Opioid Prescriptions Drop – Cigna To Reduce Further

Opioid Prescriptions Drop – Cigna To Reduce Further

By Ed Coghlan

The New York Times reported Friday that opioid prescriptions have been dropping for the first time since OxyContin was introduced in 1996.

One of the nation’s largest insurers announced this week it will slash its customers’ use of potentially addictive opioid pain medications by 25% over the next three years. The 25% reduction target would bring Cigna plan holders’ use of the drugs back to the “pre-crisis” levels of 2006, according to the company.

For chronic pain patient advocates, this announcement represented another example of what they believe is the troubling trend of shrinking the supply of pain medication to patients who use them responsibly.

“Addressing the addiction issue is an important goal. What’s missing is what the company proposes to do to promote alternative therapies that will help chronic pain patients who are using these medications responsibly,” said Paul Gileno, Founder and CEO of the U.S. Pain Foundation.

Cigna’s chief medical officer for Cigna’s behavioral health business is Dr. Doug Nemecek, who gave the National Pain Report the following statement:

“We recognize that for millions of people, access to opioids for pain relief is essential; for example, people undergoing treatment for cancer or receiving palliative care. However, for millions of others, a prescription for opioids – especially a high dose for more than 21 days – should be the last resort, not the first. Our policy is consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines and aims to break the cycle of dependence, overdose and death. We want to encourage doctors to prescribe opioids responsibly, treat pain appropriately, and help people with substance use disorders get the treatment they need so they can have healthy, productive lives.”

Cigna believes the reduction can be achieved by:

  • Providing physicians with profiles on how their prescribing habits compare with the CDC guidelines as well as compare their prescribing habits with other doctors in their communities to see if they are doing something different from their fellow prescribers.
  • Helping physicians understand when their patients are receiving hazardous levels of opioids and other drugs by conducting outreach to more than 2,600 prescribers of high dosages of opioid medications identified through Cigna’s risk detection outreach project.
  • Supporting the White House and Congress efforts to increase patient limits for qualified physicians who prescribe buprenorphine; making med-assisted therapy more accessible.
  • Calling for a change in the lexicon for how we talk about substance use disorders, removing words like “abuse” from the conversation.

Subscribe to our blog via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Authored by: Ed Coghlan

There are 109 comments for this article
  1. Wayne S. Swanson II at 10:56 pm

    We as Chronic Pain Patients are living in an American Holocaust right now. I’m not trying to take away from the horror of the German Holocaust at all, or minimize it. The purpose of Hitler’s attack on the Jews was Economics propelled by Racism and Anti -Semitism . And right now the American government is also involved on an attack of intentional genocide, also for economic reasons. Our government has done this before when it distributed Small Pox infected blankets to unsuspecting Cherokee on what is now known as The Trail Of Tears where 8 to 9 Thousand Cherokee were Murdered—the people you have voted into office to work for you, has chosen a path of genocide for economic reasons. Their intention is to cull out the “undesirables” and “expendables” in our DOLLAR-based economy. And who are the “undesirables” and “expendables”? Anyone who has lost their productivity or who are costing the government money. That includes the disabled, the elderly, those on Medicare or Medicaid, the poor, and the uninsured.

    They are doing this culling through the withholding of pain medication. Since many of the expendable population are dependent on pain medication to do their activities of daily living, by denying them access, the expendable population is shrinking, through DEATH!!! Regrettably 5 years ago my Stepdaughter committed suicide she was suffering from Fibromyalgia and Lupus . She stayed in bed some two weeks out of a month and treated horribly by the Medical Profession. She as thousands more are losing hope turning to suicide and knowing pain relief is out there but being denied help .

  2. Jason at 8:39 pm

    You know everytime you answer someomes comment and their worries about losing the meds they take to manage their pain and that as we get older we need to let go of things we use to do? For one ive got cronic pain wich ive had for 10 years and before that i tried acupuncture deep tissue massage chiro inversion tables everything then slowly my dr put me on meds to stabalize my pain so i can work and afford to live im only 33 and i have alot more years ahead of me that ill have to work my doc stabalized my pain and ive been on the same dose for the last 8 years so i dont think you really know what your saying not every doc constantly increases meds? Why would you? Not everyone can afford to nkt work or “change” the way they live life why should i give up my lifestyle when im happy and stable? But people like you dont agree with a certain drug

  3. Krissy at 8:45 am

    True — the body doesn’t distinguish between positive and negative stress.

  4. Kathy at 12:27 am

    This is a great post.
    I have an incurable disease(Rheumatoid Arthritis)that causes me to live in pain every day…for the rest of my life. The non-opiod medications that I take to try to control my disease are very very expensive. Cigna’s decision to decrease opioid prescriptions makes me suspicious that they may indirectly be trying to get out of paying for my other expensive medications since everyone knows that insurance companies are driven by greed and not concern for people’s health.
    I smell the potential for a class action suit. Especially since other news reports this week have stated that the decrease in prescribing opioids has done nothing to stop overdose deaths with neither legal or illegal drugs.
    Thank for share !

  5. BL at 6:58 pm

    Krissy, a friend of mine that is a psychologist told me many yrs ago that even good moves can cause stress. We always seem to associate stress with negative things because of the media. Moving from one place to another means adjusting to different surroundings, doing things differently, etc. Moving from one state to another just adds to that.

    A lot of people have the belief that more is better, which is rarely true especially when it comes to medications, supplements, etc.

  6. Krissy at 2:15 pm

    Yes, BL. It was the first thing they put me on in the early 80s, but I won’t take it anymore. I’m really doing better with sleep, I just wish I didn’t have to take so many things. I like 3mg of Melatonin and Formula 303. Many people don’t know, but no one needs any more than 3mg of Melatonin. If you Google it, you can see the huge list of good things it does for you. Why they are selling bottles with 10mg I don’t know, but it’s been awhile since I researched that too. I get a few bad nights but not like before. The first year I was in FL I did not sleep more than one hour at a time for eight straight months. Very strange, because I wasn’t unhappy and I’ve learned to turn off stress at night. Classical music is a wonderful relaxer also. I usually either listen to that or watch quite documentaries. I know they say not to watch screens at sleepy time, but it’s always helped me. I shy away from things that are really interesting, though, because then I stay awake so I can hear it all!

  7. Joan Hamm at 10:53 am

    Please do not read my comments the wrong way. My Doctor got on a three way call two times in six years to confirm with Dr. Chopra from R. I. And Jim Broatch a scientist from Connecticut. To confirm I am on the right meds that work for me. The other meds such as Cymbalta etc. will not work for me and most patients who I know who are stabilized on the meds that do work. Such as mine. Each person chemicals in their body may not be receptive to the drugs you mentioned unless you are one of the people who are paid to recommend these drugs which I don’t believe Sir with due respect I know some people benefit financially to recommend certain drugs. Just make sure Rsd/Crps is on the list of Cancer diseases as well so the many who suffer with RSD can get pain meds to prevent not good results. My Doctor is the only Dr I trust besides Dr. Chopra. They want to do what is right and best for those with RSD. Do not miss read what I meant in my comments. Do not think my Dr is doing wrong. He took the time to talk on a three way call to experts on RSD because he wants to do right. No hospital or doctors In DE. Understand this disease.. Some Doctors I went to said to a nurse and office staff Did you ever hear of RSD or CRPS??? Truth!!!!! Don’t punish me or other people with RSD to decrease meds that took much time to determine stabilized. I went thru hell bluntly to be understood and finally stabilized. So did others I know about. One time during a crisis of a loved one I went to my Dr. And we decided to temporarily try Valium. I needed some pretty bad stress relief. I tried it and it gave me a headache and had no relief of stress at all to relax me. Again this was a one time trial period!! So I gave back the Valium. True!! What meds I am on works. I can live life the best I can but the meds go right to my main area in foot and leg. It somehow knows where it is needed. Do studies on this you will understand. Don’t mess with what took much time to determine what helps me and others with RSD. Your name and reputation is at stake if this starts hurting innocent sick people. I look ahead as possible results that. Might or will happen if innocent sick people are hurt by playing with what may take years to get them stabilized with the pain suffering. Thank you.

  8. BL at 10:18 pm

    I agree with Krissy. Valium and other benzodiazepines don’t affect everyone the same way, jiust like opiates don’t.

    Krissy., if you have fibro, have you tried Elavil (Amitriptyline) to help with sleep ?

  9. Joan Hamm at 10:06 pm

    In response to your answer to me. I understand what you are saying. I have RSD/CRPS. A horrible disease which after studies on people who have it have come to several conclusions as of now. There is no relief from the pain no matter how hard we are taught to survive without or decreased meds. The 6 years I have this disease I only asked for an increase once about 4 years ago. I exercise.. Eat the right foods.. Think positive thoughts as much as I can… Only watch happy movies etc. To help my pain attacks. The first few weeks of this disease I called 911 several times due to the pain. The meds I am on never made me high. It is my body knows exactly where the meds are needed to help me function. I am sorry if you missed understood that I would resort to street drugs or even think of suicide. I could never resort to that at all. I was stating the information sent to me from. A newsletter from Rsd/Crps scientists found out after extensive studies that some patients resorted to this. This disease is on the top five list our soldiers come home with. After studies done they realized way back to wars in history especially the Civil Wars when after soldiers screaming in pain the pain in leg or arm was amputated. Doctors back then believed this was the answer. I am sure you recall what most people know there were many many amputees done. Most soldiers had Read but Doctors of course didn’t understand why theses soldiers still screamed in pain. Now we know it’s a nerve damage disease.. Once gotten it affects your whole body areas if one lays down wrong or a splinter in your finger hurts 10 times more than it hurts you. One cannot do errands too long. Your body tells you to get to bed rest. This is a very common symptom. Yet if we feel well enough to do more errands or out of bed fun we can.. But the body let’s us know stop and get to bed. It’s a weird disease. One gets weird symptoms all with severe pain. Studies I read from scientists are so true. Without the meds I would not have survived five years ago. In the last six years with help from my meds I strictly believe I doing good for others and I have in pretty many ways. I knit baby sweaters for year-round wear and gave 80 to scientists for fundraising and to local Dr. Office here the rest I hand out to pregnant women I meet know my errands about 300 I made and gave free. I volunteer for political people. I volunteer at church food bank. All this I do and more when I feel well enough to do. If not for meds none of this would happen. I suffer every day. 24/7But under some control with meds easing the pain. Every person I met or know who has this disease say they have the same as I go through. Some worse due to added disease some about the same as me. This disease should be called Severe Horrible unpredictable Pain disease. The pain can get as bad if not worse than a Cancer patient also compared to being in Hard Labor before a baby is born without meds. Studies have proven. So when people are at the correct level of meds allows people to function to at least survive go do good things like I do. But I have to get to bed rest when my body tells me. Believe me please ones body let’s you know.. So sometimes I can be out a little longer. It is weird. I don’t call my Dr. When a Severe attack comes. I know what to do. And thank God for meds which I hate taking but they keep me alive. Some people get RSD young and live a long life…. Some don’t.? Maybe due to they have another disease too. It’s complicated I have learned. If my skin cracks due to cold weather or a cut the pain is horrible! I learned how to treat gum pain.. Tongue pain or cuts. This happens at random. All I treat with Hydrogen peroxide and ointments. It works prevents cuts or gums from getting worse until gone. Well that’s enough I said. God bless you.

  10. Krissy at 8:20 pm

    Hi Scott, I believe your comment is fine but I have to disagree with this part:

    “Our sleep is not affected. If we’e tired we sleep if not we dont.
    The drugs like valium,xanex etc are the one that make you sleep and get a person completely out of touch with reality.”

    So many of us have syndromes/diseases that affect sleep big time. And the opioids don’t always help. In fact, they used to keep me awake, while others fall fast asleep. I have sleep disorders from my pain issues where it isn’t the pain that keeps me awake or keeps me from staying asleep, but it’s part of the chemical make-up of my body. There are various sleep meds, one being Trazedone, which works for me. I don’t like it, but I’ve been on it long enough to be able to “forgive” the morning hangover (just added grogginess). Sleep has been an issue for people with Fibromyalgia and many other afflictions for so many people. I have nights — even with my meds — that I am awake all night. But while I can’t speak about it in scientific terms, it is a medical condition proved by science and patient studies. I also don’t think xanex and benzos put everyone in a state like you mentioned: “completely out of touch with reality.” That’s a bit broad and overstated. Any medicine can affect someone in a bad way, and I don’t like those meds either, but they do provide solutions for several conditions.

