Opinion: The Media Is Not Telling The Truth About Chronic Pain

Opinion: The Media Is Not Telling The Truth About Chronic Pain

By Adam Pfeffer, et al.

Editor’s Note: Adam Pfeffer, his wife Robin, Steve Ariens and Susie Dixon are part of LIVESUPPORTGROUP.COM, which promotes virtual chats for chronic pain patients. We at the National Pain Report asked them to share why they initiated this effort.

Over the last year we have heard so many stories from around the country. Stories that echo the frustration and misery that is sweeping through the chronic pain community.

  • Why is my pain management doctor treating me like a recreational drug user?
  • Why have I been red flagged for interviewing a few different doctors?
  • Why am I suffering needlessly while our pets get more compassion?
  • Why are our politicians willing to relegate us to our beds, in agony? Whew, yes, why?

The climate out there is hostile, ignorant and misinformed. Illegal drug use numbers, emergency room visits and overdose deaths are linked with legitimate prescriptions and the media do not vet these numbers or even question the relevancy of said numbers. Don’t think we are the only group misrepresented by our media my friends. Our media has displayed a vast arrogance on many important issues. But, this issue is our issue. This weight we carry affects us, our mothers and fathers, our sisters and brothers, and, our children and friends.

And where are our doctors? Many cower in fear of the DEA and other agencies. Are they not bound by oath to do us no harm and be jealous advocates for patient health and wellbeing? Do we not all have the right to a good quality life? You remember, life liberty and the pursuit of happiness? It seems in 2016, in the United States of America, that the answer is not just no, but hell no!

Hence the frustration felt by so many tax paying, voting, suffering citizens. Beaten up by our leaders, the media, our doctors and sometimes even family and friends. Who will speak for us? Who is our Lorax?

Unfortunately, there may be no Lorax for the chronic pain patients, if we don’t address what is transpiring in our political world.  History has shown us with atrocities such as the Salem Witch hunts, Hitler’s overpowering of Europe, the murders by Stalin and the list goes on, when the citizens allowed injustice of any type to go unchecked, the transgressor interpreted it as free reign to continue on. Many atrocities would not have occurred without help from the propaganda machine, which is now the media.

We do have an illegal drug problem where addicts have issues that need to be addressed.  The drama of their situation is being used as a weapon against the pain patient.  Few average pain patients have enough “drama” to even warrant media attention with a two line story, so the strategy has become to lump the truly ill with the dramatics of the drug addiction problem.  For example, which is more dramatic, 257 million opiate prescriptions written providing enough opiates for every adult in America, or the statistic that 6.4% of all prescriptions written are opiates?   The recent HBO Special addressing deaths due to medical opiate use, opened with statistics of legal medical opiate prescriptions and the remainder of the program focused on heroin deaths, throwing in a few captions of medical prescriptions along the way.

The DEA, CDC, and other agencies have nearly unlimited access to the media, to achieve their goals. The average citizen would become incensed with the “power grabbing” techniques of these agencies, if it weren’t for the misinformation being peddled by our media. We would never allow these agencies to treat our doctors and pharmacies or ourselves this way, without a large out cry, if we weren’t feed a steady daily stream of misinformation.

At LiveSupportGroup.com, we encourage conversations among chronic pain patients. The media should listen. They might learn something.

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Authored by: Adam Pfeffer, et al.

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Very well written and so on point!


To: Tim Mason:
I was on a Statin drug for 2 years until my Cardiologist recommended I go off them as the risks outweighed the benefits (in my case). With only minor fluctuations in my blood work regarding the level of Cholesterol, it was around the time the warnings started getting to the Doctor’s prescribing the Statins indiscriminately to everyone who had just minor elevations in their cholesterol levels. I am just thankful that my particular Doctor did her homework and decided that the Statins were not needed and that diet changes and some holistic supplements were more than indicated as better for me. Thanks for your post! I love when people are accurate in their posts and have done their homework!

TJ McMullen

I wrote a long letter and somehow lost it. But BL, the er has a right to order a shot for pain, which does not break a pain contract, I never said, I asked for additional pain meds nor offered. If your admitted to the hospital, anyone with common sense, knows the hospitalist, makes the decisions. My, last visit, he increased the dosage of my regular pain meds to help with the severe pain for a bllod clot, and notified the pharmacy and pain doctor to take care of any problems, for the pain contract. I am not on heavy pain meds, yet am tested, every 28 days! If, there were a problem, a failed drug test, then check me, everytime. It’s a known fact no lab is perfect, so don’t condem, me until a 2nd test shows something wrong. Finally, Obama, by presidential decrees, to do many things, which the Supreme Court, has rejected as overstepping his authority. President Obama has recently asked for well over a billion to help people addicted to drugs and alcohol. Also, for the states allowing recreational pot, as well as medical pot, to allow the banks to handle the money, so it’s Obama and his administration who are causing the problems. If, you want anymore information from me, PLEASE, ask me. Oh, by the way, I can write the monitoring program for what information they have on me. To make it clear, I have never been in any trouble with the law, or had any pharmacy reject a written perscription!!

Tim Mason

Opioids are cheap. I just heard a man talk from the CDC and he said that statins are over prescribed but pharma will keep pushing them because of the investment and dollars pharma has spent on them. In fact CDC data states that statins prescribed for moderate cholesterol levels are making people physically ill.
You won’t see this in the headlines.


