The Opioid Issue Still Making Headlines

The Opioid Issue Still Making Headlines

By Ed Coghlan.

The media and political emphasis on opioid prescribing is continuing to dominate the news in chronic pain.

Is this the week that President Trump actually says something about opioids?

According to this MSNBC story, he promises a “very, very big statement” in the coming weeks.  He called it a national emergency ten weeks ago, but nothing has happened since.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), the man the president appointed to lead a White House opioid commission, conceded recently that Trump’s inaction is “not good.”

Some medical device companies are taking advantage of the emphasis on opioids to promote earlier uses of their alternative therapies.

One of them, Abbott Labs, took advantage in the last week by promoting their spinal cord stimulator.

In 2016, about 34,000 people underwent spinal cord stimulation around the world. For now, the majority of people get the implants after failing other treatments and back surgeries.

Abbott claims that their research is turning up evidence that using the devices sooner rather than later could decrease opioid use and healthcare costs.

Abbott also found in a study that for the 5,400 patients who received spinal cord stimulation therapy, their opioid use stabilized or declined in 70% of the patients, compared to their use of the drugs before getting the treatment.

“It should not be a last-resort therapy. In some patients, it should be the first choice,” Dr. Nagy Mekhail, a pain physician at the Cleveland Clinic told MIT Technology Review.

For many years, the National Pain Report has been quoting pain management physicians that medical schools need to a better job of teaching future doctors about pain. U.S. News and World Report said this week that the opioid “crisis” is spurring change at medical schools in how pain is treated.

Nobody wants the patient to suffer because their pain was undermanaged,” says Dr. Karen Sibert, an anesthesiologist and associate clinical professor with the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California—Los Angeles.

Sibert told the magazine that most medical schools have bolstered the amount of training they provide on opioid alternatives, including intravenous versions of non-narcotic pain medicines and medical procedures that numb portions of the body where pain is present.

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

There are 34 comments for this article
  1. Jim Moulton at 11:32 pm

    Between 2000 and 2012, I had very good control of my Chronic pain. I had a good primary doctor and a very good pain management Dr. 2012, I went on disability, because the pain made it impossible for me to continue my job of taking care of patients in a hospital that I worked on a floor that required a lot of lifting and physical care of older patients who had alzeimers and dementia.
    The first couple of years on disability, I had to stop taking Oxycontin, because you get no health care for the first couple of years on disability. That makes no sense. My pain doc kept seeing me, at reduced cost, and I had to stop taking Oxycontin, and take generic oxycodone. He game me larger doses of oxycodone, because he realized that generic oxycontin was not as strong as brand name Oxycontin. In fact , pretty soon, I had to go on generic 30 mg oxycodone, so I could afford it. I went to a pharmacy that he recommended, so I got a brand which worked well. He had to go out of business a year later and the clinic I went to started giving me pain meds. Well, that has been 5 years ago, and I am still getting pain meds from the clinic. They have lowered my dose and sometimes I get weak pills, like this month, I got a very weak dose, it is very difficult. I am on gabapentin some times when I get a weak batch, like this month. Really seeing the war on chronic pain at work. Real sad situation. But they see my Mris, and they have to give it to me. They don’t have to, but they do.

  2. JOHN SANDHERR at 7:58 am

    You brought attention to the issue of one Drug vs another & that other is Opiates. America consumes alcohol – a CNS depressant like Opiates.

    Yes, more people are dependent on Alcohol & alcohol kills more & it leads to many other medical problems. Does it have medical value ? None I can think of that involve consumption.

    Americans don’t consider the 2 Drugs to be in the same class – Alcohol can be purchased at a gas station & Opiates represent death & addiction with no real medical value like Heroin or Meth / ( same as Adderal ).

    We all ask Why is alcohol abuse not an Epidemic? Money money and more money with power. Never compared to ” Big Pharma ” or accused of murder or poisoning our youth. I don’t drink but I would never demand alcohol be banned – again.

    You made a great point and raise some great issues and I Thank you for your post

    Thanks,

    John Sandherr

  3. Linda at 4:48 am

    Thank you John for responding.

    I should have been specific, and I was not. My fault!

    My reaction to the article, was the public forum. I looked at the forum as a ppossible big deal and was wondering if I was correct in thinking that. Many thanks!

  4. JOHN SANDHERR at 9:01 pm

    The number I saw for Alcohol Dependence was much higher.
    Of all alcohol users the % was over 20% – considered to be DEPENDENT.