  11. BL at 4:37 pm

    Bill Halper, I had no problems understanding what you wrote. When you say Oxycodones, are you referring to Percocet or Oxycontin ? A lot of people say oxycodone when they mean oxycontin, so I’m not sure which you’re referring to.

    It is up to each dr to decide if he wants to continue prescribe opioids. If a dr does decide to continue prescribing it is also up to him what patients he wants to prescribe to, what opioids, the dosages and what other drugs he is comfortable prescribing with the opioids. It is not unusual for some drs to continue to prescribe opiates to come patients but not to others. although the dr may tell some patients that he is no longer prescribing opiates.

    How do you know that a dr has been visited by the DEA ? They don’t wear anything that says DEA when they go and talk to someone. Drs have people go in and talk to them that wear suits and are not DEA.

    I understand the concern of chronic pain patients have about not being able to function with a decrease and/or without pain meds at all. It is important to realize that as chronic pain patients, we have to adjust our lifestyles. As we get older, there are more adjustments that we have to make. We can’t expect our drs to continue to increase our pain meds beyond reasonable amounts. The majority of those that have had fatal and non fatal overdoses are on high amounts of opiates. When you stop opiates for a while or lower the dosage and give your body time to adjust and you adjust your life style, it is something that is done with a lot of success, but it takes time and effort.

    It seems that many of the drs that are decreasing and/or no longer prescribing opiates are doing so with patients that are on high doses. Drs have to use their professional judgement to protect their patients and themselves. A dr is not going to get sued if he decreases or cuts a patient off of opiates, as long as the patient doesn’t die as a direct result.. But, if that patient overdoses and dies, the drs risk of being sued goes up drastically.

    Chronic pain patients saying they are going to commit suicide or they are going to turn to heroin, only reinforces the picture of chronic pain patients being drug addicts and unstable. Chronic pain patients saying things like this or turning them into action will only make more drs not prescribe opiates.

    It is no one’s right to be prescribed opiates. Being prescribed opiates is not something that anyone is guaranteed. I think that this sence of entitlement is one of the things that has caused problems for many chronic pain patients. That is like thinking that they don’t deserve to be drug screened, so they aren’t going to do it or they aren’t going to do it without complaining. Many chronic pain patients tell their drs that their pain meds do nothing for their pain. Then they are confused when their dr stops prescribing them. If something isn’t working, there is no need to continue prescribing it. It seems like the chronic patients that are not having to decrease their meds or stop them are those that are Not taking high doses, those that do their part in adjusting their life style, those that don’t complain and obey all of the rules. Life is full of rules that no one likes. Complaining about these rules when they are their to save lives, won’t make any difference.

  12. Bill Halper at 1:08 pm

    BL, thank you for the information about how doctors can prescribe the opiates, seriously! I didn’t know that! Why then are many or most doctors no longer prescribing these medications even after the DEA paid them a visit? I’m one of four administrators on FaceBook for a closed group of about 850 members who have fibromyalgia with the associated “perks”, and I have been reading so many horror stories about how their doctors either stopped them cold on renewing their prescription for the oxycodones which is extremely dangerous to do, others are being cut way back until they can no longer have the oxy’s, but instead using lesser drugs that do not really lower the pain level, and what frightens me the most is that there are some who speak of suicide because they can no longer get their pain medications which is throwing them back to the time where they felt the full force of fibro all because of the CDC and DEA and probably a few more. Which brings me to the point about your mentioning that the opiates are not a right. Before I wrote that, I was having a conversation with a number of members absolutely terrified about what their future will bring because of the lack of the opiate medication that they take responsibly, that helps them function in society, and keeps them out of bed because of the pain levels. It was a very emotional conversation. I do not think it’s fair that people who are Chronic Pain Syndrome patients were left out of the suggested forms to follow for opiate prescribing which then precipitated their doctors, again after a visit from the DEA, to reduce the amount prescribed until they no longer take them, then starting another regime of other meds like Lyrica, Cymbalta. That’s why I had mentioned that we do have a right to receive this medication as we are responsible with our drugs, we have found that through trial and error, the Oxycodones were found to be the best in giving us more relief than any other meds. Now there are some who are thrilled with the Cymblata which is great! But I believe the National Pain Report, or another one did a survey of those using the Lyrica’s and their ilk, meditation, exerciser, Percocet, marijuana and a few more. The majority, a large majority found that the oxycodone and medical marijuana had the highest rating out of all others on the list for best pain relievers including the FDA approved Lyrica’s. For those who have been using the oxycodones just to have them taken away is wrong, they have a right to continue using them responsibly. This goes back to the doctor-patient with their discussions on the various pain relievers, and if the doctor prescribed the oxycodones. I should have said that not everyone has this right, certainly those unfortunate people who are addicted to opiates, others who’s pain is minor but looking for the narcotics should not receive them, they don’t have the right as they are misusing them. LOL, I sure hope this makes sense. I have a brain disease (Small Vessel Brain Disease) that every so often, I go through “fragmented” thinking where thoughts and words float around yet will not form an idea, so I take what I understand, and attempt to form it into a sentence. Sometimes it works, other times it becomes rather iffy like today, right now! Tomorrow will be a better day!

  13. scott michaels at 10:10 am

    bl you are correct. Tge docs that see chronic patients every 30 day only do so to make the extra money. tgose are generally the pain mgt drs. If your hmo primary is helping you, then they generally do the 3 prescription route. They dont have time and get paid anyway.
    Actually pain medication is only a sleeping aid if you are not taking you medication as directed and at the end of month you only take at bedtime. Witgout the medication you will go thru withdrawls.
    I along with The large majority of pain patients tkake as directed and the medication only takes the pain away so we could be more productive and live in less pain.
    Our sleep is not affected. If were tired we sleep if not we dont.
    The drugs like valium,xanex etc are the one that make you sleep and get a person completely out of touch with reality. I still cant believe they hassle us, when more deaths and overdoses always have a drug like xanex and alcohol involved. IN TALKING TO YOUNG PEOPLE THAT IS THE HIGH FOR THEM. XANEX WEED BOOZE AND COKE. UNFORTUNATELY NOW HEROIN AS BECOME MAIN STREAM. THAT IS ONLY BECAUSE ITS CHEAP EASY OURE AND THAT IS WHAT THE REHAB CLINICS LOVE. THEY PROBABLY SUPPORT THE HEROIN TRADE. THEY MAKE MORE MONEY ON A RECOVERY THAT RARELY HAPPENS THEN THE DRYG DEALERS AND THEY KNOW THEY WILL SEE YOU OVER AND OVER AND OVER

  14. BL at 9:38 pm

    Tim Mason, as you stated it is up to each dr if he wants to prescribe opiates and if he does how much and for how long. Any dr can prescribe a chronic pain patient high doses of opioids indefinitely, if they chose to. Federal law states that any dr can write 3 thirty day opiate prescriptions at the same office visit. They can write for more than one drug, but prescriptions for the same drug at the same dose can’ t exceed a total of 90 days on the three seperate prescriptions. Federal Law also states that chronic pain patients that are taking opiates Must be seen by their dr at least once every 90 days. Although most drs require these patients to be seen once every 30 days.

    Bill Halper, there are no laws, policies, rules, etc that guarantee anyone opiate medications.

  15. Spence at 4:16 am

    these pain relief drugs are actually sleeping drugs. there are no such drugs called pain relief drugs. Doctor has only sleep drug, so that patient can sleep and does not feel pain. this is really dangerous

  16. Tim Mason at 6:47 pm

    “Is this an advertisement?”

    Sounds like one to me.

  17. Bill Halper at 2:37 pm

    To begin with, opiate medication IS A RIGHT!!!!! This is the only medication that truly works for those with chronic Pain Syndrome including Fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease and cervical disease, horrific pain from veracious veins, severe bone spurs in the neck and shoulder region and so much more. For those unfortunate victims who must find a pain clinic yet must drive hours to get to one, and then only receiving 21 days of medications, I am very sorry that you are treated like an addicts or a second class citizen. I am so tired of hearing this cr*p about how bad opiates are, one doctor at the CDC said that the bad out weighs the good with this medicine. Excuse me, but he has no right to base his decision to withhold oxycodones from those that are willing to accept the risks. It’s that or living with unrelenting pain, the type of which keeps one in bed, can no longer work, no longer can function without help, then loosing their independence completely having to rely on others to live. For years, my primary care doctor has been prescribing my medications without a problem. She knows me, she trusts me, the CVS pharmacy trusts me! Then all of a sudden, I must find a pain management clinic. I interviewed two so far, both want me to reduce the amount by half. Since medical marijuana is legal in my state, I use it for the nausea, appetite (I’m never hungry) and to a lesser extent, pain yet this is not allowed by both clinics as it is still a federally mandated illicit drug, therefore if I do use it, and it shows up in the blood test (monthly), I’m ask to leave. This shows me that these clinics are geared more toward drug addiction, not chronic pain patients! I understand completely about this crisis, but I found out recently that when the CDC was forming these “suggestions”, they never spoke to pain specialists, doctors who are familiar with chronic pain syndrome, no one that would stand up for us, the legitimate pain patient! And then the mass media see’s a cash cow in this topic, so CNN does a Town Hall Meeting with only former drug addicts, never once interviewing a pain patient! I find this who crisis (the way it’s worded now, I read it) completely unacceptable, very mean spirited, lack of empathy and frankly placing us as an addict. Sure we will see a drop in opiate prescriptions, the DEA and their goons…sorry, representatives haunt the doctors who prescribe this needed, no, required medication using fear tactics to the point where they are afraid to even mention this drug. Perhaps the overdose rate may drop (I understand that those who do overdose are using this drug illegally), but I wouldn’t be surprised if the suicide rate from the pain patients go up. To cut my prescription in half not knowing me, what I am going through, what this disease has done to my life, knowledge that only my doctor knows, then I would rather receive none, and go through with self-deliverance! How sad this is now happening…get the government in on anything creates fear and intolerance. Very pathetic!

  18. Farber@PainAwayDevices.com at 9:47 am

    this is a big issue with pain relief, pills always has the risk of addiction and this has adverse effect on health. EMS and electrical stimulus is a good alternative for pills. This will make you comfortable and you will be vibrant and work effectively

  19. Tim Mason at 5:54 pm

    Sandra, BL is actually correct. Several years ago GP and regular family doctors saw an increase in pain patients. Subjective as pain is, they prescribed. Low and behold police arrests found prescriptions in the hands of those in the medicine had not been prescribed. Where I live PCPs stopped writing narcotic pain medication over 8 years ago. Even now, neurosurgeons can’t write for more than three months. After that, your pain is considered irretraceable. So you go to pain management with rules and guidelines etc.
    All of BL is talking about is explained in the book “Pain-Wise” by Dr. David Kloth, Dr. Andrea Trescot and Dr. Francis Riegler. ISBN # 978-1-57826-408-7
    These Chronic pain specialists are highly skilled and trained. They have spent a large portion of their lives and money becoming a REAL specialists. Treat these doctors with respect and your needs will be met.
    As far as my skill set- I am a research chemist. I spent >25 years in pharma. Plant chemistry, alkaloids and formulation research and analytics. I helped make the first goop for transdermal patches. I don’t ever claim to be an expert at anything but this book I mention is a must read. It’s only $15. 144 pages + several pages of high quality color plates and images.

  20. BL at 2:00 pm

    If no dr in any pain clinic where you live is accepting new patients, that is not anything that a politican, the FDA, CDC, news media, etc can do anything about. You will need to call pain drs in the closest city or town. If you live miles and miles from medical care and/or a pain management dr, that is your choice. Perhaps you moved there before you needed the care that you need now. If this is the situation, it is a matter of priority, what is more important to you, where you live or having your pain managed.

    I do get out and talk to people and some of these people are chronic pain patients.

  21. Sandra at 11:57 am

    To BL
    Your title is ??? You work for who ???
    How many pain management clinics do you think we have vs millions of people. You need to get out and talk to people doctors are stopping pain medication . No not because people are drug addicts. Get out go talk to people unless you have a job that doesn’t permit you to .

  22. BL at 9:44 pm

    Sandra, nothing has been said about drs not prescribing opiates for chronic severe pain long term. What has been said is that patient need to see a pain management dr once the meds get to a certain point, drs need to keep the doses as low as possible and in order to try and do that non medication forms of pain management need to be tried first, as well as included with pain meds. Pain contracts need to be done along with routine drug testing and seeing the patient at least once every 90 days, although most drs see their patients every 30 days.