TJ McMullen, would you please post a link to the State Prescription Monitoring Program law in your state that requires the pharmacists to turn in filled prescriptions only once every three months ? Or am i misunderstanding what you said ? Being an inpatient in a hospital is not the same as being in the emergency room or other outpatient departments. If a patient has been admitted to a hospital, the hospital is iin charge of their medications. Unfortunately, a lot of people believe that being in the emergency room is the same as being admitted and being inpatient and it is not. Pain contracts don’t apply to when a patient has been admitted and is in a room. Pain contracts are not required by law, although they are recommended. The reason for the pain contract is so the patient and the dr have proof of what is expected of the patient and the patient can’t say they didn’t know about something or they didn’t understand something. Hospital personel have nothing to do with pain contracts. If you go to the er and you tell a dr that you have a pain contract and the dr writes you a prescription for pain meds and your pain contract states that no other dr but your pain dr is to write you pain med prescriptions and/or that you are not to see another dr for your pain, the chances are very good that you will be dismissed for breaking your pain contract. President Obama has nothing to do with pain contracts or stricter guidelines. The President, whoever it is, can ask the politicians in Washington to change federal laws or write new ones, but that does not mean that they will do it. In the 90’s, the pharmaceutical company reps told the drs that the pain meds weren’t addicting or dangerous and the drs believed them. This was long before President Obama was in office. The drs have to depend on what they pharmaceutical companies tell them about the meds because that is where they get their information from. Pharmaceutical companies are known for hiding vital information about meds from the FDA, drs, the public and it is not just pain meds. The CDC and the FDA have said a lot about the older population. But, I doubt it is what you’re referring to. They have said that when a patient gets older that more caution should be used when prescribing opiates. They also say that the doses should be drcreased compared to younger patients because age affects how the meds are metabolized. They also say that the older populations is more at risk for adverse reactions, falls and death due to having numerous other health issues and because the increased meds that they take for those health issues. I do agree with you that others should not have to suffer for poor parenting and the actions and choices of others. As for the young and productive population, they are the ones… Read more »


I know all of that the monitoring program is useless also if the scumbags r getting prescriptions. The background check should be made a requirement and banning the ones w records, instead of all this other bs threatening drs and such

TJ McMullen

Mr. BL, in my state, every three months any perscrption written has to b reported!! If, I M in the hospital in a room, the pain contract is NULL AND VOIDED, yet the RN, in my case caused the problem, claiming the contract sighned was enforce!! If, my condition worsens, the hospitalis, has the RIGHT and DUTY, to make changes, as the hospital did. DICTATOR OBAMA, is the problem, he has no leacgacy, and is blaming drs for the problems. I will akways maintain, it’s the persons responsibility to take the medicine right!! Just as the drinker makes the decision to drink and drive. Is, our nation, going to shutter hospitals, doctors,pharmacies, and of course stop all the illegal drugs from entering our country?? Everyone should not have to suffer for poor parenting, and a few bad apple doctors. Rember also, baby boomers, the largest older population, in our country’s history, of course more pain meds and illness will increase. CDC, has not said a word about the older population!! It, seems to me, the government is only caring about, the young and productive population, and the hell, with the rest!!

Tim Mason

Bill, it sounds like you are in a bad situation. What did your imaging indicate? Did an MRI, CT or X-ray indicate what might be causing the pain? Sound like you may need a new pain management doctor or fresh images.

Randall M. Piercy

well put ,i my self have had a perfect driving record as a licensed class a with tank and hazmat driver for over 14 years and these people looked down there noses at me as if i was no more then a common drug addict .they would every month hit me with a U/A .with this being said had been screened since 1988 with all of my jobs and low and behold i finally got answers to why my pain put me out of a job of driving OTR.the second month they tested me and did not even send me a letter as to a bad U/A with showing i reportedly had morphine diazapam and 2 others that i did not even know what they were .they continued to help me with a firm warning .now i have to also say had they notified me the moment it happened ,i would have went straight to my primary care and let him know what was going on to have all necessary blood work done to prove them wrong .they continued to treat me as no more then a common drug addict and all at once from January of last year right up to December 21st and cut me loose no back up or anything to help me get other help . Merry Christmas .so after being turned down by 11 other centers ,i decided to have records sent to my primary care and paid him to copy them for me .low and behold they stated in many of 72 pages that i was a risk due to the fact that i had issues with drugs in my past and that i was also an occasional drinker . needless to say i was furious with this .i am no fool by no means ,especially knowing they were screening me ..question this ,how had i had never had to take real meds before this time other then Advil ,goodies powders .me with a perfect CDL and again a perfect record never failed a U/A from 1981 until i finally get some one to find the cause with my pain which is osteoporosis ,no fluid in my joints ,add to that 7 bad disks from my neck to the middle of my back1of which is just out right shot another pretty much the same the others are all well on there way..that test i never got to see them seal it with my initials like they were supposed to do so i now have a massive mess trying to have these records amended .i can only hope my primary as good as he is of which we went over everything and his plans will hopefully help me to get a proper referral but no one where i live will touch me at all so will be driving 2 hours to S.C,Myrtle beach that he thinks will help me .any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated .sincerely R.M.Piercy


Rk, each state already has a State Prescription Monitoring Program. That is a database that lists every patients that has gotten a Schedule II and usually others, prescription filled in the state. Most of the states also are linked to their bordering states PMP. The majority of states have laws that require a dr to check the PMP before prescribing a Schedule II and pharmacists also have to check the PMP before filling a prescription for a Schedule II.

Most cities and towns have the names of people that have been arrested and what they were arrested for available online free to the public. There is no need for a drs office to pay for background checks when office staff can get the same information for free.

