Opinion: DEA Denying Necessary Medications

Opinion: DEA Denying Necessary Medications

By Steve Ariens P.D. Pharmacist.

There are an estimated 20 – 30 million patients suffering from intractable chronic pain—most of whom require opiates 24/7 to help manage their pain.  Best practices and standard of care for these patients would entail a long acting opiate and a short acting opiate – for breakthrough pain.

Steve Ariens

Presuming each prescription is for a 30-day supply–it would take 480-million to 720-million opioid prescriptions to meet the needs of this segment of our population.  The last number I saw posted of legal opiate prescriptions paid (2016) was 215 million. So, we entered 2017 anticipating fewer than 30% of the legal opiate prescriptions being filled at this or lower levels going forward.

These figures strongly suggest that of the 100-million-plus of chronic pain patients and an untold number of patients dealing with acute pain would lack any opiates available for treatment.

The DEA has proven that its “beliefs”, “opinions” and other non-factual reasons that “help” the agency make decisions and take actions have little/nothing to do with the REALITY of what opiates/controlled substances are, in fact, needed by those who have a valid medical necessity.

The DEA is setting up a system to systematically deny tens of millions of people the medications that they have a valid medical necessity for.

People who overdose using illegal opiates and other substances are increasing dramatically with the typical OD having 4-7 different substances in their toxicology. Of the 64,000 claimed OD deaths, 33% have nothing to do with opiates – 15,000 are from NSAID, 35,000 are from illegal opiates/substances and the remaining are from legal prescription opiates that may have been obtained illegally and/or legal opiates used to commit suicide.

According to our current and past Surgeons General, all addictions are a mental health disease and not a moral failing and we have been fighting the war on drugs for nearly 50 years. It is time for the DEA, and others, to stop attempting to reinvent the “war on drugs wheel” over and over.

Setting up an ever-limiting supply of opiates will do nothing to slow the use/abuse of the illegal opiates that are flooding into our country from Mexico and China. Will probably do just the opposite.

It is time for the DOJ/DEA to reverse their 1917 declaration that opiate addiction is a crime and not a disease and allow prescribers to treat all patients – regardless of their medical needs – without consequences from the DEA/DOJ.  Most/all of these patients are a “protected class” under the Americans with Disability Act and Civil Rights Act and further restriction and denial of access to medical necessary medication is discrimination under those Acts.

Steve Ariens is a retired pharmacist who is a chronic pain advocate. He is a frequent contributor to the National Pain Report.

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Kelly

I TOTALLY AGREE THAT ALL LEGITIMATE CHRONIC PAIN PATIENTS BEING FORCED TO SUFFER SHOULD BAND TOGETHER AND FILE A LAW SUIT!! HOW CAN WE DO THIS? I AM IN 100%!! I HAVE CRPS IN BOTH MY LEGS AND FEET AND SUFFER HORRIFIC PAIN 24/7-365! THEY DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT DEBILITATING CHRONIC PAIN IS?? THIS IS TORTURE AND IT NEEDS TO STOP NOW. I HAVE HAD TO GO THROUGH 3 NEW DOCTORS SINCE MY OTHER PAIN MGNT DOCTOR RETIRED AND IT IS HELL! THIS NEW DOCTOR PUT ME ON A “LOW” DAILY DOSE THAT DOESN’T GIVE ME PAIN RELIEF LIKE I HAD BEFORE ALL THIS SO CALLED “WAR ON DRUGS” STARTED UP AGAIN. I WAS ON A GOOD PAIN REGIMENT FOR “YEARS” WITH NO PROBLEMS TOO! I AM SCARED TO TELL HIM THAT I NEED MORE. WHY SHOULD WE FEEL THIS WAY TOWARDS OUR DOCTORS THAT WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO TRUST AND HONESTLY TELL HOW MUCH PAIN WE ARE IN?? I FEAR HE WILL NOT GIVE ME ANYTHING IF I SAY SOMETHING. THIS IS ABSURD! THIS IS OUR LIVES AT STAKE AND WE HAVE BEEN PUSHED IN A CORNER AND FORGOTTEN! OUR LIVES ARE IN THEIR HANDS AND THERE IS NOTHING WE CAN DO. CHRONIC PAIN CAN NOT BE PUT IN A “ONE SIZE FITS ALL” CATEGORY. THE GOVERNMENT AND FDA ETC ARE DICTATING THAT EVERY PERSON REGARDLESS OF CHRONIC PAIN DISEASE ARE ONLY ALLOWED A VERY “MINIMAL” AMOUNT OF MEDICATION AND OR IF “ANY AT ALL”! THIS IS COMPLETE IDIOCY! SUICIDE RATES WILL INCREASE! ILLEGAL PRESCRIPTION AND ILLICIT DRUGS BEING BROUGHT IN FROM OTHER COUNTRIES. THE STREET DEALERS ARE MAKING HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS…DO THE MATH, I HAVE HEARD A SINGLE HYDROCODONE IS $10.00!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?! THEY ARE GETTING RICH WHILE WE SUFFER NEEDLESSLY! HOW CAN A BUNCH OF SENATORS, GOVERNORS AND A PRESIDENT SIT AROUND A TABLE AND DICTATE OUR MEDICAL NEEDS? THIS IS WHY WE HAVE DOCTORS…RIGHT?! THEY ARE SO SCARED TO PRESCRIBE ANYTHING IN FEAR OF LOSING THEIR LICENSES, I WAS TOLD THIS DIRECTLY TO MY FACE! I GUESS NEVER MIND THE INDIVIDUAL PATIENT AND THEIR MEDICAL NEEDS…TOTALLY RIDICULOUS. WE HAVE TO HAVE OUR VOICES HEARD NOW… SORRY FOR THE RANT BUT I AM AT MY WITS END HERE!

