Opinion: “Open Season” on the Poor and Medicaid Population in Oregon

Opinion: “Open Season” on the Poor and Medicaid Population in Oregon

By Steven R. Ariens, P.D. R.Ph.

A proposed policy that would restrict Oregon chronic pain patients on Medicaid access to opioids for chronic pain as reported by the National Pain Report and others have created a stir in the chronic pain community. Columnist Steve Ariens, a retired pharmacist and spouse of a chronic pain patient submitted this opinion.

Oregon is set to eliminate all opiates from being prescribed for all chronic pain and Fibromyalgia patients on Medicaid by 2019. The Oregon Health Authority is considering expanding coverage for alternative therapies like aqua therapy, mindfulness and acupuncture.

You wonder why Oregon is making the move. Where are all the double blind clinical studies to prove that these therapies will help reduce the intensity of pain of chronic pain patients and what percent – if any – of the patients participating in the clinical trial had what level of pain relief reduction?

Just like the clinical trials that “everyone” wants to see to validate that opiates works for chronic pain long term. “Everyone” dismisses the anecdotal evidence that opiated work long term. What they don’t divulge is that most/all clinical trials that has been tried to demonstrate that opiates work long term, are stopped at 12 weeks out of fear of addiction/dependency – or that long term use is defined as more than 90 days and the clinical trials are stopped at 84 days.

Steve Ariens

“They” tend to ignore and/ or discount studies that have found that patients were found to be functioning quite well after 10 or more years on generally stable opioid dosages, with the vast majority of patients able to care for themselves, drive their cars etc.

“They” also tend to discount the reports that opiate prescriptions are down about 25% from their peak in 2011-2012.  While during the same time opiate OD’s have almost DOUBLED and the typical OD has 4 to 7 different substances in their toxicology report–including illegal Fentanyl analog, Heroin and Alcohol for “starters”. Most likely those ODs are not chronic pain patients who are using the opioid therapy to improve their individual quality of life.

Then if you follow “the money trail” you find that Marijuana is legal in Oregon (Medical in 1998 and recreational in 2014) and produces a “tax revenue” for the state and not paid for by Medicaid and there are no double blind clinical trials that validate what percent of chronic painers – if any – using marijuana get their intensity of pain reduced.

Also, Oregon is one of a handful of states that has a “death with dignity” law allowing terminal patients to elect to end their life with assistance from their prescriber. When pain is not treated, bad things can happen. It can delay healing, decrease appetite, increase stress, disrupt sleep and ultimately cause anxiety and depression While these adverse physical health outcomes may make the patient eligible for using Oregon’s “death with dignity law”. Of course, if a Medicaid patient elects to go down this path, the Medicaid system stands to save untold tens of thousands of dollars in expenditures for these patients if they did not exercise for this option.

It is reported that Oregon has a $1-billion annual budget shortfall. Are these bureaucrats in Oregon be working under the false pretense that if they curtail the prescribing/dispensing of legal opiates it will cause a dramatic reduction in the demand and addiction to opiates?

It won’t.

Oregon is very active in dealing with businesses in the state discriminating against certain protected class of customers (wedding cake story) but the bureaucracy itself can discriminate against people/patients that are considered a protected class under the Americans with Disability Act. Does make the state seem a bit hypocritical?

It does.

Just like our Congress made our judicial system in charge of “war on drugs” in 1970 with the passage of the Controlled Substance Act and our judicial system has only “one tool” in their “tool box” to “treat” the mental health issue of addictive personalities—put them in jail—and I am not aware of any clinical study that demonstrates that jail/prison will get an addict to get/become and stay sober.

In fact, studies suggest that such “abstinence therapy” have less than 5% success rate.

Hopefully, the bureaucrats in Oregon will take note of what happened when the Governor of Kentucky recently tried to take away Medicaid’s pts dental and vision coverage. Kentucky’s attempt to cut dental and vision coverage for 460,000 Medicaid beneficiaries has now been blocked by a Federal Judge. Chronic pain patients in Oregon are organizing and making noise, despite the lack of transparency that these new guidelines have received. They are fighting the proposed guidelines because they have to.

Their lives may depend on it.

