By Judith Carr Bruno
Editor’s Note- Judie Bruno is a 68-year old Army vet and amputee who lives in California. The National Pain Report featured her story about taking on the VA Health System. We’ve kept in touch. She sent the following comments to the Centers for Disease Control protesting its draft 2016 Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.
I am not one to believe in “conspiracy” theories but if the CDC isn’t trying deliberately to ruin Health Care in America under Obama Care with these policies on Narcotic Pain Medications, it will be the outcome of these regulations and your policies are doing a great job destroying it all. Clinics are closing, pharmacist and physicians are scared to treat chronic pain patients and some are retiring when they can no longer treat those patients who suffer from chronic pain in the way they know is best. Good physicians are being arrested and brought to trial for giving their patients what they know is best to treat their pain. Chronic pain patients need the narcotic pain medications for their quality of life and now are being treated as “drug addicts” for just requesting help with their pain. Veterans are being “tortured” under these rules by their own government and there is no other word that fits their treatment.
I talk to many chronic pain suffers every week over Social Media and see the results of these regulations. Mothers are no longer able to care for their children without the pain medications and without the help of family and friends, are now afraid of losing their children. Bread winners are no longer able to work to support their families and individuals are not able to stay independent and care for themselves as they could with the pain medications their doctors had prescribed but now can no longer receive. Who is going to care for them and where will that money come from to do so?
Patients are being told with no warning at all that they can no longer receive the pain medications that help them through each day, nothing to help with the withdrawals and danger of shock their systems will go through by just stopping their pain medications and receiving nothing at all to help with the pain. This is malpractice when patients are given nothing to help with the pain by doctors and pharmacist who are breaking their oaths “to do no harm” again, out of fear. Pain medications and the decisions to prescribe them should be between the physicians who know what their patients need with no bureaucracy making those decisions especially when they don’t know each individual case and what the best way to treat these patients is.
I know this for a fact as on Sept 16 of this year a pharmacist at the VA made the decision to just not send me the morphine I have been on for over 14 years because I use Medical Marijuana and did so with no warning, no care at all of the effect to my system or anything to help with the pain I deal with 24/7 for over 40 years, two thirds of my lifetime. He didn’t know and certainly didn’t care that at the time I had in reserve over a month’s worth of morphine again proving I never abuse pain medications. After going in front of a “Pain Board” I was able to prove this as there is no doubt to my need for pain medications in my records and was again granted the pain medications my doctors had prescribed until I dealt with a Pain Management Physician who actually bribed me and told me that if I gave up using Medical Marijuana, they would give me the narcotic pain medications prescribed. Their excuse of cutting narcotic pain medications is a fear of overdose and is a direct lie as no one has ever overdosed on Medical Marijuana or the addition of this to their pain therapy. Medical Marijuana is not the same, doesn’t have the same properties or side effects as narcotic pain medications and should never be compared to drugs like Morphine and Codeine and yet they are using this as an excuse to cut the pain medications needed especially with Veterans at the Federally run VA Medical Centers. Cutting pain medication is giving those patients no choice but to use more and more Medical Marijuana. How is this helping in your fight against Medical Marijuana now legal in all states except for the Veterans directly under the care of our Federal Government?
In 1995 I opted to amputate my right leg to get off of the large amounts of pain medications the VA had me on for years and I even refused to use of Fentanyl prescribed by the VA as I didn’t need that amount of medication and have fought every day to only take what I need and yet now I have to beg to receive what I need for my quality of life. Not every Chronic Pain patient is a drug addict and yet we are all being treated as such.
I have filed a complaint under the American’s with Disabilities Act as Chronic Pain is a disability and those who suffer from it are being discriminated against because of those who would abuse such drugs. This is the same type of discrimination as religion or race because of the actions of a few and is against all Federal and State ADA Laws.
You will never stop drug abuse by torturing those who really need it for their chronic pain. Those who will abuse drugs again will find a way to do so and again, the Drug Cartels will provide them with what they want and I fully expect to start seeing narcotic drugs being provided to anyone who can pay for them. There is no guarantee that these “street drugs” will be what they are advertised and will cause more dangers to life and health by those desperate enough to buy them off of the streets. Our government has been losing the so called “war on drugs” for years with your ideas of how to fight drugs in this country and you will never win or stop those who will abuse these drugs in this way giving again the “drug cartels” another avenue to make money without care of what they do and how it effects those who need them. Treatment for drug addicts is the only way to help them but until they receive such treatment, they will find a way to get what they want. Did this country learn nothing from Prohibition?
No one in pain should suffer one more day than is necessary and this is NOT necessary.
Editor’s Note: If you’d like to comment to the CDC, you can do so here.
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