Opinion: Opioid Caused Deaths – What We Can Learn

Opinion: Opioid Caused Deaths – What We Can Learn

By Paul Gileno – President/US Pain Foundation

Hearing of more deaths today from medication overdose saddens me. When will these tragedies stop? Lives are ended too soon because of the improper use of medications. As the founder and president of U.S. Pain Foundation, I want to stress the importance of pain medicine education. With more information on proper storage and use, we can diminish the staggering statistic that 46 Americans die every day due to prescription overdose.

While these medications help millions living with debilitating pain have quality of life, they are extremely strong, and can be dangerous if not used appropriately or for the right reasons. It is imperative that a person with pain and a health care provider have open communication about the use and misuse of such medicines. When taken correctly, pain medicine can be an extremely effective treatment option, in conjunction with other modalities, to manage pain.

It would be a travesty for the recent events involving overdoses to impact legitimate pain patients who responsibly store and take medications. That is why, at a time like this, there are difficult yet important lessons to be learned as well as conversations to be had. There must be a further discussion on how to store these prescriptions. For many, these medications allow them to live their life. We cannot take that from them because someone misuses. A person seeking relief from chronic, unrelenting pain is not the same as a person who abuses medication.

The disease of addiction and pain are two separate entities; both of which are wildly stigmatized, misunderstood and undertreated. This must change. We must work together to fix this. We cannot let the sudden, terrible deaths of celebrities deter us from treating people who need help; people who are suffering needlessly because they do not have access to appropriate pain care.

To all those who have lost a loved one from an unintentional prescription overdose, my heartfelt condolences and thoughts are with you. No one should have to feel that pain and heartbreak. To those who fear their pain medication will be restricted due to deaths from misusing and abusing medicine, know that U.S. Pain will continue to advocate and educate for proper pain care. As terrible as addiction is, we have to remember that people with pain matter. And 100 million Americans are courageously battling to end the stigma associated with these medications and fight for proper health care and treatment options every day.

For more information, please visit U.S. Pain Foundation’s initiative, Pain Medicine 411 – www.painmedicine411.org. You must be informed and educated.

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Authored by: Paul Gileno

There are 125 comments for this article
  1. Cyn Mittel at 8:22 am

    If the government wants to know how to truly manage pain medication, ask ANY person with chronic pain. We are the experts. We know that even taking one extra dose of our pain Meds on a bad day will leave us uncovered on another day, and we DO NOT DO THAT! We ARE the experts.

  2. Paul at 7:17 am

    Sorry forgot to include that all of us, just because we use pain medication are considered drug addicts just because we use a pain medication for more than two weeks. This is why I dropped Kaiser coverage. There are many other doctors that feel this way, and it is best to drop such doctors before they write anything bad about you on your medical record.

    Thing is I know I’m going to die in the not too far distant future from pneumonia, as so far I have not found a doctor that is willing to help me combat a chonic chest infection unrelated to my chronic pain in my back and legs due to back injuries. Most treat all things as accute when they are actually chronic and often do not know the difference between athsma and a chest infection nor are they willing to test.

    Look out for yourselves and your families as no others probably will even your own doctor.

  3. Paul at 1:01 pm

    One problem in a lawsuit, it can’t be against a government employee as they are protected by the color of the law. Also we have to ask permission to sue as government agency from the government.

    These are some of the many reasons that people give up or flip out. When it is perfectly acceptable to cause harm to others through their actions and there is no recourse available legally. It is far easier people to kill themselves than get the help that they need from our government. They make rules that benifit those who make the big money contributions, and everyone else suffers. This is in the tax codes, enforcement, regulations, and everthing else. We live in a country with so much profit at the expence of everything else. That the crimes that officials in many countries are convicted of are nothing compaired to the day to day stuff that they get away with here. Reminds me of the stories of nazi germany ussr red china…
    Perhaps if more would talk with lawyers off the clock as friends more would understand just how bad things are here now compaied to what the world was like 50 years ago. 120 years ago one person could know the laws now days it takes more than a room full of lawyers.

  4. David Michael at 1:46 pm

    I keep seeing lawsuit in this thread. I have an idea. Instead of trying to sue an entire government entity, we should target specific individual bureaucrats. Ones that are either in senior positions or even lower level guideline setters could be the way to maybe somehow get results. I am not a lawyer but maybe somebody can explore the possibility of suing individuals instead of the long arm of the FDA/CDC etc… Just a thought!

  5. Richard A. Lawhern, Ph.D. at 5:39 am

    You are entirely welcome, Jean. And your insight is on the mark concerning the approach I try to take in supporting chronic pain patients. I have long tried to practice three principles:

    1. It’s not about me.
    2. You can get almost anything done if you don’t care who gets the credit.
    3. Work is love made visible.

    Meantime, I will welcome thoughts from others in this thread concerning the phrasing of possible near term and long term objectives for joint efforts.

    Regards all, Red

  6. Jean Price at 7:57 pm

    David..l agree with you that we are our own best advocates for personal issues of our health care, and we also have to be self-affirming when we live with pain. Yet to impact the powerful trend happening now, I believe we need more than our stories and letters and self-advocacy efforts. And I’ve advocated for new things numerous times with several groups. People with pain are limited in their stamina and ability to follow through when needed, among other things that deal with creating a movement with purpose and beneficial outcomes. I’m a little confused by your question of what do I need, since I really just need to decide where to use my limited energy that it might do the most good…and boundary enough of it for my own life and family. And pray there IS enough to do something about what’s happening in our health care systems regarding the treatment of pain. My point was Using it to comment here doesn’t feel like it will help. It feels more like preaching to the choir! Thanks for your offer.

    Dr. Lawhern…I think we all welcome your help many expertise. I know I do, and I’ve seen many positive comments about your efforts and about your own comments here. I will be excited to hear what you come up with, and I’m hopeful it may produce some good. Thanks once again for your amazing dedication. Like Dave, your advocacy for us means a great deal. Your compassion and your willingness to spend your time is a gift, not only to your wife, but also to those of us who deal with life limiting pain of any type. We are in your debt, although I would imagine you consider what you accomplish as payment enough!!

  7. David Michael at 1:15 pm

    Jean, what help do you need now? Remember for the most part you have to be your own advocate first. If you can be specific…

  8. Richard A. Lawhern, Ph.D. at 12:25 pm

    Jean, I believe I understand and share many of your concerns. Especially in the chronic pain community, there is rather often only so much energy and time to go around after the struggles of daily life. One must prioritize (“The Spoon Theory” comes to mind, a very insightful framework for conducting daily life when one has chronic pain).

    Like you, Jean — and fully granting the value of venting and burden sharing — I still think the community (or perhaps communities, given that there are many issues represented here) needs to be talking to people other than its own members. Not all of us take the same positions or have the same sense of what is most important. Some of the things that some of us think are important might turn out to be in the “too hard to do” list. But I think we need some process for identifying central points of agreement on shared needs and actions to address those needs. We also need to develop at least a partial consensus on who should initiate such actions, how, and where.

    I’m hoping to offer thoughts on parts of this process in the coming weeks — not because my positions are superior to those of others, but simply because I have more energy than some, being a care giver rather than a patient. If somebody else wants to take this on, I’ll support them in any way possible. This isn’t about me. We need some starting points for action to MOVE toward better outcomes. Standing still isn’t helpful for anybody.

    With such a process in mind, I’d offer a straw man concept for further discussion (perhaps in an additional article — Paul Gileno, this one is your call, I think).

    Short term objective: convince the US CDC to withdraw and rewrite its recently released “voluntary” guidelines for prescription of opioids in chronic pain.

    Supporting rationale: in their present form, and in combination with recent highly restrictive State laws, the guidelines are creating unintended but highly destructive impacts on patients and their doctors. Doctors are being driven out of pain management practice, and patients are being dropped from treatments which have worked for them for years — without effective alternate means to control their pain.

    Long term objective: to seek a more patient-centered balance in medical practice standards for opioid medications, which address the real public health problems of drug addiction and overdose deaths, while centrally addressing the needs and experience of chronic pain patients and honoring the centrality of the doctor-patient relationship in medical decision making.

    These are my two Red cents for today.
    Regards…

  9. Jean Price at 11:13 am

    I’m beginning to understand something important to me, REALLY IMPORTANT. This site and others which ALLOW my comments, EVEN ENCOURAGE THEM, but don’t seem to do much with them…are not helping me as much as they are draining my energy and fueling my frustration. Some articles are for educating and some are for peer support. And some are confusing! I don’t know if I can continue to read them and not want to spend time and energy and pain to comment…but I must try not to waste my energy this way. Or else I must leave them to others who are perhaps more disciplined than I or perhaps need to know they aren’t alone. I know I’m not alone. That is one of my sadnesses. I know what’s happening. I experience it first hand at my doctor’s office and pharmacy. And why would I think I could impact this, especially here?! When I look at all the attempts though the years…have they helped? Is it better? And it is destined to get worse with or without my input! Because I’m not heard. My input is not wanted from those in position to change this and help me!

    Look at the volume of comments and efforts to even type while in pain here and the struggles that continue and all the energy used and all the anger and frustration stirred up….not helpful!! If you personally have an idea on how to impact this current pain issue, whether it’s writing letters to congress or the AMA or just helping a few people you know in pain…I SAY DO IT, put your time and energy there! Use your typing for that, use your support for those you know personally, talk about it on Facebook with people who don’t have pain…whatever! Just know this site isn’t about action and our comments aren’t really more than venting and venting uses energy…lots of it! Plus it can turn quickly into anger and be damaging! It can actually leave us in more pain than before we started reading or commenting….the pain of hopelessness, the pain of others suffering, and the pain of fanning the anger for ourselves and others!! Choose wisely where you spend your energy…choose what best helps you and helps you with your pain. Each person is different, and each must set their own limits to protect what little life they do have. If you want to be an activist regarding pain, sites that aren’t action based won’t get you there. Very few who are not in pain or supporting someone in paiin ever comment here or on other sites. So I doubt many read these sites who aren’t in pain…and those are the ones we need to reach, aren’t they?

  10. Chris at 6:08 pm

    Chronic Pain is like that crazy neighbor, who trashes their home and yard. The ones who play that so called music, at all hours’ day and night. You call the Police about them, even with clear evidence of their actions, you are the ones made to feel ridiculous and outrageous. This continues until, you get to the point that you ask yourself, “am I idiotic, irrational, and or a senseless person? These Police are professional I must be mistaken; I must not be dealing with chronic pain.” This is how doctors can make us feel and think.

    Addiction is complicated, more so when we look at, how they have chosen to help those with dependence problems. These cravings have enslaved these people. They seem focused more on what they are taking, than on why they are taking them. Some are seeking escape from, the monsters in their minds; in their memories. The pain they are dealing with is emotional, many have been hurt so deeply, they only want to disappear. Others, just are looking for the euphoria. They crave the edge in their life to be dulled. They will acquire any mechanisms they can procure. Change thing A, they will secure thing B. Right and wrong have no relevance, they simply seek the escape, to be raptured from their present.

    Our pain maybe different, but these obstacles are common. For many years now, we are told that, all people who take pain pills, are addicts. By combining those who suffer with chronic pain, with those feeding their addictions, they have made the resolution to these problems equivalent to one another. Trying to solve such, complicated issues with simplistic notions, likens the term, “comparing apples to oranges.” They are trying to help addicts, but at the detriment to people with chronic pain, to some degree. They have changed our pain meds, most to “addiction proof.” By altering our medications, their affects seem weaker, at least in my opinion. Some have insoluble parts, does this effect how are they absorbed, into our system and out?

  11. David Michael at 9:08 pm

    These actions are an assault on our civil rights. We have the right to proper medical care in America.

  12. Janet Parker at 10:21 am

    All of us who are suffering because of what others have done, need to write and call every government official we can. Every social media and regular media there is to get our voices heard. We need to contact the presidential campaigns and get this war on us stopped! We are being discriminated against by our own government. Doctors know that chronic pain is very hard for the body and mind to deal with, but they are being terrorized into not treating their patients and letting them suffer. This is inhuman and cruel and needs to stop.

  13. Kay at 8:10 pm

    Lisa, I agree with you 100%. And it’s not that I’m happy for your pain, but it’s rare, and nice to have the perspective of a medical professional. In my experience so very few of the medical profession as a whole truly understands what it’s like to live this way. I also believe, like you that heroin sales will increase. I’ve been saying this for a long time now.

    I actually just checked my email for the 1st time in a few days and saw the new comments and posts here. I haven’t even been online.

    Being medicated made it possible for me to work years longer than I would’ve been able to.

    Also, I developed CRPS after a foot surgery in 2012. I just had my 4th foot surgery in December 2015, and the CRPS has gone wild, and even though I’m supposed to be *slowly transitioning into a shoe* I’m unable to wear one on that foot for more than 2-3 hours of the day, if that. I can’t take Lyrica or Gabapentin due to reactions I’ve had to both so if it weren’t for the medications I DO get, I’d literally be screaming.

    I’m still in a boot more than a shoe, and I’m considering giving sympathetic nerve blocks another try. But they only work for very short periods of time and the cost to me is high.

    The whole issue of pain as a disease or syndrome, etc, needs to be reconsidered, and the medical profession, pharmacies, etc need to be aware it’s a REAL thing, and quite different from being a drug addict. We are literally talking apples and oranges here.