Common sense is needed in how we approach the treatment of chronic pain. The conversation needs to be about what works and then that the poorest among us get a chance to utilize it. Maybe talking with the patients and the doctors that treat them is a place to start and Oregon can develop a policy based on patient need rather than emotion.

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Rose Ragan~McWain

How will I BEAR LIVING if My Meds. are reduced or discontinued? I remember hurting some days or hours so severely that I felt I could not POSSIBLY HANDLE The TORTURE ANYMORE. I had to lay FLAT ON MY BACK, not lifting My Self even AN INCH Off the BED! But I LIVED for the moments, or Hours, or the infrequent DAYS when the MONSTER’s CLAWS did not CLUTCH MY FLESH & cause the RIPPING SENSATIONS, all down My spine, as if TEARING FLESH & MUSCLE & SINEW completely from My bones. Surely, I MUST BE DYING…NO ONE CAN BE IN THIS MUCH AGONY & SURVIVE! Then, FINALLY, I found a Doctor Who SAW THE ARC on an MRI Image…He didn’t ask Me dozens of questions, or DOUBT that it really was AGONY. He knew, Arachnoiditis, inflammation so insidious that it was like “last stage cancer, with no release of death”. Now, I have good days! I CELEBRATE THEM! I can drive MySelf to Church or visit My family! Take care of My Dogs. I feel Human again. What WILL I DO if They take My Meds. Away? How will I survive? How could AnyOne survive? HELP ME!!!!

Mary

Pharmacist Steve, well done story! You presented the facts and clinical issues.
Why are the innocent poor being legislated into torture? Let’s hope that ACLU will file a CMS Medicare Civil Rights Violations complaint and ultimately litigate to preserve Medicaid beneficiary rights for Oregon before an Administrative Law Judge. There is a process for pursuing these rights.

Follow the money: MMJ (Medical Marijuana) is not analgesic for everybody.
My God, what a scandalous situation! Torture the impoverished segment of Oregon’s population.

Eve Blackburn

Our group, Oregon Pain Action Group has worked extensively to combat what’s happening here in Oregon. We are calling on all advocacy groups, medical professionals, chronic pain patients, family and friends to pull together and get the message out that we are not addicts and therefore should not be treated as such. We are looking for chronic pain patients to submit their stories of being forced tapered off opioids, have had their opioids cut to ineffective levels, or are living in fear of it. Your comments will be emailed to the subcommittee that advises Oregon Health Authority on opioid policy. They are recommending forced tapers for all chronic pain patients to be done within a 6 month period to one year period. The actual proposal will not be available until AFTER the public comment period. That’s how secretive they are. You can email your comments to either herc.info@state.or.us or oregonpainactiongroup@usa.com. They must not be more than 1000 words and should include VbBS in the subject line. They are only interested in comments regarding their proposed changes, so it’s best to only include this like when you were injured, your diagnosis (just the diagnosis, don’t go into detail), how you are being affected by your current opioid therapy cuts or how the proposed cuts would affect your everyday life, family, and friends. You can also go to the Oregon Pain Action Group where there’s a call to action, along with directions, and a sample comment

Stephen M

My wife and I have been lobbying TYT to cover our side of the epidemic. They read tweets live from 6-8pm during their newscast. If you try to share with them, use both @TYTlive and #TYTlive instead of the main Young Turks

The main stream media isn’t covering this (except for one local company in Las Vegas, https://bit.ly/OurPain), but maybe we can get the alternative media to cover it.

Gretchen

Thank You too Steve Ariel’s for his input it is nice too see another qualityed professional trying to help all chronic pain paitients by sharing his knowledge and realizing it maybe the death of us from very disabled in Ohio

Alice

I have an idea, like someone else said, that Oregon is just the pilot program and all states will follow.

IT BENEFITS THE GOVERNMENT.

THEY DON’T CARE HOW WE FEEL ABOUT IT.

To most everyone else we are just drug addicts hiding behind a disease or injury that doesn’t really cause the pain we say it does. It’s all in our heads. That’s not going to change. Look how they blanket the airwaves now with commercials about addiction. Then there’s info on HOW TO GET HELP, by calling the phone number listed. They’ve got the majority on their side. We are drug addicts and they are just doing what is best for us. Riiiiight.