    If the small number of pain patients that can’t find adequate pain management would adjust to the way things are now and educate themselves on what the federal and state laws actually are as well as the Guidelines and accept the fact that having chronic pain treated with opiates is not a Right that they can successfully demand, most would be successful at finding pain management, if they really looked and tried. If they don’t want to do these things, then the chances are very good that they won’t have their pain managed. They can spend their time complaining online and in letters to politicians, new media, etc about how they can’t find a dr to manage their pain and how unfair it is and how much they are suffering, etc and they can settle for doing that instead of having their pain managed.

    Unless someone has access to a nursing home residents medical chart or a patients hospital chart, they have no idea what they may have been given for pain, how much or when. Also if they weren’t given anything for pain, without reading their medical chart, you have no idea what the reasons may have been. When it comes to the elderly, especially those in nursing home, things are not always as the patient says they are or as the appear.

  23. Sandra at 4:38 pm

    tO BL
    You do understand that everyone is treated the same when it comes to taking the opioids away from them don,t you. .?????
    Just because you elderly very elderly or your a Vet injured with chronic pain your opioids will be taken away from you. All are treated the same so report it all for everyone.

  24. scott michaels at 10:50 pm

    not true. pharma just want tgings as is and new meds to be approved. Oxycontin is about 600 for 90 pills and fent patches are about the same. thats with no insurance. No generic available.
    This problem we have is caused vy ins. companies that do t want to pay, govt, just to male it look like they are doing something about the war on drugs. While the are punishing us, heroin is pouring in over the boarders cheap and pure and finally the big sponser are the rehab centers, if everybody was forced off opioid medication and didnt turn tu the streets, they know they would have lines to get it.
    the whole thing sucks. We are innocent victims.

  25. Tim Mason at 6:41 pm

    Sandra, You are right. Methadone is to opiates as Heroin was to opium smokers. One of my pain management doctors to me to never take the first dose. Never, Ever, Ever. He was a neurologists and Chinese surgeon. He know his stuff.
    Methadone is a big money maker. $95 dollars a week for the “biscuits”. That’s $400/months with a urine screen. That’s a car payment. It is not an alternative to pain medication but is mainly used in youth that has ruined his/her brain at a young age by taking medication from elderly grandparents that have chronic pain.

  26. BL at 3:27 pm

    Sandra Gayle, if someone is suffering from pain or other issuesof neglect or abuse and in a nursing home unable to speak for themselves and without family to speak for them, someone can call local attorneys that specialize in Nursing Home Neglect. I can’t imagine, and I am not the only one, a nursing home patient being allowed to suffer day in and day out. It is customary for the same dr to see all or most of the patients in a particular nursing home when they don’t have a reason to see their drs outside the nursing facility that prescribe the meds that they need. Most local attorneys that specialize in neglect and abuse in nursing homes are familiar with most of the drs that see these patients in the nursing homes and certain names will raise red flags.

    If you aren’t or haven’t been involved personally in a situation like the one you mentioed, please be careful when you talk like it is common place because it can cause fear in those that are going into or living in nursing homes as well as their families.

  27. Sandra at 12:25 pm

    Speak out . Yes I do believe they are trying to. Emails for those who want to do this need to be posted if people want to unite. On this site.

  28. Sandra Gayle at 11:15 am

    We must not forget our Vets and our seniors laying in nursing home in pain with no voice. Some of our seniors we told they we being sure they didn’t b come addicted so they lay crying in pain hidden away from public so no one sees them. No voice. They talk about how many people die from pain pills. 30,000 a year they say. Not true. They do not have the statistics correct and they can,t prove they do. Dishonest.
    We have 80,000 that die over alcohol related deaths every year. Why don,t they pertect the people from that if they are serious about helping the people. Big Pharmaceutical company’s want you to pay for the new 300.hundred dollar meds now on market. Taking away your pain medication is forcing you to try and stop pain with anything you can. Pharmaceutical company’s provide funding for our politicians they just need little favors to control the people in their favor.
    Behind everything political is always a dollar sign. Just follow the money. Just follow the money.
    Washington , Shelton

  29. joan hamm at 10:09 am

    Scott. All your CAPS sounds like you are yelling at us. I believe in sharing. Many new people need to realize they are not alone. That’s what made me feel not alone. Yes they are sad depressing stories but we help each other. And learn new things. But you are right this is not enough. Somehow we need to have politicians bombarded with our stories. And figure out wheelchair borrowd donations…vans donated. Doctors to be on hand volunteer. Dear Krissy you are a strong woman!! You Are not giving up even though you are so I’ll . I admire you Krissy. All the work you put into this and others who suffer. I myself have to lay down after about 3 hours being out. I feel it coming on full force and I start crying and hide it. I barely make it to bed..feel lime I am crawling to get there. Wierd!!?? We have to stick together fjnd more people to join us and create a plan. God bless all of you.,.keep the ideas coming. Talk to friends family churches.. Politicians… Etc. I will try too.

  30. joan hamm at 3:32 am

    Dear Geo Sims and Mr. Coughlan. I may have misspelled your names but you know. Thank you for your kind and respectful response. I now understand. I apologize I misunderstood your good intentions.

  31. Geo Sims at 11:03 pm

    Hi Joan,

    NationalPainReport is very liberal in posting comments – we do have limited staff, so comments are not always approved immediately. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your readership and comments.

  32. Krissy at 9:30 pm

    Teresa, I am glad you’ve been doing what you can! I’m certainly not talking about you when I talk about egoists. You aren’t like that. I believe all of us appreciate just about anything anyone can do, but as you know, it’s a hard road. And, I am on very high doses of oxycodone and Fentanyl, with Rx Ibuprofen and a few other things. I work from my bed, which is sort of how I got involved. I started reading things about opioids because I had time on my hands (which I don’t anymore) and pretty soon I felt I needed to write about it too. I don’t have the answer, but I’ve been able to see some of what doesn’t work and why, in some cases, it has to do with attitudes and that an idea that is good for change, entitles one to its ownership. Please don’t be offended, not about you for sure. Keep writing Teresa, these comments do indeed get read by people we need on our side. Thanks.

  33. joan hamm at 7:40 pm

    I have put on this site many comments that were not allowed to be on here for you to read. None of my comments were disrespectful to anyone except for my opinion similar to many of you who suffer with pain. I have no ego as stated in my denial to write on this site. I want to hear other people’s thoughts and true stories about how they suffer. Not to enjoy but to hear the truth and the strength we need to get from each other. And come up with ideas to help each other. So I offered some help and ideas and asked for your opinions. But it was denied to be read here??? What happened to respectable free speech? Maybe there is another site I need to join that is welcoming. Especially to us who suffer with pain.. If so this site better look for illegal practices to innocent people.

  34. joan hamm at 6:49 pm

    I would love to take charge like all of you who suffer with terrible pain!! But how? If I knew ,What to do other than support all of you I would. I can be one of the leaders. I have political and business contacts to try and explain we need their help. I can try to contact them all. They don’t know me personally but I do believe I can talk to them. They do have their contacts and possibly tell me what steps to take. All I can do is try. I personally do know a Professor who maybe can help. She has a Doctorate and popular in our community. But again my email doesn’t work so I would have to try to talk to these people personally. I said enough. Please tell me what you think? I hope these people know someone who suffers with pain disease and can relate to us better. I am on your side everyone. No one should ever suffer with severe pain without meds to keep us all living life we deserve.

  35. Therese at 3:19 pm

    Krissy, this portion of your post has been bothering me all day: “But those whose fragile egos need protecting aren’t letting anyone in. People have to be willing to share — not feel that their information and ideas belong only to them, and take a working position — a stance — on any level, putting aside their protective attitudes and their guarding of ideas and information.” Perhaps I am misinterpreting. Guilty as charged of having a “fragile ego,” I suppose, but I am by no means withholding any secret, important information or fantastic ideas. And I fail to see how my sharing every detail of my horrible medical journey is going to help anyone – I think we’ve all read enough of those stories. People are different. The way I am, through no real fault of my own, is not any “less” than you, and your remarks remind me slightly of how people who do not have chronic pain cannot understand, and therefore diminish it. I have stepped far out of my comfort zone to contribute to this fight and am very proud of that.

  36. joan hamm at 8:38 am

    I am willing to help. But as stated many of us don’t have the money to get to a March to protest the people who want to hurt us by reducing ms we need to live life. There has to be someone who has money to help us. If I had money I would offer to set up the groups to fight but I don’t. Is there someone who can??? My email doesn’t work well so I need to be called so I can help. I have been a victim of the system like most of you. We Can do it by supporting each other and fight back.

  37. BL at 8:12 am

    Krissy, you bring up some valid points. What about national organization that are suppose to be advocating for those in pain? They have more than a household budget and obviously the people at these national organization don’t have the physical or financial limitations that others do that you mentioned. I have seen where the heads of some of these national organization said that they meet with politican leaders and people in the FDA, CDC, etc. So far all that these people have been given are polite responses with a “don’t call me, well call you” attitude from those they have had contact with. How many leaders of national pain organization have been asked to testify before Congress or the FDA, CDC ? What did they accomplish ? These national pain organizations have been around for a while, what have they accomplished so far ? If those that have the physical, mental, emotional and financial ability to speak out and it is their job to advocate for those in pain, what are signs of their success in the last 5 yrs ? What have they accomplished ? The laws and guidelines have gotten tigher and stricter in the last 5 yrs than ever before. If these organizations can’t accomplish anything, then who can ?

    Not all chronic pain patients are in wheelchairs, what about the others ? It is human nature to do the things that you want ot do and to resist doing the things that you don’t want to do. Advocating for changes in anything is ongoing, it is not a one time thing. There has to be consistency and the people have to be visable and vocal. The more people the louder the vocies and the more visable they are. They take their message with them to work, school, church, the grocery store, their drs offices, etc. They make t-shirts with saying on them to draw attention to their cause and they sell those t-shirts to raise money for trips to their state capitals and to D.C. Saying that chronic pain patients can’t advocate in large numbers or in their daily lives because they can’t do this or that accomplishes nothing but silence.

    Then there are the chronic pain patients that are having their pain adequately treated, are going by the rules and are keeping their pain meds at a low dose and these are the majority of the estimated chronic pain patients in the U.S. If they honestly believed that they could or would lose their pain management and pain meds, they would be speaking out in numbers.

  38. Sandra Gayle at 7:41 am

    I in Scott. This is the only way it will work. We ca also take this to the capital. I live in Olympia. Obama has on his site start petitions. People have to start in the area they live. Sometimes when you in a lot of pain you can,t travel far. Two hours out and I hurt so bad I have to lay down for a while.oh the pain is bad.
    I live in Shelton , WA not a town to do anything in. Olympia, WA about 45 minutes away would be a place to start. College kids are great for helping people.
    I can do it. Please keep me informed.
    Sandra Gayle

  39. Krissy at 1:00 am

    Scott, how many comments say just what you’ve said? You are telling others here in these discussions that no one is taking action, like it’s up to someone else. It’s up to all of us, no? You are willing? Then you get 50 people to sign up, you raise funds. Become a leader and take care of the problems.

    You will find out that it’s not easy. I am on around 32 FB groups and we had a plan to do a march in Washington and at CNN at the same time. Guess what? I backed out because the logistics of traveling, staying in a hotel and “marching” or even sitting in a wheelchair isn’t something I can physically do. Same with most of the others. Many would have to be in a wheelchair to do that kind of activity. Who is going to rent vans and drive us around? How do you go to the bathroom? How do you get rest when you can’t stay in the same position for long? Who’s going to help take care of patients’ medical/physical needs each day? Those are tiny examples of the logistics that have come up. None of us could afford it. Raising money for that is not a feasible expectation when you don’t have a place to begin, or (pun) a leg to stand on. And, there are hundreds of groups of various kinds picketing and marching in Washington every single day. They aren’t getting press or getting noticed. We found this out by looking toward people who have done it.

    I get a new frown line whenever I read these numerous comments that say, “Why isn’t anyone (else) doing something about this…?” I just want to say, we are doing things (and sometimes it’s not yet ready for public knowledge because we are working.) And I want to say, “Then why don’t you do something about it?” Take a leadership role, come up with an idea that will truly work, and try to work out the logistics. If you can do that, don’t you think thousands of us already would have succeeded? A march or a large group trying to make a statement will not fix what is going on in our situation. The players on the other side would laugh us off the street.