  14. Lisa at 8:59 am

    I am a RN. We were taught that Pain is the 5th vital sign. I understand fully the problems that are occurring the the U.S. as a result of opioid use and misuse. However, I do not thing that trying to limit medication to only those with cancer or palliative care is going to “make things better”. I can say that I have suffered from chronic pain for the last 7 years of my life. I have been under the care of a physician, I have had several surgeries, injections & implants, I have tried physical therapy and I have tried other ways to deal with the pain (massage, tai chi, yoga, therapists). I am in a much better place because of all of that & all the combinations that I have tried to get me to where I am today. However, I still rely on opioid pain medication to help me to do all those other things that allow me to have some quality of life. Without the use of opioid medications, I would not be able (or wouldn’t have been able) to work hard to find what helps me. They get me through the day. I believe that A LOT more work needs to be done to decipher who needs what, who can work/live without what. Opioid use and or the “need” for opioids has many gray areas….I think the CDC, Surgeon General, etc. are trying to make is simply “BLACK & WHITE”, and that is wrong. They need to put the money and the effort into this and find something that will work for all those effected by opioids, in whatever way/shape/form that is. I think there will be a huge increase in heroin use/sale for those looking to find something to replaced their medications. In turn…many more OD’s…

  15. David Michael at 8:16 pm

    Kay,
    You are correct with your assessments . Going to web sites like this one and joining the US Pain Foundation can help you stay up to date on the good and the bad (mainly Bad). If you can start your own blog or page on Facebook you will notice there are a bunch of chronic pain sufferers out there who are looking to connect with and advocate for themselves and for all our good. I believe now that most of us who can, have to be advocates/activists to our best ability. I am lucky to have friends in media (talk radio) but I am slowly, by getting involved, meeting politicians, judges and physicians. We unfortunately have to help ourselves because our elected officials don’t live by the same rules as we citizens. Even when they are sick, many of them could care less about “we the inferior,” because “we” are just not intelligent enough to think “we” could possibly know whats best for “us.”
    Have a pain free day.
    David Michael

  16. Kay at 3:17 pm

    David Michael, pain scales are absolutely a farce! Pain is subjective, I realize that, and what may be a 3 for someone would be an 8 for another.

    I think after all these years I have a pretty fair pain tolerance; any of us who live with chronic pain do. Pain becomes your norm, and even though it’s a constant, if we have medications and treatments to help, it can do just that – HELP us.

    I know what *my* high pain level’s are if asked to rate them on the archaic pain scale of *1 to 10, 1 being no pain at all and 10 being the worst pain you’ve felt in your life*.

    How many of us are sick of hearing that??? It really means nothing, since whoever is asking you likely has their own preconceived idea of what the numbers mean.

    We DO need to do something, something that involves a large number is chronic pain patients. I’m willing to get as involved as I can, I won’t pretend that I know the how’s and where’s of doing it, but I’d we don’t, none of us will be getting our pain treated.

    We have to stand together as one and develop a loud voice, we need to be heard.

  17. David Michael at 8:19 pm

    Bravo for Richard A. Lawhern, Ph.D. for his guest appearance on the Dr. Peter Breggin Hour. He did an excellent job. We need more media attention. I am finishing another page to be on Facebook called More Doctors Less Bureaucrats where you can find a link to the Breggin interview also. Although up and running for posting, it is not finished or promoted yet for another week or so. Remember the more media exposure regarding the awareness of chronic pain sufferers, the better. More media with the respect to the chronic pain struggle between patient/advocates like myself and lawmakers and others is crucial during this election year.
    Double kudos for the US Pain Foundation.

  18. Paul at 9:37 pm

    I agree that muscle pain is a major problem. Also I see part of the reason for taking away opiates is to remove the possibility of people killing themselves in a painless manner. IE they just go to sleep and never wake up.

    To me that means that they want people to suffer as much as possible, and that all compassion in society is gone. Reminds me of the fall of nations, when the morality is gone and the caring for your neighbors is gone from the minds of all. Then it will soon be chaos that rules the lands.

  19. Richard A. Lawhern, Ph.D. at 6:29 pm

    A note for others active in this thread. I have been invited to participate as guest on the Dr. Peter Breggin Hour on Internet streaming audio tomorrow afternoon. We will do a one-hour program focused on the impacts of the CDC’s revised standards for prescription of opioids in chronic pain. Dr. Breggin has a 30 year record of opposition to the inappropriate use of psychiatric drugs (see such books as “Talking Back to Prozac”, “Toxic Psychiatry” and “Brain Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry”). I did another hour with him a couple of years ago on the harms done to chronic disorder patients who receive psychosomatic diagnoses.

    I would appreciate hearing from patients with a SHORT summary of problems you have had with being dropped by your doctors or forced into reductions of opioids that have worked for you for years. Please send your experiences to lawhern@hotmail.com. I will not attribute anything to individuals by name, if I use it on the air.

    The streaming audio may be heard at http://tunein.com/radio/The-Dr-Peter-Breggin-Hour-p381723/

  20. Stephen Rodrigues, MD at 3:24 pm

    My 2 bits: Muscle pain characteristics:
    If you are living in pain, the most common primary location of your pain is in the soft tissues of the body; The skin and bone, especially in the muscular system.
    Every person will have muscle pain from life and living. This pain is in located in our soft tissue layers of the body.
    Muscle derived pain is a masquerader, 100% real and 100% invisible to technology.
    Muscle derived pain is very personal, private, random, elusives, ubiquitous and dynamic.
    Muscle derived pain is isolation pain so only that person can feel their pain which is why these poor souls commit suicide so often.
    The most common primary location of pain is scattered somewhere in many of your 750 muscles, 1/4th inch up to 2 feet in length all over the body.
    It is not very common for pain problems to be primarily located in the bone, CNS, nerves or blood.
    If your pain is structural and solidly located in any of these locations-bone, brain or nerve, the treatments are mostly vetted, valid and are very effective.
    Muscle pain does not fit any these set classical patterns like the pain of appendicitis, gallbladder or kidney stone.
    Muscle pain cannot be detected with any modern technology.
    Muscular pain cannot be medicated completely away.
    Muscular pain cannot be surgically removed in the operating room.
    Muscle derived pain will usually have very specific termed diagnosis without a specific treatment plan which will end in the resolution of the pain syndrome.
    Muscle derived pain will not go away all by itself, so if you are waiting for it to disappear it probably will not at this point.
    Muscle derived pain is 100% treatable and can be eliminated with the proper treatments.
    Muscle derived pain will only respond to hands-on PT and Needling options + a very involved wellness proactive program of self-care.
    Muscle derived pain is negated because it is more profitable to try and fix these poor souls with treatments that are not based in the facts of biology.
    Muscle derived pain is easily blamed on the person, who is lining in the pain simply because this is how rackets are organized and perpetrated on the public.
    Muscle derived pain sufferers are all being misguided.
    Muscle derived pain is not in physician curriculums so they have not idea of the concepts and reality of this category of pain.
    Muscle derived pain sufferers are all bewildered, confused and most all are hoping for a “savior” from the elite scientist who also have no idea of this type of pain.

    The only way out of muscle derived pain is to help yourself with the correct knowledge and evidence.

  21. Lisa at 10:53 am

    Thank you Janet , I signed petition with hopes we get enough in 30 days . And will spread the word with Bernie Sanders supporters as he is the only one on our side , since policy’s has taken precedents over people , and left for dead by our medical community’s and doctors ! Who is fighting for us ? Who is on our side here ? Frustrating ! What’s next protesting at the White House for us to be seen and heard .

  22. Jamie at 7:41 am

    Janet Parker , is there a way for you to add or change the original wording of the petition ? Please please don’t take any offense ! But there’s a lot more I would add and some things I would word a bit differently !

  23. Richard A. Lawhern, Ph.D. at 6:08 am

    I have distributed your link to 12,000 chronic face pain patients, and tweeted it to ~300 followers on Twitter, with a potential re-tweet audience of over 100K.

  24. Janet Parker at 8:48 pm

    We the people need to vote them out of office! We need to find out which politicians are behind this assault on chronic pain patients and get rid of them, They do not tell the truth only falsified information to get others to go along with their agenda. Alcohol is a much bigger problem in our county and they are not going after any of the people selling that on every other corner store and bar in this country.

  25. Paul at 8:31 pm

    I completely agree with you David, as these controls are to save the lives of young drug addicts. Those of us in pain, only use enough pain medication to mask the pain so we can go on with our lives.

    However if someone wants to take enough of a pain killer to get a buzz off of it, that means to me that they are taking many times more at once than any pain sufferer will ever take unless they are trying to kill themselves to end their misery.

    Reason I come to this conclusion is very simple, when someone is having illusions and other mental effects from a drug, in all studies that I’m aware of it is because they are damaging their brain. Also brain damaged people are far easier to control with some drugs than a normal person that only uses low levels of drugs for medicinal purposes. Ever heard of MK Ultra, I first found out about this from a few people that I had met years ago that were in the drug scene. They would and did take things that I would not even get near such as LSD, Mushrooms, etc. They seen things because the drug was damaging their mind, just as any medication can in higher doses.

    I have met a number of people that have fried their brains on drugs, and I have to admit many of them are quite compliant (last one was the son of the owner of an apartment that I once lived in with my wife). That is unless they are on a bad trip and freaking out. I’m sure glad that I have not seen those people in over 20 years.

    I have thought about pot myself, as it is from all indications less dangerous than things such as Tylenol. Have not tried it yet to cope with the back pain due to a couple of hit and run accidents that I was the victim of. That cause me balance issues, burning feelings in my legs and feet, and chest pain. That is in addition to the lower back pain.

    Reminds me of the old saying “Might is Right” that is because the Government has the most and best armed people on the planet to enforce its agenda.

  26. David Michael at 5:34 pm

    I can(easily) believe the crazy nonsense of this government when it comes to trying to push pot on people. In Washington State they are getting ready to put up clinics for heroin addicts to come and shoot up in a fully staffed safe environment. Fresh needles and Narcan (in case you OD) are the free, probably tax payer funded(not completely sure), are provided for your drugging pleasure. It is a shame the government cares more for addicts which by the way don’t vote, than chronic pain patients like me who do vote.

  27. David Michael at 5:23 pm

    First of all the pain scale from one to ten is a farce. Your ten may not be my ten. And how about a doctor that asks, “are you a ten?” Do you say yes, then if you have to come back in because the pain is higher than ten, are you allowed to be an eleven or a twelve? Do you see the ridiculousness of the 1_10 scale hoopla? Pain is very subjective or is it objective? Don’t ask a doctor.

  28. Debbie at 4:42 pm

    Jaime…. I would ABSOLUTELY love to join you in a lawsuit! I initially injured my back, way back in 1979, long before the CT Scans were improved. Because they had to take the pictures in 4 different sections and hook them together, my slipped discs were not noticed until the scans were improved . They told me back then that I was a drug seeker and just needed a psychiatrist. Two years later, when the scans were improved, SURPRISE! I needed surgery, but by then I was stuck with foot drop and a failed back… I have been to a total of three different pain clinics, was followed up with therapy and mind-body stuff, and did everything that they recommended. I have had a total of 6 back surgeries, 2 brain surgeries but the only thing that helps me get up out of bed and semi function, was the pain medication. The DEA took that away last year and now I can’t go anywhere…
    When I said I would try anything to get rid of the pain, I meant it. They were testing this new procedure where they open your skull and wake you up during the procedure. Then they stimulate the exact pain center in the brain that makes your back hurt and “fry” that area so that maybe the pain will go away. Like I said, I was willing to try anything to eliminate the pain! It worked for a few months…

    Let me know if I can help with the lawsuit. I have a lot of time on my hands, you know?

    Debbie

  29. Debbie at 2:02 pm

    Can you believe, that in the same year, the laws regarding marijuana are now open, but the ability for us truly hurting people can no longer get the required meds we need to even function? WTF!!!

  30. Jean Price at 1:41 pm

    Dr. Lawhern…I think a lawsuit is a fantastic idea, and have said so to this foundation several times! I don’t quite understand the lack of their response or the apparent lack of interest In pursuing this by them. I would believe also a civil liberties group would look favorably at our issues and legal concerns! Please let us know what we might do to assist this process. I actually am clueless about the steps! I recently discovered the foundation is NOT a non profit group, and I was greatly surprised by this. I’m sure some areas of assisting us are weaken by this status of theirs. We deserve strong, direct, clear, active, and results oriented support, and legal proceedings may just be the only way to hold those who have created theses problems accountable for their misinformation and their less than compassionate goals! You have been such a supporter of those with chronic pain, and I so applaud any and all of your efforts. Dave has also worked tirelessly to help those of us limited by pain, and I regard his motives as to be honest and forthright, like yours…and definitely stemming from human kindness and personal knowledge of our struggles. Thanks for all you do and the direction you are looking at now!

  31. Kay at 1:03 pm

    Jamie, as much as I’m against lawsuits, I’m beginning to believe that you and others have an important idea going here, and I for one would be 100% for it.

    I am allergic to MANY medications, mostly antibiotics, and the one that worked best for me was Levaquin, which I took for the frequent respiratory/bronchial infections I get due to worsening asthma, and UTIs that I’ve been prone to since a young age. A few years ago, AFTER I’d had several surgeries for tendon tears, etc., it was proven this drug cause tendon ruptures, though mainly Achilles ruptures. However, my pulmonary, pain and primary care doctors have told me not to take any quinolones now. My point in sharing this is that there has/had been at least one mass tort and some individual suits with awards to patients and I did not bother to look into it. In hindsight, maybe I should’ve because I’m left to deal with the effects. But the fact is, no amount of $$$ can give you your life back.

    That said, we’re living in an age of such political correctness, *black lives matter*, *white lives matter*, *illegal immigrants matter*, *food matters*, *land matters*……obviously I’m being sarcastic at this juncture.

    BUT……*people living with chronic pain matter!!!!!!!!

    I’m tired of being made to feel like a pariah. The stigma of being a chronic pain patient is hard enough to live with. We are always judged and assumed (unfairly) to be addicts or drug seekers. With so many other (less important) issues being pushed into the forefront politically, medically and everywhere else, it’s time the issue of chronic pain is addressed as a REAL and SERIOUS illness/disease/syndrome…….whatever you want to call it.

