Miss Understood: The DEA is Taking My Lifeline Away

Miss Understood: The DEA is Taking My Lifeline Away

Over the past few years I’ve become very knowledgeable when it comes to different types of pain medications. There is no cure for my constant pain, but I know what works for me and what doesn’t, and I make sure I find out as much as I can about what I’ll be taking beforehand.

imagesNow the DEA wants to reschedule hydrocodone products, making it difficult or impossible for me to get the one pill that grants me relief.

No way, no how, is that fair. I assume the people deciding don’t suffer from incurable, excruciating pain that makes death sound inviting.

Their claim is that hydrocodone drugs such as Norco have a high potential for abuse. But so does alcohol and it’s still legal. People get drunk, cause accidents and get people killed, which sounds like abuse to me.

Instead of making hydrocodone more difficult to obtain, why not monitor it’s consumption and the doctors who write the prescriptions?

It’s not always the patient abusing the drug. So many reports point the finger at addicts abusing it, but no one ever looks closely and asks how he/she got 3 of the same prescriptions filled at different pharmacies.

I understand that it only takes one rotten apple to spoil the bunch, but in this case the individual who abuses the medication should be dealt with on a one-on-one basis. I don’t think it’s fair that those of us who only take hydrocodone painkillers for breakthrough pain have to suffer for what others do.

I’m met with obstacles everyday living with the conditions I have. Now I feel like I have to ration my pain pills if getting my prescription filled becomes more difficult once the scheduling change goes into effect.

Arlene GrauArlene Grau lives in Lakewood, California. She suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, migraine, vasculitis, and Sjogren’s disease.

The information in this column is not intended to be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Only your doctor can do that!  It is for informational purposes only and represent the author’s personal experiences and opinions alone. It does not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report or Microcast Media.


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Its much worse for oxycodone and duragesic patch. Ive already been dealing with teir 2 & 3 meds. I have to go to dr an hr away every 30 days for past 18 yrs. Sit in pharm another two hrs THE DAY I AM DUE FOR MEDS. Then for yrs many times be told insurance denied and have no meds while waiting for a fix. Pharmacist could give me partial fills on teir 1 but not higher. So even if i had money to purchase just few days till ins over ride I was not allowed to. My pharm occasionally risked her license to give me a 3 day supply. I thought that was bad. Then DEA attacked pain patients. Im in FL the worse state in all this mess. My dr is a real dr an honest dr and brilliant one. Not a pill mill. Ive been with her 12 yrs. She does injections epidurals and nerve blocks and so much more. She even has ayurveda and naturopath clinic. Def not a pill dr. She teaches about yoga and meditation and every pain relieving modality. But understand chronic pain and these “drugs” are our medicine. Just like heart pts need heart meds and diabetics need insulin. And yes going to ER is a horrid experience. . Ive been through it. Treated like a drug addict called a junkie and worse. Denied meds even W/xrays and records and after sitting for hrs. Truly abused. I will never go to ER again. But I have also been without meds and not only is there intolerable pain but sadly withdrawals because my body is now dependent on the meds but I am not addicted. Thats in the mind that’s craving it getting a high. Ive never ever gotten a high or even woosy from a pain med because its being used to work on the pain theres nothing left to get me high. research this and its explained I just can’t articulate it right now. Law is can’t get script till 30 days. Dr can’t write it early. So on last day having meds I must get to dr…get to pharm and for past 2 yrs every single month be told they can not fill my rx that day or at all. I had a pharm for 16 yrs forced to leave after all the pharmacists quit over dea nightmare and new ones were so verbally abusive and trying to make it hell for me so they were not responsible for pain patient. I left after my father screamed at pharmacist for causing me so much upset. Ive had 4 pharmacies in 2 yrs. Each one always great at starts that they can get my meds that they understand I am a real legit pain patient that I go to same dr and only 1 pharmacy as I always have. But on this new day its always that they don’t have my meds in stock. Nothing I can do. Ive been driven… Read more »


I have gone two weeks now with the Norco/Tylenol 3 switch and I’m absolutely miserable.
You CANNOT use Tylenol 3 for spinal fusion/bone grafting patients.
I used to have a functional life where I almost fit back into society. Now? I want to set fire to the DEA building.
When my PA told me Tylenol 3 is very similar to Norco, you should have seen the look on his face. He knew he was lying. If I COULD get back on Norco, I’d have to drive 45 minutes to the spine center to get a new script every month, when I normally only go in twice a year. Target pharmacy told me they’ll fill Norco scripts, but why should I have to fight all of this? Norco is the ONLY medicine that allowed me some semblance of a life. I am hunched over now and losing more and more sleep. I can’t keep doing this. What a wonderful person I am to hang around with right now…..Filled with extreme anger and unmanageable pain.


Quote from another article,

“I think from a black market standpoint overall, you may see heroin use go up. We’ve already seen because of PDMPs (prescription drug monitoring programs), as we’re tracking drugs more closely, that heroin use went up because people that are trying to get these drugs can’t get it as readily as they could before. So if the same holds true and they can’t get hydrocodone, it’s one less thing that they can get their hands on. They may go to the street to get heroin because it’s relatively cheap.”