Susan Dixon

I agree with your idea of stopping the abusers which would help stop the problem for many of us. Background checks could be expensive, but would be cheaper in the long run than treating addiction and all the social problems associated with addiction. We just have to be careful who does the background check, not sure I want the DEA involved with that LOL. There are also other options that would stop many of the problems. For instance, giving pharmacies access to DMV records via computer, to see if the picture matches the Drivers License being shown as ID. That alone would cut out the false ID problem the pharmacies deal with. Doctors could start having patients come in, giving random drug tests, to check the level of the medication in the patient’s system, instead of it being predictable. The patients that are selling their medication instead of using it themselves, always keep some to take before they go to the doctor. There’s also the treatments available to keep addicts off of drugs, very similar to alcohol treatment, where they can’t get high. That alone would keep many people out of prison and them being productive citizens. You are so right, there’s so much that could be done, rather than just targeting the pain patient.


THere is a very easy resolution to all of this, why dont they just perform BACKGROUND checks on every chronic pain patient new ir existing…if they have any type of criminal or drug charges..THOSE r ARE THE ONES WHO SHOULD BE BANNED AND HAVE THEIR MEDS CUT OFF. They r what is causinf all of this suffering why dont thry just do this??? It would probably get rid of half the prescriptions being written.


If the vast majority of chronic pain patients weren’t having their pain adequately managed, there would have been at least several million that commented during the public comment period for the CDC Guidelines. If the vast majority of chronic pain patients weren’t having their pain adequately managed, the number of opioid prescriptions would have drastically dropped in recent years. And those are just a few examples. I’m not saying that there aren’t some chronic pain patients that can’t get their pain treated. I am saying that compared to those that are having their pain adequately managed, the number is small.

Have you looked up the number of opiate prescriptions that are filled for people on Medicare? Only a percentage of Americans receive Medicare, but factor in that percentage with the number of opiate prescription that were written in 2013, which is the most recent year that numbers are availabe for. Have you looked up pain management drs and other dr in your area to see how many wrote prescriptions for opaites for those on Medicare in 2013 ? For those that their drs told them that they could no longer write prescription for opiates in 2012 or before, have you looked that dr up to see how many opaite prescription they wrote in 2013 for Medicare patients ? Not everyone has Medicare, but considering the fact that chronic severe pain can be disabling, and many that have chronic severe pain are receiving SSDI, those number say a lot. And Medicare is just one example.


BL says “The vast majority of chronic pain patients are having their pain adequately managed.” A remark that clearly shows he is not a chronic pain patent and knows nothing about what it’s like to seek relief from severe pain 24/7/365. Pain, you see, is like being lost on a secluded island with no food. Eventually hunger, like pain, becomes so intense it dominates your entire thought process. You cannot concentrate on anything but getting some type of relief from the pain. When it continues long enough there is only one alterative that remains. Illegal drugs or accidental overdose. Those chronic pain doctors are subject to the same CDC guidelines as any other doctor. They don’t write opioid prescriptions anymore. They tell you do things like exercise. I need a doctor to tell me that? H*ll, don’t you think if I could exercise without making the pain worse, I would?

Susan Dixon

I’m one of the original members of Live Support Group.com. I can’t begin to explain what a completely positive change this group has had on my life. I encourage every chronic pain patient, their family, and their friends to visit us, even join us for a group, to experience for themselves the positive impact that our group has. I’m very thankful to Adam and Robin Pfeffer for the opportunity to co author this article concerning the negative impact the media is having on all pain patients. Thank you also to the NPR for giving us this forum.
The fight for the right to a good quality life isn’t limited to the media, there are many other agencies and organizations that have targeted us. I don’t buy into many “conspiracies” but it does seem that this situation is slightly different. It does appear that the alphabet agencies are overstepping their authority, by not putting laws before Congress, by instead publishing “guidelines” and “regulations”, that due to fear, our doctors and pharmacies are abiding by, as completely as if these were actual law. These agencies are using our own tax dollars to produce an atmosphere of fear, with the pain patient paying the ultimate price by being under treated or even worse, in some cases not treated at all. Unfortunately, our doctors and pharmacies are being placed in the same position the IRS places individuals in when they are falsely accused of not complying with IRS regulations. The IRS freezes their assets, closes down their source of income and leaves them bankrupt to fight an almost unwinnable battle. As pain patients we are being subjected to the same sort of tactics, for what seems to be no apparent reason.
I doubt that it’s purely laziness on the part of the DEA that they have chosen us as their target rather than the cartels. I believe it’s a much more complex issue than their fear of the cartels. Perhaps the motivations of our “enemies” is as diverse as our “enemies” have become. I agree completely with the individuals who are speaking out, saying that we need to band together for any change and to protect our rights.
I do know that without the emotional support of Live Support Group.com and the wonderful members of our group, I wouldn’t have the necessary strength to fight any battle to help myself.

Martha Arntson



Why is everyone saying the new guidelines are urging drs not to prescribe them???the guideline as i read it says to prescribe only as last resort after trying other drugs first??
I have tried them all the non,opiod, idk who would be prescribed opiates first anyway….I am so sick of this and having to live like a hermit at age 41starving to death unable to work,unable to use my car due to not being able to afford a Battery for 2 months , all because these drs r chicken sh/ts!and dont have any ounce of empathy. because most of them have none. Before having my meds cut i was able to somewhat live i,dependent and work part time, thanks to dr refusing to keep ke on meds that allowed me some quality of life ive gone downhill 10000% have zero quality of life cannot work at all and trying to live on ssdi while having $200of it garnished every month by the dept of treasury for a 12 year old student loans. What a joke. This government is just evil Anyone whod do this to those of us suffering is plain old evil.