    As an example, in 2005 following hurricane Katrina, a friend’s dog bit my hand and nearly ripped my finger off. I had only been on long term pain medications a couple of years, if that. I immediately went to the ER. I was completely honest and up front about my medications – something I can honestly say I ALWAYS am – and the admitting nurse said to me with a huge amount of sarcasm *don’t tell me, your pain level’s a 10 and you want pain meds, right?* I felt as though I’d been slapped in the face. I told her *NO, I know what a 10 is, this hurts but I’m more concerned with saving my finger!* As it is, it took 4 months to heal.

    Another recent experience: following my last foot surgery that I mentioned before where my arch bone was plated and fused, I fell in the bathroom around 2 AM Valentines Day morning. I was using one of those knee walkers and they are wonderful aids but they don’t transition well from hard floors to carpet/rugs, and back. I fell very hard against the toilet, all on my left/left back and I couldn’t breathe. I also hit my head on the toilet bowl. I was afraid I’d broken ribs and would end up with a punctured lung. The pain was so sharp everytime I breathed, so off we went to the ER. I went through the exact same treatment there, and I told them my pain was a 9 (in actuality it felt like a huge 10), they brought me back and I saw no one for nearly 2 hours. By then my pain was a strong 10 and I was crying and almost screaming when I breathed. Finally a nurse came and I begged for some pain relief; I hadn’t had any of my own meds for over 6 hours at that point. They wanted Xrays first, they said. Finally an Xray tech showed up and was the most compassionate person I encountered, he tried to roll me gently over bumps, etc. I couldn’t stand up due to both my surgery foot and the pain from the ribs, but he took all the time necessary to try to get the film’s without causing me more pain. I have no doubt the films weren’t very good because I couldn’t take a deep breath, much less *hold it*.

    Once back in the ER, I asked if I could PLEASE have something for the pain, and after nearly 4 hours, a doctor appeared. It was obvious he wasn’t taking me seriously, I could see in his eyes he doubted I was in as much pain as I was. Finally I was given an injection of Toradol. Better that than nothing. Soon after, I was discharged, with the comment *now you can go home and self medicate since you have better meds at home*.

    This treatment of CP patients has to end. We deserve to be treated with compassion and respect. I DO realize a number of drug seekers go through ERs, to doctors and pharmacies trying to get drugs to get high on. I wouldn’t know what being high feels like. But the bottom line is, nothing will change for the better if we don’t make ourselves heard!

  32. Richard A. Lawhern, Ph.D. at 12:28 pm

    Jamie, I’m working toward some of the same goals you are. If you’d like to chat, feel free to send me a note at lawhern@hotmail.com. You may also need to think about finding or founding a Non-Profit Organization to fund the lawyers. You’ll be facing the same kind of resistance that Big Tobacco put up to defend its profits, and perhaps some of the same costs — like millions of dollars.

    I wish you well.

  33. Abagail S at 12:10 pm

    Where are the statistics on INTENTIONAL OVERDOSES???
    That is what I want to see!!!

    Intentional OD’s like one of this forums post’s said – you just want the pain gone! If you know this will be your last script (same thing happened to me in 2010 when Ohio passed state laws severely limiting Doctors, and punishing pharmacists that fill scrips by stripping their licenses even more commonly!!)
    I’ve contimplated ending it so much over the past 11 years. The pain, the isolation, loss of friends, work family that after awhile people just stopped texting, calling or stopping by. When I did have to back to work, the pain medicine worked fairly decent – I could at least make it thru a day at work.
    But after my pain dr dropped me like a brick in 2005, and after my prosthetic jaw was implanted in 2012 – it hurt so much more and because of these stupid laws I 2ould drink so much every day when I would get off work just to fall asleep and not feel anything. How I’ve survived this I don’t know – but glad I did.
    It doesn’t take a pill to die. You can OD with OTC’s, a gun (I sold my rifle when things were getting rocky in my life), a high speed run down the highway into a concrete barrier – anything else you can find and end the pain & suffering, mental anguish & loss of jobs, friends & family. The job I used to do before having to go on disability – I’d seen it all.
    So…..many of these “unintentional” OD’s were simply a person’s way to simply stop the pity, to stop the begging – and stop the pain!!!

    The general public sees what the news media gives them.
    Scenario: “40 year old father overdoses on opioid pain medicine”, that they neglect to mention in this scenario he is well below the poverty line, living with or off the charity of others, or maybe selling a few pills just to put some food on the table or keep the lights on.
    So say this same person goes to her/his Doctor (who is not giving the this patient the proper treatment/dosage.
    After so many years, what is there to live for anymore when everyone thinks you’re pathetic, a junkie, etc….. When all you really want to do is just be remotely comfortable. I e heard this story time and time again.

    I have a friend who can barely walk after being flattened by two barges on the Ohio River. The poor guy will never experience certain things in life again. Then no one would help him with agonizing pain in his back, pelvis, legs, etc – so he now has to drive almost 4 states away just to get medicine that allows him just to function. He does not get high – he just wants to feel normal. But I know he will not be able to handle this much longer – in fact he maybe gone already as we speak.
    Same for me, but it’s not my entire body that was hurt – it was just my entire face and head, but it affected my speech, insomnia, inability to multitask – which was a huge factor in my old job.
    I have done every single thing I was told to do for my TMD every treatment, up to jaw replacement, RFI’s & nerve blocks.
    Maybe that is what the government is striving for – for more severe chronic patients to off themselves. They don’t care about the junkies, the big inter-city violence and this case is clear – NO ONE CARES ABOUT US!!!

  34. Cheri Hall at 11:12 am

    I agree that we all need to come together and sue for leaving patients proper treatment of pain. Even my sick dog gets better care than I do.
    I’ll be glad to join in a class action suit! However, this takes many years to get heard. How do we make it that long?
    There is no hope for any enjoyment or quality of life.
    There is nothing being offered in place of these med either. Most of is have been through everything out there a few times. If there was something that worked, we would not be on these meds!
    This is so rediculas.

  35. Jamie at 10:39 am

    I was just recently speaking of a class action lawsuit with a lawyer friend . I’m in the midst of looking at laws and finding a big enough lawyer that’s willing to take the case !

  36. David Michael at 10:35 am

    Look at how the government is breaking the right to privacy laws and also probably our civil rights with this monitoring program. This ridiculous activity ensures us all that we are considered criminals. They (DEA/CDC/FDA) came up with this wonderful illegal piece of legislation. Not even illegal aliens are suspected of being worthy of this type of scrutiny.
    https://www.alec.org/model-policy/prescription-drug-monitoring-act/

  37. Nancy Nedoma, RN at 10:27 am

    This is an excellent statement noting the needs and rights of patients in pain. As an RN for 42 years, I really think you might have a broad appeal within the nursing community and garner support for your organization. You should consider submitting this to the American Nurses Association, American Journal of Nursing, American Association of Critical Care Nurses, Hospice and Palliative Care organizations, etc. It would help raise professional awareness to not lose sight of why these medications are truly needed by appropriate patients.

  38. jaskadow at 10:19 am

    Frankly I think the government and insurance companies want us to die. In the words of Ebenezer Scrooge., ” let them die and decrease the surplus population”

    This is a plan to thin out the herd… For the sake of someone’s almighty Bottom Line, of course.

    I wonder what they’ll do when they need a painful surgery and have serious pain, or if these government officials and insurance adjusters develop chronic pain? Oh wait, those with money or who are in high places can always find the drugs.

    We need to fight back and the only way to do that will be to organize and file a class action.

    This means we pain patients have to get off our butts, stop talking about it, and actually do something instead of sitting back, depending on others to do it for us. Only then will this problem be resolved.

  39. Cheri Hall at 11:17 pm

    Some of us just clearly know that we can not handle any more pain. It’s hard being on this side and knowing that your quality of life is shot and it’s bout to get a lot worse. Ot becomes much easier to just let go. It seems there are no other options. Others are playing God with our lives. We have endured every kind of cintraption, pain shots, electric stimulation, mind/pain control and even psycotherapy known to Western medicine. Exactly what is it we are fighting to live for?
    I’ll take quality over quantity any any day.
    This doesn’t to seem to matter at all to those making choices for us. We have no say in our life any more. I see clearly, this is the last say in the quality, or lack, of our own lives.What is left except to say goodbye while we still have some humanity left in us???

    Think about it…what exactly would you choose?

    Allow politicians take over your healthcare…
    WE ARE SAYING…NO!!!!

    Why can’t you hear us???

  40. Kay at 5:17 pm

    Paul has said it very eloquently. After months of reading and hearing about the CDC and their proposed actions, it’s come to fruition here where I live. I saw my regular pain doctor last week and instead of being his usual friendly, concerned self, was very reserved and nervous and opened with the CDC this and the CDC that, and said pharmacies had called him and told him he has to prescribe less *breakthrough* medications-less RX and less quantities in the RX. And then he said there’s a drug that he wants me to try WITH my current meds, and will *do a quick review visit in 4 weeks before writing my next RX*. He said I’d be hearing from someone about it – which I did – and the drug is levorphenol, I am to receive it by UPS.

    During the same week my husband had rotator cuff surgery and the nurse told me to speak to the doctor about his meds, since he would need something stronger than what he’s taken for several years. Immediately the doctor cited the CDC, told me what he prescribed was the strongest he could give him (the same thing he already has so we shredded the RX) and tried to convince me that hydrocodone and oycodone are the same drug! When I told him NO, they are not, he told me I didn’t know what I was talking about!

    A few months ago I had 2 fusions in my arch, which had collapsed from the exact surgery 3 years prior. I’d broken 6 screws in the hardware and was actually walking ON it all and in great pain. At that time my pain doctor made sure I had adequate relief. I also have CRPS in that limb. Recently a neighbor had the same surgery, had the same surgeon and he gave her an extremely light dose of medication; when she went to get staples out and asked for a refill, she was refused, again the CDC was cited by the doctor.

    My husband and I are in our 60s; I’ve had nearly 20 surgeries alone since 1996, including 3 joint replacements. I’ve had 3 spinal surgeries, have DDD, stenosis, herniated disks and bone spurs, arthritis, and degeneration in my hip, among other things. My husband was born with spondilolysthesis, spondylosis, has just had one shoulder operated on, will need the other, and has severe neck problems including several herniated disks and arthritis.

    I had to retire 8 years ago; my husband is retiring this year because we cannot continue to do our jobs. If anyone thinks it’s a picnic living on Disability, think again.

    I’ve been seeing our pain doctor since 1996, we’ve always had a great relationship, I am tested for compliance regularly, have done everything he’s suggested, including epidurals, sympathetic nerve blocks for the CRPS, trigger point injections, prolotherapy injections, PT….you name it, we’ve tried it.

    To find out after this amount of time that my medications are going to be cut and/or changed is so disheartening.

    If the CDC thinks their actions are going to stop addicts from getting drugs, it’s like believing murderers can’t get guns.

    Why punish people with legitimate needs?????

    People WILL want to die if they are expected to live with uncontrolled pain. Pain is subjective. A one size fits all is NOT the right approach.

    The government has zero business telling doctors how to treat patients.

  41. Richard A. Lawhern, Ph.D. at 10:07 am

    Kathy, before we give up, don’t you think it’s time for the millions of chronic pain patients to sue the government for medical negligence and harm to patients? If you could contribute to that, would you?

  42. Janet Parker at 9:22 am

    Thank you for the information, I will draft a petition as soon as I can, I can only write when I am not in so much pain, it severely affects me thought process , But it will be in the next couple days it is important to do this in this election year to stand up for our rights.

  43. Susan S at 6:24 am

    I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and suffer from a long list of secondary problems brought on by EDS including fibromyalgia. I have had to have open cranial surgery for 2 brain anueryms, numerous surgeries on different joints. My back is twisted and very painful. Neuropathy runs down both arms into my hands and both legs into my feet. EDS is a genetic degenerative disease that you are born with. I have seen many family members deal with issues from EDS. This is my life so I deal with it the best I can. I see my doctor on a regular basis and take my pain meds as they are prescribed. I can understand the mindset of the pain being so bad you justify taking something extra on occasion. I also understand just how dangerous that can be. I know of no one personally who gets opiods for legitimate medical issue overdosing. But 4 years ago my step-nephew, at the age of 21, died from an overdose from presciption opiods prescribed form a doctor at what is called a pill mill. Stop the pill mills but do not take away pain meds from those of us who really need them for pain.

  44. TERESA BRATCHER at 6:23 am

    I live in the state of Kentucky which has horrible statics with opiod abuse and trying to find a pain management doctor that will prescribe opiods is like looking for a needle in a haystack. It doesn’t matter if you have been compliant with any and all methods that ask of you to make sure you are taking as prescribed. It just seems all doctors are scared they will loose their licenses to practice. Please let me add that there are a few left that are willing to help but I wonder for how much longer. We pain patients, doctors and any and all that will take a stand need to do it NOW !! We must fight for our right for proper pain control. A majority of all of us has tried all the shots, blocks, PT, Biofeedback and etc…. and at the end of the day the only help we get to help us be productive as human beings is opiods. It should be a decision between doctor and patient and not the government. It is unfortunate that many have lost their lives because of opiods but most of all chronic pain patients take their medication as prescribed. We must take a stand NOW or tomorrow may be too late. Good luck to all you pain warriors out there!!! ❤

  45. Patricia Brodersen at 12:40 am

    It is heart-warming to hear my own thoughts put to the public. I have suffered from chronic pain for many years. After going through my insurance company’s pain management I was sent back to my md and that was when the trouble getting the needed meds began. Kaiser has decided that two of the medications I had are not to be given any longer. There is no substitute for the right medication. I am not an addict. I am a pain patient. I wish that more people understood the difference. Even my family talks about “when I don’t need that medicine anymore”. This isn’t likely to happen since my condition is not curable. Thank you for all you do to dispel the idea that anyone taking a narcotic is an addict.