    We need more — like many more doctors to speak up, attorneys to step in and realize this is a huge problem. We need educators and high-level research/writer/author types who can use scholarly information and studies with the proof that must accompany anything we do. That’s tough. We need a great deal of more knowledge, professionals and organizers, not to mention financial backers. There are a lot of people working behind the scenes right now. What you see here on NPR serves many of their ideas. There is value in watching what we all say to each other, learning things that help in research and hearing stories for documentation. We need more science, methodology, doctors’ opinions and experiences, same with pharmacists and their knowledge of science. But when you start adding in doctors, pharmacists, legal, high-level and visible authors, scientific info, methodologies, backgrounds in studies, history of real vs. false reporting, and learning who’s who, you have a big job on your hands. It isn’t done with one idea. It isn’t done quickly because it has to be right the first time. So it’s done with time, patience, practice and resources.

    But if you’re waiting for someone else to do what you want done, you’ll just have to patiently wait, or become someone who pitches in and finds an area in which you can assist. You’ve written a lot of good comments. What kind of information have you saved? Are you willing to share it? My guess is that you would be. But those whose fragile egos need protecting aren’t letting anyone in. People have to be willing to share — not feel that their information and ideas belong only to them, and take a working position — a stance — on any level, putting aside their protective attitudes and their guarding of ideas and information. This is a big job, and I know you realize that. But when you put together what we need to go up against what has happened, you will see that a large team of experts who have time and resources is vitally necessary to tackling the fight.

  40. scott michaels at 8:54 pm

    you are correct. the only thing we could do is real action. Large protests. but NOBODY IS WILLING TO actually do something.

  41. cynthia at 5:53 pm

    This is really a state-by-state issue. In some states now, there are very very few pain doctors and they might be hundreds of miles away , for some people. I don’t think any kind of blanket statement can be made about the conditions for all pain patients. It’s very scattered and checkered, what is happening, from what I’ve heard and read. In many places, pain doctors are over-full and not taking new patients.

  42. BL at 4:37 pm

    Krissy, well good luck with that. It hasn’t stopped anything that has happened in the past 15 yrs and longer from happening. The numbers needed just are not there. The powers that be look at things for “the greater good”. In other words the more than will benefits from it is what they are interested in. Pain meds are still being prescribed for chronic pain, although you may have to change drs, or go to several before you find one that is the right fit. You may also have to agree to drug screens and sign pain contracts. If you have nothing to hide, there should be no problem with this. Life isn’t fair and there are many things that we all have to do everyday that we don’t like doing and we don’t want to do. When our need for something is greater than our dislike for what we have to do in oder to get it, we do what we have to do.

    Tim Mason, all drs can prescribe Schedule II meds for chronic pain. There have not been, nor are there now, any laws stating that they can’t. Unfortuantely, some drs tell their patients that they can’t. For those that have been getting their pain meds from their regular dr, they seen to like it because most of the regular drs don’t do drug screens or pain contracts and some regular drs will write three 30 days rxs. No one is going to care, and rightfully so, if someone isn’t receiving pain management because they don’t want to see a pain management dr.

  43. Tim Mason at 2:41 pm

    BL this is what I have been saying all along. I gather that many commenters are or were getting schedule II from general doctors. Where I live they have not been able to prescribe schedule II narcotics for about 10 years, everyone including me was sent to pain management.

  44. Krissy at 2:38 pm

    BL, I don’t believe chronic pain patients, or intractable patients like me will never be happy. I also don’t believe it’s too late. We will never get millions of patients to speak up at the same time in the same place, but that isn’t what’s going to fix this mess anyway. Inner workings and associations deep within government and law are still largely available and we’re not giving up.

  45. BL at 12:47 pm

    Chronic pain pateints have waited too long to vocie their opinions. The phrase “too little, too late” describes it well. The changes in laws have not ome over night or in the past few years. These changes have been coming for over 15 yrs. It does no good to “shut the gate after the horse gets out.”

    Sites this this are good for helping people vent. But they do give false hope that things can be changed. The numbers needed and the volume level voices would have to be at are just not there. There is no hard evidence millions and millions of chronic pain patients are not able to get adequate pain management and/or their pain meds. Saying it does not make it so. A few thousand, if that many, do not make millions and millions. This site does help when it comes to giving chronic pain patients alternatives for managing chronic pain with and without pain meds. Learning how to do this is important. Learning how chronic pain patients are going to pay for things that insurance won’t cover is also important.

    Chronic pain patients saying that they are going to get their pain meds on the streets, turn to heroin or commit suicide makes the powers that be more creditable. It makes chronic pain patients look like they can’t live without their pain meds. The fact is that no death certificate has the lack of pain meds as a cause of death. If someone can’t get out of bed, how are they going to go and get their drugs off the streets ? If someone has enough money to support a daily drug habit and pay for an attorney, court costs, support themselves if/when they losetheir job, possibly be able to afford to cost of an attorney for a divorce, losing cutody of their children, etc they can find a dr that will manage their pain, unless they have broken the rules. They may not like the routine drug screens, having to go in regularly, no being prescribed high doses of pain meds, etc, but they can find a dr that will mange their pain at least somewhat. Having some of your pain managed is better than not having any of it managed.

    Karen, the pharmaceutical companies lied to the FDA and the drs. The FDA, DEA, CDC, etc are all trying to prevent what happend to your daughter from happening to others. Being pain free is not realistic. Chronic pain patients that expect to be pain free will never be happy.

  46. Cynthia at 7:17 pm

    I am aware that this is a news site and a place to voice opinion and feelings. The letters I have written and phone calls I’ve made, large in number, have all been to politicians, corporations, professional organizations. That hasn’t seemed to do any good, so far. If there are suggestions for who else to contact, please advise here. Thank you

  47. scott michaels at 12:43 pm

    of course we have are dependent on opioids. After several years of taking it i fear the law or my doctor taking it away. I dont fear the withdrawls, they will go away. I fear the extreme pain that i havent had since being on opioid therapy.
    I fear having to lay in bed all day, need help just to get out of bed and in many cases just to lift my head.
    The widthdrawls will ho away the pain wont!
    We that take opioids on a daily basis resorted to this because the dozens of other things did bot work!
    Yes we we made a choice to take pills to have a life. 99.8 % of us take it as directed.
    Because .2% of the 20 million people Abuse the medicine and take other drugs to get high, WE DONT!

  48. Jean Price at 12:39 pm

    Cynthia…I couldn’t agree more that Ed is a decent person and very knowledgeable about pain issues. (You mentioned all the other things he does regarding pain care, and I’d love to see this from him on this site so we could all know about them and know too if he might need our help with some active advocacy or know where me might lend our support!). Even though his background isn’t medical and he himself isn’t a person with persistent pain, he is still very knowledgeable and also knows a great deal about bureaucracies and how the world works! I would hope you’d know I have no issue with Ed! Unless saying he’s a journalist is negative, and I so hope not! And a newspaper is always using its circulation as a measure of success, not necessarily the editorials, so I hope that’s not an issue. Plus news has to be given in a way to encourage the reader to read, so provocative isn’t a bad thing by itself. Perhaps it’s that I said we didnt need that, and seriously, I don’t…if it means it can be more disheartening or alarming sometimes. I’m certainly not referring to the Pain Report earlier when I said it felt like it was a wasted resource!! But rather to all the resources of our ENERGY used and the frustration in the comments…which simply end up here, preaching to the choir. That happens not because of Ed, but rather because this isn’t meant to be an action oriented advocacy site, as such. It isn’t about that type of support for those in pain. Like Krissy said, and I already knew…it’s about news! Perhaps I wasn’t clear but both you and Krissy seem to be concerned about my comments being negative to this site and possibly to Ed… and yet they are not, or at least again not meant to be! I feel it’s just the reality of what it is, news and updates. And most readers are those like us, who live with pain…not those we’d like to reach. I know this site is of service, even though it’s a for profit site, and there is lots of good information and personal accounts to educate people. That’s never been an issue for me. Yet I believe we need more actions and ideas to put into action…and for people who have limited ability, using it up to comment rather than to write a letter or seek a place to be active in this fight may be something they’d want to consider, like I am! It isn’t about dropping out but rather changing the focus of my input and any help I could be. It’s also, I’m certain, a measure of my frustration that the outcome of efforts to date don’t seem promising! There are so many groups about pain, yet they all seem to be going their own way. I think this also lends to fragmenting our strength to work toward positive outcomes and makes it hard to know where our efforts will pack the biggest punch. All this being said, please see this for what it is…just my way of letting others WHO WANT MORE ACTION know they MIGHT want to save their OWN energy from writing comments and put it to a more active use, to reach others who may be able to help us change back to good health care for pain, back to the reality that pain requires a multifaceted treatment approach including opioids for those with life limiting, daily pain. I hope this resolves any confusion or concern, and will help others who want to be more involved perhaps start their own search for a way and a place to do just that, knowing this site will always offer information. Thanks.

  49. Cathy M at 8:41 am

    Hey, here’s an idea: Let’s push through a federal bill that requires all insurance companies to PAY DOUBLE if someone commits suicide and there’s evidence that it was due to untreated pain. I am not being sarcastic – hitting them in the pocket book is the ONLY way to make them pay attention! If they are held responsible for double life insurance payments (instead of none, with suicide, as they have now), they would have a huge incentive to change the pain relief laws – and I bet they’d do it. Let’s make them put their money where their mouth is!! What do you think?

  50. I. Hollis at 8:10 am

    Another article today, the American Society for Addiction Medicine, seems to be the main driver in this, no voice for the pain patient again, except to equate them with those with substance abuse issues. “Cigna has collaborated with the American Society for Addiction Medicine to create performance-based measures to eventually develop guidelines that could be used by insurers to establish protocols that would be used by doctors.” More insurers join in. More language that suggests anyone on an opioid medication has “a substance use disorder”? Chief Medical Officer of Behavioral Health at Cigna state that: “We need to change the way we treat people who are suffering from chronic pain, and we also need to recognize substance use disorder as the chronic disease that it is.”

    Insurance is now another gatekeeper to quell the so called “epidemic”. And now I’m reading that they want to “develop even more guidelines for doctors”? The epidemic of untreated and under treated chronic pain continues…….and patients and the doctors who treat them are ignored.


  51. Jean Price at 10:49 pm

    Krissy…I understand exactly what they are, a news source. Yet many who comment here think these comments actually get to the people who need to see them. And they don’t. That’s what I’m saying. It’s a way to know what’s happening, yes. And of course they aren’t responsible for what is in the news and the issues they report. I get that. I’m glad you outlined this for others. What I’m saying is this is news and venting, and occasionally supporting others. Any questions asked here are more than likely rhetorical, because they won’t be addressed nor will suggestions. I feel most pain support sites are just this, news without action. That’s what this is and it was set up that way…no harm no foul. But we need more, in my humble opinion, and that’s what I’ve said. Nothing more. I do think there is a hint of journalism techniques in some of these articles, and that again is my humble opinion. I don’t like a bunch of pills spilled out as a visual, and I don’t like misleading headlines, like the one that said the president was behind us, when in reality he didn’t give a firm commitment to us…again in my humble opinion. So thanks for the discussion, and I truly hope people find the information they want and need from this site. What they won’t find is action,or answers to their questions, or the ear of those who need to hear them….that’s because it’s a news source, period.

  52. Cynthia at 9:25 pm

    Yes, I hope everyone stays around. I hard Ed Coughlan live on the “livesupportgroip” webinar last week and Ed is really on top of it. He understands our issues deeply and his concern level for all of us is very high. He’s very involved in this fight, in many ways that go beyond the site. Thank you Ed!

  53. Krissy at 8:33 pm

    Jean Price, this is a news website which has the responsibility to report just that — the news. This news, whether it’s something you or I like to hear or not, or whether we agree with it or not, doesn’t reflect what the staff and its contributors personally believe unless it’s an opinion/editorial piece. Rather, it reflects facts about what is happening in the pain medicine and management arena, the insurance industry, the government and so on. And NPR offers the section called “My Story,” so you and others have a place to write about your personal experiences, your pain and your thoughts.

