The Chronic Pain Story 60 Minutes Should Do

The Chronic Pain Story 60 Minutes Should Do

Kristine (Krissy) Anderson

Kristine (Krissy) Anderson

Editor’s Note — We have received and published dozens of comments from our readers about the recent 60 Minutes segment on heroin use, which made the point that much of the heroin abuse is coming from people who were using (or abusing) pain medications. Sixty-two year old Krissy Anderson, who recently relocated to Naples, Florida from Minneapolis, went a little further than some. She outlined the story she thought 60 Minutes should do.

First of all, let me say that this segment will be complex, because treating chronic pain isn’t simple. So the show is not a follow-up, but a full 12-minute segment at the least, and likely the entire hour.

Here are the elements and angles needed:

  1. Talk with pain specialist MD’s, patients and pharmacists. Although finding a pharmacist who isn’t afraid to speak out for fear of DEA recrimination will be difficult.
  2. Poll a community of patients — they can be found right here on the National Pain Report or on Facebook — to find out what their real experiences are. Ask them about their doctors, pharmacists, friends and family and their insurance companies.
  3. Now that I think about it, the insurance angle is pretty important. (Last time I picked up my Fentanyl patches my co-pay had doubled! According to the pharmacist, the note on his computer from my insurance company was, “reached opioid limit.” I wasn’t denied the prescription, but the insurance company decided I should just pay twice as much for it.)
  4. This part is big: Take a look at the number of pill users who go on to using heroin versus the number of sick people using prescription opioids responsibly.
  5. Don’t worry about hospital EDs. We already know there are ED hoppers and those of us who know better than to go to the hospital in search of pain medications (unless in certain very serious situations.)
  6. And finally, interview people who think disabled patients in pain are taking advantage of their money and government money. The truth needs to be put in place.

Here’s what some of the findings will be:

  • Patients have a tough road to navigate. Roadblocks such as pharmacies are keeping them from getting their prescribed medication all too often. Interview one of the biggest pharmacies — Walgreens or CVS, and an independent — who also have roadblocks because they are under constant scrutiny by the DEA. Because of this, pharmacists have turned on their customers and customers are being treated badly.
  • Patients are scared. Many of us have lost friends and family members who don’t understand that intractable and chronic pain are more than just pain, they’re setbacks from all the things mentioned above. We isolate, we have depression and anxiety, and we feel lost at times. We don’t want this — we want to get better, and we want the facts to be told so that people will listen and have a better understanding of us.
  • Chronic pain patients aren’t running amok using heroin! In fact, the large majority of us have never abused our meds, much less gone off to using illegal street drugs.

I realize this looks like a lot of work, 60 Minutes, and it is not a story that is going to be dumped into your laps. It’s a story that takes some real reporting, you know, the way 60 Minutes used to do it. Also I realize you may need some help with research. Let me volunteer, or better yet, pay me so I don’t have to struggle with whether to buy the groceries I want or skimp on this months’ meds. I would work hard, but my rheumatoid arthritis with degenerative disc disease, ME/CFS or Lupus could flare up on any day, but I’d get the work done. Eventually. I know my way around this type of challenge. Just check out my bio.

So let’s go to work. There’s an important story to tell.

Krissy Anderson is a retired marketing communications consultant with an emphasis on public relations. Prior to being forced to retire, she owned a successful company.

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Authored by: Krissy Anderson

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Deb

does anyone actually believe this? i do believe in alternative medicines but this? if he is from London shouldn’t his english be much better?

Sarah

Steve Ariens is a retired pharmacist and is VERY outspoken about the horrors happening to pain patients. Please contact him here: https://www.facebook.com/pharmaciststeve?fref=nf or at his blog here: http://www.pharmaciststeve.com/. He is most definitely available for comment!

s

Now Do Oz has done a show regarding pain pills. a quick comment was made that some people do need opioid therapy.
EVERYBODY YOU KNOW NEEDS TO WRTIE THE SHOW AND SAY ITS NOT JUST SOME PEOPLE, IT MILLIONS OF PEOPLE. PLEASE TELL YOUR STORIES. HE CANT RESIST A GOOD SHOW. LETS GET THOUSANDS OF.LETTERS INTO HIM

Tim McDevitt

My older brother will pass later today, and he, like Krissy Anderson suffered chronic pain for the last two decades of his life. The State of Minnesota will decide by the end of 2015 whether it will add pain to its current list of medical marijuana conditions that are allowed. Any medication that has potential alleviate someone’s suffering should be accessible to individuals without undo governmental interference and oversight. 60 minutes definitely should follow Ms Anderson’s advice.

TOPDOG

The D.E.A are creating the heroin epidemic by stopping doctors from prescribing pain medication. This is billions ripped off of the American people.The D.E.A. and F.D.A. have become the U.S. equivalent of Gestapo S.S.. The D.E.A. was a bad idea to start with and has only gotten worse ever sense. States are able to do their job. They don’t need the D.E.A. I don’t need the D.E.A. You don’t need the D.E.A. .Nobody needs the D.E.A. They are misappropriating and commandeering billions of dollars of public funds that America can no longer justify..Their funding needs to be cut by,at least, ninety-five to ninty-nine percent and all need to be restructured to a much smaller and much more restrained gang of Authoritarian sociopaths.. This is a group of renegade law enforcement completely out-of-control .and way over-the-top.They are using the war on drugs as a smokescreen and a ruse to subvert our Civil and Human rights and increasingly more as a ruse to seize cash and property in their war on the American people.Also, through gross incompetence, have made it nearly impossible for a pain sufferer to get treatment without being thrown in jail.
mismanagement and unwise misuse of their responsibility has,nearly, completely destroyed the science and research of anything they don’t approve of. If society is to survive these people must go. The drug war is just a ruse for an Authoritarian power grab. Other country’s that allow easy access to pain medication do not have a major drug problem. It is these government villains here who are orchestrating this farce.