  46. Paul at 12:29 am

    I see the cause of this, and it has to do more with worry about someone possibly getting stoned, than being in so much pain that death is the better of all options. We live in a society that more readily believes the lies that they are told so that government officials can exert control over people. The people in government think that fixing a problem is for them to control it, even when their control is causing the problem in the first place. I care more about my family than about if someone is possibly getting stoned to deal with life.

    Also I do not believe that any of the overdoses are overdoses or accidental. That is because opiates are a preferred way of suicide, When someone takes a lethal amount of an opiate they go to sleep and never wake up. Death from other pain killers such as those that are available over the counter cause an agonizing death to those that can no longer stand being under prescribed pain medicine. A much quicker way would be suicide by police officer, all they have to do is think that you have a loaded firearm pointed at them. It could easily be plastic.

    I do see a solution to the problem, and that is to quit treating people that want pain relief as addicts seeking drugs. Also most importantly treat chronic pain as a disease of the nervous system witch it really is. Problem is that too many think that it is a psychological problem and that the pain is people imagination.

    It is because of the deliberate suffering that is caused to people I hold no hope for the future of this country and many others. When people are treated as trash just because they are not being obedient to their slave masters, and thinking and acting exactly as they are suppose to act. George Orwell was right about what we have become, and that is a country along with many others where people believe the lies programmed into them by the media etc that they no longer think. Soon we will have thought crimes, and all of us will be found guilty and sent to reprogramming locations.

    Also I have to ask when has this ever really been a free country? If a right really and truly exists we would not have to fight for it and it could not easily be taken away. Just as far too many think that just because we want to get away from pain we are just a bunch of junkies looking for a high. I will say that I’ve never been high in my life and the only time that I had a really bad trip from drugs was from those prescribed from a doctor because they felt it was a safer alternative to norco. Norco in higher doses has only slowed my motor functions, but has never made me high.

    Cymbalta and other such medications are the only things that have caused me to have a drug induced trip, a person knows when this is happening because they loose the ability to think normally and act normally such as knowing if they are to stop or go at a green or red light.

    In all I would have to say that the reasons for tightening the supplies of medications that they need to live a normal life is so they can maintain their control over us, and make us suffer as much as possible to get as much money out of us as possible. In other words, the worst drug pushers work for the FDA as they want people to be hooked on meds as it increases the profits of the drug companies, and they do not want us to have anything in our possession that could be used as a painless suicide pill for when we can no longer tolerate the pain.

  47. Pamela Richards at 8:54 pm

    I know with the pain I endure, there are sometimes I wish I was dead. I lost my family, my kids, and my grandkids, cause though I look good on outside they assume I lie which puts me in deeper depression. Maybe the overdoses weren’t a mistake at all, maybe they gave up after no one believed them. It kills me to live without my grandkids and kids, thank god I have a husband who is always there or I would be gone too. Just a thought

  48. Rhonda Potter at 8:40 pm

    No one cares. All they care about are the lobbyists throwing their money around to stop pain meds from being made. They have money! You do know it’s not the drug addicts or abusers fault, it’s the pills fault! Chronic pain sufferers need to get used to a life with pain meds. Their pain meds are turning our children into abusers and addicts. Oh, our poor kids.
    They don’t care. The government does not care. All the government sees is dollar signs.

  49. David Michael at 8:10 pm

    I agree Janet. If someone wishes to petition the Whitehouse, you only need 100,000 signatures and they say they will read it. The address is:

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email-image&utm_content=email590&utm_campaign=petitions

    For contacting the CDC about opioids I have been writing at this email:

    http://www.cdc.gov/contact/index.htm

    I have gotten some notifications from the CDC but as with all government agencies they are sometimes slow. If somebody wishes to draft a petition I am sure we can get the signatures all by email. Are voices need to be heard now before there is no getting back to reason.

  50. Kathy at 7:52 pm

    What is the point in commenting again, really? We sign the petitions, take the surveys, comment to the CDC, and everyone else we can but what results are we getting? NOTHING! Not one single change is being made to help us at all. We are in unimaginable pain and no one cares. I give up.

  51. Bonnie at 7:01 pm

    I was dx’ed with Ankylosing Spondylitis back in 1996, long before I was told I had this incurable disease back when I was 17 I had pain in my legs, and my legs and pelvis hurt. By 1986 I could not understand the why am I hurting? The doctor I had seen in 1986 knew I had spondylitis but looked me in the face and told me, you have chronic pain but your just going to have to learn how to live with it, and out the door he went. By 1996 I was in so much pain and no answers. So I went in to see my regular doc and told him I have had alot of xrays done, but none of my low back, hips and pelvic area. He ordered a xray and after the xray he came back in the room and told me I had Ankylosing Spondylitis. I looked at him and died I have what?. After seeing many doctors and taking so many anti-inflammatory medications nothing had help get me out of my pain. My doctor put me on pain meds and muscle relaxers. I thank god everyday for this medication. If I didn’t not have my pain meds and relaxers I truely believe I would NOT have lived for as long as I have. I would NOT be able to get up in the morning and move. Without my meds right now yes I would die. With having inflmation around my heart like I do it would kill me. Congress and senators need to get their head out of their ass. NOT all of us living with chronic pain abuse out meds. For as bad as my disease is I only take ONE pain med a day along with one muscle relaxer. If I feel I need to have alittle more meds because of a flare up then I will take a relaxer before I would take another pain med. I have been taking my pain meds since 2004 and I also sign a contract with my doctor. It sat I will NOT abuse my pain meds. If I do I will no longer be able to have anymore pain meds. Doctors now days need to learn whether or not someone is hooked on pain meds or not. Congress and Senate need to practice what they preach. They are just as bad as anyone else who is hooked on drugs and it should be LAW that them idiots in Washington have to be drug tested if they want a job running our country.

  52. Jamie Moeckly at 6:31 pm

    I believe if physicians and patients were better informed about pain medication there would be a lot less cases of patients becoming addicted. I think physicians need to closely evaluate each patient on an individual case and not be immediately suspicious of every person that walks through the door with pain. I understand both sides of this issue. I worked in a doctor’s office. I saw many patients that were addicted to pain medicines. I am also a patient with IC and have had to battle debilitating pain. My urologist absolutely refused to give me pain medication and his staff treated me like I was a criminal. I finally sought out a pain management doctor on my own. It was demeaning. I was required to take a urine drug test before an Rx was issued, I was made to feel that I was responsible for having a horrible disease and on top of that the test cost over sixteen hundred dollars. Not one doctor ever offered me any other avenues for pain management, such as acupuncture, medicinal teas, meditation, absolutely nothing. Our medical system is seriously broken. I go to a functional medicine doctor now. She looks at the whole body, not just one symptom and has been a great benefit to me. Of course my health insurance doesn’t cover an office visit with her, but they were more than happy to pay for that drug test. It’s a sad day when someone sitting behind a desk at an insurance company gets to decide what is best for you and what your insurance will pay.

  53. Steven at 12:20 pm

    My pain started at 14 years old with JRA. Things only went down hill from there. Now at 47 I’m on a lot of medications including a few pain meds. With 4 brain injuries and a stoke. It’s hard for me to remember when last medications taken PRN were. I try and write them down or make notes but forget I did and were I put them. Pain is so much my life now. Permanetly disabled I am dragging my faimily down with my pain as I can’t do much. I wish there was a better answer. Always praying for me and all who suffer so much.

  54. Therese Campbell at 11:01 am

    Thank you for the article. I am just wondering, to what does the statistic ” 100 million Americans…” refer? Is that the number of Americans with chronic pain? ( About 1/3 of the U.S. population.)
    Please advise.

  55. Janet Parker at 9:04 am

    The DEA should do their job and stop the flood of heroin and cocaine flooding into our country! They should not be allowed to harass and terrorize our doctors! When did the government become our doctors. They have not right to tell a doctor how to treat a patient. It was the cash clinics that created a problem writing medication to anyone that can pay them! Not the doctors that take insurance and are certified pain management. Then you get some politician that knows nothing about the suffering of chronic pain pushing for rules when he knows nothing about the suffering, then deals are made no matter who suffers because of it. The addicts that abuse medications go to and have gone to other things like heroin which by the way is cheaper for them to get than pain meds are. This is an election year all of us who are suffering because of things others have done need to be a huge voice together to stop this war against us. We have the right to pain management, we the people have the right to the pursuit of happiness is one of our basic rights that is being stripped from us. Because when you suffer 24 hours a day after day after day it is maddening , it steals your life and happiness away, it is unfair and unconstitutional for this to be being done to all or us who SUFFER in chronic pain. We all need to contact our state and federal government today and everyday until they protect our right to life ,liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

  56. Crohnnie at 7:55 am

    I think we are all going through the same thing! I live in East TN & THE most respected licensed pain clinic just shut down. Well, they didn’t close per se, just stopped writing scrips. So now thousands of East Tennesseeans are left on their own. My family doc finally got me an appointment with another clinic – AT THE END OF JUNE! I’ll be through withdrawals by then & I’m not sure if I’m going back. I am sick & tired of this merry-go-round! Of course, it depends on my pain after I come off. But I know they won’t prescribe anywhere near what I was taking. When I first went to Tennova (St. Mary’s Health), they are the ones that kept upping my meds at each appointment. That was 11 years ago. Now for the past 2 years, they decreased my meds from 420 MEQ to 200. Then from 200 MEQ to 120. And there weren’t slow about it either. Now I’m going from 120 to 0 very quickly. BTW, I have Crohn’s Disease with autoimmune rheumatica and fistulas among other associated problems like vulvar keratomas, twisted ileocolectomy, scar tissue, etc. I am petrified of w/d & I am petrified of going back to bed & not being able to function. But more than that, I am petrified of my next surgery & coming out of the hospital dependent again & again and having to go through w/d every time. Somebody, just shoot me now!

  57. Jean Price at 7:20 am

    So we have “accidental” overdose (and now I’ve read about even “accidental” addiction too)!? It’s not impossible to overdose by accident…but it would be extremely unusual for those in the population of chronic pain patients who follow strict dosing and amount limits!! Pill containers allow us to dole out the “allowable” amount for each day and not even go back to the original container each time we need to take a dose! So how hard is that? The addiction population or anyone who choses to use drugs acquired illegally from the “street” are always at risk….of overdose, of taking meds they didn’t realized were mixed with God knows what, of taking too much too soon, of taking an unreliable amount….these are your overdoses! So why is this pain advocacy groups zeroing in on us, the people with pain who by and large use their medications as ordered? And they say we can help that number of death? Very odd, and most of our comments don’t even address the issues of the articles because so many people are being denied medications that overdose is a non issue…unless of course you are talking about addicts and street drugs! And so many of us are more intent on telling our stories in hopes it will impact them and others. Besides, this article isn’t about the majority of us, or even pain care! This is not who we are and not where we get our medications! Do they know us?! We write all of these comments it seems into some vacuum, no replies, no answers to questions, no comments on our suggestions, no sense of the direction they are taking, more like the Wizard of Oz granting us an audience to help clarify our needs, and give us what exactly? We already have good brains, good hearts full of compassion for others, even for those addicted who by and large have created some of this nightmare), and we are as brave and courageous as any you’ll find in the real trenches! In fact, some in pain have been in those trenches, too!! Yet, the years roll by and those in life limiting pain are in even a more precarious situation now. Perhaps this is a venting site only, purely for support group type “therapy”, not an action oriented site to educate regarding the latest developments AND direct us, and show us our impact. If so, a lot of fingers have typed in pain…and in vain! And a lot of voices are echoing into an empty canyon, becoming distant whispers. Is this too big a battle for our advocacy groups too? Another group I’ve had contact with has a firm agenda yet they don’t seem open to suggestions that might help, suggestions of separating out the addiction wording and concentrating on merely pain, suggestions of banding together, of pursuing legal action, of finding a nationally known champion to bring credence and power to our plight! Recently, a well know racing figure committed suicide due to pain…perhaps there are those in the racing community who would champion us, as a tribute to him. Didn’t Prince recently have back surgery and pain? Perhaps his death was to escape it also! Again,,maybe someone close to him could hear our voices in his situation. Or maybe his problem was the drugs themselves, I don’t know. But I do know compassionate people help many causes, from hunger to homelessness, to animal shelters. Aren’t there some to help us? Celebrity deaths have impacted us negatively…maybe some celebrity would take up our challenge to help us with those impacts, help us be able to receive the appropriate care, including time proven effective, low cost medications like opioids. So much hope, yet it needs organization and planning and new efforts. And we must lay down the all the emphasis on areas of addiction, the more that word is heard…the less the word pain comes through!

    Now there is even a group/site on facebook called “Out The Monster”, referring to the “monster” of what they have termed “accidental addiction”. Rather convenient idea for Orexo, the sponsoring pharmaceutical company, since they make a naloxone combination medication to treat overdose/addiction by reducing the effects of opioids! Even addiction counsellors have never heard this trumped up term. The people they are calling “accidental addicts” seem to be US…those who have used medications responsibly yet do have blood chemistry changes similar to what many medications can cause and if discontinued, will produce “withdrawal” type symptoms. That’s certainly not addiction…it’s biology of the human body, becase all medications are chemicals that can and do change our chemistry over time. Those who start out using legally prescribed opioids for pain and become addicted (through many possible scenarios) make up an extremely small portion of people in pain who have been legally treated with opioids, usually 2 to 3%, although this site uses 5%. Even at that number, the other 95 to 98% use their medications appropriately and for PAIN and are not addicted, accidentally or otherwise! The people responding to that post and a comment I made are those like us here…they have been stigmatized, discriminated against, denied medication…often abruptly and thrown into dangerous medical situations because of this…and they live with daily, life limiting pain which could be lessened by opioids and other pain treatment choices. With all the government emphasis on addiction, overdoses, and decreasing any opioid use…our advocacy groups and we as patients MUST have a stronger, more sensible voice and stop talking about the things that aren’t a part of OUR care and concerns…like addiction and overdose. Until we do this, until our support groups find a more effective voice, it’s destined to get worse instead of better. I sent this, and other such articles, to some people who don’t have pain, people from nursing backgrounds, and their comments are WHO are they addressing, WHO ARE THEY SUPPORTING, and WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE THEY ACTUALLY SAYING? Does that tell us anything? These mixed messages to us and the world have to stop…the issue is confusing enough! And I’m not sure we can even fight these senseless changes with sense…with medically appropriate input…so what now? We are losing the medications that helped our ability to function and soon we will lose our ability to fight this…that may be their plan, yet if we act assertively NOW we still can turn this tide. If our advocacy groups will step up to the plate…a different plate perhaps…we can help them secure our futures with less pain. And we only need some powerful compassionate helpers to get our words out there, and to bring in others who will also support our goal of living with better function, making more out of our lives, being a productive….not draining…member of society, earning our own way, caring for ourselves and our families, and finding enough joy in life to embrace the days, not fear them!