    The National Pain Report is owned and managed by a nationally, highly-renowned, well-respected professional media developer and producer, whose background is second to none. As well, the editorial team and contributing writers are comprised of dedicated professionals and pain patients who are tirelessly working everyday without pay, and have some pretty amazing career histories themselves. Some are working while they lay in their beds because of their disabilities. Some travel and speak, teach and visit important people all the while in pain and wholly exhausted.

    These people are working for you — to inform you what’s going on in the world of pain medicine, management and beyond. This business isn’t made up of any easy jobs. I have owned a newspaper and have been the executive editor of a major magazine and owned an international marketing communications agency. The people you see reporting here on NPR volunteer their time for the most part. They are researching and reporting, listening to and contributing developing stories, so that it can be presented to you in such a way that gives you the freedom to join in on the conversation and express your views.

    NPR is the most highly-read website on pain news in the world. Check out the site and read about the backgrounds of just some of the people who dedicate their time so this news can be presented to you, in a professional format, without cost. Who pays for that? With most news companies you must subscribe and pay. With NPR you have the opportunity to read freely and be a part of the conversation by commenting and creating discussion between yourself and others.

    Story writers, reporters and editors very often don’t like what they have to report to make sure the latest news gets out in a timely manner. On the other hand, researching, writing and editing is a delightful position when “good news” is abound.

    A cost-free news source is given to you as a gift from people who are dedicated and care about pain patients just like you, whose lives are often being torn apart or challenged in this troubled time. But the responsibility of every news source is to be honest and report both sides of a story. That’s something we are not seeing in some major media right now, such as CNN and others.

    I do hope you will stay with NPR and keep reading and contributing your comments.

  54. joan hamm at 6:52 pm

    People please do not drop out. How else are we going to support each other. We need to figure out how to fight back as a team.

  55. Jean Price at 2:15 pm

    Therese…I totally understand what you mean by being more upset after reading these posts, and the comments often break my heart!! I’ve come to realize this site, like some others, is run by a journalist and measures its success on the number of our comments and the reads, rather than the contents of what we say!! And like all journalism, there is a tendency to be provocative, when that’s not what we need. It is a dilemma for me…do I opt out of this site and not waste my time, or try to keep some perspective and keep being “informed”, and perhaps support a few people along the way!?! Opting out seriously looks like a better plan for me every day…perhaps I can put my limited energy to better use elsewhere, or save some for myself and the harder days of living with pain. We need a true advocate, not just information….and we need that NOW! Bless you for your efforts here, and I pray your days will be good enough to have some small joys in them.

  56. Sandra at 2:09 pm

    One thing please do not do ! DO NOT LET THEM PUT YOU ON METHADONE . I HAVE BEEN A CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY SPECIALIST FOR 35 years. Under no circumstances ever let them do this. I don,t care if your laying in streets screaming in pain do not let them put you on Methadone. Also most treatment centers are bull—-. So think about that one.

  57. Therese at 5:42 am

    M.T. – I totally agree, especially with the final sentences of your post. I am sensing that it is too late. As soon as my medication got the first cut, I thought about how this isn’t the same as, say, quitting smoking cigarettes, and, what you mention, the fact that drug addicts are able to get better and we are not. I found this site, petitions, etc., and thought there was hope, but even from the beginning, in the back of my mind, I couldn’t picture my pain management ever giving me back the percentage they took away, admitting maybe they were wrong and reinstating my moderately therapeutic dosage – not at this stage of the game.

  58. Therese at 3:44 am

    Jean – well said. I am getting so frustrated that I sometimes feel like lashing out. Here, of all places, where most of us are in the same boat. When I first read this particular article, it almost seemed as if it was put out there just to get us all stirred up again, right on the heels of the slightly optimistic recent NY Times article Mr. Capolongo (hope I got the name right; didn’t go look it up) pointed out to us under another topic. I write my little letters as advised, but they’re just that – little. And I spend way too much time here – it pains me to sit – and often wind up depressed in addition to the extra pain. I liken it to an accident scene; I can’t look but can’t not look. We are the victims, although I don’t care for that word – not spending any more precious time to find a better one – and, as you pointed out, we are really only able to ADD to the fight. We need a hero! (I’ll probably regret posting this. I’m super shy so I always second-guess what I say; cannot tell you the number of comments I’ve sat here composing only to ultimately delete them.)

  59. Anomyous at 3:13 am

    It take rocket science to figure out why folks are upset with prescription medication.
    On a daily basis I see 20 somethings being arrested and charged with possession of controlled substances. The arrest initially is the result of a DUI, no drivers license or insurance It is these 20 something that are the root of addiction. Poor parenting, lack of a father figure and divorce are the root cause of these kids getting into trouble and they continue to the lives of chronic pain patients like myself.
    You have to ask yourself, where does a 22 year old get his hands on Xanax and OxyContin?
    Add to this list he/she has a bag of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
    They have either bought stolen medication or stole the medication themselves. I looked at one of the recommended Face Book groups for pain patients. I was appalled to see a disproportional number of 20 somethings complaining that they can no longer get oxycodone among other drugs. Many of these were trying to get disability at 25. I don’t discount the fact that there are some physically impaired 20 years olds but the numbers tell a different story.

  60. T. Mason at 2:46 am

    What was the root cause of the car accident?

  61. Christopher at 1:26 am

    So the government wants everyone to be on heroin or massive doses of Methadone. I have 14 herniated discs, 6 bone chips, all discs degenerating, 3 spinal fusion operations L5-S1, c-3,4,5 and an emergency discectomy at T-5. Multiple neurosurgeons have looked at my MRI’s & CT myelogram studies and refused to even think about surgery unless emergent. Literally have tried everything from acupuncture, epidurals, ablation, the side effects from the NSAIDS destroyed my liver and triggered psoriasis over 98% of my body. The Enbrel caused Lupus. with it’s process of kidney problems oxycodone ER combined with fentanyl patches brings the pain down to a 6-7 constant level. I have always had an extremely high tolerance to drugs. I have awakened during every surgery. Even having my wisdom teeth removed on an I.v. drip of morphine, Valium, Versed and Demerol along with nitrous did not put me out enough still had to use 6 vials of lidocaine.
    What really shocked the oral surgeon was he had maxed me out on versed & after all was done & bleeding stopped you could hold a complete conversation with me I was perfectly lucid scared the staff to death. The world’s worst junkie. To top it off 7 days before Christmas 2015 passenger in a car that was rear ended tore the hardware in neck loose and ripped tendons in neck & shoulder. And the POTUS &_ cronies know how much I hurt prove it political hacks let us see if you can stay on Advil or Suboxone Punish all for the few bad.

  62. joan hamm at 8:57 pm

    Dear Ed… I cried when I heard about your daughter. My prayers are with her and you. But please don’t get mixed up between Doctors who give dangerous pain drugs to someone who is not in pain. Or Doctors who verify and research with good professional Doctors if they are giving the correct meds to a patient. One must not be angry at all people who are innocent against bad people. My meds go right to the affected areas of pain and enables me to live life and I help others I meet in life when necessary. If I have an accident it’s not because of meds. So innocent people should not be judged or punished. May God Bless you. But Bad Doctors who abuse people and drugs should be investigated.

  63. Jean Price at 8:22 pm

    Organizing is a great idea….now here come the big but! BUT there are already many individual groups who say they “support” those who live in pain….yet they are really like this site, purely to educate and inform! Some of the main “advocacy” groups seem to be doing “their own thing”….and don’t even respond to suggestions of a more active and confrontive style in dealing with the issues facing us all! I think they all would do well to form a coalition and get some leverage out of the numbers and designate different arenas to be dealt with, like government, the public, parmaceutical companies, and insurance companies. And start some legal proceeding regarding our civil rights. Plus, a nationally known spokesperson would help…someone to champion our cause. A dedicated hotline for support could be set up and fundraising for those in financial crisis…at just a few dollars each we could come up with some money to help people. I’ve said this several times in different ways to different groups…no takers!! Our advocacy groups seem interested in us writing more letters, which may or may not end up on the right person’s desk! How do WE organize when we struggle often to fix dinner or have clean underwear?! We could ADD our efforts to a group…but starting it is a whole other issue. These groups all have their own politics and egos and kingdoms…and some are resistant to joining forces because of this, I think. I agree we need organization and expertise to come up against those who are creating this havoc. But just exactly how is anyone’s guess! Basically, we can support each other and pray for the best, unless something changes in these organization’s who support us….unless they really run with this, instead of just watch it unfold. And if one does, then we can put our efforts behind it. This is how I feel, and it may be a reflection on my ability to do more. Yet so many comments here bring up good points and yet go nowhere!! Such wasted resource, it seems to me. Especially when we so desperately need the help!

  64. joan hamm at 7:54 pm

    Dear Fellow Pain Sufferers. I wonder if we are talking to a brick wall here if you read the news article writers responses to us? Maybe further action is required? We have options to go for but we must gather other pain Sufferers signatures on a well written document. We can find these people at pharmacies..Doctor offices…hospitals… Friends… Neighbors etc. And encourage them to write their story. Get copies. Give them info who to complain to about .I want to hear others stories on pain they have. I don’t get joy from them.,sometimes I cry…but sharing and knowing you are not alone is I pray helpful to us and we educate each other as well as non Sufferers. Even before I got this horrible pain disease called RSD.,.. I fought for pain Sufferers. Ironically I had a terrible fall at work…landed with a body slam so hard it gave me internal nerve and muscle damage. I deserved Workmans Comp but never went through due to one of the 7 Doctors I saw and my Atty really Hated each other and took it out on me. I searched everywhere for an Atty but they all were angry I did not choose them first and they too did not like my bad reputation of an Atty I did have. So the system abused me. I even called in many other States for help but never was lucky enough to find one who understood whi I could not get one in my state. I call these pain reports a form of abuse too to not specify details on protecting us victims of pain diseases.

  65. Karen at 6:02 pm

    My daughter was a perfect example for opiate abuse, Years of opiate prescriptions after a fatal car accident. This ended her short life due to being addicted. She moved onto Heroin every time a doctor who wrote her scripts shut her down if she tested positive for Pot.Accident was in 1990 when she was turning 13. Amber died 10/15 from a heroin overdose at the age of 38.
    There has to be a better answer. Oxycontin was claimed to be non addicting. I should have sued the life out of the Jerk that stated that. Look at all the people screwed up from that drug. We cant even trust the FDA or Doctors. People deserve quality of life. PAIN FREE. the Insurance companies better come up with some solutions before executing such a harsh decision. Thousands of people are already hooked. What’s their answer? Hold them to cover long term in house rehab which they do not pay for. Its time to turn this around and hold Doctors and insurance companies liable.

  66. M.T. at 4:23 pm

    So cancer or those with terminal illness are deemed the only legitimate pain patients based on what? Further, my private relationship with my doctor is irrelevant. Instead of treating on an individual basis, doctors have to compare themselves with other doctors? In what other medical situation would this even be considered? To top it all off, let’s make sure we go out of our way to get abusers the help they don’t want and make sure we don’t stigmatize them by holding them personally responsible for knowingly ABUSING drugs. Has anyone noticed that prescription access and medical treatnent for legitimate pain patients is getting worse by the minute? Is the “dialogue” working for us? Now that we have been merged into the drug addiction crisis, I honestly think it’s too late. I am so scared and so infuriated that this has happened. At least an addict can get healthy again. We don’t even have that option.

  67. Samantha at 1:14 pm

    I have an incurable disease(Rheumatoid Arthritis)that causes me to live in pain every day…for the rest of my life. The non-opiod medications that I take to try to control my disease are very very expensive. Cigna’s decision to decrease opioid prescriptions makes me suspicious that they may indirectly be trying to get out of paying for my other expensive medications since everyone knows that insurance companies are driven by greed and not concern for people’s health.
    I smell the potential for a class action suit. Especially since other news reports this week have stated that the decrease in prescribing opioids has done nothing to stop overdose deaths with neither legal or illegal drugs.