I posted here several months ago, about my doctor telling me to just wait until July 1, when the laws go into full force. He said that forcing us all to meet the morphine equivalent which cut my script in half btw, was only the beginning. The government is going to make the usa operate like a third world country regarding pain control. Third world countries don’t give ppl opiates, they just learn to live with it. AND SO CAN WE.

mist

Bob Schubring
Thank you for pointing out exactly what many of us have been saying yes the State of Oregon is violating law. There is a reason Human rights watch is checking on the inhumane treatment being done in the good ole’ USA. I really believe those making laws harming citizens are going to be in trouble.

dis may

Yes, people of lower SES and aging white females are the targeted group for death re the prescription pain hoax. Three leading preventable causes of death: use of tobacco products, inactivity and alcohol use. That’s it. No prescription pain meds there. It is not pain patients that violate any laws. But they are easy prey. Get them out of treatment, they cannot move, they die. YAYYY!!!
And US citizens just believe what is in the news despite it’s obvious bull. It is so pathetic what has happened in this country since 1970. If I can stay alive I will write. But people must avoid the broadcast bandwidth. It is filled with lies and imperceptible to the conscious mind. People need to use their own minds, not do what they are told like sheep. For the average reading level in the United States to be at the 5th grade is simply inexcusable. More. It is intentional. The people with money truly pulling the strings do not want smart slaves. They want obedient, well behaved slaves. Everyone else needs to go.

Stephen M

Mandela said that when justice through legal means is impossible, sometimes you must resort to lawbreaking.

John F Kennedy said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable”

I don’t want violence, but I can’t take much more of this. They just keep squeezing us. My wife can’t get her benzodiazepine for her seizures & anxiety or her Adderall for her narcolepsy. Neither of us have pain control, sleep aids, ADHD medication, etc. Our lives have become shells of what they once were.

So basically us Oregonians WILL BE THE CLINICAL TRIAL! CPP have rights and we have the right to be in less pain! Most of us chronic pain patients have already done all the therapies and other medicines before opioids. Dont punish chronic pain patients for YOUR budget shortfall. This is NOT a cure for the heroin epidemic! Shame on YOU!

danya; “…it is beyond incredible that while a physician can legally rx medication with which a patient might end their suffering via death, that same physician may not offer her patient an rx with which to manage their suffering enough to live.” Very, very good point. It’s so far beyond incredible, there are no words for it.

Bob Shubring; a lot of pain patients want &/or have tried to sue, including a brave, wheelchair-bound disabled vet (Robert Rose Jr) who just had a hearing, trying to sue the VA. Nobody can get a lawyer, & not even one from the ACLU is willing to spend a moment thinking about doing it. Evidently there are not rich chronic pain patients willing to do it –as we know, if you’re rich enough you don’t have to worry about getting whatever you want or need. Robert Rose Jr couldn’t get an attorney & had to depend on a gofundme campaign for his attempt

The ACLU particularly frosts my buns; they’re more than happy to leap to the defense of a heroin addict who was denied his anti-addiction treatment in jail, but legit CPPs can just die off as far as they (& many, many others) are concerned. Just one of their posts on their brave & stalwart campaign for heroin users: https://www.aclu.org/blog/prisoners-rights/medical-and-mental-health-care/people-jail-deserve-effective-drug-treatment).

Try doing a search on their site on “pain” & you get a several thousand hits on the pain of over-incarceration, the pain of being forced to live in a man’s (or woman’s) body, prisoners’ rights, etc; try “chronic pain” & there’s maybe 300, still overwhelmingly loaded with hits on posts about defending the incarcerated against being forced to suffer. Apparently the ACLU is all for legal citizens being forced to suffer.

Casandra

I’ve read a lot of comments regarding the marijuana laws, policy. Hey, I’m all for any one who can use this, but there’s still a lot of us who can’t. I’ve tried smoking it, eating many of foods with marijuana, cannipaste and my body rejects it therefore I’m seriously very I’ll from it and down about 3-7 days depending on which one it was.
So not everyone can use this method and IM very happy for the ones who can..