Barbara H Sawicki

Time for a class action lawsuit! Denying medication is the same as torture!

pamala

I am so confused .. i just had uterine prolapse a full hysterectomy and total reconstruction of my entire pelvic floor with many complications. Walmart and tenncare are trying to not give me my dr perscibed low dose pain meds. I am terrified of the excrusiating pain. It hurts so bad on meds and they are trying to make me go without. Its not right. I have stiches and incisions inside and out from 1inch above my belly button down to the bottom. There is ever stiches coming out of me from down there. How can they do that? I am a patient not a drug addict.. this has all gone to far.

Have lawmakers forgotten the proclomation that all human beings are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. How can any of these goals be achieved when someone is. plagued by acute and/or chronic pain?

When officials and politicians, who know nothing of each individual’s experience with pain, and cannot know, unless they are feeling it themselves, are using their power to decide what pain relief an individual needs, or does not need ,and are passing broad brush regulations.interfering with the time honored principles of the confidential sanctity of the doctor-patient – pharmacist relationships.terribly wrong. This is the oucome of ignorance and hysteria.

Quality of life is to have a sense of physical and mental well being; it means living with the most minimal amount of pain that can be achieved, or none at all ,in order to be productive, have a good work, professional, family and private life.

Attitudes about “substances” from medications , alcohol,, and fried foods, cola drinks, sugar, and what people responsibly decide to do with respect to their own body is NOT THE GOVERNMENT’S BUSINESS other than to provide education and warning.

NO DOCTOR OR PHARMACY PRACTICING IN GOOD FAITH SHOULD FEAR BEING INVESTIGATED BY AUTHORITIES AND LOSING THEIR LICENSES WHEN THEIR STATED GOAL IS TO BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE. THAT IS AUTHORITARIANISM.

UNLESS A SERIOUS CRIME AGAINST ANOTHER HAS BEEN COMMITTED WHERE THE PROXIMATE CAUSE IS DUE TO USE A DRUGS ,government policy should be HANDS OFF THE DOCTOR PATIENT RELATIONSHIP.

AND THE WORD “ADDICTION” HAS BECOME THE WORD OF ALL THINGS BAD. There would be no DRUGADDICTION if folks in pain were kept comfortable through whatever means possible,; whatever from cookies and milk , to an adequate supply of opioid drugs in combination with other effective painkillers and techniques.

Substances are not the same, pain is not the same, individual biochemistry is not the same, perception of pain is not the same. THAT IS FOR PATIENT AND DOCTOR TO DECIDE, NOT DISINTERESTED BUREAUCRATIC AGENCIES.