TOPDOG

The D.E.A. are creating the heroin epidemic by stopping doctors from prescribing pain medication. This is just a smoke screen and ruze for them to seize billions in public funding.
Secret courts,Loyality purges? The D.E.A. and F.D.A. have become the U.S. equivalent of Gestapo S.S.. The D.E.A. was a bad idea to start with and has only gotten worse ever sense. States are able to do their job. They don’t need the D.E.A. I don’t need the D.E.A. You don’t need the D.E.A. .Nobody needs the D.E.A. They are misappropriating and commandeering billions of dollars of public funds that America can no longer justify..Their funding needs to be cut by,at least, ninety-five to ninty-nine percent and all need to be restructured to a much smaller and much more restrained gang of Authoritarian sociopaths.. This is a group of renegade law enforcement completely out-of-control .and way over-the-top.They are using the war on drugs as a smokescreen and a ruse to subvert our Civil and Human rights and increasingly more as a ruse to seize cash and property in their war on the American people.Also, through gross incompetence, have made it nearly impossible for a pain sufferer to get treatment without being thrown in jail.
mismanagement and unwise misuse of their responsibility has,nearly, completely destroyed the science and research of anything they don’t approve of. If society is to survive these people must go. The drug war is just a ruse for an Authoritarian power grab. Other country’s that allow easy access to pain medication do not have a major drug problem. It is these government villains here who are orchestrating this farce.

Great article Krissy! Doing my best to spread it around via FB, LinkedIn, and my little blog. We need to keep using every opportunity we get to educate folks about the dangers of basing pain management policy on one-sided, inaccurate, biased, dramatized statistics. In pain management we see the patients who fall outside the averages, don’t fit in the boxes, and aren’t under the bell curve. Severe chronic pain is highly variable among individuals, and doesn’t lend itself well to strict treatment guidelines. We need to be able to treat each patient for their unique and varied circumstances. Chronic pain isn’t like hypertension or diabetes or hyperlipidemia in that respect. Evidence based guidelines work well for many things, but we always need the flexibility to work outside the guidelines for cases that don’t fit the standards. And current pain management policymakers seem to be pushing their guidelines so aggressively that providers are terrified to work outside of them, even when they are medically justified in doing so. That’s what worries me so much about the current climate in pain management – there’s an undercurrent of threat and fear in the way new guidelines are being presented, combined with the blatant media push to equate pain patients with drug addicts, that really has providers scared to take care of their pain patients. How can that be good medicine?

Kristine

Kathy Hastings – yes, I did submit it to 60 Minutes at the CBS website. I’ve made comments there too.

Amy Reinholdt

I see how hard it is for my family members to afford their medications. Choosing to reduce doses to make the drugs stretch. It is said to see individuals who have paid into a system all there lives be put through hell just to feel a little better. It is not as though these drugs CURE anything they simply provide SOME relief – I miss my friends who cannot even drag themselves out of their homes due to the pain. It is time they are helped. I do not think the attempted “control” has prohibited addicts from obtaining the drug they WANT. However the individuals who NEED them are treated like the bad person – so wrong. This has to be fixed and soon.

Kristine

Thank you, Deb. That’s great. I will visit and comment!

Deb

Ok, I did my part today. 10TV in Columbus, Ohio is doing a special on Herion. Of course they say pain pills are the reason. The drug dealers are the reason. People wanting to get high is he reason. I left them a comment asking them to tell the whole story. The story of people in horrible pain doing without meds because the government is trying to fix the herion problem. Or maybe they aren’t maybe it’s a control issue. Anyway if anyone would like to comment on the article or maybe tell them how wrong their statistics are go to 10TV.com

Kristine

Frank, I didn’t find you and don’t use LinkedIn anymore. You can email me at 30yearfreelance@gmail.com or kandiapple.mac@gmail.com Thanks.

Frank

Not worried about DEA. I don’t work on the supply side, I I’ve been at a desk for 25 years. I’m not a drug dealer.

Kristine

Follow-up

Kristine

Thanks so much, Frank. I’ll find you. I’ve been hoping to talk with someone in pharmacy, as my own pharmacist (wonderful guy) is unwilling because of the DEA. I asked him a few months ago if I could interview him (prior to 60 Minutes) and he nearly fell on the floor!

Kathy Hastings

2 Questions: Did you submit this to 60 Minutes? If, so; any response? I hope you did send this article to 60 Minutes. I have seen many articles and comments over the past weeks regarding the episode; however, if these are not submitted to 60 Minutes, then it is like “Preaching To The Choir.” I belong to various pain groups and I see plenty of people talking about the injustices Chronic Pain Patients are suffering, but when asked to send a letter, make a call, comment on an article; very few people do a simple task that only takes them a bit of their time. No more time or effort than what they use when posting on a group complaining about the issue.

Krissy, please contact me to see if I can help with this. If you look me up on LinkedIn, you see my bio and background.
It might be valuable to have someone with not only my background in pharmacy, and especially in Managed Care Pharmacy, but also as a chronic pain patient going through Pain Management and absolutely frustrated by the barriers to care I see being erected at every intersection of patient and provider.
What I have learned over the past 4 years are things I’d never known possible to happen in our society. The changes in just the last year (or less) are incredible. Every response I’m reading about the 60 Minutes segment seems to be telling my specific story and set of experiences with “pain healthcare”, including my insurance coverage issues with denying claims. Absurd. Even though I know the process.
Just Google my name for links. Let me know how I can help. NationalPainreport can give you my e-mail address from where i entered it to post this comment.