Casandra Maxson

Anymore I think the government/States are trying to kill off many people who are on disability for chronic pain situations. This Oregon law they’re trying to pass sure hits home making more of us believe it. Would lessen the money that SSD, Medicare and Medicaid had to put out each year.
There are many many of us Chronic pain patients who’ve tried all alternative therapies aqua therapy, psychotherapy, psychological therapy, tens units, prolotherapy, non Opioid off label medications, injections, epidural and none of this works but Opioids to help cure our pain so we can enjoy a somewhat quality of life. Spinal cord injections actually do cause more pain to certain people. I’m one of them that has a piece of scalpel stuck into my L5S1 nerve that can’t be removed with out living with colostomy bag and bladder bag. Some of us cannot use the spinal cord stimulators, morphine pumps, due to our own bodies rejecting them along with multiple medications our bodies rejected that caused more harmful side effects.

Why aren’t “you people” who are trying to make laws for no Opioids not understanding that WE THE CHRONIC PAIN PATIENTS ARE NOT THE ONES ABUSING THE OPIOIDS. We need them to lessen the horrific pains we encounter on a daily basis. Has it ever occurred to you people that us chronic pain patients that are on Opioids have tried, tried, tried everything available before we chose to accept living on Opioids that actually help us!

I refused Opioids for three years and put out $25K of my own money (that took years to pay off) to try acupuncture, prolotherapy, chiropractic care etc. None of which helped, acupuncture actually caused more pain due to my situation. I also have two fusions, additional two bulging discs, metal in my L5S1 nerve, severe nerve damage in hips, pelvic area, both legs, knees, feet, osteoporosis in pelvic area, arthritis in joints from back down to feet from all the damage. My pain clinic closed, so I was going over the new pain clinic doctors paper work for the application. Well they need copy of your will, Living will, Advanced directives, you’ll have to pay $25 for doctor to write a medications script if they will plus pay for the copays, if you have a copay that needs to be paid prior to your appointment otherwise they won’t see you. Also if the insurance companies don’t pay timely they’ll put it into collections under your name. WTF is going on here? So now chronic pain patients are treated like criminals???? This is real!!!

Alice

I’m sick of the emotional Rollercoaster. Having to deal with those who doubt the validity of me even really being in pain, including family even, has caused me to self-isolate through the years. Three surgeries, all failures including a fusion which requires me to have the instrumentation in my back for life. Now I have severe neuropathy in my leg and foot. I had never been a drug user before my injury at 36. But after a couple years of surgeries and every therapy known to man, the only thing that helped the pain was opiates. Oh I hated those doubtful looks and comments, I still remember how much that hurt. How many of you, like me, if you could wave a wand and be free of your pain, would never even look at another pain medicine again? Oh my God, how I would dearly love to be free of this viscous circle. I’m retired and want to move somewhere, starting by traveling the country for a year, to decide where I’d like to move to. But the way you have to jump through hoops for pain management now, Idk if I can deal with trying to find a new doctor somewhere. We’re saddled with injuries or illnesses we never asked for. We aren’t the opiate crisis creators. But we must pay for it anyway. The problems of doctor shoppers are over now with the implementation of computer systems that tie the pharmacies and doctors together. And I think everyone has to see their doctor every month now, and they can look online to see if you’ve been to another doctor or filled a script. It’s street drugs causing the overdoses, so why are longterm chronic pain sufferers being punished? Oh well Idk if I even said what I started out to. I’m just tired.

danya zucker

Sadly, none of the adverse results of untreated pain that you list actually make a patient eligible for Oregon’s death with dignity law, although it would be more humane if they did–and welcomed by many Oregon pain patients i know personally. The death with dignity law has extremely stringent requirements; severe intractable pain does not meet the standard unless a patient is demonstrably in endstage cancer or ALS, for example, and two physicians must be willing to sign off that those conditions have been met. The medication required is not covered by insurance, and can cost thousands of dollars.

Nevertheless, it is beyond incredible that while a physician can legally rx medication with which a patient might end their suffering via death, that same physician may not offer her patient an rx with which to manage their suffering enough to live.