THE UNITED STATES HAS BEEN ,AND IS ,BECOMING AN INCREASINGLY INHUMANE SOCIETY, AND A MENACE TO THE AUTONOMY AND JUDGEMENT OF THE MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS WHO HAVE THE TRAINING AND KNOW THEIR PATIENTS’ NEEDS.

The policies of the DEA and their state counterparts have handed over the practice of pain medicine to the underworld of organized crime. AND ONE MUST ASK WHO IS PAYING WHO FOR WHAT???

Steven

May 2017 update. 50 m m e is not enough to treat a head ache much less a serious chronic long-term possibly decades-long incurable disease. This is genocide by any measure and it won’t even address the problem that they say that they are trying to address. People with a chronic pain condition or not addicted. They are dependent for their very Survival on daily opioids. People do die of pain and hundreds are doing it every day thanks to the DEA. People who paid by the rules and trusted the system to keep them alive now have gotten them self dead. We are teaching the citizens of this country that they have to lie cheat steal and not play by the rules to survive. We have destroyed the patient and Dr relationship that was based on trust and that will never be regained. I hope all you who voted for change 9 years ago like what you got. Change.

Donna Leist

I just recently ran across an article that states a hearing is set to address the plight of chronic pain patients. An FDA representative is trying to help bring our experiences into consideration regarding the current legislation addressing “War on Opioids.” The effects of regulations that have been put in place and enforced by the DEA, which have created victims of the chronic pain patients who are suffering as a result. We can all help by sharing our experiences and get heard. Follow the link:

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/05/15/2018-10284/patient-focused-drug-development-on-chronic-pain-public-meeting-request-for-comments

Anybody ever hear of the dea smuggling illegal drugs into the US? Maybe they still are and need new solid customers. They have stringent quality control. Death from bad product results in lifetime incarceration of Dr I mean dealer. Isn’t it just way to obvious……………

Cher

And when Nixon was president whose name appeared on his list of do-gooders, the people who said that they would fight to keep drugs from ruining peoples lives? Try ELVIS PRESLEY!!

Audrey L Liebl

Bravo!

Casandra

You are so correct with this information regarding the DEA! Unfortunately, it’s pretty sad that the DOJ and DEA are refusing to see that they’re Wrong with continuing to fight the war on drugs. They’re not going to stop illegal drugs from our streets since there’s more coming in our country since they’ve been cutting down on Opioids. What’s it going to take for them to OPEN THEIR EYES and realize they’re losing the battle and harming so many legitimate chronic pain patients?
As time goes on the illegal drug rates are going higher and higher entering the country yet the DEA is absolutely ridiculous with not accepting the true facts putting a stop to they’re harmful opioid epidemic. Since so many chronic pain patients are on disability should we all start making complaints how the DEA’s guidelines are harming so many that are to be protected by the disability rights act? As we all know, millions are being reduced to debilitating amounts, loss of quality of life, loss of quality family life and having to have family members take care of them when there’s no reason for it.

James J. Henley

Thank You So Much For The
Brass Tacks Of
THIS WHOLE
DISCUSSION!!!
THE DEPT. OF
“JUST US”…
NEEDS TO ENFORCE THE LAW (ADA) AS
IT APPLIES TO
ALL OF US, OR
RISK A CLASS
ACTION LAWSUIT!!!
AGAIN, I SAY THANK YOU
STEVE!!!

Sharon E Murray

As of today, Friday the 27th of April the DEA website is down. I wonder why? I complain each and every day.