No this is not protecting patients at all. Patients are suffering and being tortured by these sorts of laws. It’s insane what is going on, and people that shrug their shoulders and go , “Oh well. I guess it has to be that way…” are just as bad as the people making the laws. Your apathy is not helping.


Response to Beth,

Do you have a 45 mile round trip to pick up the paper script and then another 45 mile round trip to drop off the script and in many cases another 45 mile round trip to pick up the script once the pharmacy “finally” fills it? This has been my life for the past 15 years to gain a marginal improvement in pain control. Is it no wonder the increase in suicides due to denial of pain meds or the evil eye the pharmacy techs give you or doctors who refuse to write a script for a patient they know is in severe pain?

I read all about the “pill mills” in KY and not in OHIO. They are so obvious to pick out it should be embarrassing to the DEA not to shut them down. But Ohio is considering a pill mill bill too so my arduous journey to obtain pain meds will be further scrutinized and vilified. I read the elected officials and the bureaucrats statements about how BAD these meds are but don’t hear from patients who legitimately need and judiciously use these meds. I guess that isn’t news is it.

I’m perfectly willing to sign on to the pill mill bill in Ohio when each elected official who votes yes receives daily injections of a compound that causes the level of pain I have to live with daily and continue injections for a year to themselves, their spouses, their children, their parents, their grand children too so they can ENJOY just how insignificant my pain happens to be and relish their vote. Not a chance they would submit to living my life or rescinding their vote to force me into increased pain as I try to access these meds and the doctors refuse to prescribe due to interference with the DEA, and other local do gooders. Live in my pain for a year and then vote on the bill pal. Drive that 135 miles to fill a script while you are aching and grinding your teeth to bite off the pain. Yeah, I hear crickets.

Kathryn Benedic

I have an autoimmune disease and all that goes with it and requires strong pain meds to control my chronic pain which I have dealt with for 30 yrs. I have been under the care of a Pain Management Center for over 20 years. My life is a living hell even with pain meds and to not have access to them would be devastating to even live the somewhat normal life I have been dealt through no fault of my own. Three months ago I went to have my pain med prescription filled and the new manager of the pharmacy I have used for over 20 yrs said “no”. I tried to talk with her and she would not even discuss it with me. I was told by another pharmacist there was an Edict from the DEA not to fill any pain meds like mine. I went to every pharmacy in my town and was told the same thing. Out of desperation, I called my very reputable pain doctor’s clinic. They got busy and found a pharmacy in another town over that could fill my prescription. Now I have to not only go to the doctor’s office to pick up my prescription, which I always do, but I have to drive to another town to get it filled. In all these yrs of taking pain meds, I have regularly drug screened and had pill counts, and haver never had a problem of even suspected abuse. I now feel as though I have been stigmatized as a drug abuser by the pharmaceutical companies and DEA. The pharmacies that denied my prescriptions treated me awful, and I was embarrassed publicly by every one of them. I found out that the large chain pharmacy I had done business with for so many years, had been fined by the DEA due to their own negligence in filling opiate/opioid prescriptions. It had nothing to do with me, but now all pharmacies are paranoid. If they had followed the rules, like I have done, there would be no problem. Why should anyone suffering with chronic pain, and under the care of a reputable doctor, be penalized the way I have been? The pharmacies are all running scared due to pressure by the DEA. It is a crime against humanity to leave sick people suffering due to this widespread fear caused by unreasonable pressure from the DEA. Addicts and drug abusers will find a way to get the drugs they want, while law abiding citizens that have to deal with legitimate chronic pain will suffer because they won’t break the law. Putting the blame on us is simply not fair. Something must change so that those of us who suffer every day of our lives and need these meds, must have a chance at living as normal as possible. Denying pain meds to those that truly need them, will be driven onto disability because they cannot continue to work, isolate them from family and friends, and leave… Read more »

This is much more than a little inconvenience for pain patients. With the exception of tylenol 3, this is the only prescription pain medication of the opioid/opiate type that could be called in by the doctors, could still get refills on the written RX or called in version, and if there was a mistake on the prescription, the pharmacist was still likely to be able fill it without an act of Congress.

Many older patients, younger ones too, I suspect, will be shocked the first time they are denied their medications because of a clerical error, like a box not checked or a date left off. It was the last nail in the coffin, so to speak for chronic pain patients, who did not have to go EVERY MONTH and get their piece of paper.


” Opposition to Kentucky HB 1-Reform HB 217 aka “Pill Mill Bill” ”


Beth powers

They are not taking this med away at all. It just means that your doctors office can not call it into the pharmacy. It has to be written perscriptions and given to the pharmacy. Although I have a hard time understanding how this well help with people who abuse meds. But if you are on a pain management plan, you still will have the meds you need. Then again if this is what we have to do to help protect us as pt.s that need these meds then so be it.