Chrystal Weaver

To “BL”: THE REAL EPIDEMIC IN THIS COUNTRY IS UNTREATED AND UNDER-TREATED PAIN! I have no idea who you are since you are only willing to reveal your initials nor do I know where you get your “information” that allows you to make the absurd comments. I have Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (also referred to as Complex Regional Pain Sydrome). I suggest you look up CRPS in Wikipedia. It provides an excellent introduction to the disease. CRPS is often referred to as the “suicide disease” and for good reason. The never ending severe pain, day after day after day, is enough to make the most mentally stable person reach their breaking point and chose to take their life. There ARE no effective treatments. It’s NOT curable. Opiates are the treatment of last resort. I tried each and every recommended procedure, non-opiate medication cocktail, to no effect on my pain levels whatsoever. Then I was prescribed opiates and it was the only thing that was able to lower my pain level at all. CRPS is NOT the only disease/condition that fits the description I have outlined above. There is a very long list of conditions which have severe debilitating pain that is difficult to treat. The NIH website provides a long list of conditions that feature severe, debilitating chronic pain. I am not speaking about the total eradication of pain. That’s unrealistic and unachievable. I’m talking about getting pain levels down from the 7 to 8 range to the 4 to 5 range. So the person can take a shower, make a sandwich, perform light housekeeping tasks, pick up some groceries….things people take for granted every single day. I see a pain management doctor. I got so tired of all the hoops that I was made to jump through at the doctor’s office and the pharmacy (always seemed to be out of stock, don’t carry the medication, waiting for the shipment to come in or some other excuse). Since the seriousness of my condition warranted it, I opted to have an interthecal pump surgically implanted so each month it gets filled with opiate based medication. The dosage is programmed by the specialist. He refuses to increase my dose despite my pleas. And I know that if my dose was adjusted I would be able to have an average pain level between 3 – 4. I would be able to return to work as a CPA rather than be in the poor house drawing SSDI. My current dosage is not sufficient to make much of a difference in my pain levels. I live everyday at a level 7 on average and if I get down to a 6 or a 5 it is a blessing. I’ve told my doctor for over a year now that the dosage needs to be adjusted. It falls on deaf ears. PM doctors have the proverbial sword over their heads compliments of the DEA and various other alphabet agencies who believe the hype propagated by anti-opiate zealots who… Read more »

TJ McMullen

To Martha, You need a serious reality check!!!!!! My pain specialist said the guidelines were the law of the land, PERIOD!!!!! Where do you get, your information from????? I am 59, and every doctor is afraid, it matters not what is wrong!! I suggest, you do some research before you speak, ask any doctor, pharmacist, your body adapts, to the medicine, and requires changes. Because, I am disabled, to the point of having a wheelchair, and scooter. I should not be allowed to walk, because of the goverments feelings? Mam, I live in the United states of AMERICA, not a dictatorship. I must assume by your know it all oppions, you were lucky to find a good dr. You have condemned most people like me, I take it personally, and still hope you never have to suffer!!

Tim Mason

I wonder where doctors go for pain management. They are human too. Surely some of them must have chronic pain.


By the way one thing people can do is start a petition you can go to the Presidents web site he has a place on it easy to find to start one. I,m not for sure how to would it . Can any one help organize it. I so tired of telling my story and no one hears me.

Martha Arntson

To BL: Your comment BL March 27, 2016 at 11:49 am “The vast majority of chronic pain patients are having their pain adequately managed. Those that don’t want to go to a pain management drs because they don’t want to sign a pain contract, have random drug screens and go every 30 days and those that are on high doses of opiates are the ones having problems finding a dr to manage their pain.” PART of your dissertation is correct, however, a “vast majority of chronic pain patients are having their pain adequately managed”? WHERE DID YOU FIND THAT INFORMATION AS FACT? Can you clarify where that statistic is? and…THIS statement that I copy/pasted from your post “If the vast majority of chronic pain patients weren’t receiving adequate treatment, there would have been more comments from chronic pain patients during the CDC Guidelines comment period that those that were in favor of the guidelines as well as those that wanted them to be stricter. FACT: IF YOU READ THE CDC’S “SUPPOSED” OPEN FORUM they held (numerous), and the NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS THAT WERE BLOCKED FROM PARTICIPATING IN THE FORUMS, I think you will retract your statement that there would have been “more comments from Chronic Pain Patients during the CDC Guideline comment period”. FACT: THEY INTENTIONALLY BLOCKED PARTICULAR PEOPLE FROM PARTICIPATING, other than, THOSE THEY CHOSE THAT WERE FOR THE NEW GUIDELINES. I suggest you go read, from the beginning, the CDC’s Announcement of these “open forums” they were going to hold, when and where and how to participate. It was DONE IN SECRET, intentionally. I am a Chronic Pain Patient, I have posted on many websites regarding this issue. I have done my homework/research, I have reported back to my Pain Management Physician some of the details of what was happening with the new Guidelines as it was going to affect me personally and how my doctor prescribes. She actually looked into it further and found what I brought her to read and research has now become an open book between us. We freely discuss these Guidelines, she wasn’t even aware of the “reasoning” behind the SUGGESTIONS (at that point in time, January, 2016), of the CDC’s “guidelines”. Which is exactly what they are, just Guidelines. Since Obama announced he was going to start releasing Addicts from long prison sentences into Treatment programs, (ha!), that is when the CDC, NDC and DEA decided to start this “war on pain management. I would strongly suggest you do some research. We are not here to put false information out to people who don’t have the resources or initiative to take their Pain Management under their own control with their Physician. You are right in the aspect that some pain patients DO feel they don’t need to change their lifestyle in anyway, shape or form. They are the one’s hurting the real pain patients by NOT adhering to the Contracts required by any reputable Pain Management Physicians. Thanks for allowing me to… Read more »


Sometimes my pain increases to the point I need some help. It is off the charts for the degree of pain I’ve had my lung operated on somethings sins,t grow back right. It shows up on exray scans, sometime with dye sometimes not for the X-ray. Well my point is I can no longer go to the hospital to ask them to help me with pain. They do nothing you lay there and hurt. You can do that at home. You give them 5,000 to 6,000 dollars to help you. They spend about five minutes in the room with you tell you to wait for the blood test to come back.No problems with drugs in test. Then they tell you go home see your doctor in four days when she is back in the office. best thing to do don,t go to the hospital and ask for help. THeY WON,T HELP YOU.