Sharon E Murray

Let’s talk about all the interventions and their lack of study. I will be careful I am on disability from my job in pharmaceutical company happened to work Clinical Quality Assurance. I know a bit about “trials”. Where is their study that states my meds don’t work for me, oh yeah they didn’t conduct one. I am infuriated right now because my meds are being denied every other script as it stands. This causes me to take more of one to fill in what the other was doing. I am going to get into trouble and soon. My script company is denying my meds and blaming it on my health insurance, health insurer is blaming script company. My doctor’s office fills out appeal paperwork and no one can tell me where this is? I think they fax directly to a paper shredder in a janitor’s closet somewhere in the US or Cayman Islands.
Pain Pump-my sister got hurt at work shattered a couple cervical vertebrae. Along the way they implanted a pain pump oh only a glorified tens unit. She developed an infection. What they were thinking I have no idea. Battery is under the skin on the lower back area the leads/wires exit this site and re-enter the body at the, in her case, at the neck and this powers up the electrodes which give the electrical shock. Say what? Of course she got an infection.More than one, had to be removed.
I have a traction unit for my neck, severe OA, it works while I am in unit but stand up and gravity re-crushes the neural elements.
RFA-Radio ablation in my neck didn’t work. If that doctor put down the donut he was eating I didn’t see it I was face down. Didn’t work
Injections in my lumbar spine, in my elbows, in my knees, ankles and through heel for plantar facsiitis. Eye pressure is 29 in each eye, and chronic lymphadenopathy.
PT until they got tired of seeing me. Didn’t work. Sometimes made things way worse.
3 lumbar spine surgeries, 3 carpal tunnel surgeries and 1 ulna nerve transposition (funny bone). Not so funny anymore. This partially for chronic golfer and tennis elbows. Oh all bilateral. Neurologist denied I could suffer bilateral symptoms anywhere. He’s still trying to get paid.
I have very bad osteoarthritis everywhere except my hips. Now Thumbs are really bad and left knee all swelled up and so painful. I cannot put the fire out so I have lost my mobility.

Desmond Doris

There was a written article that I read the other day that outlined the issues surrounding the increase of pain pumps, nerve block procedures, pain pump surgery’, all things that doctors are now pushing because they are being forced to reduce patients perscriptions. Is there a way to get the link again?
It was a very hard hitting post and mirrors what I am facing.

Silver Damsen

Indeed, the Prohibtion and increasing restriction on opioid medications for pain seems highly unlikely to stop the drug epidemic because the drug epidemic has almost nothing to do with opioid prescriptions. However, it does distract people from the real causes and better solutions available. Find a scapegoat is a classic for those that don’t want to face the truth.

Hillary

Offering alternatives is fine, but when a VA Medical pain specialists’ whom never talked to or examined my husband decided to overhaul and implement changes to a well established long- term pain management plan without contacting him. This was a Violation of Veterans Health Administration Rights and Responsibilities under section 3 titled, “Partnering in Care”. This issue was reported to both State Senators, The Inspector General’s Office, Dept of Veterans Affairs Head Quarters, Director of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center of VA medical center, Advocate & Associate Chief of Staff of Primary and Specialty Patient Care for VA medical center, Patient Advocate for the medical center. Every VA Medical Administrator to whom this issue was reported to has bluntly stated “oh that was a miss-communication error but you still need to obey” or Sorry to here that happened but you still have to obey.” “Can’t help you not my department.” Again this was a Violation of Veterans Health Administration Rights and Responsibilities under section 3 titled, “Partnering in Care”

Nancy

PLEASE READ the post from Debbie G. She has some excellent ideas on getting people organized to fight for our rights. Some things have already been started in Facebook advising people how to get organized. Thank you Debbie for your work.

M.Billeaudeaux

I agree these recent actions by the government is discrimination against those with disabilities. I assume there will need to be a number of lawsuits, or a class action suit to address this problem before anyone pays attention to the needs of chronic pain patients. To deny their treatment due to this epidemic of drug addiction is baseless. The disease of addiction needs to be treated, not necessary medication taken away from legal users and physician prescribed. Why aren’t they studying this more and making an educated response?

Virginia Mello

This is not fair that the DEA is punishing Chronic Pain Patients we are being treated like Criminals when our only crime is that we are sick! We go to legitimate pain management doctors not drug dealers off the street! We have to sign narcotics contracts, give random urine screenings, random pill counts, ect. I have never abused my medications, run out early, or requested they be filled early. After being on the same dose since 2003 I’ve now had my meds cut by 80%
I have had my quality of life taken away along with my will to live.
My blood pressure has gone up now I have to take blood pressure meds, I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, walk, get in a comfortable position, enjoy any of my hobbies, ect.
This is not living I’m a prisoner of my pain.
Our government is torturing innocent people! This is not only inhumane, it’s mediaeval!