  68. Steve and Renee' Mace at 12:00 pm

    Patricia Johnson is correct, we need to stop crying and start organizing, I know that if they lower my medications even 15 mgs, I will be dead in one week. I am already on the lowest dose ever since the CDC guidelines came out and every moment of the day I live in throbbing, stabbing, freezing, crippling savage chronic pain in both my legs due to a car accident which left me unconscious without enough oxygen for my brain, so now I have Central Pain Syndrome which never gets better, it gets worse every year. There is currently NO TREATMENT except pain medications. Lyrica and other pills like it makes me feel like I am going crazy with panic attacks and feeling severely depressed. I had the best Doctor ever but the feds didn’t like that he specialized in Pain management and treatments and in some cases people like me come in that the only thing that will work for me after trying everything out is pain medications, not heroin! So they take away his license, the doctor’s need to team up with us, it’s crazy that in this age the prejudice continues. We are working about being politically correct with race, transgender people, with gay and lesbian marriage but we now leave out God and we are currently leaving out REAL PEOPLE IN PAIN AND THEIR EDUCATED DOCTORS WHO TREAT THEM THE CORRECT WAY. CDC has put us all in a ( ONE SIZE FIT’S ALL) when it comes to treatments. Just watch the news I bet we won’t hear about all the suicides cased by lack of medications or doctors who where trained to deal with us. I have a Nurse Practioner who treats me, not a skilled doctor who had years and years of studing to work with all the different kinds of pain problems. So I say first we pray to Our Heavenly Father, then we Organize! Thanks Patricia Johnson

  69. Kris L. at 9:37 am

    I read a great article in The New York Post, entitled “No, Cracking Down On Painkillers Won’t Save Lives”, the other day. The article notes that prescriptions for opioids peaked in 2012, but in 2014 were actually being prescribed at the same level as they were in 2002. The article also notes that in spite of that, opioids related deaths were up in 2014, BUT that’s because that more than 9 out of 10 of those deaths were due to opioids being combined with other substances such as benzos & alcohol. The article also cites a recent CDC study that followed chronic pain patients taking opioids for 13 years for non cancer pain. The patients were ages 15-64. There was one opioids related death for every 550 patients, which equates to a risk factor of .2%. The article has additional info from the National Study for Drug Use & Health & the CDC which further substantiates that chronic pain patients are NOT the problem in opioids addiction & overdose.

    My personal opinion is that politicians are jumping on the bandwagon because it is true that opioid overdoses are happening to white, middle class Americans, which of course encompass many of their constituents who are potentially voting for them. Combine this with the numerous celebrity opioid related deaths in the past several years & it’s a recipe for disaster for us chronic pain patients. Additionally, they are making these decisions on historical data vs the most recent data from 2014 as noted in the article.

    I am very fortunate to have great pain management from my dr for the hereditary chronic pancreatitis I have, but I live in fear each month that it could change, not by my dr’s desire, but because of regulations or even the fear of them. I always note the hereditary component of my disease because in addiction to the drug seeker accusations we’ve all endured in emergency rooms, I’ve also been accused of being an alcoholic, as many Dr’s still mistakenly believe that most patients with chronic pancreatitis are alcoholics.

    I have written to my senators & members of the House of Representatives asking for their support of chronic pain patients.

    Somehow, we have to find a way to unite & find a common voice to speak to Washington to begin to reverse the negative affect their fears is imposing on us chronic pain sufferers.

  70. Christine Taylor at 11:36 pm

    Patricia Johnson, I agree, it is time to organize. Too many people kill themselves because they are in pain and cannot get relieve. The body is left in a constant state of stress. Eventually every chronic pain sufferer find the dose that works for them and no further increase of meds is necessary however a variety of methods need to be incorporated. It doesn’t mean we are free of pain rather it just means we are at a place where we can tolerate pain and live a more normal life. Sometimes we must just rest in bed and not take meds to avoid tolerance and other times it must be changed up. Rest, exercise diet should always be tried first however chronic pain victims learn what to use when.

  71. Patricia Johnson at 10:03 pm

    These forums are a wonderful place to vent our outrage at being called out as addicts and having our Dr. prescribed, legitimate prescription being attacked….and that’s great. We need a place to let out our frustration with a broken system who let’s Our Government and Politicians decide what’s best for our medical treatment, (or lack thereof).

    However, if we really want to be heard, I mean really heard….perhaps it’s time to organize. It seems the only time any serious issue is taken seriously is when it’s loud & clear by the millions that are being abused by our own Government. They are supposed to care for us. They are so misguided and I can’t agree more how skewed our news reports are. Just like when they tried to sell everyone on the “so called fact” that Insurance Companies were losing money because of all the fraud. Medical fraud is very small in comparison to the denial of true claims, putting hard working people that were permanently disabled, literally out on the streets because they couldn’t pay their bills after years of denials!

    I say we organize and work together to make real changes.

    I pray you all have a less painful day tomorrow.

  72. Cynthia at 9:07 pm

    Wow…incredible….CIgna needs to be sued. And Anthem. i went thru a huge ordeal with them interfering. I lost. Had to change Drs. The Drs. Are very afraid of the insurance companies and of the government. But at some point, the doctors need to get a movement going to stand up to these entities. Doctors have a lot more power than we do.

  73. Jean Price at 4:24 pm

    Perhaps each person who commented here, and is also on Facebook or has email, could write a BRIEF description of what is going on in general to educate the public, ask them to be aware, to not support this witch hunt and to not vote for any officials who do!! Don’t go into a lot of personal details…just what is happening with skewed statistics, discrimination, being looked at as guilty even though innocent and responsible and legally using medication to improve functioning and quality of life. Talk about life limiting pain, not chronic…which brings up the stigma of complaining or malingering, and don’t use the addiction word except to point out the difference. Every time we bring up addiction, it changes the focus from pain! And to say we are not addicts is a double issue, because we can’t prove the negative and people tend to read it out of the sentence, plus it again brings the focus to addiction! Just something short, concise with a definite “please support those in pain” by looking into this and your senates new laws and not supporting those who are part of the lies and part of denying appropriate care for those with pain. Email it to all your contacts as an FYI message, Facebook it to your family, friends, public, message it to all your contacts to give them a personal FYI in case they miss the Facebook post. This is good use of your limited energy…and it will get our message out there, unlike our comments here, where only we see them. It a huge fight against many strong forces and we must let others know we so need their help, even if it’s just their voting power!!

  74. Barbara Hite at 4:18 pm

    Insurence company wants their profits to go up, while denying us chronic pain patients are opiods. This is a financial decisions not a humanitarian decision on their part.
    While cats and dogs get better pain relief then a human being does, this is so pathetic. No matter what we do we are all “addicts” in the end. And I don’t understand why insurance companies are worried about this anyhow because they don’t cover opioids anyhow, they play doctor and pharmacist for the government.

  75. Wayne S. Swanson II at 3:26 pm

    I have taken this opportunity to share my heartbreaking story in hopes these witch hunting Opiate ill informed skeptics will read and understand that I would have no life without Medically prescribed Opiates by a physicians care and strictly monitored monthly urine and blood test. Please remember that An Opinion Before A Thorough Investigation Is The Epitome Of Ignorance! And that a little more compassion from the Medical Field and its representatives could have saved my beautiful Stepdaughters life. Let me say this! A person who has a addictive personality will abuse anything that helps them feel better. I have taken Oxycontin for 12 years , I have had 20 major surgery’s in 9 years. I have so much physical pain I can not even get out of bed with ouit pain meds and when I run out I run out and just lay in bed praying the Lord relieve me of this horrible condition and I pray God you pain med skeptics never go through what I go through everyday of my life when the only thing you have to do is threaten what help I get, Shame on you! There will always be drug abuse and as the so called war on drugs has failed all this will! All you do is stoke and aid the drug pushers business to knew heights in the Black Market of Heroin while depriving folks as me to this horrible movement! My Stepdaughter committed suicide 4 years ago because of being treated like a drug addict by her family and doctors when all along she suffered from Lupus and Fibro which I believe was brought on by a deadly car crash at 18 , she told me between that which I was being put through and what they were putting her through she was not going to live her life in such a hell brought on by people like you that are on a witch hunt to out law Opiates and pain meds that give us some sort of a life . As a retired Police officer and worked indirectly close to the DEA, you people do not have a clue how thrilled you are making the illegal opiate trade and think of my Late Stepdaughter as you continue on with this bull***t movement to outlaw opiates! Just like the slaughter of children at Sandy Hook if there would have just been gun laws , my God they were Gun Laws , the guns that murdered all those 20 children were all registered and owned by a school teacher! You fight Drug Addiction in Elementary education by teaching all children the dangers of Booze and Tobacco which if these witch hunters want for us to know the real truth but they do not. I miss my Stepdaughter a so much and some of us will continue on the fight to protect our right to feel better and function without fear of these witch hunters trying to convince us to commit suicide . And they are trying to do exactly THAT!
    The under line real truth is THESE witch hunters would rather us Chronic Pain sufferers commit suicide are and DRINK all the BOOZE we can drink! The Federals legalized it ( ALCOHOL) knowing its a more deadly drug than Strychnine. And just because the DEA has miserably failed with their bull***t war on drugs why do they deprive us sick people of our Constitutional Rights to be Happy in that pursuit of with Professional Physicians to take meds that give us relief of this horrible malady of Chronic Pain ! May God have mercy on their miserable souls they that seek to destroy us Chronic Pain Sufferers only and little hope of temporary relief of this horrible sickness.

  76. Krissy at 3:00 pm

    My first thought was also to make sure a large group of people go from Cigna to another company, however, we cost the insurance companies money, with frequent visits and procedures. So, would that just mean Cigna would be happy to be rid of their pain customers? I have Aetna and would imagine they will follow suit, as others will too. I may be wrong here, but since these companies are big money-makers regardless, they may not care one bit if we leave their systems. I still say, we need legal involved in this, and as stuff like this continues to change the scenery, our case gets a little stronger…I hope. Damn I am tired of the stress and worry this whole thing brings on. I still get my meds, and my doc won’t comment to me about it except to say he has no plans to change his prescribing, but docs are possibly going to be forced to change — at least the ones like mine who still prescribe to hundreds and hundreds of patients. That’s all he does because all of his patients are severely disabled and most are seniors. I advocate because I am concerned about my fellow pain people and haven’t run into too many problems myself. My biggest beef is the cost of alternate therapy and procedures because I can’t afford them. But I’m not blind; what many of you are going through with reduction or severing of medication can certainly happen to me at any time.

  77. Mike at 2:43 pm

    It Looks like to me if you read between the lines on this opiate especially prescription, It is costing the insurance company some big bucks, and it is hurting Obama care, So in return we jump on the people that need it and try and get them off drugs, and they will have more money in there pocket for a short time. It makes you wonder who you trust on this.

  78. Jean Price at 1:53 pm

    Would be interesting to see what the addiction numbers and use of street drugs and overdoses has done! Oh, but I forgot…they mix heroin in with prescription pain medications illegally obtained….so no real chance of this!! Seriously, the inmates are running the asylum! I think we are seeing the end of true health care and being ushered, however unwillingly, into the new age of insurance company and government practicioners!! God help the common man! And especially those with pain!

  79. Evelyn at 11:30 am

    I just had an idea, why don’t all the people that have Cigna, like me, resign and go to another company? Woul it make a difference????

  80. Sara at 11:22 am

    All of these goals are worthy, but I think we all know what will happen given our experience with the govt’s lofty goals and “voluntary” guidelines. I’m guessing prescriptions have already dropped at least 25%. I wonder what the numbers show?

  81. Evelyn at 11:21 am

    I am living with chronic pain over 20 years and taking pain medication ( don”t like the word pain killers) and always have the same dose and take it responsably. I would not be able to live without them. As my pain encreased over the years I can walk less and do much less thing I adapted to that. I tryed all the alternative things you can think of: acupuncture, hipnosis, psicotherapy, rehab, you name it, I did it. Why would I be confused with a drug addict????
    I think that the First and More Important thing is that they STOP confusing and calling addicts to people and and Doctors who use and prescribe “medicines for pain ” as their only alternative to the horrible situation to live with chronic and terrible pain. Whish one of them would have chronic pain to realize what it really feels like. It is so easy to talk when you look at things from outside.

  82. Sandra at 11:17 am

    Write the politicians every week in your state call them every week if everyone did this we would be heard start this one at a time and write about it on here with phone numbers and addresses for each state your in.

  83. Sandra at 11:10 am

    Well how many people in real pain did you stop from being helped . Your so sad. How many did you allow to be charged the two to three hundred dollars for your new monthly payments for your new medication for pain. People understand much more than you think.
    You are hurting people in real pain pharmaceutical world is Billionaires with things like this. Shame on you.