Oregon along with the REST of the United States should have NEVER introduced opiates to chronic pain patients, cancer patients, veterans, NOR ANYONE ELSE for that fact IF ALL they were going to do was turn around and take it away and leave our people TO SUFFER AND DIE!!! Our government, among several others too numerous to mention have LITERALLY TURNED their backs on and ABANDONED those of us whose lives LLITERALLY depend on this LIFE SAVING medication. When taken correctly it DOES save one’s life and makes it BEARABLE TO LIVE!!!!. Chronic debilitating pain IS a disease whether anyone wants to admit it or not!!!! This absolutely sickens me to the core. It’s bad enough they’ve left us in the shape they have and now they’re saying they’re going to take it ALL away? They’re going to see ALOT of suicides take place but it sounds like that’s EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT TO TAKE HAPPEN!!!!. Let’s JUST GET RID of ALL of the people that are SUFFERING from chronic debilitating pain that eats away not only at your body but your mind and your soul especially when your medication has been drastically reduced or taken completely away. Let’s just go ahead and leave everyone in a nursing home, bedfast and committing suicide so we can run rampid with marijuana like we did in the prohibition with alcohol. Is there NOT anyone ON THE FACE OF THIS EARTH other than Dr. Richard Lawherne, Mr. Robert Rose and Dr. Lewis that gives a rats behind who is willing to take a stand for us?????? I’d like to have an answer that is IF anyone knows of one. I’ve said it before and I’m going to say it again; this has Holocaust written all over it! Unfortunately we’re not dealing with just one Hitler but a whole #!&? group of them!!! ENOUGH SAID!!!!

Jill

I can’t help but wonder if the fact that the state with the most liberal assisted suicide laws is th first state to deny pain pts their meds is a coincidence. The suicide rate among chronic pain patients rises with each new policy that makes their lives more unbearable. Regulators cannot be unaware of the consequences of their actions. In our quest to understand why we are denied help for our legitimate pain maybe we need to consider a depopulation effort to relieve states of the monetary burden of caring for an increasingly aging society. Its a fake opiods crisis. Media driven. To accomplish what??

I live in Oregon and I’m not surprised they would do such a low down and dirty thing such as this. One year Oregon decided to cut coverage for all prescriptions for Medicaid cut. Low income disabled people started dying because they could not afford to buy their medications. If that isn’t the most despicable thing I’ve ever heard I don’t know what is other than Medicare and Medicaid NOW wants to AGAIN refuse to cover CPP,s pain medications.
I’m proud of the CPP,s protesting for all of us who couldn’t be there. Hats off to you all and many thanks 🖒

I beg to differ on a point of law.

It is not up to the State of Oregon to interpret the Americans With Disabilities Act. That is a matter for the US District Court. Moreover, Oregon politicians have zero legal immunity under the statute.

In theory, a group of pain patients can sue Oregon in Federal court and demand that Oregon stop the discrimination.

More to the point, we can also engage in pretrial discovery. If we show that some group of those politicians are motivated not by pure stupidity but also by racist animus seeking to cause any class of people to die by suicide, those particular politicians can be called out for crimes against humanity as well.

Oregon does not define how these laws are interpreted.

We, the people do.

When are we going to lawyer up and start suing?

Terry

I just realized today, after reading your blog, that we are fighting with the government over our so called rights to adequate medical treatment. The government doesn’t care one little bit about you and I, and I’m positive that whomever is ultimately responsible for creating the unfair opiate guidelines, medicare non-coverage of opiates or any other legislation that attacks and punishes chronic pain patients also realize that they’ve made horrible decisions that affect hundreds of thousands of chronic pain patients but they will NEVER, and I mean NEVER, admit that they made a horrible mistake and publicly retract their decisions, because that would be admitting that they were wrong!!! And as everyone knows that our government will not allow that to happen. See it will prove that our “democracy” isn’t perfect and yes sometimes the government DOES make errors. I think that it is as simple as that. So all of our screaming and yelling is just for show, because we ALL know that these unfair guidelines that the DEA has set fourth are here to stay, and I for one, am not going to waste anymore of my precious time and effort on something that is obviously a lost cause. So to the politicians I say “well played”, and it’s on to the next debacle that’s sure to screw over some other unfortunate group of unsuspecting U.S. citizens, but today it’s the chronic pain community’s turn. So we’re all just going to have to get used to our new, lives, filled with pain, suffering, depression and anxiety. God bless my chronic pain brothers and sisters, I truly pray for you all to be strong, don’t let the [edit] win.

