am strained. I am more likely to ignore day to day PCP type problems now that I don’t visit her every few months for pain med Rx.