  84. Kathy Cooper at 11:00 am

    For Heaven’s sake! Each time I read any of these Article, I ask, What are they leaving out. It appears the Narrative and the response by the Pain Community follows a pattern. One more outrageous attack on all patients, not just the Pain Patients. One more reaction by the Industry to their self described “Opioid Crisis.” Each one of these Articles is based on some scary “Statistics” which are misleading and taken out of context. The Industry has some very good PR People, Media people, Statisticians, and one Agenda, Profit at all cost.
    We need to connect the dots here. What are they leaving out of every “News Article?” Does anyone see what they did here? We have Politicians jumping on this Bandwagon, because they score Political Points railing against “Drug Addicts”, while the underlying these is denying Pain treatment to legitimate pain patients, or really any patient who might present with pain. At the same time our nations is continuing with misdirected and ineffective multi billion dollar “War On Drugs”. The two have become linked, since there are Drugs/Medication in common.
    I can almost hear the strategy meetings at the Industry. Pain is inconvenient for the Industry and costs them Profits, while we have a Public that has been fed a steady diet of one sided news about Crime, Poverty, and the downsides of our Society. Nearly everything is blamed on “Drugs”. Each nightly News story about a Police Standoff, or a Drug Sting, is a titillating, and draws the viewers attention. They have video on the Police Cars, and suspect, often a dispute over Drugs. The boogeyman drugs, it elicits a knee jerk response every time. We have been trained to follow this narrative.
    The real backstory is Poverty, oppression, and lack of opportunity. We have had Years of an expensive failed” War on Terror.” many of the Social Programs have been gutted to pay for it. Education, Infrastructure and the things that we expected from our Country, not entitlements, but things like decent jobs, education, even a basic Lifestyle are gone. We now have had a generation growing up with this. It is much easier to blame this current state of affairs on Drugs. That is the easily provable and obvious problem. This is where people turn to deal with all of this despair. So many of us believe the Story Line, the Bootstraps, the Mythology they have been feeding us.
    The Statistics show Americans are dying earlier, they attributed this to drugs too. If you try to follow these numbers, you can see the lack of Data. There is a lack of real Data everywhere. The Statistics they used to bolster this latest campaign are an example. They admitted to the possibility that some deaths were reported twice. There are also different reporting requirements for different Jurisdictions. There are also monetary incentives in some places for reporting Drug Related incidents in Hospitals. In ERs there is a financial incentive to turn people away from care. People believe they have to treat everyone that comes in, this is another Myth, perpetuated by the Corporate Media. You will see this theme repeated when they bolster the For Profit Medical Industry, or talk negative about providing Health Care Access. Once the accusation of “Drug Seeking” is made, the patient no longer has any rights, or any access to care. They don’t have to prove it, a Doctor just has to raise the issue. Even in Towns with one Emergency Room, where they have access to the patients Medical Records. They don’t even look, and many of us have very few meaningful things written in our Medical Records, especially when there is any Medicaid/Medicare, low income level involved.
    We need to think about this any time we read theses so called News Articles, regarding the “Crisis”, another manufactured crisis. The real Crisis is the lack of access to appropriate Healthcare. The other Crisis is the Greying of America. Think of the Seniors entering the Medicare Program, or the newly insured accessing Healthcare. How many of these people have postponed care? How many have had multiple surgeries, and rely on medication to get through their day? Think of those Big Box Store employees, who may have been injured on the job, or are older and their joints are giving out. How many people have survived car accidents, and multiple surgeries? Look at the Industries where people work in unsafe conditions, like construction, even retail. Even nurses who due to the labor shortages had to dead lift a patient, and injured themselves.
    The above is a large group, and certainly does not contain all of the possibilities. One of the factors that has changed over the last 30 years is the constant cutting of positions to increase profits. Whether a Hospital, where Nurses used to have Orderlies, to help lift. Now due to the constant cost saving, there aren’t any. Even retail, look at some of these employees working double shifts, and require to re-stock, often heavy lifting and straining involved. There is constant pressure to perform. Many of these Jobs don’t have any benefits, they had to turn to Clinics for basic healthcare. how many of these low wage employees, had to work while injured?
    We have to read between the lines. What are they leaving out of these “News Stories”, some of the more outrageous “Facts” are int he opinion Section of the Newspapers. These statements an Numbers are false and deliberately misleading.
    We have to scrutinize everything we hear, read or watch anymore. The current Political situation should be an indicator. The first question should be who benefits. Another issues is the financial ties, to what Industry. We have Industry people working at Regulatory Agencies. They are no objective, they go back to the Industry with a Pay raise for their help.
    There was a recent Article, where a Doctor and a Clinic Director, discussed this “Epidemic,” while promoting some Alternative Pain Treatments. This sounded innocuous enough. They both repeated this false narrative, “Anyone who reports back pain raises a red flag.” I know one of her patients, this woman a senior citizen had reported “Back Pain” for at least 2 years. This was ignored by this Doctor, who had been seeing her long term. The woman had some other health issues. So she was a regular patient. This woman who had no “Addiction” issues, and in her 70s was ignored. She was later diagnosed with Kidney cancer, which explains the back pain.
    In this Article touting the benefits of Napro Therapy, ( It was an Advertisement for one Practice, where the Clinic Staff have been going,)and other treatments. She never mentions the number of patients they turned away for reporting “Back Pain”. I was one of those patients. I found that they do not include these things in their Records. Every Patient should get a copy of their records.
    This was the only low cost access to Medical Care in our Town. They have a wait of up to a Month or more for a visit. the only other access was at a Behavioral health clinic. This Doctor ran a narrative that she was Denying people with Pain any treatment or even diagnosis, and she was proud of it. They left out the real story, because no agency is collecting the data.
    Like my friend with the kidney cancer. the big part of the Story is how many of the people they turned away had a legitimate issue. How many went on to need surgery, or more care because they were denied care at this Clinic. There was another Article about a Medicaid issue written by a “Journalist” who promotes the For Profit model of Healthcare. This Article was in the Opinion Section. While disusing some factual issues with the Medicaid program in our State, he once again re-iterates the Myth of the Low Income clinic that has to treat everyone.

    If I edit this I probably wont follow up. Please excuse they Typos it is hard to type with my spine issues.

  85. JC at 10:06 am

    It doesnt matter what they do an addict will get there fix…. the only ones they are really taking away the rights of are the chronic pain patients. The ones that without said medication could not work to provide for there families. The ones that have a glimpse of hope by certain medications. This here is a travisity in its self. For people to set up and condemn those that are in actual medical need of pain medicine is inhuman unjust an cruel… The war on drugs has been going on for years. And taking away a patients medical rights isnt going to solve it. But what I do forsee happening is that the ones who need pain medication to live an are denied will no longer to work or carry on in society becoming dependent on the social security system and government then what will our so called governmentsay then…

  86. Doug at 9:47 am

    The reason that Cigna and the government agencies want to remove the word ABUSE from the medical vocabulary is so everyone who takes opiates can be linked together in one simple category. It doesn’t matter if you use opiates to manage chronic pain or to get high, they can call all uses addiction. Our responsibility is that we need to pull the rest of the chronic pain sufferers out from behind the curtains and get them involved. We need to attack the entire News Media with letters and emails about the cruelties and abuse that so many already have suffered and a lot more are about to endure.

    The response that came from the Anderson Cooper segment created a sh** storm for the news media. Our emails and comments ended up bringing more anti-opiate reporters/columnist out of the wood work causing them to write slandering articles saying that the US Pain Foundation and Founder is funded by and Lobbying for big Pharma. In my opinion the entire News Media has turned into a written and broadcasted Tabloids who damage people’s reputation by reporting untruths.
    Remember the days when the news reported the truth? Those good old days when they spoke to people on both sides of a platform and told the whole story so that the public could form their own opinions?
    It just goes to show me that the entire media is so egotistical that they no longer believe the public is responsible enough to form a respectable opinion so they feel it’s their responsibility to tell the public what their opinions should be.
    Being a member of the US Pain Foundation, I truly believe that we should file suit against the 2 news papers and CNN for slander and deformation of character. Hell, Donald Trump sued Bill Maher for 2 million dollars because of a joke saying Trumps father had to be an orangutan.

  87. Andrea Goins at 9:46 am

    All this is going to do is raise the suicide rate sky high!! I’ve already watched my husband loose his life to a self inflicted gunshot wound after being denied his pain medication. He was not an abuser, strictly used his oxycodone as prescribed…something he had taken for over 10 years…then boom no more prescription! Yes, addicts are loosing their lives but this world is about to witness the suicide rate skyrocket. Just sad…very sad and WRONG!! This is not the way to handle this problem.

  88. Bill Halper at 9:21 am

    This whole “crises” is getting so out of hand now!!! I agree that there is a major problem with illicit use of the oxycodones and their ilk, and anything that can be done to help them would be wonderful and humane, no question about that, I am for it! But who are these people at the CDC, DEA and FDA to tell my doctor and me that the need to cut back on the required medication chronic pain patients is required? They aren’t in the doctors office listening to the doctor patient conversation, they don’t see the patient getting nauseous because the pain is so bad, almost intolerable! They don’t see the doctor and patient trying so many different concoctions to reduce the pain yet fail miserably! And what is this about showing those doctors what other doctors prescribe? That is utterly a waste of time, certainly a major insult to the doctors as though the CDC et al plus the insurance company don’t fully believe or trust them. not to mention the patient! You cannot put all doctors in the same category, and nor can you do that with all the patients. I have fibromyalgia, degenerative disc and cervical disease, extremely painful lower legs due to defective veins which cannot be repaired and malignant cancer. Without the oxycodones, I would not be here as the pain is so unbearable at times to the point that I curl up into the fetal position crying my eyes out praying for death!!! It seems the human factor no longer exists! Instead, governmental control and a better bottom line for insurance companies. I’m so happy that Cigna intends to cut this use of pain meds by 25%, they can use that extra money saved to send condolence cards to families who HAD a chronic pain patient because with suicide, insurance companies don’t need to pay!

  89. Kris at 8:57 am

    I have been searching for treatments for my many conditions for the past 3 years straight even going as far as taking out every single female organ in my lower body….I am trying everything to get out of pain..but I am left on norco 5-235…stuck on my couch and not able to function..and no…they say I am not dying of anything…in fact my blood work looks perfect on so many levels…..

    I am getting vaginal infections …constantly every month for the past 3 years..I do have interstitial cystitis, endometriosis , Aytipical Facial pain , IBS …I have even went to rip out almost every tooth in the back right side of my mouth..yep another one is coming out Monday …because NO none of my medications are working to get me out of pain so I am going to extreme measures to try and take away all possibilities

    I get my norco for my back and neck pain…which is nothing compared to what has me not functional

    They told me it was all endo pain ,They told me take out your parts this will fix you …so I did and I prayed and I am still in such pain stuck on my couch with no pain help …I am scared I have no life…this whole thing is sickening to me….

    as I lay here day after day with a heat pad on my privates and now purple veins permanently brought out on my thighs forever because of too much heat on them ..as I lay here with no life and no pain meds already…I just keep reading…I have no hope of any future life with out pain….any life away from this heating pad , Any life where I can go do anything…..

    So as I read more and more I realize my life is over…..well isn’t that special…45 years old and my life is over..because no doctor can figure out how to fix me..but no doctor will get me out of pain while we look either so for 3 years my life has become no life

    How long does one stay this course?? I have asked myself this….I have been referred to infectious disease 3 times and they do not see my contagious so they do not want to help…I wrote Dr Phil yep I sound crazy now…every day for 5 weeks begging this man to find me medical help and get me off my couch….not a word back..

    you do not see me running around asking for pain meds..NO you see me running around asking for medical tests and doctors to get me out of pain ….But no they can not opinion after opinion

    and yes my infections are real..they are cultured and yes I have records I have not insane

    So we ask my pain doctor of many many years to please raise me from norco 5 to norco 7.5
    he says NO sorry..I only treat her neck and back…not those other problems…and she is too young to start increasing her now….

    does anyone think I am too young to be stuck on my couch with no life?? I DO….

  90. Joe A Newman at 8:49 am

    The only politicians who should be allowed to vote on laws intended to take away essential pain relief from those who would be forced to live in intolerable agony every day of their lives if not for their pain medication are those politicians who are also chronic, severe pain sufferers. Only then would they understand what they are doing.

    If you have a pet who is suffering in agony every day, and the vet says he just can’t find the problem, then you would put that pet to sleep out of mercy. Is that the next brilliant proposal from our leaders? Euthanize chronic pain sufferers? By the time you take away our only relief I am certain you will have no shortage of volunteers for your genocidal campaign.