  58. Pam at 5:02 am

    I too am a chronic pain sufferer. My DEBILITATING CONDITIONS include: Complex regional pain syndrome/RSD, three herniated discs, fibro. severe stenosis. DDD, osteoarthritis, cervical disc degeneration, neuropathy, radiculopathy, pancreatitis, cholecystitis, two failed spinal fusions that left me with severe nerve damage. I’ve trie ALL the alternative therapies MY BODY and MY wallet could afford, opiods were the last resort and I was given a QUALITY OF LIFE FINALLY! Like many many other LEGITIMATE pain patients, my meds were lowered to INEFFECTIVE DOSES, I am bedridden and each day more and more of me dies. My 15 yr old son watches his mom give up , he sses his mom crying in agony daily and it rips me up knowing I am causing my son so much emotional pain. Organizations like the US Pain Foundation and the rest of them out there, need to stop reporting that there are 46 deaths a day from opiods. That is a false statement, one that the CDC admitted to using FALSE DATA. This is one of the many uphill problems that are strikes against LEGITIMATE pain pts. The CDC FAILS to report deaths properly, counting one death two and three times, all heroin deaths labeked rx deaths, suicide deaths from people who could no longer take the pain were labeled as an overdose death. The FALSE numbers being put out by the CDC were created to further the governments addiction driven agenda. The pain advocacy groups need to stop reporting numbers coming from the CDC.

    The prohibition of the 20’s/30’s is repeating itself, replacing alcohol with our life saving meds. Dr. Kolodny is the Carrie Nation ofthe prohibition era. I wouldn’t put it past the government to be the ones responsible for the tainted pills supposedly crossing our borders. The government poisoned the alcohol back in the 20’s , I don’t doubt for a second they are the ones lacing the pills. Population control.

    I am so sick and tired, at my breaking point, how society, our drs, nurses, pharmacies, etc look down upon those who exist in severe pain,,i am sick and tired of paying the very high price with my health and overall well being becuae of those who CHOOSE TO ABUSE!! The government is committing GENOCIDE, where is the dam help!?!?

  59. Victoria Grove at 12:51 am

    Re: Deaths caused by “Opioid Overdose”: What we never truly know about these deaths is the true cause of death. Any time the individual is prescribed an opioid for a pain condition, the opioid is singled out as the cause, typically long before an autopsy result is known. This always adds to the backlash against pain patients and their treatment options.

    The recent tragic death of Prince is being used as a warning to all who are prescribed Opioids for chronic pain, as well as their physicians and the regulators that want to end this option. The reality here is that we do not know the cause of death.b The news is just one day old.

    We learned that Prince had acquired influenza while on a tour, and that he had taken Percocet for pain following hip surgery. Influenza causes many deaths each year, typically involving lung failure or breathing difficulties, many superiors breathing problems can develop very suddenly. I understand that he had stopped breathing while on the plane and was revived with an injection of Narcan, but then had a similar episode after leaving the plane on his own. One would assume that a medical expert would consider that a second episode involving breathing difficulty and ending in death, was just as likely due to complications of influenza. I doubt we will ever know the full explanation. I hope that this is not the final nail in the coffins of chronic pain patients, whose options for management have dwindled in recent years.

    No matter the cause, our hearts go out to Prince’s family. Prince had a phenomenal gift of music and was still sharing new compositions with fans all over the world. His loss will be felt for decades. He was a good man with a huge talent. I am personally very saddened by his loss.

  60. Anonymous CRPS/RSD chronic pain at 11:45 pm

    I am a chronic pain sufferer. I was diagnosed with CRPS in 2006. They need to look up this disease and get a better understanding of this insidious disease that is a progressive nerve disease that has NO CURE! I repeat NO CURE! I follow what my pain Drs tells me. After OxyContin where do I go from here? Your body builds up tolerance to the meds. Then have to either increase the pain med or go on a different pain med. So. I’m on two pain meds pulse other meds to approach helping other problems with this disease. It is my decision to try to live more of a quality of life. Drs need to understand especially the CDC to understand that for my having CRPS/RSD there is no cure and it’s called the Suicide Disease because it’s hard to find pain meds or cute of to lower dosage. I never understood how someone could commit suicide. Now I get it. The chronic constant pain, deep bone pain, severe swelling, trouble with short term memory, insomnia, depression, anxiety. Then on top of that people who do not even have or no what this disease is has no right to tell my Drs not to prescribe and lesson my dosages.

    I do have a question though, what are the numbers of people taking illegal pain meds, heroin, cocaine, ect oh ya and alcohol, smoking cigarettes, What are their numbers since you are lumping it all together? And are they? If someone who does it right shouldn’t have to pay the price? It isn’t just people with chronic pain. Drs sware an oath to take care of their patients. I’ve signed an oath with my dr with regards to meds and random urine tests which I have no problem doing. But if they take my right to help me have some quality of life then I think all their loved ones need to have their family meds taken away from them. I am not a dollar sign, I didn’t pick this insidious disease, I will keep going until there is no breath left. You will have more suicides from the people who follow their doctors regimen and take it as high they can go. To get quality of life or you will have much higher suicide rate. If a doctor tries to do this because the CDC says NO Pain Meds or cites them down or off all then I pray to God that you get a good nights sleeping knowing that their decision took our lives!

  61. Steve at 10:26 pm

    I made the mistake of getting my Rx filled from my prior Doctor. My new Pain Mngmnt Doc said that broke my new contract. I was dismissed. I now have no Doctor who will prescribe pain meds. I suffer from full body Crps 22yrs, fibromyalgia and arthritis in my hands & feet. Don’t know about my future now. Its just me & Jesus.

  62. M.Long at 9:28 pm

    Anyone having to come off their pain meds at home,u need to take Gabapentin. It helps stop the withdrawal symptoms. And I feel if these people had taken their meds the way it is prescribed,and doctors would be very careful of what sleeping meds,Xanax,and antidepressants that they give along with pain meds.Maybe there would not be so many deaths.

  63. Debora Shiver at 8:53 pm

    I have had a chronic debilitating disease Interstial Cytitis ( bladder disease ) for over 30 years. Symptoms started gradually but after my hysterectomy it was full blown. My life as I knew it was over. I was a successful Insurance Rep. My pain and pressure in my bladder not to mention the frequency made me unable to keep my job. I lost my home, friends, family. My life was living in my bed going to doctors. What my urologist was treating me with eventually stopped working. He told me to see pain mgt. in 1999 I had a drug infusion pump implanted with morphine. That was only the beginning of this torture. Auto immune continues with other diseases. I have chronic fatigue, Hoshimotos, fibromyalgia, I am on my 4th pump. They don’t hold up long. I am on disability since 1997. I am unable to travel, shop or leave my house for long. We are trying to bring awareness to this horrible disease. It strikes all ages, and does progress. Each person is different with their symptoms. A lot of people are not as severe as I am but they maybe later. My life is not living, My body is been taken over with different painful diagnoses, that doesn’t end. The suicide rate is extremely high and severe depression if pain wasn’t enough.

  64. Joyce Stubblefield at 7:59 pm

    What can I do to help? I have dealt with Chronic pain now for over 19 years. And 1/2 if not more of the doctors I have ever seen were the first to say something to the effect that I have some sort of drug abuse problem. Which is completely absurd. Yet at that moment, every once of my esteem that I have left is taken away by these people who are supposed to help us get some type of quality of life. Where do these people loose their humanity for other people? What can we do to help every person who is in pain that gets treated this way because of the ones who have the drug issues at hand? I will do what ever I can, but you have to let me know because I don’t know what we can do about it. Thank you.

  65. Lisa Davis at 6:41 pm

    CJ my heart breaks for you. First , I am in WV and the addicts the worthless people whom have manipulated, lied and gotten these medication’s have demolished this system! The Government , CDC and DEA need sued for this obstruction to American people- notice here that comments go on and on and have for weeks! No solution is worked out–
    I too have had the same Dr for year’s and never had a problem. ….this past Monday he told me “that had he NOT gotten hold of himself before coming into office he would have just closed that day”! Now Dr., in every state is being harrased, something like a “witch hunt”, all because of the official’s…because people have abused and been moronic idiots. Each person affected by this need to write letters, I came out two months ago in an effort of getting people to realize the very importance of this– but they turn a blind eye because today they have their medicine….so in common language if it affects them personally they will complain, if not then they say nothing……but you and I know until enough people strike out and make these agencies notice us then it will be each state . A Dr and his office should not be forced to be regarded as drug dealers, i realizing bad Doctor’s are out there still but how on earth are they going to monitor esch individual…..either the patients take responsibility for their actions or else- maybe fining or jail time for lieing to receive such medicine, putting responsibility on every patient -serious responsibility too. Something can be worked out!
    ….I mean, this truely blows my mind! Again, sorry for your horrible situation.

  66. Debbie at 6:26 pm

    Been going to very well respected pain clinics for the past 15 years. They were the ones that cut off most of their patients!

  67. Laura Robertson at 6:19 pm

    I have been living with severe leveIs of chronic pain for over two decades now. Opiates are the only medication strong enough to manage my pain and allow me any sort of relief.

    Between opiates and the nerve block injections I receive weekly, I have actually, finally, achieved a quality of life that is not defined by pain, sleep deprivation, and isolation.

    There needs to be better education for both chronic pain and addiction. They are two completely separate issues.

    I run a chronic pain support group out of one of the leading mental health facilities in the province. The stories I hear repeatedly from participants are all the same… we get treated as drug-seeking addicts, or dismissed as attention-seeking hypochondriacs.

    Our Veterinarians get four to five times more training in pain recognition and management than do our graduates from medical school. This is appalling.

    Eight to thirteen per cent of the general population will struggle with addiction. The the other (approx) ninety per cent of the population living with significant, life impacting levels of pain get labelled, judged, and dismissed by the health care system. This treatment, or lack of treatment does an incalculable amount of damage to people who live with pain.

    Doctors need to learn the deference between actual psychological addiction, and people with pain who present with tolerance and dependence to opiates but are not drug-seeking for addiction. Our medical schools need to teach these very basic understandings.

    Doctors can learn from us. Listen carefully to what we have to say, what we need, and what you, as our health care providers, can best do to help us.

    Pay attention and learn!

  68. Alayne at 3:36 pm

    I lost a very dear, 36-year-old friend to liver failure last week because he was in constant pain and had to turn to alcohol and street drugs to self-medicate. How is that a good thing? Depriving him of proper pain medication caused his death, plain and simple. The CDC has been myopic in looking only at overdoses from pain meds. Denying proper pain medication is just as lethal but no one seems to understand that.
    As a chronic pain patient myself, I have been lucky to find an excellent pain doctor who treats me like an intelligent adult who can follow instructions on medication bottles and who understands proper dosage and the consequences of not being diligent about following them. Pain patients are being treated like children… more precisely, like poor step-children who don’t figure into the discussion at all. Ignoring one group of medication users for another helps neither.

  69. Reva Parker at 3:06 pm

    Yes, there are people out there who have overdosed on opioids. I just wonder why everybody is lumped into one group? I have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and I assure you 100% that if you took away the pain medication from all of us who suffer from this incurable, most painful chronic pain, you would have more suicides on their precious lists than letting our doctors whom have a license to prescribe do their jobs. It is not only opioids that they prescribe, they use other medications with it to help ease our pain. A lot of overdoses are from getting the drugs off of the streets without being prescribed, but all of us have to pay for that? I have a few doctors and all of them are well informed via networking and myself as to what prescriptions and their doses I am on. I still have a purpose and I don’t intend on letting this C.R.P.S. rule my life any more than it does so please do not keep putting restrictions on our doctors!!

  70. Susan Cane at 2:53 pm

    The least a Dr. could do is refer his people to a reputable pain management clinic. How irresponsible of his profession just to drop it, period. The least would be to taper your dose or place you in a clinic for rehab. A nice clinic. I have heard clinics are closing all over the place due to Laws changing, even pharmacy changing rules. The new quote is, It’s the law. I recently went on vacation and was able to have my Doctor to call CVS out of state so I could have my Pain meds refilled. What fell through the loop was the loss of my sleeping medication. I believe once a year you are allowed a early refill due to lost medication, now for get it. Also twice a year my the insurance standards, but, now, not happening. Especially since mine were dated and highlited. Do fill fill before the 14 of April. So, I have been out of sleep medications for at least two weeks. I have Had two back surgeries, now I am into my fifth year of IC.

  71. JR Yarbrough at 2:13 pm

    Your doctor should make a referral for you to a pain specialist. Sounds like he is not one. If he want, seek one out. Hope you get the help you need.