My pain was mostly controlled. Now I live in fear that even my tramadol will be denied. I can’t work, care for my family or be a productive member of society without pain relief. If I’m not earning money then I’m not making enough to pay taxes. Our government should take that into account and stop getting involved in my personal life decisions! We need to ban together and make our voices heard.

Randall M. Piercy

i have been treated by a pain management for a year .they almost after a year .,on the 21st of December what a way to do me as they knew i had issues after all of there tests and showing that i have 7 bad disks from my neck to middle of my back ,1of them is totally shot and the other next to it is very close to being in the same condition .the other 5 are also getting the same way ..they also found i have osteoporosis to add to every thing causing me the pain . they kicked me out .sent 9 or 10 additional pain centers none of them would even give me a chance .i sent the same info on records ti my primary care paid 42 dollars so i could see and highlighting all i found .i was very shocked to find that in many of them had stated that i was an occasional drinker and it was never even talked to me about any of this . in the second visit they told me 30 days after a bad UA that i had other meds had morph-en in it .i have been drug screened due to DOT as i was for the last 14 years and never failed ,ha ,they also check me foe alcohol and again clean i was ,and i will also say that never had any need use any thing because . so now i will end this with end this by the fact in all of my years of a driving record has and it is still the case. with all of this story can any one tel me after i finally got help why would i do something such as taking any thing that i was expected any bad test knowing that if i did they would catch it by the drug testing they do .i am not that stupid .they consistently pulled U A’s every visit with them. had they let me know we had a problem by mail i would have gone to my primary care and requested that they could have ran a blood test for all that was supposed to be in the ua they did on me . this was not right in my opinion .when you find this out 30 days later there was nothing i could do about it . now i am only hopping that he might help in some way after i go thru my records that he might find me someone that might just be willing to give me a chance . he has told me a year ,ha,well might have 2 years stated that he would not help me because of who ever these people that are causing these doctors afraid to help any one . this so called is useless over issues like this .please excuse me for saying this but like the rest of every thing this Govt. is just going totally stupid and i… Read more »

, Martha Arntson

To Bill: Bill
March 28, 2016 at 1:31 pm
Now that the CDC is urging doctors to avoid prescribing powerful opiate painkillers for patients with chronic pain, how are pain management doctors going to conform with this guideline?

In my experience, since January of 2016, the CDC outlined a “Guideline”…not accepted by most Doctor’s of Pain Management. But, they have been influenced by the CDC’s newest Guidelines of “first line of defense in PM is OTC” if that doesn’t work, then next step, pt, or other alternatives to pain meds. Which is ridiculous. The people who need pain management aren’t there to abuse or misuse medications. They are there for pain relief. This is again, another thing the Government has taken over, people who are NOT ADDICTS WHO OVERDOSE, as the CDC says. The people who are in a real pain management program are monitored every 28-30 days, and they don’t abuse or misuse their prescriptions.


Now that the CDC is urging doctors to avoid prescribing powerful opiate painkillers for patients with chronic pain, how are pain management doctors going to conform with this guideline?


AMEN!! So very true! We need to fight for what we truly deserve and require…we are NOT addicts!

Maybe next time BL gets a headache they should not take anything for it and call into work. Same with having the flu. I am so disgusted with what some of the healthcare “professionals” post on here; assuming we all drink, don’t try to lead a healthy lifestyle, don’t accept any restrictions, and that taking a “high” dose of pain meds is unwarranted no matter what; nevermind your body’s unique chemistry or nature of pain. We who have fallen through the cracks are NOT few and far between, especially those of us who are young adults, because we get blown off for years and then our problems become unmanageable with a couple of advil and an ice pack. Not to mention we don’t all live in happy awesome la la land with a bunch of pain clinics to spare that aren’t all 3 hour drives away.

Breehan Saunders

Thank you for this!!!!

Robert S Raper

My doctor let me go 9/8/15 I still don’t have any DR to help me with my terrible pain. I have taken opites since about 1994 I have never sold gave or let any medicane out of my controll I keep it locked in a small fridge only I have the key. If I took my medicines at full prescription totals I would not have any now while I don’t have much I do have some for when I can not stand the pain I’m Not a Addict I need it to walk and have a quality life as much as I can hope for I plead for the other Millions Who Suffer Also


I am working on this at the local level in Colorado. The State Dept of Health and the University School of Pharmacy have set up a Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse and Prevention. Going to see about participating in that as a spouse of an individual with chronic pain, controlled with well controlled doses of Percoset, that have not increased in 5+ years. I am making my opinions known to state officials, and federal representatives at every chance. And I actively support changes to basic science research on the cannabinoids which has been hampered by DEA and other agencies over the years. I know CU SOP scientists are interested and are doing the gritty work of trying to get through the hurdles. One of the truly frustrating facts is that drug OD deaths do not have to be accurately recorded with sufficient detail that big data analytics could actually be done. This is truly a local and state issue, as each jurisdiction makes up their own rules about how and what they record and quite likely MDs are not forthright about actual cause of death, whether to spare the feelings of the family members or whatever. It is quite a long haul and a long educational process. Sadly, actual journalism (versus opinion and blogs) is no longer rigorously practiced by the various media/press.


