When I read Colleen Sullivan’s column about being humiliated by a pharmacist, I was amazed at the similar treatment I have experienced by both pharmacies as well as doctors.
I live in the state of Alabama, and apparently the latest political hot button is to “get tough” on the abuse of prescription pain medication. However, the only individuals who are within striking distance of the lawmakers are legitimate pain sufferers who follow all the laws and regulations, only to wear the scarlet letter for all to see.
I have something in my spinal cord called a syrinx. Apparently it has been in my spinal cord all my life but after two traumatic falls, one 12 years ago and one 4 years ago, it awakened a sleeping giant. The first time I was even informed of this blockage in my spinal cord was after an MRI in 2012.
The bottom line is the syrinx is causing pressure within my spinal cord and the result is intense, never relenting back and leg pain, as well as leg paralysis.
I have exhausted any and all avenues to “cure” my condition — at least to the limits of my insurance and willing surgeons. My neurologist’s only solution is to address the pain issue is through medication.
However, due to a new law in Alabama, any doctor’s office that treats the majority of its patients with regular pain meds must be a “certified” pain clinic. Since my neurologist wants nothing to do with wearing the scarlet letter themselves, my treatment must now be transferred to one of these pain clinics. The clinics require all patients to sign a multipage agreement more menacing than a parole certificate.
One of the “rights” a pain patient must give up is doctor-patient confidentiality. The patient must agree to allow any law enforcement agency upon request (no warrant, not even probable cause is required), total access to any and all of my medical and prescription records. Some of these clinics even go as far as to force the patient to allow warrantless searches of their person or premises.
Now, before you think I am misunderstanding this new law as well as the conditions the pain clinics require, know this:
The traumatic fall I experienced 12 years ago was in the line of duty as a parole officer. I had 17 years of experience as a law enforcement officer, the last 12 of them as a parole officer.
I can assure the reader that the real pain medication abusers will not be stopped by this political stunt to get tough on drug abusers. None of the parole violators I ever arrested followed the same rules and regulations that law abiding citizens who legitimately suffer from chronic pain follow.
Without fail, every time the government involves itself in the areas of our private lives, it re-invents the wheel. Instead of making the true offenders accountable for their actions, Uncle Sam is becoming Big Brother.
The Nazis, Stalin, and North Korea forced citizens to sign all sorts of documents using pain as the “persuader”.
It concerns me when the government can effectually withhold pain medication from cancer patients, neuropathic pain patients, etc. until they “sign on the dotted line.”
Larry Phillips lives in Arab, Alabama.
National Pain Report invites other readers to share their stories with us.
Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
The information in this column is not intended to be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Only your doctor can do that! It is for informational purposes only and represent the author’s personal experiences and opinions alone. It does not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report or Microcast Media.