  72. wendy at 2:13 pm

    I mean no disrespect to the 2 newly departed celebrities, Prince and WWE star. Chyna, whom it seems may have died as a result of prescription drug over doses– but if it is true that these meds DID cause their deaths, it will just add fuel to the argument to push forward w/the CDC and DEA regulations to limit and/or eliminate the ability of the chronic pain patient to obtain their LEGALLY prescribed meds. Why can’t these well meaning “do-gooders” in the position to make laws that essentially discriminate against those of us who are using our meds as directed, see the difference between the “abuser” and recreational user, and the honest medical patient whose only hope for any kind of productive life is the relief we get from the prescription meds we use and obtain from our MD’s? Please don’t “throw the baby out w/the bath water”. We are no more like the addict, that the zebra is from the horse. We may look similar, but are not the same animal.

  73. 2nd Anonymous at 1:11 pm

    I am urging everyone chronic pain patient concerned about having their meds taken away (because they are doing this to us all) to go to http://petitions.MoveOn.org and sign the petition calling for the CDC to withdraw guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain. This will be sent to President Obama, the Senate, and The House of Representatives. 3,000 signatures are needed – there are currently approximately 2,235.

  74. Renee Mace at 1:06 pm

    You said it right, there is a difference between a drug addict and a chronic pain sufferer. I have Central Pain Syndrome and the only thing that gives me any relief is opioids and I take them as directed and I signed a pledge of being responsible with my medication and take pee and dna tests. I never have a problem with this other then the costs.

  75. Nancy at 12:37 pm

    If we are talking about Prince and some reports say he has had a couple of overdose events while using percocet for pain. Intentional or not you would think he would or should have had narcan available. Why was he alone when he had recently been so ill? This is tragic and not typical of a severe chronic pain patient. It would not be a bad idea to have narcan available to opioid users with and without chronic pain. Maybe there should be someone identified as a caregiver when opioids are prescribed to pain patients who are informed of overdose symptoms and narcan. Just an idea.

  76. Sara at 11:32 am

    So very well written. I hope we can get back to some kind of balance….

  77. Catherine B at 11:28 am

    As a pain patient that suffers from Interstitial Cystitis ,aka Bladder Pain Syndrome for the last 20+ yrs I’ve been paying close attention to the decisions being made by CDC, our politicians etc.. I have little to add bc I agree with everything each of you has taken the time to post here . But, naturally it’s an issue that has scared me and many of the members in my support groups ; Drs are cutting them off, pharmacies refusing to fill Rx from Drs ! Of course, I understand why Drs would be cautious bc in a sense have been warned about prescribing opioids for chronic pain ( yet Cancer pain is never questioned) . I believe that’s primarily due to this illness/ pain being understood . As IC sufferers we fight so hard to be heard and understood ,but in so many ways and for so many we and the severity of this debilitating illness are still mostly misunderstood.
    However, I’m one of the lucky ones that has a Dr ( my PCP) that has been willing to treat my pain, learn about my IC, help me fight battles for meds bc he listens and believes me. I see him each month, we review how/ if the pain is being managed adequately , discuss how much I’ve had to take on daily basis. He documents everything, also consults w/ a Pain mgmt Dr and my IC specialist . I’m mainly writing this bc this month it was time to get preauthourization again for my pain meds. My Drs nurse worked on this for over a week and my Dr also called and talked to ” the powers that be” bc I had been off this drug for 8 days w/ 0’weaning ! That’s extremely dangerous alone for this drug especially for me bc of all my other health issues ! I got extremely sick, thank goodness nothing serious happened to me . I ,myself even called my insurance co just out of curiousity and asked why NO ONE is concerned about the seriousness of withdrawal from this drug ? I knew they didn’t care but still wanted my voice heard ! Eventually , only due to my Dr fighting for me my medicine was approved, my concern lies for ALL those that don’t have someone fighting for them in this enormous battle. I understand both sides, but having been a counselor, addicts are always going to get drugs ..period ! It’s the chronic pain sufferers that will suffer from this new ” laws, guidelines” etc.. I don’t know if as a pain community whether we can make a difference but we must try if it’s thru the surveys out there ( DO THEM) , call your local ,state Senator, send letters, start petitions.. etc. We owe it to ourselves and to those that feel they can’t go on in pain like this and make that choice to end a life. Our voices need to be heard and there are enough of us ! Let’s fight to get our medical professionals making the decisions, not our Government .

  78. Debbie at 10:58 am

    I took the time to read your email and after crying my eyes out with sympathy and empathy too, I now can write… I TOTALLY understand what you are going through! Having been one of the disasters of the new system, it’s so good to see that I am not alone in my situation. Thanks for bringing on the tears…they’ve been pent up for many months.

  79. Kurt WG Matthies at 10:43 am

    Lots of great comments here about patient abandonment, proper use vs. misuse, inflated mortality statistics, and misapportionment of blame.

    The most poignant comment here mentions PTSD in the pain population, which is being neither monitored nor mentioned in the media.

    This new trend among the abandoned, under-treated, and even by those of us who are prescribed doses above the new CDC MMEDs, is also being felt by the providers with the courage and commitment to treat pain with all modalities — including opioid-based analgesics.

    Fear and loathing — a fitting description of attitudes in American pain management consciousness.

  80. Anonymous at 10:38 am

    I don’t think there is any accidental deaths, Honestly this is bull.. If you are an addict you are gonna take too many meds and overdoes eventually!! Not that it isn’t sad, but that’s by choice! Stop making more regulations on prescribed meds and actually deal with what’s going on in the streets… It’s so unbelievable how hard it is to get the meds we need as chronic pain patients, what is worse is how we are looked down upon and treated like Cr*p!! Yes people with Chronic pain do need strong medicine sorry if motrin worked I would use that no problem, but it doesn’t. Not for those who know any kind of pain that doesn’t Go Away!!! Obviously these organizations are more worried about making Opiods seem like a problem then highlighting the Fact that they Help Millions!!!

  81. Mark Gable at 10:31 am

    I agree totally. Patients suffering pain should not be victimized in order to deal with this terrible problem. I am a pain patient and I a,o being treated at a Pain Management Clinic that has strict rules concerning opioid medications. I am subject to pill counts, urinalysis, pharmacy limitations, and other checks to assure there is no diversion.
    I think anyone who needs to take opioids for longer than 3 months or some reasonable length of time should be required to be treated at a Pain Managemnt Specialist where rules can be enforced and other treatment modalities are available as is a pain psychotherapist.
    I thank God I was sent to this Pain Clinic. I know the rules and failing just once can result in dismissal. I know how to safeguard my meds and keep them out of the wrong hands. I would recommend that anyone taking opioids go to such a clinic. You will not regret it if you are there to be treated for pain.

  82. Carmen Comstock at 10:30 am

    I’m in a dilemma as much of you are in these above posts. I too have chronic pain and am now home bound unless I am FORCED out by an emergency like I was recently and I had to take pain medication. I have been saving my pain medication for just an “EMERGENCY”-otherwise I am in a recliner and struggling to do the everyday things a person takes for granted around the house.
    I have two bottles not totally full now of my pain medication and I can be in tears and knowing I can get relief I have to save these pills that I can function on for an EMERGENCY or the APOCALYPSE let’s say.
    I do not get HIGH from the medication I just feel like the rest of the world that is functioning. Also I am able to function quite normal and two visits ago to my urologist when he gave me a prescription for opioids for pain(I suffer from interstitial cystitis-nothing has worked to keep me out of pain-have tried it all by the way), the doctor looked at my husband and I and said he wasn’t going to make a “DRUG ADDICT” out of any of his patients. My prescription says take 1 every 3 hours for pain. I have never done this. I am tough and never have taken what the prescription says. Well, I really took this to heart what the urologist said, and it was kinda like a “threat” and so I didn’t take any and went back to my next appointment in SHEER AGONY and threw down my full bottle of pills to show him I wasn’t an addict and HE GOT MAD AT ME!!!!!—OH HE WAS YELLING AT ME FOR NOT TAKING THEM and CHEWED me out told my husband to give me one right then!!–Well, also, from HIS point of view, I will add my husband and I have seen the FRUSTRATION on his face-him shaking his head back and forth-his prescription pad is watched now by the GOVERNMENT and so he’s caught in a BAD place too. He wants to help and has the means and yet has the government breathing down his neck now!
    There are two sides to this story as you can see as I demonstrated here. I feel for patients and I also feel for the doctors having to deal with the government now watching every prescription they write.
    All of this is just such a SAD situation for ALL involved.
    I think too that it will in the end lead to people in chronic pain using street drugs-honest people who would never have ever imagined doing such s thing before the government got involved.
    It always takes a few irresponsible people making it bad for everyone.

  83. esque at 10:28 am

    Restricting pain meds that work cause a rise in suicide deaths (though if they used opiates to die, they will be considered an opiate overdose)and increase heroin use and overdoses( which are much more common with this non regulated so wildly variable strengths) Statistics can be manipulated to”support’ many unconsidered , shallow, misleading to untrue conclusions. So many variables are not part of those stats, nor reporting changes, nor other valid reasons for “increase in opiate deaths.”
    Also importantly, where is personal responsibility in all this? Few have cared about other types of illegal drug overdoses, especially as those addicts/self medicating pain patients are fodder for the prison-industrial complex.

  84. Audrey at 10:20 am

    The article said it in the first paragraph! ” Improper use of medications” can’t blame it on the drugs. Must blame it on the user and not all of us users do it improperly. Don’t blame it on the medication. Put the blame where it belongs. In the improper user!

  85. Liz at 10:17 am

    I am on both sides of this argument. I have been in pain management for about 5 years, and in 2013 I lost a family member to an accidental overdose. She was not in pain management, she was an addict who had also done other illegal drugs. She was clean, then she took her old dose and died. Taking away my pills wouldn’t have saved her life, because she bought her pills on the street. As far as I know, she never knew I took any pain meds. I miss her all the time, and I think about what life would be like if she was still here. But punishing me will not bring her back. The only thing that would have saved her was an honest conversation about the risks of use. Instead of preaching total abstinence from drugs, if the discussion was more honest- “look, we don’t want you to use this stuff, but if you do please don’t take your old dose, start low so you don’t OD”- we would save far more lives. I doubt these new “guidelines” are meant to save lives. I think they’re meant to be a political grandstand, so politicians can go back to their constituents and say “look what I’m trying to do as your representative.” They are taking a “strong” position on an issue that most of the population is ignorant about, and only knows the horrors they see on the new or in documentaries, or hear in political speeches. If those sources claim all pain patients are drug addicts it must be true, because those sources never lie.
    We need to be more open, honest and kind to drug addicts, and need to stop treating patients as the enemy.

  86. Dawn at 9:54 am

    I have a chronic pain condition of interstitial cystitis and getting pain medication has become a task and run around because doctors don’t want to help or they are reducing what I can have and are leaving me in pain, I see this as a major issue for many people.

  87. Jeanne Skadowski at 9:54 am

    My i surance company is refusing me continuance of my pain medication after 16 year’s successful use, on the assymption that it ‘shows no evidence of helping to control pain” What they are really doing is using some irresponsible people’ s deaths as an excuse to plump up their Bottom Line.

  88. Claudia P at 9:53 am

    As someone who not only suffers from Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome and Diabetic Neuropathy but also has a husband that has severe neuropathy in his feet and can only function by taking pain medication what the government is doing is downright cruel. I am very lucky at this point and I can still manage my pain with most of the medications for nerve pain however there are times I have seen my husband struggle with his pain where I know he wishes he could just end it all right there and then. He takes a very low dose of Oxy and now he will lose that too. The government is worried about death due to overdose of prescription drugs but I honestly feel that the situation is going to get much worse as people look elsewhere for relief. Obviously the people making these decisions have never lived with chronic pain!!

  89. Jamie at 9:45 am

    To be honest : The fear that people’s pain medication will start to be taken away s already happening . I live in Massachusetts and with the Governors new opioid bill alone with the new CDC guidelines pain patients all across mass myself included and being forcefully taken off our medications . I’m a 34 year old married mother of one . Ive been a pain patient for 12 years . I’ve always been compliant . I’ve never gotten prescriptions from another doctor , had a bad urine or bad “pill count” . NEVER in all these years . But because of the overdoses amd the other things I listed above Mass doctors are being forced to deny patients the right to the medications that allow them to live a semi normal life . I have been bed ridden for three weeks . I can’t even wash my own hair ! My 9 year old autistic daughter has breakdowns daily seeing me this way . But I’ve tried every avenue I could think of . Im slowly loosing hope every day . I have degenerative dish disease , 9 compression fractures , 4 herniated disks , 6 bulging disks , bone spurs hitting my spinal nerve etc . I live in pain on a constant basis now . And this is no way for anyone to live !

  90. Lisa at 9:39 am

    As I read this article in fear , what can we learn about this ? Honestly at this point nothing ! As I sit here fighting for my life to live , with no where to turn as every doctor including my pain management Doctor is shutting his doors because he doesn’t want to loose his license due to the DEA ? In turn I’m gonna loose my job , car , and home cause I won’t be able to work at all . I will loose everything and even my own life . How can these people we call humans sleep at night knowing how many lives will be ruined and will die without any solutions or treatment ? They played a role in this and can at least help all of us get to a better place instead of shutting doors in our face ! Where do we go from here ?