Now someone is starting to look at the bottom line; “follow the money,” because that’s ALL it’s about with OHP, the state government, and all the providers that make money by denying OHP patients care, minimizing visit times, and more. Recently the state admitted they have failed to go inspect the thousands of grow sites across the state as required by law. No surprise there. In December 2016 the state created guidelines for physicians to follow if they are approving patients for the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program. I had to change a lot of my paperwork to meet those new requirements, but I haven’t seen any other clinics doing that. In fact you will find that many of the marijuana clinics across the state are using paperwork that I created years ago. The guidelines require medical records be kept on site, physicals to be done, and more that has NOT been happening in the past and STILL doesn’t happen now. Where are the inspections that are supposed to happen with those clinics? Again they don’t want to spend the money to ensure compliance, but the state is SO very willing to take citizen money for it (pay your fees, pay the marijuana taxes, etc). Between the Oregon Health Authority and each individual agency that licenses professionals to treat patients, none of them has actively pursued the rampant healthcare fraud that is occurring. As long as “everyone,” meaning the state and the providers, are making money, everyone is happy, so don’t disturb the money boat. Years ago when I asked a member of the Oregon Medical Board if I should report the medical fraud that I see and hear about and can verify with my patients, his answer was basically this: “It would be better for you if you didn’t report it.” Talk about whistleblower hostility and retaliation!

Does the Mmedical Marijuana Lobby have the Power & the Money to Fuel this Anti Pain Medication War ? Seems that most folks that are Anti Opiate are Pro Medical Marijuana – the same people that believed WEED was the cause of all drug problems.

How many States will follow the road Oregon has taken?

Lynn Saunders

Ethnic cleansing of the poor, disenfranchised, disabled and chronically-ill Americans. Will the government launch a new campaign against denial of treatment for chronic pain patients once suicide numbers surpass the opioid numbers. Alcohol remains the highest danger, worst statistics, but that’s okay…Big pharma makes a fortune from doctors prescribing designer drugs with terrifying side-effects to ineffectively treat pain and illness. Again, stop the legal ethnic cleansing by a corrupt government.

Wendy Sinclair

Great article. I live in Oregon and have been following this very closely. My advocacy group has been investigating this, and involved with the meetings and key players. This issue is huge. Something else to mention is they intend this to extend to more than Medicaid. They messaged me saying that they intend for their policy to be a framework for all of Oregon. This would set a precedence for all over the US. Thank you for covering this. It’s huge. Please everyone comment on this. Regardless of where you live. Comment and tell them that this is unacceptable. Tell them about your situation and how it would affect you if the proposed policies were to be applied to you. If passed, this will spread to other states. You can email them at herc.info@state.or.us be sure to keep it to 1000 words and put VbBS (Value based benefits subcommittee) in the subject line of the email. Thank you.

Janice

Thank you for your common sense article that says what I’ve been thinking. I’ve been stable and functional for 9 years on the same dose of the long acting morphine. I don’t want to be forced to change what is working for me. And I’ve done all the water therapy, chiropractic and acupuncture paying out of pocket but only getting a little relief for a very short period of time. It’s nonsense to think the alternative therapies will relieve or even reduce pain. I tried for many years. It is exactly what you have said so well.

How can they justify this ? So if u have your own insurance, you as a chronic painer can get opiates ? Chronic pain is no respector of person whether you are rich or poor and whoever lives with chronic pain needs medication…Do they honestly think this will cure the crisis ? Im here to say it hasnt and it wont..Peeps will travel for relief, this is a given..Glad to be living miles away…

David Cole

Thank you Steve, I live in Oregon and I’ve already started in on these ignorant fools. There are a lot of people on Medicaid that are our most vulnerable population, some of these people have incurable diseases and they have had since birth. The problem is, there are a lot of drug addicts on Medicaid, they’re on Medicaid because it never worked a day in their life. I told one of the senator if he wants to fix that just look who’s on the methadone program. I guess when you’re become a congressman, senator or any government official you just check your common sense at the door.

Colleen Arthur

I can’t even believe any state would even think of implementing such a rediculous law. However with the way States and our Federal Government think that they know what’s best for MY HEALTH. Especially with majority having no medical degree. What is wrong with this line of thinking. Don’t they realize chronic patients receiving opoids now are not part of the problem? The problem with opoids is with illegal fentlynol coming in from Mexico. And by pushing chronic patients to point of no opoids is only increasing those to take their lives or to street drugs.
Come on….please wake me up from this nightmare.

