We’re so quick to blame the “Dr. Shopper” for the inequitable treatment we endure at the pharmacy.
Let’s look at a few examples:
1. Why am I required to produce a photo ID for my opioid pain meds? I don’t need to show it for my other medications.
2. Why am I registered with the state prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP)? I don’t particularly want anyone with access to the system to have my private medical information. We all know how well the feds, states, and other big organizations protect our electronic data, don’t we? PDMPs are another police intrusion into our private lives.
3. Why do I get the evil eye when I present scripts for oxycodone or OxyContin? Is that part of the customer service? Do they teach mind reading in pharmacy school? Would it make your job easier if I wore an orange jumpsuit and carried a large bag labeled SWAG over my shoulder?
4. Why am I asked, “Why do you see a doctor 40 miles from your home?” Is the pharmacist really that ignorant about the problems faced by chronic pain patients in obtaining their meds, or is this another trick question designed to catch me in my act of fraud and deceit in obtaining a controlled substance?
5. When presenting scripts for Exalgo and hydromorphone, why am I asked, “Why do you receive two Rx’s for the same medication?” Don’t pharmacists get training in chronic pain management? Why the ignorance about long acting and short acting medication? Or is this another secret DEA trick to catch us in a lie?
I do not consider any of this nonsense as an adjunct to my health care. Frankly, I’ve been using these medications since before most pharmacists behind the counter were out of diapers.
When you ask questions about the location of my doctor, why I have two different formulations of opioid Rx, or ask for my driver’s license — all with a counter full of people watching — you are violating my privacy in public. These are my neighbors, and now they know that you, the pharmacist, have suspicions about me.
It’s not doctor shoppers who cause my problems. It’s pharmacists who believe they should know everything about my business before they put my pills in a bottle. You see, it’s the pharmacist’s license that’s really important here, not the patient’s privacy, dignity or health.
Cover thy rear end, medical professional.
The respect I once had for pharmacists is now reserved for those few individuals who know why they’re behind the counter and what’s important in running a pharmacy counter. These individuals, fewer and far between, have compassion for my chronic pain and whatever other disease I may have that underlies my condition. They take the extra care not to shame me in front of my neighbors, because according to the War on Drugs, anyone who takes certain medications should be ashamed. That’s what we’ve been conditioned to believe, and in my experience, pharmacists are the worst.
You have lost my respect for you and your “profession” because you’ve lost your respect for fellow human beings who suffer in pain. To me, you’re pill counters.
I’ve seen Reddit’s message board for pharmacists, where I’ve read the opinions of some of the most cynical people I’ve ever encountered – pharmacists speaking about “druggies.” Folks, if you want to know what your pharmacist thinks of you, see for yourself at http://www.reddit.com/r/pharmacy
My records go back over 20 years in one large pharmacy system. If the pharmacist is concerned about my ability to breath with my opiate dose, why doesn’t she look up my record of usage instead of asking me — in a store full of my neighbors — why I have two prescriptions for the same opioid medication?
Dr. Shoppers don’t cause me trouble. The DEA is causing me trouble. Pharmacists doubling as DEA agents are causing me trouble. And you’re both about as effective in stopping diversion as the regulators were in stopping the flow of alcohol during Prohibition, except in those days our cops didn’t dress like commandos.
Is this the kind of world you want? We’re moving towards martial law at the airport — why not the pharmacy? Continue to cooperate and echo back the answer what the storm troopers parrot on national TV: “We’re winning the War on Drugs.”
I’m an old man. I’ve heard this lie since the Nixon administration.
I know better. You’re violating my privacy, stealing my freedom, limiting my ability to receive treatment, and have driven the cost of inexpensive pain medication up 500% and 1000% in the past two years.
My apologies to my pharmacists and the other good men and women in the field who understand the tragic loss of freedom that we’re witnessing daily in this country.
Kurt W.G. Matthies lives in Colorado. He suffers from severe chronic spine disease and has lived daily with chronic pain for 35 years.
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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 represents 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.