  91. Candice Hawkins at 9:26 am

    I’m an RN who suffers from chronic degenerative disc disease and Fibromyalgia. I saw the govt’s plan on cutting every pain patient back and their convincing the doctors and pharmacists that they would be watching them like hawks as a dIsmail future. I decided to see if Gabapentin would help my pain but boy does it make me squirrely. I also use hemp oil. The other night I had a tachycardia episode which I’m faced with and it would not correct itself even with meds. I went to the ER and the male nurse who assessed and treated me told me mixing Gabapentin with Marijuana can cause tachycardia. I kept telling him to pull up hemp oil info and see that it is not THC. He got my med list and saw I was allowed to take Oxycodone for pain if needed but I had really slowed down on that med thinking eventually the DEA would stop it’s use aND only usedan it seveal times a week for extremely hugh leels of pain. I spent the entire time in the ER stating I hadn’t take Oxycodone just Gabapentin and Hemp oil. It made no difference. Not only was I a drug addict but I also used an illegal substance, Marijuana. I repeatedly told them to do a urine drug test but they said it wasn’t necessary and that I need to tell my pain doctor what I did.
    How can pain patients not be discriminated against if medical personnel won’t listen or believe. I was waiting for the police to show up. My husband was furious and showed the nurse what CBD oil from hemp is and it isn’t pot. When I saw my pain doctor I asked him about the Gabapentin and he said some people can get reactions to it. He also assured me Hemp oil is now being used for GI issues such as Crohns and it wouldn’t have caused Tachycardia. My doctor knew I took Metoprolol for arrhythmia and felt the ER nurse needs a refresher course in pharmacology and nontraditional treatments.
    Until we as pain patients don’t feel persecuted and are treated with respect, nothing will change.

  92. David Michael Hossley at 9:05 am

    Unfortunately drug overdoses will always happen and the government can’t fix this problem with a one size fits all tough regulatory approach. I believe it is up to individual responsibility to either lock up your prescriptions and keep your medication out of reach of children and others at your discretion. You can keep count if necessary to track meds. If people do not, then the government (CDC/FDA and congress) will, and everyone knows that can be consequential.
    David Michael Hossley

  93. Susan at 8:59 am

    I agree that patients like myself, as much as I wish I could take other medications to help my pain, are unfairly being treated as an addict. I’ve had to go to an addiction Doctor by court order and had my medication changed so much recently I can’t function like I used to. Patients definitely need to be taught safe medicine use and need to kept medications under lock and key for protection of others. And never give anyone else your medicine.
    Those of us who live with horrible pain each day 24 hrs a day 365 days a year should not be treated as addicts as long as we follow our Doctor’guidelines. You can research yourself also and learn other things that will help. But please don’t lump us in with people who take anything to get a high. If you really need it you don’t get a high hopefully you get relief, at least a little.

  94. Carla Cheshire at 8:59 am

    How can doctors be allowed to stop prescribing opioids without taking the withdrawal h*ll that their patients will have to endure? What kind of people are these? I thought do no harm and helping their patients is their job. The country with legalized drugs is Portugal. See the new Michael Moore movie: Where Will We Invade Next? It is excellent. Moore talks to police and drug officials in Portugal who state what a success the legalization has been. The country has not fallen to pieces. They view addiction as a health problem and treat it as such. It is about helping addicts, not being vengeful and tossing them in jail. I heard a radio show this morning, Democracy Now!, that stated that every Fortune 500 company in America is using prison labor now that the prisons have been privatized. This is basically slave labor. The drug offenses create a pool of people to use as a work force. I find this disgusting.

    BTW, I agree with the other posters that opioids are very effective for long-term pain control. I’ve been using them for 13 years with no escalation in dose for the past 10 years! There are so many lies being spread. We know the truth.

    Maybe we should look into taking a group trip to Portugal and see for ourselves, anyone interested?

  95. Kris B. at 8:53 am

    I think this is an important subject and I am glad I received this in my email and could comment on this subject. I live with a very painful diseases interstitial cystitis , Atypical facial pain , Lower back pain and neck pain….My back pain does show on MRI and bless the lord I have been given pain management for that….BUT . No one can see I.C. our bladders as painful as we live with them. Yes they can see and confirm our disease for sure…

    So no one not even my pain doctor who knows and trusts me with up my dose of norco 5’s So I take them as directed . My back feels great! but I am stuck on my couch with out function with a heating pad or Ice in between my legs on my privates as they burn me to death and so far no nerve medication has helped . NO antidepressant has helped every day of my life is with no function at all..This brings me to tears..

    .So I think it is an important subject as I think the CDC will see that taking away pain meds from people that need them to function is going to cause just any many deaths in suicide than giving people pain meds if not more..And when I do give up and I have lost all hope , Because doctors are still working on me…They just took out all my lady parts to see if that will help me..I have ripped out almost every tooth to see if that would help me…one day I will rip out my bladder too…so I am not seeking pain meds I am seeking a cure to my pain ,But I would like to get off my couch and live a bit because if these are my last days ….this is not how I want them spent….And when my hope is gone and I can take no more pain…I will not kill my self with a pain pill NO WAY….I will never seek street drugs for pain relief either.

    But I will not live my like out like this ..I am 45 years young. I have lost too much over this already. I am disabled and on SSI and I was accepted at the age of 38 with no denial and no appeal and no letter from any one of my doctors . So my medical records show my proof…I have called my senator and congressman. I have even written to Dr Phil more than enough times to count on your hands and toes begging him to save my life…and bring awareness to our disease interstitial cystitis…I belong to a support group on Inspire and everyday you will read people talking about suicidal thoughts from pain….So yes I have a very strong opinion on this subject and thank you for letting me comment on this .

    I also have a very good mental health team and yes they know all my thoughts I am very honest they know where I am at in my mind and NO they are not locking me up because today I am not a danger to myself…on which day I am…hmm…..I can not guess what day that will be…

    But they gave me a great caseworker to advocate for me and go to appointments with me and she is my best friend in this entire world . Just to have a person with you to witness all that I am going through and have someone understand…yes she went with me to my pain management doctor and pleaded with him..explained my situation.. and he explained to her that I am 45 years young and he works in a Suboxone clinic 2 days a week and even though I have been with him for 7 years on and off..and he trusts me completely. He feels I am just to young for an increase…..okay so I will live on my couch …as tears run down my face now as I type this.

    I hope someone takes the time to read this

  96. Debbie at 8:43 am

    That’s exactly what I feel about getting blood on my hands!

  97. Michael Farmer at 8:39 am

    Adding to my comment earlier, contact your senators/congressman. The CDC and Obama can be stopped. But unless the law makers are held accountable, same ones the CDC and Obama avoided to begin with, then the average Joe citizen will be denied narcotics unless you are a cancer patient. Don’t doubt it!

  98. KA Fox at 8:39 am

    I’ve taken opioids for over two years now. I could take it more often than I do but I monitor my dosages closely. I take them for back pain and back surgery. I wish I didn’t have to take them but I don’t have other options currently.

  99. Sandra at 8:35 am

    Well how many people die of alcohol Why don’t you stop selling that if your so concerned about health.
    You told us how bad pot was the Gateway to hard drugs. Now look at you your selling it for you taxes you make licensing ect. You say pain pills are killing us look around you are making big money off of non opioids it is off the charts the money big Pharmaceutical Companies are making. People are not stupid. The drug companies lobbyists are giving politicians so much money, oh they will not tell the public. I’m so sick of politicians being so dishonest and we the people pay them they have no accountability they hid everything from us. We let them

  100. Michael Farmer at 8:20 am

    A moot conversation. The recent CDC’s “recommendations” are more then that. Doctors, worried about increased liability are already removing patients from narcotic pain relievers as we speak. I am one. 10 years of monitoring and meeting every hurdle applied means nothing. My pain doctor clearly states that these recommendations are in reality, the law of the land. The CDC calls them recommendations to avoid the outcry from 100’s of millions by deceiving them. Of course that excludes the rich and the famous that will continue to get these medicines.

  101. Bob Schubring at 8:14 am

    It’s past time that we overcame the stigma surrounding mental illness, which affects everyone. Addicts self-medicate with inappropriate drugs, usually because they are mentally ill. Authorities respond to the perceived slight, by cutting off pain patients’ access to drugs. Pain patients become angry, terrified, anxious, and many now experience post-traumatic stress disorder.

    Society’s efforts to hide from mental illness by criminalizing it, have brought more of it into existence, as people are driven to suicide by untreated pain, and the suicides, grotesquely, are viewed in some quarters as “increasing the health of the population”.

    Pain patient suicides are not accidental overdoses. Yet the CDC have manufactured an “opioid-related death” epidemic, by the simple expedient of blaming each potential suicide on accidental overdose. By this method, CDC is promoting more suicides–patients who are in too much pain and can no longer get medicine, see suicide as the only way out–and then taking the rise in suicides as “proof” that they need to take even more medicine away from more patients and drive those patients to suicide as well.

    Yet the addicts for whom all these crocodile tears are shed, get no actual help for real mental health issues. The money that’s being squandered on drug interdiction at the US border, could be used to give a tax credit to employers who hire recovering mental patients. This would create a genuine exit route, by which people who’ve been diagnosed with mental illness and had some treatment, could assume greater responsibility for their own care.

    The patient who is stable on medications that actually work, has no reason to drop them for street drugs, which would eliminate the profit from selling street drugs. And it’s the inexorable logic of this, that treatment of addicts’ underlying mental disorder would destroy the market for street drugs as those addiction patients ceased using street drugs, that we get at the violent and vengeful agenda of these sham humanitarians who demand “safer” drugs and harsher punishments for drug offenses.

    The bullies who run the Drug War, are fully aware that their tactics are killing innocent people, They defend these policies because they think that more death is a good thing…and if we pay close attention, we swiftly learn proof they believe this, because they say so.

  102. Karen Robbins at 8:11 am

    I agree, if you take them correctly as I have for the past almost 20 years – there will never be a problem. If you look at your pain medication like insulin, for example, you will never abuse it. If you never get a “high” or euphoria from them, you will never abuse them. I just understand that this is just like the gun problem, there are responsible people and there are those that use them to kill. There probably isn’t a real answer, think about it, drug abuse has been around forever and even when some of it is legalized there still are people out there abusing it. There will always be people out there who self medicate or take drugs for recreation. There is never going to be an answer. It just sucks that they don’t hurt themselves in the quest they only hurt people like me who take them as prescribed, who need them to function, to work, to be a mom, sister, daughter, auntie. I am becomming very afraid at what will happen to me when my Dr. no longer wants to fight the fight with me, or retires. I am quite sure I will be cast aside like so many others because the dr. doesn’t want to fight. I am on a high dose and Im pretty sure they will take me off and then what? I am really scared because at this point in my life, I don’t know what is out there for me. I had tried everything back in 97-98 when I first was injured, from physical therapy to those little beads in my ears. I just went every route even two surgeries, and finally found a regimine that works. I was so relieved when all of the pain advocates were getting involved – because pain medication was more widely accepted for pain, now it is sucked back into the void where people are trying to tell you that you will be better without them. That they do not work for long term pain, yet here I am to tell you they do. They try to tell you that it isnt even good for after surgery pain any longer. They even were in the process of taking my terminal auntie off of her morphine when she passed away suddenly because they would pay for the methadone faster, what is with that? All I can say is until these artists and celebrities and people who just have to get high just quit and we know they won’t, we will all be in the shadows again, scared and afraid that our Dr.s will leave us.

  103. PAUL at 8:01 am

    I am very concerned about the backlash against pain meds. If I were to lose mine, I would die. Plain and simple. Perhaps by my own hand, perhaps from withdrawal. But I would die. And if it were because the state mandated that I be taken off, it would be no different than the state executing a criminal. Do I deserve the death penalty because I suffer chronic pain? I have already lost so much. Do I have to lose my life too? Without medication, my pain is intolerable. Some of the horror stories I hear have me very frightened I intend to speak to my pain doc about this when I see him next.

    Wouldn’t we save more innocent lives by cracking down on the use of firearms? Gun don’t kill, People do. But when it comes to.opiates, it is a complete reversal. I use my meds responsibly and wish I did not need them. But I do. If I am cut off I will die. And if that happens, whoever cuts me off will have my blood on their hands.

  104. Debbie Ernst at 7:46 am

    Tell me more about Switzerland, okay?

  105. Julie Shaw at 7:44 am

    I agree. I feel awful for the families that have lost lived ones due to overdose. I also know that there is a huge difference between addiction and responsible consumption of opiods. I watched a documentary regarding prescription overdose and one guy was taking ninety pills in one day illegally. That’s not representative of the responsible pain patient. It’s completely different. I have been on pain meds for over ten years and, not once, have I taken beyond what I am prescribed. I don’t think we as people in pain can even get a high on a normal dose. I know I can’t. I remember a doctor telling me that anxiety medications don’t make people with true anxiety high, instead the meds bring them to a normal level. I feel that is true for pain medicine as well. I have never experienced the high people claim to have while on them. There really are many of us that need them, but patients also have a huge responsibility to keep their medicine away from others. Medical schools have a large role in this issue as well. One hour of training in medical school regarding pain management isn’t nearly enough and there also needs to be more research into pain in general. I think there is so much fear out there. I just wish those who are fearful could see how it benefits my daily life and the lives of many others suffering from chronic, debilitating pain.

  106. Chris Miller at 7:42 am

    I agree with your comments 100%. Under a doctor’s care I’ve been taking opioids for over 20 years following back surgery that had “complications.” I am careful, and am not addicted, but my doctor (in Georgia) has come under increasing limitations as to the type/amount of relief he can prescribe. As you say, the abusers have made it more and more difficult for us rule-followers to get relief.

    Do you have any suggestions for people like me to get better relief in this environment of increased restrictions? I can easily document my ongoing pain, compliance with regulations, and need for better assistance. Any advice you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

  107. Bill at 7:39 am

    I agree 100 %. I am an Dr. Rx opioid addict. As I get use to the level Rx’d I start taking more to relieve the pain. I was clean for 2years, then 10/14 & 02/15 I had the 2 surgeries to correct the DDD, and the rapidly & aggressive thoracic kyphosis. Broke my back & neck 2 places on each surgery. Now I’m titanium from L2-S1. This being my 10th& 11 th surgery has made my back a patchwork of muscles and nerves that don’t align or have some nerve to connect to. Lucky the RSD is in remission. My balance is gone, my memory, ability to remain vertical for long periods of time (even in a recliner. My only respite from the pain is laying down, or taking more meds. The metal, bone & muscles in my back can be felt on the inside and it hurts. Forget about cold damp weather. There are many times I think to myself I can 2 more than last time, cause that extra 2 didn’t hurt me. I fear one day I’ll take just 2 more, and never wake up. Thank you Doctors

  108. Jay Fleming at 7:37 am

    I’m a pain patient and former deputy sheriff, I’ve seen this problem from both sides. I think some of the overdoses may have been suicides by patients tired of the fight for pain relief.