I am with you Doc Anonymous. I agree that there is not a voice for: “We the Patient”
Perhaps we could formulate a “declaration”, an official one. Distribute it to our state and local leaders. It could even be reviewed by doctors that have built their practice helping people dealing with chronic pain.

The general public do not fully understand the dilemma unless they are personally affected. What the general public see are arrest reports for: Possession of Controlled Substance, Possession of Controlled Substance for Resale, Obtaining Controlled Substance by Fraud.
The general age for these criminals is 25 – 35. (I check the statics for my county). These medications could only come from these sources. 1) Stolen 2) Stolen and sold 3) Stolen and traded. In today’s society we are only three people removed from knowing of or about such individuals.
Being a chronic pain patient myself it infuriates me to see these criminals destroying a branch of medicine that so many people depend on.
The largest factor in addiction is youth. I posted a link to this article last week that was written by a sociologist. (Five myths of Heroin Addiction) She used accurate statistics that you don’t find anywhere else.
I am fortunate to be in a pain practice that understands and listens to me.
I think if one has images indicating an organic disease, has had past surgeries and has positive indications of pain they should not be in danger of losing their medications that they have come to depend on.

Mark Ibsen. MD

I’ll be your Lorax

Martha Arntson

Excellent responses from everyone here! I for one will be copy/pasting these for my own use in my own words to write my Congressperson/Senator and personal physicians. It is, without a DOUBT IN MY MIND (and I am sure many of yours) that the GOVERNMENT (i.e. CDC,DEA,NDC) should NOT BE INTERFERING IN A DOCTOR/PATIENT RELATIONSHIP unless and until there is PROOF that that Doctor or Patient is abusing the already over-regulated system.


In September of last year, rather than go to the emergency room, I went to a PCP with excruciating pain in my right shoulder. Communication was typical until I told her I had a prescription for chronic pain from another doctor. Medication (Tylenol#4) for degenerative joint disease in my angles/feet, wrist/hands, left knee, lower back, etc. Immediately her entire demeanor changed. She actually called me a drug addict. She wrongly assumed I took the medication as prescribed (3/day) when I actually used 1 or 2 pills/day. The doctor that wrote the prescription knew that but because I only saw him twice a year, I presumed he was giving me enough medication to last for the entire six months. To support her drug addict accusation, this doctor said, “Anyone taking 180mg of codeine per day is addicted to codeine.” After telling her I didn’t actually use 3/day she then called me a “hoarder.” Another derogatory accusation I did not understand at the time. From this point on the doctor avoided me like the plague. After the x-ray there was no follow up visit. She wouldn’t take my calls and refused to return them or the staff prevented me from communicating with her. I was forced to make appointments just to talk with her and hear more criticism. The untreated pain in my shoulder was getting worse so I saw another doctor in that same office. He prescribed Prednisone and scheduled a follow up visit. Of course the staff, in support of being labeled a drug addict, sabotaged the visit. One of them entered into the record that this doctor wrote me a prescription for Tylenol #3 which he did not. She never called in the Prednisone and called me a week later to inform me of the mistake. Once I began treatment by another physician, someone called to say the first doctor made a referral to an orthopedic. I replied, “A little late, don’t you think?” Nevertheless, I saw him anyway and received a steroid injection that actually worked for the shoulder pain. I nearly passed out from the sudden relief of pain. I has to sit in my car for about ten minutes before I was able to drive. The absence of pain in my shoulder was short lived. On my next visit to this third doctor my frustration and irritability began to show outwardly. He was obviously done with me but ordered an MRI anyway. The first MRI, ordered by doctor #1, had been denied due to lack of treatment. Now six months have passed since I went to the first doctor. The shortage of options forced me to the emergency room trying to get some relief from this shoulder pain. When the emergency room doctor offered to write a prescription for twelve percocet, I laughed out loud. I have some of that from days gone by but it did absolutely nothing for this shoulder pain. “That’s all I can do,” she said. To the Percocet she added Naproxen.… Read more »

TJ McMullen

I forgot to say in a comment left, the following. Many states have stopped exicutions of prisoners on death row, why you ask? They may suffer pain!! Did, I ask for ortheoarthritis, rhumithritis, fibormyolgia, osteoporosis, and being an epileptic, and now blood clots???? Try, living in my shoes even, one day!! More understanding for heroin, meth ect, and prisoners!! We, need to get 100,000 signatures on this pain issue, so Obama has to be given this list!! Does, such a list exist?


The vast majority of chronic pain patients are having their pain adequately managed. Those that don’t want to go to a pain management drs because they don’t want to sign a pain contract, have random drug screens and go every 30 days and those that are on high doses of opiates are the ones having problems finding a dr to manage their pain.