Regards,
Virginia Mello

Cheri Furr

Amen. I wish the government members making these arbitrary decisions would get this through their thick skulls. They cannot ARBITRARILY decide to cut manufacturing amounts of opioids by one third. They have no idea how many chronic and intractable patients there in this country that NEED these drugs to get through the day. No chronic pain patient gets “high” from these drugs! We’re lucky if they just take a lot of the pain away, or even reduce it a little! We are the ones who use these drugs responsibly. We usually see one specialist and fill our prescriptions at the same pharmacy. But we are being punished with those who overdose on illegal drugs, use several drugs at one time, steal from the medicine cabinets of their friends or friends’ parents, or buy illegal drugs off the street. My neurologist told me years ago that she could tell a “drug-seeker” immediately, and she knew I was not one of them. How dare anyone in the government assume they know what I need more than my personal physician! They don’t even DISCUSS chronic and intractable pain patients. Why DON’T they concentrate on keeping the stronger and illegal powdered fentanyl from China and heroin out of our ports? The majority of illegal drugs don’t come through the Mexican border. These new mandates from the FDA/DOJ/CDC will only FORCE those with unbearable pain that’s 24/7 to buy anything they can find on the streets thst can relieve their pain, causing MORE overdoses, AND/OR, even worse, cause more suicides in those who have decided they can take the pain no longer! Thank you for an article that needed to be written.

the govt caused the problem. we have illegal drugs like heroin and counterfeit presciption pills in this country coming across out borders, mostly the southern one. they are responsible for border protection. now they are keeping chronic pain sufferers from getting pain medications forcing some of us to take illegal drugs for relief or in a lot of cases commit suicide, so i would hold them responsible for that. a lot of legal looking pills arent legal and typical arent what they look like, usually containing fentanyl or its analogs. heres a link if it doesnt get deleted which no one seems to read that seems to contradict media and politicians. https://www.dea.gov/docs/Counterfeit%20Prescription%20Pills.pdf

Debbie G – there are some groups taking patient videos, but I am not sure how organized they are? The problem with fundraising, most pain patients don’t have much to spare, we would need sponsors. After FB broadcasting live from the WA State Opioid Prescribing meeting (for our WA Pain Advocacy Group members), we were bombarded with questions from pain patients across the country, wondering how they might get involved in their own states. Since I had worked for Congress, and have experience in various political arenas, I created the rest of the 49 state groups on Facebook and the C-50/Coalition of 50 State Pain Advocacy Groups was born to help patients organize, get educated and get involved with direct action. Our website (C-50.org) in under construction and we are building a non profit, but will not ask for donations from pain patients.

The C-50 is advocating for a National Pain Policy program, which may include standardized pain contracts (reasonable urinalysis scheduling, pill counts, pharmacy rules), mandated genetic testing to check for hyper metabolizing, re-clarification of the Palliative Care definition, and re-working of the Intractable Pain diagnostic code to increase the fees for physicians for managing our very complex cases. We need protections for our doctors and have medical records be legally protected and retained for our lifetimes. A national ID card may be an option? Of course we want to see the CDC guidelines revised and safeguards built in when Brandeis (Kolodny) gets his hands on the National Prescription Monitoring Program.

Unfortunately we have a long way to go to achieve these goals, as we must have a massive amount of pain patients/allies organized to promote solutions to have actual pain experts sit down at the table to pen rational and sane pain policies. We must change public perception and the false narrative, which isn’t going to be easy. The C-50 has members meeting with policy makers, attending hearings and having reporters broadcast stories. We have teams formed in Working Groups (Class Action, Legal, Congress, Celebrity Spokesperson, Addiction/PROP, Casework, Media, and Outreach) to research and then train our State Liaison Teams to then educate and train their state members to feel educated enough on our issues to speak confidently to legislators and media. It seems that the Medicare restrictions finally woke pain patients up to be willing to take action – thank goodness. Please join us!!

Heidi Duffield

Thank you Steve,,, I feel those that be want us gone,,, sounds familiar. At this rate there will be a tide of suicides, because this population control. I need surgery and will not do it,, no pain meds scares me silly. Just because I was in a horrid horse accident and 2 yrs later a brown recluse spider bite that almost killed me. Do I want to take them,, no,,, but I need them. With reduction I’ve had to close my beauty shop and am stuck in recliner 6 days a week. Pain contracts, urine tests, and the cost of monthly Drs visits,, I’m not going to last the year. Death will be better than daily suffering, that is now my life.