Jenny

I find it really sad that we have to suffer once again Do to others negligence. (We who suffer and are innocent). Do you think alcohol doesn’t hurt or kill others? Why is it that alcohol has never been touched even on peoples 5 owi and there has never been a ban or even talked about harder restrictions about the sale. It just does not make any sense to me.

William Dorn

Those groups in OREGON need to ask for a meeting with President Trump to get the real facts directly to him while the press is on them. This might be our chance to get the medias attention. If the public new the true facts maybe it could turn the tide in our favor.

KURT JOHNSTON

Enjoyed the article. There are many,many successful long term opiate users with chronic pain pts. The realize they , like myself are responsible individuals who take the medication to have a quality of life that allows daily ambulation and allows us to be with our grandchildren in an active way, not just sitting in a chair looking out the window. I was discussing the new extremely restrictive Michigan opiate law which is currently decimating the chronic pain community here as hundreds are cut off from opiates by their physicians for fear of prosecution which is very assertive here. The person I was talking too is a very high ranking officer in the Michigan state police who stated the pendulum switch is considered ridiculous by his office, simple use of the Michigan MAPS system would alert the police of heavy prescribing and if the patient suffers from chronic pain, they would let it go and enforce those cases clearly outside the lines and investigate those cases. I read all these posts and feel that it will be years and many years before the law is looked at. We are in a Governor’s race control and none of the candidates will comment on this law and chronic pain pts, it is just to not an issue for candidates. Michigan law e really need to be focused on. As a chronic pain of my physician has told me due to his malpractice insurance company he must stop prescribing opiates or they will not cover him. Nothing to do with medicine it has to do with coverage and fear of prosecution. Thank you

Donna Corley

They do not want to show that prescription opioids long term actually benefit patients because there is more money to be made with alter active treatments like what they have listed above and ESI’s have increased as alternative treatments for CPP even though they are NOT APPROVED BY THE FDA, and run a much higher risk of patient harm including CPP developing Arachnoiditis which is severely under diagnosed!
There is NO evidence that shows prescription opioids cause addiction. Yes they may cause “dependency” due to the body receiving relief with these medications and then having them removed causes the body to experience more pain which can and is harmful to CPP vascular system, endrocyn system, ect..
There is a vast difference in “ADDICTION AND DEPENDENCY”, and it seems they do not know there is a difference at all!
This new policy will cause more suicides and deaths if implemented.
I forsee multiple lawsuits against them(if that’s even possible to do) if they do implement this policy and maybe that is what it will take to make them understand that they will be causing more harm to those who suffer with incurable debilitating pain already.

Maureen M.

Well said Steve! Thank You. I send strength to the Oregonians who are standing up for their (our rights) and wish them the ultimate best in the endeavors!
Bravo to them all.

Alice

I could tolerate the back pain from three failed surgeries. But not the neuropathy pain in my legs and feet. If opiates become cut off I will find them on the street. By the grace of God I can afford it with my monthly retirement income. I worked forty years, the last fifteen of them only because I had chronic pain treatment. If street drugs fail then I have to check out. I’m not going to live the rest of my life laying in a heap. Chronic pain sufferers are not addicts. We just want to be able to live and enjoy a few things in life like everyone else. What’s happening is barbaric. Reminds me of how the Nazis targeted population groups they considered less than whole. God help us.

Heather

This is irrational and not fact-based as you’ve done very well to describe. Frankly, it absolutely terrifies me that a “Death with Dignity” state has taken this explicit move. This is a black eye for Oregon. They are indeed discriminating! It makes me absolutely ill that Oregon’s economic interests are driving this. Thank you for so clearly pointing out where the money trail is going.

This is so unethical. I urge folks in Oregon to contact their representatives and if they don’t receive a satisfactory response from representatives (we have at least one in PA who is hiding from his constituents but will probably expect votes when the time comes – NOPE)… then vote them out! If there is a way to file a discrimination lawsuit or file complaints with the ADA, I urge folks to come together to take action. I’m so sorry for my fellow pain patients who are being marginalized and denied care because of their health conditions.

Please, physicians, you also have a role. Politicians are dictating care for your patients. This goes against your values and your oath. If you don’t fight now, you will see suicides! You cannot turn a blind eye.