I have been a pain patient for over 25 years. The last 13 of those have been with the same doctor treating my pain.
My pain is chronic, stemming from three back operations on my lower back, from when I injured my lumbar discs. I have developed degenerative spondylolthesis in three lumbar discs as well.
The doctor had me on 60 mg of methadone a day. I started out on 30 mg 17 years ago, so I don’t think that was too bad. A few months ago, my doctor told me he was reducing all of his patients’ methadone prescriptions, and the most he could give me was 40 mg per day. He wrote me a prescription for MS Contin to make up the difference.
The very first time I presented the new dosages and prescription to the same pharmacy that had been filling my prescriptions for the last 13 years, the snotty little pharmacist informed me that they would no longer fill my prescriptions. I asked why and she said that it was Walgreens’ policy to NOT tell patients why they are being refused service.
I was humiliated and embarrassed. I tried to go all over town, to every pharmacy. Most of them wouldn’t consider filling an out-of-county prescription. I found one guy, and he charges FIVE TIMES the amount that I was paying. I went from paying $135 for the office visit and prescriptions to now over $400 for the exact same meds and service.
My doc told me the reason he was reducing everyone’s methadone was because the DEA in Florida said that it had to be so. I called the DEA and asked them, and they flatly denied any such regulation. They admitted to revoking the license of the Walgreens’ distribution center, which affects the entire east coast of the U.S. But they said that Walgreens was still able to get the meds from Ohio or a couple of other places.
So the company flatly lied to me, made me feel it was my fault or my doctor’s fault. Pharmacy blames doctor, doc blames DEA and pharmacy, DEA blames doc and pharmacy. Pain patients will end up dying over this. Suicide, overdose from street drugs, accidents.
I am feeling very used. My finances can’t handle the increase and for me, no meds = no work. This means that I am going to be hurting and broke. Now I have to tell my wife that we are going to have move into a cheaper place, and I’ll have to go on disability.
I have two kids, and my invalid mother living with me. I hate my life. I hate the people who are doing this to me. Something has to give.
I am going to try taper down with my last prescription. But I don’t know if I can work anymore. This has caused a downward spiral in my life, and I am out of options.
My family needs my income. I need the meds to have an income. And I can no longer afford the meds.
John McCampbell lives in Jensen Beach, Florida.
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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 represents 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.