Jan Poole

Debbie G. has a brilliant idea! Debbie, if you read this, contact valoriehawk@yahoo.com! She’s leading the 50 State DON’T PUNISH PAIN on Facebook. Also Richard Lawhern lawhern@hotmail.com has a huge following on Facebook for chronic pain patients. He is with AITP (Alliance For Intractable Pain).

Also, EVERYONE NEEDS TO SEND THEIR COMMENTS OPPOSING WHAT THE DEA IS DOING! I don’t have the link to the docket, but if you email Steve Ariens steve@steveariens.com, he can tell you!

DEADLINE IS MAY 4! Richard Lawhern has an example of what to say on Facebook. I think both his letter and an example letter will be appearing soon on Steve’s website (Pharmacist Steve).

There have only been 17 comments. We need thousands!!! Instead of doing nothing, DO SOMETHING!

You can sign ANONYMOUSLY.

TELL THEM: YOUR PROPOSED ACTION WILL DENY PAIN CARE TO MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE NEVER ABUSED A PRESCRIPTION! Explain why you don’t divert your pills. You don’t sell them because they are too precious, and they enable you to function. You lock them up! Tell them there are hospital shortages from the DEA’s reducing Opioid manufacturing 3 years in a row.

You get the idea. If you have time to comment here, you have time to comment on the federal docket!
PLEASE EVERYONE, WE CAN DO THIS! THANKS

Justin Mitcham

Ever passed a kidney stone with no pain meds.. yep just happened to me.. told me no meds due to mew laws.. seriously it left me so traumatized i have anxiety attacks now just thinking about drs…i cant even count how many times i passed out..

Cheri

We the chronic pain suffer need to all band together so our voice is louder. We need to start a face book page and all belong to it, we need to reach out to other pain suffers as individuals to join our page. We can use it to post media coverage stories, dea articals, cdc updates, ect. We can use it to help each other with issues that come up. We can post our own personal stories. We can also use it to gain support, help and ideas with how we can all band together and be heard by these government agencies that make us suffer with their new guidelines and rules. We can stand together on legal issues, our rights, class action law suits. An FB page where we can refer people in forums like this to join and make us stronger and louder. We’ve got to come together, we have to make others aware of our stories and sufferings, what others poor choices have cost us who had no choice to deal with the illnesses struck upon us.

Tabitha

We need to stop.talking about it and push for The Chronic Pain Paitiets Protection Act . We need a law to protect us. Ive been on these medications for 18 years and they have alllowed me to live.my life, as they cut them back i am in bed 16 hours a day. I have to be careful.with the little medication i have so i can still work. It’s a crime not to mention my severly increased pain. They are adjusting our pain plans based on govermental mandates not what is best for the patient . That is just criminal.

Lee

The insurance companies want opioids.stopped they are the seed behind this.All about MONEY!

Melissa Guthrie

I am also going through the same things ..i have ra gout .3 herniated disc in my back .i have graves .and i live in pain everyday because of whats going on

Robin Tanner

Aside from the merits of using opiates to treat pain, there are some other alternatives you can pursue. I have a friend who has throat cancer and he actually prefers CBD oil, and a blend of 2 parts 10% CBD flower to 1 part 5% THC flower. He said it really helps with the pain. Just something to consider as an alternative.

Karen

Well said, and thank you!! My long acting Fentanyl patch prescription strength was cut in half, and I was switched from Norco to Tramadol for breakthrough relief and then denied both of them later on. So, although I consider myself lucky at this point to have the Fentanyl patch that I do have, my pain relief has been greatly reduced. I suffer from five autoimmune diseases. It is truly a crying shame that it has come down to this in our great country

Mary

People: we DO have the legal right, the knowledge and the power to file a lawsuit against the government agencies promoting this health policy which is not a law but guidelines. Guidelines. Look at US Supreme Court “Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954)’. This case made its way from the local judicial ranks all the way up to the SCOTUS. It was a legal decision that sent a shock, being a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional. It was a class action lawsuit in the beginning and consisted of thirteen parents of twenty students in Topeka Kansas. They were African American private individuals who filed their civil petition against the Board of Education of Topeka KS.

