I am from the great state of Missouri. We are the only state without a statewide PDMP (prescription drug monitoring program). We have county PDMP’s that were set up from our previous Governor from an Executive Order. Our state still has problems.
Bills were proposed again for a statewide PDMP, this last session. The House bill did pass in the House. It was spoke about in the Senate, but was filibustered. My email was even read during a filibuster session. Chronic pain patients are being acknowledged. Then the Senate moved onto other business and the session ended. Once again, no statewide PDMP.
Advocacy is so important. We all need to remember that elected officials are the ones that create laws and change them. In order to make changes, we ALL need to be contacting elected officials. And, if we all spent time doing this, we could have our voices heard. There are 100 million of us.
I wanted to share with you about how I advocate. When I started to speak out, I had a clear vision of fighting for myself, my family, my friends and all current and future pain patients and all doctors. The elected officials make the laws, but the doctors write our prescriptions. Pain patients need elected officials and doctors to be educated on pain patients’ strife.
I decided to contact a local newspaper that ran an article about the pain patient’s side. News media can be effective.
I also wrote an email about my journey as a pain patient. I sent it to all 163 state representatives and just signed my name and cell phone number. I received calls and set up appointments with representatives. I emailed all representatives multiple times and called. I also emailed and called all 34 senators, many times. I emailed other state and federal elected officials and department heads. I did a lot of research and made a lot of contacts. I met some wonderful elected officials that fought hard for us. But some offices said to me that they were waiting for pain patients to contact them. I thought to myself, what is everyone doing? Where were all the other pain patients? But, if had I only contacted my state representative and my state senator, I would be nowhere. Contact them ALL!
Most of the proactive contacts I made were from my recliner. I also work, so I am making contacts in my time off. So, I think we could all be a part of the solution. I think it’s important to assume every elected official can help us, so we need to be open to them all. Don’t let your political views cloud your advocacy. This problem crosses party lines.
Sharing a post and a tweet, doesn’t make contacts to elected officials. It’s good to let others know what is going on in the community and with legislation, but it’s not getting in the hands of decision makers. We must do both.
I also met other great pain patients that also contacted elected officials and worked hard too. Then there were citizens fighting for the constitutionality of collection of data by the PDMP. Their presence is great. Pain patients should look for groups like this and find a way to work together. But we must work. Keep in mind that elected officials make changes. This last session brought in many new representatives. These are new people to educate to what is happening to us.
By all means, what happened in our state, by not having a statewide PDMP, was not a “win” or a “save” by any one person. Elected officials have been suppressing the PDMP in our state for over a decade. But chronic pain patients were passionately discussed on the House and Senate floor. To me, that was a “win” by only a few pain patients that have been working tremendously hard. And, I am so proud of the elected officials that listened to us and fought for us. One elected official, Representative Mike Moon, has helped so much.
Please get involved. Educate yourself. Please know your story, emails and phone calls all matter. Look for town hall meetings and attend. Visit your state Capitol and visit with all offices. Share your story and ask for help. It works, if you work it.