    Part of the problem is the prejudice law enforcement has against patients who take opioid medications. Rather than do an in depth investigation to rule out suicide, it’s easier to just write it off as a drug abuser who overdosed. If the true number of suicides by pain patients was known, it would be staggering.

    As a deputy sheriff I saw a number of suspicious deaths of pain patients. Several were suspicious one vehicle accidents, In Spokane a pain patient called police and when they arrived he stepped out pointing an unloaded handgun at officers.

    He was shot and killed by the responding officers who had no idea. Suicide by cop is a growing trend. It can devastate the pain patients family and the officer’s life when he finds the weapon wasn’t loaded.

  109. Debdeb at 7:33 am

    Are these overdosed because of mistake, or because of sucide. I can’t understand how you can over dose if your taking the exact way it’s prescribed. Also these people with pain still have pain after taking their meds and just can’t handle it anymore so they overdose to kill themselves. Pain takes over your life wether you want to accept that or not. You can’t concentrate, you can’t be productive, you feel alone as these Doctors and nurses now put a stigma on pain patients. It’s not making sense. It’s in black and white. People with pain need pain medication. Doctors know that as well as pain doctors. There are nerves in our body’s that can’t be controlled by anything else. Maybe instead of denying us legitamite pain care, take another course of study to understand what we’re going thru.

  110. Debbie Ernst at 7:20 am

    I am one of the unfortunate people who ended up without their pain medication…
    The state of MA decided about 2 years ago to cut down on the prescribing of narcotics. I had been on the meds, very successfully, for almost 10 years…it was the only way I could be independent and out of the house. I am now house bound, almost completely, even having my groceries delivered because the pain is so severe. So between the 6 back surgeries, 2 brain surgeries for the back pain, & the migraines life has changed immensely. Oh, I forgot to mention that I also have fibromyalgia too. Life sucks! Did I mention that I had actually been going to a pain clinic for years? And even THEY didn’t realize what they were doing!

  111. Janet Parker at 7:13 am

    I am being made to suffer now because of things other people have done with pain medications. I have been a chronic pain sufferer for 15 years and in the last year and a half my medications have been cut so much I suffer daily again. Then my so call pain management center decided to stop providing care. They reduced my meds by 2/3rds then say they can no longer meet my needs and put me down as self discarged a few days before sending letters out that they were quitting. My primary care wont give me medication until I find a new provider so I am very scared about ending up in the hospital. I should not have to suffer because of others actions.

  112. Lisa at 6:54 am

    Any death is a horrible tragedy , it saddens me when public figures come up dead due to overdoses. It’s a horrible disease with all walks of life ! And feel our medical community has jumped ship on all of us , as this will only effect the ones who need it and take it responsibly ! War on drugs needs to stop and use that money for education more resources for all of us in need . Humanity seems to be gone , and Seems policy’s has taken precedents over people .

  113. Angie H. at 6:08 am

    I agree with amount of prescription overdoses and misuse of them is getting out of hand. To many people will steal or rob you if they know you take any strong pain medication. I have 3 safes to make sure mine are secured. Its not that difficult to invest in a good med safe. They are designed to protect your meds so they don’t go bad from improper storage. If they need to be refrigeratored get a smaller fridge in a put a good lock on it.
    As for the misuse of prescriptions. Any that are honest pain patients will avoid taking their meds if they can. Very few honest pain patients go overboard with their meds, they don’t like having to take them to function. I don’t like the meds but have no choice but to take them just to get things done. If not the pain is unbearable. I am more than happy to try different options but insurances have to be willing to pay for them. I do not want Ketamine pushed on me. That one scares me and I am not ready to try it.
    I lost my brother due to accidental overdose. He was in so much pain he forgot if he took his meds. That is more of what happens with chronic pain patients. The pain gets so bad their mind questions whether or not you took them. In most cases when the pain never eases and continues to get worse they assume they forgot a dose and take one. Unfortunately that doubles and sometimes triple the dose because they did take them. Everyone needs to come up with a system that works for them. That way they know they took them. A calendar they can check off works great.

  114. Jean Price at 6:06 am

    This article says something we have been saying also….that there is a difference between those who abuse drug, seeking them due to addiction and those who use them responsibly to treat severe chronic pain. Now here comes the big BUT…I’m really confused as to the title and the other statements. Are you saying you believe the rise in “prescription medication overdose deaths” are those people with chronic pain? People taking medications responsibly, yet “accidentally overdosing”? Because I thought they’re was evidence the overdose deaths were largely, almost exclusively, those who are addicted and take illegally procured street drugs, drugs that may have who knows what mixed in them, drugs like heroin being combined WITH prescriptions drugs. And these are all being falsely labeled prescription opioid deaths when the actual causative agent is heroin!! This certainly doesn’t diminish the sadness! But it does, once again, greatly diminish your work for those with chronic pain if this number is misinformation! AND WE NEED TO KNOW WHO THESE 46 PEOPLE ARE! Hard to believe those in pain need more education regarding taking pain medication. We are told all this and the dangers with warning labels and sheets of paper inserts when we fill legitimate prescriptions. If this is the true picture, that these are deaths of addicts, not people with pain…then this article certainly isn’t helpful in increasing awareness of the plight of those with chronic pain. In fact it shoots us down, and needs to be retracted or edited to reflect this. Any death is tragic, whether we are talking about a person whose life is out of control and they have turned to drugs to escape that, or a person with chronic pain. Yet, this article makes it seem there really are 46 deaths a day of people with chronic pain who overdose “accidentally”! And do so with legally prescribed medications? I really doubt that. And I’d really like to see that reported statistic. I think this number more reflects the deaths of those who abuse drugs and definitely highlights the dangers of using street drugs for any reason. Additionally, I think this number reflects the trumped up number of “opioid deaths, or prescription drug overdose deaths” the CDC used to kick off their witch hunt! Numbers that are skewed at best, and at worst were designed to give false emphasis to the legal medications used by those in chronic pain when in reality they are street drug combinations or illegally obtained prescription medications.. (You’re going to be seeing this with fentanyl also it seems, from an earlier article. Will that also be a black mark against those in chronic pain, even if the majority are those who intentionally abuse drugs!?!) I’m sorry to say it, but you’re playing THEIR SONG HERE, phrases like “unintentional prescription overdose”, and “WE can diminish the staggering statistic”, seriously we as in those of us with chronic pain?? How, if they are deaths of those addicted? By education and proper storage? I doubt this will impact the abuse community of people, and I really can’t believe these death are all those with chronic pain….YET! I am so very disappointed in the leader of this organization’s article of mixed messages. This is a critical oversight in my opinion! Because if it’s true, then what are we fighting, the guidelines… or irresponsible medication use by those in pain? If it’s true, then there is some serious need of different help for those in chronic pain who use opioids! What is the real message here, Mr. Gileno?

    “As terrible as addiction is, we have to remember that people with pain matter.” You would think a statement such as this would be from someone primarily interested in addiction issues, and they just wanted to throw in that oh, yes pain matters too! Shouldn’t this be reversed when it comes from those who advocate for people with chronic pain? I know I have in the past called out our advocacy groups for lack of response to our comments here, not responding to acutual direct questions asked here or through messaging, running ads for addiction rehab clinics yet no ads for helping those with chronic pain, continuing to do more of the same when we seem to need more visible and perhaps legal actions, and other issues I hoped they address in our crisis. This is not meant to criticize the people who work there or the volunteers. It speaks of my frustration with some wording that can be so important, the unspoken messages given off innocently that can have such negative impacts, the public relations nuances that seem to mix messages, the statements that don’t pack as much punch as I believe they could, and even asking for our help yet not addressing our offers. This article is another example, and so very sad to me. I do not feel supported as someone with pain. I feel like I’m being told lack of education regarding my medications and unsafe dosing practices are a problem putting me and others in pain at risk…and that’s what causing people in pain to die,…accidentally, unintentionally…of overdoses! That isn’t very true to the problem, is it? Because if it truly is, we all need to change our focus, forget untreated pain, and work solely on education and mental health issues. That sounds rather like what’s needed for those who are addicted, doesn’t it? I wish I could say the harshness of my comment is my pain speaking…but I really think it’s more my sense of clarity and my desire for more careful approaches in wording our issues. Come to think of it, when that’s missing, that’s painful too!

  115. Angel at 6:04 am

    Given the governments logic on opioid prescribing, celebrities should be banned from having then prescribed as they’re more likely than the rest of the population to abuse them and die combining heroin multiple prescriptions and alcohol. Unfortunately flawed logic is what’s caused this witch hunt against pain patients and doctors in the first place.

  116. Brooke K. at 5:58 am

    Prescription opioids should always be taken as prescribed and safety measures enforced. They are not to be messed with. I believe patients–pain management and cancer alike–must be required to lock their meds up away from children, teens, and other adults. It should be a law. What you are missing in your article is though there are, sadly, prescription drug deaths, the statistics are not accurate and illegal vs. legal use are not fleshed out. I FOILed the CDC and received an email stating that a large majority of prescription drug overdoses are actually this fentanyl-laced heroin or fentanyl in a pill. This is why the numbers are so high. In the last month alone I know four people who died of overdoses from street fentanyl–best friend’s daughter, guy from high school, and two kids my son went to high school with. All were reported as “prescription drug overdoses” though they never ingested a pill. All did heroin. It is vitally important we mention these facts in this discussion. But, yeah, I believe safety needs to be a top priority in prescribing and education patients.

  117. Candice at 5:53 am

    If you take your meds as prescribed then you won’t overdose. I am in pain on a daily basis,it’d be easy to take more to elemimate the pain. Sometimes you just have to push on,pain or not. I think its people who just want the high or just will do anything to get out of pain that overdose. You have to be strong on a daily basis. Find the strength to live and deal with it. My doctor won’t even raise my narco level because he doesn’t want me to become immune to it. I get that,I also suffer because of it. That’s life. Again,be strong,push through. This is the life many of us are delte,sad to say.

  118. Diane Gracely at 5:02 am

    Thank you Paul for all you do for us chronic pain patients. I have suffered with chronic pain since I was 5 years old. I will be 52 this Sunday. It’s a long time to fight for pain relief. I have Charcot Marie Tooth disease and many other health problems including being hit by a drunk driver last year. Please read my story here – http://stashjarsandpipes.com/about-diane

  119. Steve P. at 4:52 am

    I don’t believe for a minute the claim that 46 people per day die from overdoses of legally prescribed medication. The statistics cited by the DEA/CDC/FDA are highly tainted, counting single deaths multiple times. If you have opioid in your system and get into a car accident that is not your fault, they will label it as an opioid related death. That is why the opioid related death numbers for the same time period changed numerous times during the development of the CDC guidelines.

    I know no one, directly or indirectly, that has died from legally prescribed medications, other than maybe 1 or 2 celebrities over the decades. But I know 2 people who died because of insufficient pain management and many more, including myself, who have been brought to the brink of death (shock), while in the hospital by insufficient pain management.

  120. Carrie at 4:13 am

    What is NOT being separated from the lumped together “opiate overdose” is if a person who has illegally obtained prescription drugs, goes against the chronic pain patients. People who are facing intractable pain and choose to end their suffering are often listed as “unintended opiate overdose” AGAIN leaving us with misleading statistics. The saying “Numbers don’t lie.” But they can all too easily be misleading. For many reasons, unintended overdose is listed, when many close to the individual know different, but it is illegal to commit suicide. Some religious beliefs are so taboo they are forbidden to be buried on “holy” ground. And so it goes-mostly to protect the survivors. I was mortified when I saw on the TV screen opiate dependant/heroin addicts during some part of the Presidential campaign. The 2 could not be more different, yet pain patients are further stigmatized. AddING to the shame we already have endured losing our ability to work, losing your right to the SSDI you WORKED for to be left at the lowest income level, SSI, not even $10,000 year. Poverty and the loss of independent ability to function is difficult enough for too many people, who are now being told that must give up the only thing that is left to keep some quality and functionality in their lives.Certainly, we would like to try massage therapy, but it is not a covered medical expense, nor are many other alternatives that do help some people.
    Street drugs are not going to be an option for many undermedicated patients. I’m trying to make arrangements for a trip to Switzerland if things change for the worse, it is the only legal action against the pain.

  121. CJ Hart at 4:00 am

    Due to the constant monitoring of the DEA and the amount of time required updating their database, my doctor & friend of 25 years is no longer willing to prescribe ANY opioids or class 2 medications to any of his patients.

    I was informed of this two days ago. He kept saying “this is not about you, you’ve been very responsible, it’s the DEA” as if it really matters. The end result is the same.

    After almost 15 years of responsibly taking 4 20 mg tablets of OxyContin ER a day, which allowed me to walk and have at least a minimum ability to function I am now expected to stop cold turkey and due without.

    I will have to tough it out and go through the withdrawal. I will not go the route that so many will of buying off the street or moving to Heroin, a readily available & much cheaper option.

    I am mad at my doctor for not giving me some notice, nor a tapering plan by shifting to a gradually decreasing amount of short acting OxyContin. No, he just disgarded me & his other pain patients without any concern for our well being. What happened to ” first do no harm” I wonder?

    Well at least I know “it wasn’t because of me”. I’m sure that will make me feel better as I withdrawal from the drug that has allowed me to function all these years.

    Nice going DEA! I predict an increase in illegal drug use, especially Heroin, and many more deaths. Blowback is a b*tch!