And they ultimately won.

We are people, yes? We are being violated. And our physicians privacy with us is violated. Heck, it is being policed!

Government must not interfere in the privacy of physician and patient. Ever! Why is there one standard of privacy for physician and female patient regarding reproductive decisions(birth control), yet another for treating intractable pain? Legislation was passed in various states including Virginia permitting physicians to assess and prescribe opioids.

Louis Lopez

Kratom

Cindy

Real and actual Chronic pain sufferers need a voice. Thank you for stepping up and standing up for us.

Steven

Thank you so much Steve for your article! It’s people like you that help the intractable severe pain patient who is now being treated to nothing less than forced torture by having his previously administered medication denied keep going . Let’s face it folks, we are at a spot as a society where our most vulnerable are literally having the life snuffed out of them. I know several close friends who have already used death to end a needless unending torture 24/7. We cannot just pretend this genocide does not exist any longer. How could our leaders be supposedly appalled at a gas attack killing a few dozen overseas when our own government is causing the death of tens of thousands of our own citizens? The pain patient has been slowly having the life squeezed out of them for over 4 years now some of us just can’t hold on much longer.

Chris

THANK YOU!!!!! I am now being denied a long acting to get me through the day. Can’t sleep because of the pain and being denied my sleep medication. But let’s provide the illegal users needles and Narcan for free and children that need an Epi-pen for life saving measures have to pay nearly $700.00, yes, $700.00 to save their life from a Bee sting. Something they can’t control. Makes me sick. Get your priorities straight DEA!!!

Eric F Powers

My wife is going through this right now. Different states, different laws. She was cut on script by a third coming to Florida. Been on them 16 years. Neurosurgeon says she needs an upgrade. Pain clinic says no. New laws say that with patch she can’t any higher then she’s on. That’s [edit]! No state or anyone else can tell a doctor, or you what you can have safely. Who are these people playing doctor. I smell a class action lawsuit coming!

Karen

The numbers this article uses do not make sense, taking an actual number of prescriptions and comparing to an estimated number of chronic pain sufferers and assuming they all want opioids skews the percentages. Many chronic pain sufferers do not need or want opioids for various reasons.
All avenues should be explored, there are many pain relief options out there, we have options for patients in recovery.
I am not expressing an opinion on individual cases and how they should be treat just saying I find this article alarmist.
As a nurse that works in a hospital dealing with the shortage of some opioids, I have seen many patients very happy being able to come off opioids when trying alternatives. Many more are happy to have been able to get through a surgery and recovery without using them.

Lisa Hess

I have been saying the exact same thing for months now. The government is taking away our rights as Americans with Disabilities by denying the medication we need to live as normal a life as possible. What we need is our own F. Lee Bailey fighting for us against the FDA, DEA and CDC agencies for discrimination being put against chronic and intractable pain patients who can’t receive the medical treatments our doctors have prescribed for our INDIVIDUAL needs. Each one of us has our own DNA makeup and how our bodies react to the medications we take. In my case, in addition to what is mentioned above, I am facing a lifetime of injustice come January 2019 when the Medicare “laws” change and make it more difficult for me to receive the appropriate dosage of medication I need to function as best I can. My dosages have already been cut twice and now the government may force a spine surgery I don’t want but have to get because I can’t stand the pain anymore and have spent the past 3 months in bed because the pain level never went below a 9. For over 11 years, my meds have been helping me live my life with pain a bit easier so some days I can walk, stand, sit or even lie down better than other days. Since 2011 I’d been able to control the lumbar pain with meds, but since the 2nd cut down on my meds I’ve had no quality of life and I IF I go through with this surgery my pain may cost me my life because I’ll be bed bound or in a wheel chair permanently. 7 years ago my spine surgeon told me my spine is so compromised by all the failed procedures and surgeries, I won’t be able to handle the add’l pain this surgery will cause. I didn’t go through with it. If only the government would allow me to have my milligrams back up I’d be able to hold off the surgery for maybe 7 more years! My chronic illnesses have attacked my entire spine, muscles, soft tissues, joints, nerves and aged my bones 20 years over my biological age. My life is now spent more in bed than out and that’s no way to live for anyone. Can you imagine being afraid you might not get to your daughter’s wedding in a different state because of the pain? That’s what I’m dealing with now and the fear of what will happen to me come January 2019. First words out of my PM’s mouth this week was “GET OFF MEDICARE NOW!” I do know that January 2019 is going to be devastating to me and the millions of patients like me who suffer head to toe 24/7/365, along with our friends and families as they suffer too!