    Take a step back and look at what you are doing. You are not saving us. You are killing us.

  91. Donna W. Joe at 8:33 am

    My pain doctor, who is very reputable, told me that your body knows that you need those pain meds. I also have never gotten high or felt lightheaded from my meds. If the average person who is not in pain took what I take, they would be flat on their back in bed. But for me, the meds have given me back my life to some degree. I have many tools in my toolbox to help me get through each day: ice, heat, rest, exercises, my neurostimulator, and my meds. Each one of these things plays a part in my day. My meds are definitely at the top of the list. Without them I can hardly function. I strongly resent the fact that others are trying to make me feel like an addict. My husband needs insulin to control his blood sugar. He has never once been made to feel like an addict. Addiction needs to be addressed for sure. But the current laws simply need to be enforced. Anyone obtaining narcotics without a prescription should be prosecuted. Anyone prescribing narcotics to patients who don’t need them should be prosecuted. But physicians should be making these decisions, not insurance companies, and not politicians.

  92. scott michaels at 8:12 am

    Boycott cigna!!! with obama care you can switch to another, make sure your have the healthy people boycott too

  93. scott michaels at 8:11 am

    Who is ready to protest cigna corp offices and probably anthem theyll be next.
    Lets do this before its too late

  94. Sandy Mayfield at 8:07 am

    I understand that there are people who are easily addicted to opioid medications and that many go on to become full blown addicts and it is an epidemic and that is unfortunate. However, there are plenty of us who have legitimate pain and in need of these medications to function in life. As usual the government punishes the upright to take care of the abusers! I am a grown woman who wants to live as pain free as.possible and that should be my right and not infringed upon by the government!

  95. Donna at 8:03 am

    I am now using essential oils for pain relief, However most others are smoking pot or looking for street drugs.
    I find it sad that 80-90 yo people in severe pain who have been on meds forever now suffer. That just told me at my husbands Dr. Appt. he had brain surgery, traumatic brain injury, stroked, legally blind that they are taking him off calm down meds. No problem, I have been hoarding them for a year, and filling every scrips waiting for this day. May you pill companies and insurance companies kiss my honey!!

  96. Cathy M at 7:52 am

    What right does an INSURANCE COMPANY have to prescribe (or restrict) medicine? Isn’t that what we go to doctors for?? This proves what I’ve been saying about this witch-hunt – it is being driven by bean counters, not scientific evidence and medical concern for individual patients. When you focus on this herd mentality (“we don’t care who we cut, we’re just getting the numbers down”) you are NOT patient oriented nor healing-focused. And using a shaming/herd mentality to push doctors to change? Are they being very sure the patient load/type is identical? Have they matched representative patient type before comparing Doctor A and Doctor B? I strongly doubt it. So Doc A, who has more fibromyalgia and/or orthopedic cases will look hugely “remiss” compared to Doc B who sees community patients for earache and flu! Doesn’t anyone use their brains anymore?? I am not a scientist, but I despair when I see the kind of sloppy reporting and logic that is being thrown around in this witch hunt. And it is a witch hunt – I worked as a therapist in locked facilities in the 90’s and there was a “drug crisis” then… so this is nothing new, and it’s nothing new that there are nowhere near enough addiction services – so this sudden constriction of medications (not by doctors, by bean counters!) is just a circus side show that isn’t even meant to help – it’s just a way for some politicians to get re-elected. Meh.

    PS – Taking away the word “abuse” is again medically irresponsible. It is used for a REASON, and to obscure the reason as a way to target those who need medicine (and will they be calling out diabetics for being “dependent” on insulin??) is both immoral and unethical – I hope there is a walloping big lawsuit to come out of that! Because these terms are NOT interchangeable and that gives someone a lawsuit potential.

  97. Rk at 7:24 am

    All of these evil pll keep saying opiods should be A LAST resort not a firST. WELL HOW DO THEY KNOW that those of us on them that it was a last reSORT??how ridiculous. I AM SO SIXK of this bs while i siT CRYING in agONY W PAIN because i am forced to work EVEN THOUGH im on DISABILITY and not being treated properly. I,am so tired of this and im only 41 .not gonna make it much longer like this

  98. joan hamm at 7:24 am

    Dear Donna and Diane. We can set up a groups of us to fight back . We have options… Just have to do it together as humans God created not to suffer at the decisions others make to hurt us in severe pain without meds. I never once got high from my meds…they go right to the affected area of my body and ease the pain so I can walk..drive a car..and Live. I have to watch how often and how long I am out of bed due to the disease but I can live life…I do good things for others in my time out…so I contribute to society. But must be in bed. In bed I knit baby sweaters and give them to poor pregnant women. If I don’t have relief with meds I will scream with pain and call 911 often. The hospital can do nothing for me…only the meds can. The weird thing is when I do errands not often people can’t tell I am so I’ll unless I limp or my face shows it. I look normal…but it’s because the meds ease the PAIN. Again one has to limit time out. But I am never high or feel dizzy on the meds from the day I went on them 6 years ago. Again the body somehow knows where the meds need to help my body. People we can unite somehow and stop hurting innocent people.

  99. Chris at 6:20 am

    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. There is a lack of understanding about the true nature of these issues. Like most problems, we all are ignorant until we are given a crash course. But, to say we are addicts simply because we require medication, that has been prescribed to us by doctors, is damaging. We are made to feel as if, we are doing something wrong. Another frustrating aspect to this is, people who do not understand chronic pain, are left making rules and restrictions on us. .
    Nevertheless, more attention is given to behavior chosen, and little consideration is given, to those with fewer, if any options. If, given the opportunity, Chronic Pain people, from whom I know, would not take the medication that many addicts seek.
    If you take away thing A they will acquire thing B these are the actions of addicts. After the changes have taken place by the shortsighted, to “help.” addicts and the opiates millions require are taken away, the addicts have moved on, leaving those with chronic pain no where to turn.

  100. Jeanie Beal at 5:02 am

    Arbitrary applied rules will drive the true pain patients to the streets for illegal meds. The bureaucratic mind set does little to solve the problems of medication misuse. It’s always about the bOttoman line.

  101. joan hamm at 5:02 am

    If my meds are cut I will not be able to function or survive. I have RSD..CRPS which I didn’t ask for. After many Drs. and painful tests I went through to prove I had this disease.. I was abused enough!!! This disease should be called Horrible nightmare PAIN Disease!!! After my Dr confirmed with Dr. In Rhode Island who wrote books on Rsd and a Scientist in Conn. On Rsd that I am on the correct meds to ease the pain just enough to survive. And people like you who will reduce the meds and hurt innocent people are Evil. I suffer every day. All day! It is written everywhere this disease Rsd pain can get as bad as Hard Labor or as bad as Cancer pain or even worse. I hate pills..I DONT beg my Dr to increase them. But the truth is I had to accept the reality I NEED the meds so I survive and enjoy life when I can. You will be committing murder on innocent people. You have to research if people are abusing meds by having more than one Dr giving them. Do your drug abuse research correctly… Not hurting us innocent people who suffer!!! I wonder what you researchers would do if you had a painful disease. What’s the first question one asks when one hears someone passed away ?? Did they suffer?????!!!!!! Have some humanity for us who can still enjoy life with the help of meds not reduced!!!!

  102. Tim Mason at 5:01 am

    Insurance carriers are always looking for a way to increase their profits. This is just another example of what happened when “bean counters” get involved. I can see an accountant putting a feather in his hat by proposing a cost saving measure for his company. The said accountant will receive a bonus for his project 6 months to a year after implementation. He/she will receive an award and his or her picture will be placed on the company web page.
    The war on chronic pain patients is in third gear and will soon approach full throttle.
    Half disabled patients that have been able to hold on to their jobs will be dispatched from the work place. Many, if not all of those that disappear from the workforce will file for disability and get it in short order. Only then, when masses hit the government up for a monthly stipend, will the government take notice of the chronic pain patient.

  103. Today I'm Anonymous at 4:24 am

    Speechless. Well, almost. This is just wonderful news to add to a morning that started with pain around a “9” to cope with on already reduced meds. If only I were dying and really needed it …

  104. Holly Rose at 4:18 am

    Seriously people? You have no idea what you are going to push people like me to do!
    The idea that Cigna feels it’s ok to judge a patient they have never laid eyes on to determine what a DOCTOR should prescribe is ludicrous!
    Yes, addiction, overdose and deaths need to be addressed, but not at the cost of rule/law obiding chronic pain patients like myself who have diagnostic testing to back up an agonizing condition, that in many cases can never be cured! I hope a chronic pain patients who are responsible and obey the rules of their pain management team terminate their affiliation with Cigna and take a stand! This is going to propel the numbers of suicides in our community! But apparently we dont matter! I for one am willing to speak up against the next coming of a genocide for us warriors! Everyday all day!

  105. Wayne S. Swanson II at 4:06 am

    I have taken this opportunity to share my heartbreaking story in hopes these witch hunting Opiate ill informed skeptics will read and understand that I would have no life without Medically prescribed Opiates by a physicians care and strictly monitored monthly urine and blood test. Please remember that An Opinion Before A Thorough Investigation Is The Epitome Of Ignorance! And that a little more compassion from the Medical Field and its representatives could have saved my beautiful Stepdaughters life. Let me say this! A person who has a addictive personality will abuse anything that helps them feel better. I have taken Oxycontin for 12 years , I have had 20 major surgery’s in 9 years. I have so much physical pain I can not even get out of bed with ouit pain meds and when I run out I run out and just lay in bed praying the Lord relieve me of this horrible condition and I pray God you pain med skeptics never go through what I go through everyday of my life when the only thing you have to do is threaten what help I get, Shame on you! There will always be drug abuse and as the so called war on drugs has failed all this will! All you do is stoke and aid the drug pushers business to knew heights in the Black Market of Heroin while depriving folks as me to this horrible movement! My Stepdaughter committed suicide 4 years ago because of being treated like a drug addict by her family and doctors when all along she suffered from Lupus and Fibro which I believe was brought on by a deadly car crash at 18 , she told me between that which I was being put through and what they were putting her through she was not going to live her life in such a hell brought on by people like you that are on a witch hunt to out law Opiates and pain meds that give us some sort of a life . As a retired Police officer and worked indirectly close to the DEA, you people do not have a clue how thrilled you are making the illegal opiate trade and think of my Late Stepdaughter as you continue on with this bull**** movement to outlaw opiates! Just like the slaughter of children at Sandy Hook if there would have just been gun laws , my God they were Gun Laws , the guns that murdered all those 20 children were all registered and owned by a school teacher! You fight Drug Addiction in Elementary education by teaching all children the dangers of Booze and Tobacco which if these witch hunters want for us to know the real truth but they do not. I miss my Stepdaughter a so much and some of us will continue on the fight to protect our right to feel better and function without fear of these witch hunters trying to convince us to commit suicide . And they are trying to do exactly THAT!
    The under line real truth is THESE witch hunters would rather us Chronic Pain sufferers commit suicide are and DRINK all the BOOZE we can drink! The Federals legalized it ( ALCOHOL) knowing its a more deadly drug than Strychnine. And just because the DEA has miserably failed with their bull**** war on drugs why do they deprive us sick people of our Constitutional Rights to be Happy in that pursuit of with Professional Physicians to take meds that give us relief of this horrible malady of Chronic Pain ! May God have mercy on their miserable souls they that seek to destroy us Chronic Pain Sufferers only and little hope of temporary relief of this horrible sickness.

  106. Donna Joe at 3:59 am

    This is another example of the cart driving the horse! Insurers are not the ones who should be determining what treatment patients receive! The only ones trained and qualified to do so are the physicians who have actually seen the patient!

  107. Diane Gracely at 3:45 am

    OMG so now they want to eliminate the word ABUSE and say drug addicts are “dependent”. SO then what do we CHRONIC PAIN PATIENTS call our opiate use? We are NOT addicts, we were using the word DEPENDENT but now that’s going to CLASSIFY us as an ADDICT.
    OMG what NEXT? They have already taken away the quality of life for many patients and t just continues to get worse. NO ONE is listening to us!!!!!!!!!! This is PATHETIC and INHUMANE to throw us all into a horrible NIGHTMARE by taking away our quality of life.
    The problem is HEROIN, not opiates. Patients are being pushed to the streets for meds and some are committing SUICIDE because they can’t take the PAIN. WHEN WILL THIS END???