Everything that we do in life has rules that we don’t like, but we do them anyway. I have yet to see a chronic pain patient that is not able to function doing basic things due to chronic severe pain that isn’t willing to go to a pain management dr and keep their meds low. Chronic pain patients have to adjust their lifestyles. They can’t continue to do all of the things that they did before they had chronic severe pain once they have it. There are a lot of chronic pain patients that don’t want to adjust their lifestyle, they want to take pain meds and go on like nothing is wrong. What they don’t realize is that this causes more damage. Too many chronc pain patients were saying that the dr didn’t tell them that they couldn’t have their pain treated by another dr, that they had to use only one pharmacy, that they couldn’t use marijuana or drink, etc or that they didn’t understand what the dr said. With Pain Contracts, there is no way that a patient can say that they weren’t aware of the rules their dr has or that they didn’t understand them. And the dr knows that the patient has read them rules and understands them when the patient signs the Pain Contract. If a patient is not taking drugs that they aren’t prescribed, is not using marijuana or drinking they have no reason to object to drug screens. Most employers have drug screens and if the employee isn’t doing things that they shouldn’t, they don’t quit their job because they have to have a drug screen. They have realized that with high doses of pain meds, the chance of overdose increases. Just because the drug wears off doesn’t mean that it is out of your system. Combining other prescription drugs as well as prescription drugs not prescribed to you and/or marijuana and/or alcohol can increase the risk of overdose

If the vast majority of chronic pain patients weren’t receiving adequate treatment, there would have been more comments from chronic pain patients during the CDC Guidelines comment period that those that were in favor of the guidelines as well as those that wanted them to be stricter. Grant you, there are some chronic pain patients that have fallen throught the cracks, but they are few and far between. If there were as many chronic pain patients not having their pain adequately managed as some believe, the media wouldn’t be able to ignore them because there would be too many to ignore.

David Crawford

I have never so proud of what I now consider my home group Live Support Group . I personally am a refugee of this war on cronlc pain patients and our doctors by having to relocate from my retirement home in the Florida Keys to Colorado . I was being forced to drive a approximate 3 to 400 mile round trip to Miami just to see a pain management specialist once a month . I made the mistake of moving to Florida in 2008 after a forced retirement from heart disease from one of the largest construction companies in our nation . Little did I know that I was walking into a war zone , and I would become a victim of this war on pill mills in Florida . I should have known as soon as I started seeing pain clinics
billboards in Georgia that read ( In and Out in 20 minutes, pharmacist on site ) I had been a Cronlc Pain Patient for some twenty some years prior to retiring , I was able to be a functional working America human being untill a few years after being in Florida I found out insted of being a person that was dependent on medications to somewhat function normally just as my heart medications do , I was informed by many different ways I was nothing more than a addict looking for his next
fix . My local physician was bombarded by new patients after all outhers in the area abandoned their patients he had the heart to take them untill being threatened by the DEA for over perscribing .
I have seen the role the media has played from a necessary and much needed involvement of removing pill mills from the state to becoming biased against all cronlc pain patients and our doctors . When the media gets involved they take issues from being fact finding discussions from all involved to Witch Hunts by casting and drawing their own conclusions without information from both sides and of course untill recently we have had no voice what so ever. I want to thank Doc. Anonymous for your comments that are so vary true but untill our doctors and specialists can unite and let their voices be heard I fear the strongest voice the cronlc pain patient have will be body bags .

Gary Alan

The article really does not offer any recourse or answer. All these Pain Groups should join up and address Congress, DEA, CDC constantly while blogging us.

TJ McMullen

My name is Tim, I was told to use a wheelchair or scooter!! A doc, I know longer have, put me thru his version of losing his license, and of course his family was more important. I asked the nurse practioner, why he didn’t find a new place to work? I was told, the MONEY, is great, I give you the most limited amount of pain meds, and see you every month for all if 10 minutes!! He, NEVE, asked for my records on what was physically wrong, heck, why should he care! I saw this person, on my second visit, he was called, the closer!! I do not drink, have NEVER done drugs from the street, nor friends pain meds. If, you are a pain specialist, do your JOB, get the records from other doctores and specialists, don’t over perscribe, but look at your patient and do your oath, harm not your patient, or find another JOB!!

Annette Merkley

It is cruel and inhuman punishment for these much needed pain drugs to be withheld and/or cut back from those suffering with RSD/CRPS and other diseases that cause constant excruciating pain! I cannot understand why, with so many folks that have this type of diagnosis, the medical profession is not more pro-active and knowledgeable of the treatments that work. So many posts have comments indicating a person being in pain and immediately being prescribed a nerve block which made the pain even worse, leading to a full blown case of RSD/CRPS. I clean doctor’s offices and am constantly taking out to the trash medical magazines, journals, etc (most not even read)..I always flip through them hoping to find that someone somewhere has found a cure for this horrible disease but it’s not even mentioned. These diseases take away the lives of so many amazing and wonderful people…these folks should not be made to suffer even more by taking away the only thing that helps them function!!

Sandra Gordon

Thank you, thank you, thank you! For this article as well as, primarily, the first two comments. It’s hard enough living with chronic pain; harder still to be stigmatized and victimized over and over again.


This article needs to be shown to anybody and everybody! This is a matter of hell on earth, life, and death for all our brothers and sisters in pain! Thank you livesupportgroup.com!!

Bob Schubring

The corporate media are unafraid to live under tyranny, because they believe that they can steer and control the tyrant, with mere money. They got this belief reinforced, when Senators John McCain and Russ Feingold, sold them the “Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act”, which made it illegal for anyone EXCEPT the corporate media, to criticize a politician within 30 days of an election. Our Supreme Court struck this law down as unconstitutional, in the “Citizens United” case, but those same corporate media have failed to admit, why their unabashed effort to build an information monopoly, violated our First Amendment rights. Indeed, no less a person than President Obama, publicly excoriated the Justices at his first State of the Union address, widely televised by the very same corporate media who lost their hard-won money machine to the people, when the Court acted.

It’s true that patients with well-controlled pain are not newsworthy, and it’s also true that many addicts have a flair for the dramatic. Some prominent actors who have addiction, are often the source of news stories, when their addiction leads them to make bad decisions.