Lori T.

AMEN Steve! Those of us on disability ARE a protected class and I thank you for your comments on this. We are fighting the same old war on drugs which fail every single time it is reinvented. Why oh why can’t the powers that be understand this! They are complete fools and they are causing devestating harm to a very vulnerable class of people. The new numbers coming in are showing that opioid prescriptions are declining yet the number of deaths are increasing. Why? It is the junk coming over from countries abroad that contain doctored heroin, fentanyl, and other drugs that are flooding the streets. It is NOT the chronic pain patients or their providers. Why can’t the powers that be understand this? Next, we will see even more bodies piling up in the morgue from planned suicide because people cannot take the intolerable pain. If only they would stop trying to restrict life giving drugs and instead focus their efforts on treatment for those who are hopelessly addicted and containment of the illegal drugs flooding our country. I feel like a broken record. If just some of those people in power would read our posts then maybe, just maybe, light bulbs would go off in their brains. This false crisis is all for scoring political talking points. The people who are making these restrictive guidelines have never walked a day in our shoes. If only….

andy o'connor

well said!

Jasmin

Yes, yes, and again yes to all which you have written. Thank you.

Mike

Agreed 👍well said!

Venita Wood

Mr. Ariens, thank you for your work for chronic pain patients and for this article.

I have a question concerning the sentence “Of the 64,000 claimed OD deaths, 33% have nothing to do with opiates – 15,000 are from NSAID, 35,000 are from illegal opiates/substances and the remaining are from legal prescription opiates that may have been obtained illegally and/or legal opiates used to commit suicide.”

I am not following the numbers and I don’t know if it is the sentence structure or the math. If 33% of the 64K deaths (which is about 21K) have nothing to do with opiates, what, besides the 15K from NSAIDS, are those deaths from? Thanks in advance for your response.

Leticia

Steve did u add this to DEA docket???we only have limited time to comment.please comment on DEA docket cause this article was informative and needs to be heard.Thank u so very much for speaking out for all who are suffering. Both addicted and chronic pain patients should have access to life time medicine that promote function and stability. We cannot sacrifice one population to save another.

Tammy

I agree 100%. Thanks Steve for writing this article. I suffer from pain due to a horrible marriage that left me with 4 unsussecful surgeries.
My Pain Physician had my Pain under control at one time, now due the CDC, DEA, and Government my Dr has lowered my medications so low that I now lie in bed hurting. This is CRUEL AND INHUMANE PUNISHMENT!!!
The Government has no business trying to be my Pain Dr.
I encourage others ( like me) to write to your Senators, Governors, whomever needed to express our feelings.
We count just like anyone else and shouldn’t be discriminated against.

connie sherwood

I agree! We suffer enough already now going to be denied our pain meds?! What kind of hell do U want us to live in each day? U will be forcing the suicide rate up for sure!

Holly

Thank you Steve! Remove the DEA and the DOJ! IMO Jeff Sessions has the thinking of the late 60’s, early 70’s, that if you have long hair, you’re a heroin addict. He is a close-minded man who knows NOTHING about chronic pain or addiction.

Mercedes Precht-Matuschek

The DEA attitude is not only inhumane but disregards our rights!

They are “concerned” about opiate abuse amongst those with intractable pain yet the abuse lies with those who use opiates for recreational purposes.

Since less and less physicians, (including pain management doctors), are willing to prescribe opiates for their patients and more pharmacies refuse to fill prescriptions for opiates, the suicide rate has increased as those suffering constant and excruciating pain can no longer live with their pain. We have become victims to a system which does not protect us nor takes our needs into consideration.

Shame on them!

DB Stewart

Excellent information, every 30 days I visit PM, they threaten holding back my meds. Constant drug testing, accusing me of cannabis use and a lab test comes back negative. These are very anxious time for those of us who we lie on opiates to control or constant pain.