The root cause of the trouble is simple. Politicians created the Social Security system’s Trust Fund, and then promptly “borrowed” those funds and spent them. As the Baby Boom generation ages, there will be fewer people paying into the Trust Fund, and these surplus funds will no longer exist to be borrowed.

This will cause an immense upheaval in US politics, because without the ability to borrow and squander our retirement savings, the politicians will have no other money with which to buy our votes.

There are 110 million Americans who have chronic pain. If enough of us could be persuaded to kill ourselves, the money shortage in the Social Security Trust Fund would go unreported for a few more years.

Follow the money. It’s how these mass deceptions are found out.

Doc Anonymous

There are three major factors that feed and cultivate the war on pain patients, with the sick and disabled being lumped with the criminal recreation abusers. Yes, Recreational use is a CRIME, but the recreators are coddled, while those who are truly disabled are tortured by withholding of pain medication. How does this happen? 1. First and foremost: the entire war on pain patients is based on the concept, espoused by the Department of Justice, that “THERE IS NO DISTINCTION UNDER THE LAW BETWEEN ADDICTION AND PHYSICAL DEPENDENCE”!!!!! Without that false tenet the entire federal government program of attacking the dwindling number of doctors willing to treat CHRONIC pain patients would crumble. Without that blaring tenet. the rampant mistreatment of chronic pain patients becomes simply unethical, unconstitutional and perhaps even criminal. 2. Where are the doctors? The ones who tried to intervene on behalf of the patients have in large part been forced out of business. It is simply not possible for a solo physician to pay the legal costs of arguing with the DEA. And if a doctor does not have a DEA certificate, there will be virtually no possibilities for the doctor to practice. No DEA certificate will mean no malpractice insurance and that in turn will bring sanctions from the state. No DEA certificate will mean no ability to participate in insurance programs like HMOs, Blue Cross Blue Shield, etc. And not to mention that without a DEA license (I know it is called a “certificate” but it is in reality a “license”) the doctor cannot prescribe pain medications. As for the doctors who have only a few chronic pain patients, it is no wonder that the person coming in asking for pain medication feels assaulted. And if you are a new patient, who is to say that you are not a DEA agent in disguise? Those tactics are used in the majority of DEA investigations. So the doctors are trapped, targeted and subject to harsh financial penalties if they see a large number of chronic pain patients. And remember, doctors are surrogate targets for the pain patients who themselves are surrogate targets for the recreational criminals and criminal pushers. According to one source, I have heard it said that to defend oneself against the DEA will cost the individual AT LEAST half a million dollars. No doctor who chronically treats chronic pain patients makes that kind of money! 3. There is major public funding for the public outcries that wrongfully stigmatize those suffering with chronic pain. The DEA operates a media program for spreading an “anti-drug” campaign, but for the major media this seems to too often been transformed into an “anti-ALL-opioid” campaign. Furthermore, one of the organizations leading the anti-pain-patient campaign is PROP (Phsicians for Responsible Opioid Prescription). PROP is listed as a program of Phoenix House which itself is a publicly funded drug addiction treatment program. There is no counterbalancing federal funding for those who suffer the torture associated with the disease of chronic… Read more »

Martha Arntson

I was happy to see your post this morning (Sunday, March 27th). I too am a member of LIVESUPPORTGROUP.COM, which I haven’t yet participated in anything but am planning on it. What was intended to be a reign in on uncontrolled prescribing writing habits for Opiates (from PCP’s), has turned into an all out war on Chronic Pain Patients. Instead of addressing the real issues, such as the illegal importing of Heroin and other Opiates across our boarders, the CDC, DEA and other government officials have decided it is the Doctor’s who are causing this huge problem with overdoses. Now, according to the latest news I see a “Black Box Warning” has been issued for ALL Schedule II pain prescriptions. The highest level you can assign to any particular drug. It is like the Black Box is now going to be the standard across the country. Doctor’s will be in even more fear of writing even a 7 day supply of any opiate that has been re-scheduled as II when 5 months ago it was a Schedule III. What to do? What we are doing, writing, talking, blogging, reading, researching, presenting our doctor’s with information when we go in for our appointments, whether it’s Pain Management or our PCP or an Emergency Room. For a long time it’s been taboo to ask for any specific pain medication as it flags you as “too knowledgeable” and therefore a red flagged patient. My Pain Management Doctor APPRECIATES when I bring information in on my appointment day, every 28 days, and give her information I have learned by doing my own research on my particular pain problem and how to limit the use of Opiates as best I can, which I am successful at. Not everyone takes the initiative to research their own pain problems and rely upon the doctor to prescribe or not appropriate therapy for that patient. I recently asked if she had seen the “Chasing Heroin” program, she had, in fact she wanted to order a copy for her entire office staff and doctor’s to watch it. She thought it so important that we are informed, not only through one sided media attention to one particular drug such as Heroin. I so disagree with what the CDC has come out with and is one reason I started joining all the Pain Management blogs/articles/reports that I could so that maybe one voice,mine, might be heard. We are not drug seekers, we are people who have been bamboozled into being “the problem” instead of seeing us as patients who responsibly take care of getting into a good Pain Management Program, adhering to all the rules and regulations. However, since the CDC announced these new “guidelines” I was told in January at my appointment “big changes are coming, huge”! Even my Pain Management Doctors had no idea what was coming only that through the grapevine that their prescribing practices would be more scrutinized than ever before and therefore they feel their hands are… Read more »


Excellent article. Everyone else should share this toom


This is so very true…. Animals get better care, than a chronic pain patient….. Its so sad , it really is that a person thats not a doctor can tellyou how much of your medicine you should take, andvthen cut your meds down, when tou need them to function….


Oh well said. Excellent…. And so very very true.