    I’ll check that and post again.

    I know for sure it was much higher than what it was for Opiate use in the US. That was the reason for the comparison – alcohol was much higher but not considered an ( Epidemic ) or National Emergency the way Pain meds or Opiates are.

    Thanks,

    John Sandherr

  5. Maureen Mollico at 2:40 pm

    Ibin, Please accept my heartfelt sympathy regrading your Dad. I empathize greatly with you. I send you a hug to warm your heart.
    My mom did the same…she was in horrific spine pain but refused to see a doc or take pain meds.
    She watched me go through several failed spine surgeries and failed treatments, injections and failed spinal stimulator and her fears grew bigger and bigger.
    Eventually it took such a toll on her that she spent most of the last 3 yrs of her life in bed, became very depressed, stopped eating, her organs shut down and at 77 yrs old and 66 lbs she passed away 5 yrs ago.
    She had so much to live for… 8 children and 18 grandchildren but her pain ruled her life and we truly believe that her ‘not eating’ became her slow way of committing suicide. She surely was a stubborn woman but Our hearts are forever broken.
    I now fear the same path in my future, if my meds are taken away. They have already been cut back and I suffer even more.

    To all, Re: steroid injections… I have had many many and at one point I had them every 3-4 months, under anesthesia, for 5 straight years. They made me systemically sicker and sicker each time for 7-10 days before I finally got a clue and stopped them forever, about 5 yrs ago.
    And, they actually never gave me enough relief, whatsoever. I just ignorantly did what my pain doc suggested, over and over. $$$!
    One time I was greatly over injected and became paralyzed from the waist down, until the next morning. That was a very frightening experience.
    As I lie in bed, on an ice pack, typing this, I find myself so overwhelmed in reading all of these posts. Something has got to give!! This country has truly gone bonkers.
    I did not know then that they are not FDA approved and I learned this year that I’m most likely suffering with additional pain from adhesive Arachnoiditis, caused by injections over those years. I live with horrible nerve pain in my back, hips and legs. If only I could go back in time. Keep strong WARRIORS! If anything, we have each other…

  6. Rita KIMBEL at 5:44 am

    I have been using a spinal cord stimulator and it was a big deal to get United healthcare to pay for any of it, they would pay for a battery replacement though. Cigna was right on board with it, this was 12 years ago. After 2 years of failed pain control methods, my last resort for any quality of life was the Stimulator. An excellent pain management spine doctor suggested it after failed cervical steroid shots that made my paralysis worse, he did not order the shots and would not have done them because he knows what he is doing. He knew that the intractable pain from a cervical spinal cord injury had to be controlled by electronic stimulation, he was right. The trial was affective and I went along with the complete implant. To this day it has been responsible for 75 percent of my pain relief. The opiate is still needed only because of the magnitude of pain I’m in. When the wire was implanted up my spine it was not a pleasant experience, you have to be semi awake to tell the surgeon if he has hit the right spot for the best relief. In my case because of the cervical area being so sensitive my Stimulator works at it’s best when my head is tilted downward. If I look up it disconnects and the breath taking pain slaps me hard for that instant, I’m ok with not having the wire reset, too dangerous. The downside for me is over stimulation after monthly charge, it can weaken me and cause extra pain. The patient programer can be used to turn down the stimulator for a day or two then.Again everyone is different and my pain, is my pain. I need the opiate and my family practicing doctor can no longer write it after 10 years of doing so. I now travel to the city to say hello to my pain spine doctor once a month, he has me below the CDC Limit, after weaning me down from 80 milligrams twice a day. He wants to keep the CDC,EPA, and DEA and whoever else is in my personal business happy. When this opiate epidemic crap started Jan.1st, I was not weaned right off the bat., it was a complete refusal by my Optum RX to let me have the milligrams I was on. They gave me morphine and I layed on the couch crying in pain for a month. My pain doctor is and has been my savior for 12 years now. I don’t want to see him once a month now ,it’s too expensive for me on my disability income. But if I want the opiate script that’s what I have to do. He is an advocate of medical marijuana and yes it is instant pain relief but again when it becomes available in my state it will be too expensive for me. I wish everyone in pain had the opportunity to work with a doctor like mine, I trust he has my best interest at heart and although he moved his practice to another state, he still has an office here and does the surgery here in PA.too. I would suggest anyone going through with the stimulator to do your homework and find the best in your area, even if it’s out of your state,really, only the best for this procedure. It can be a life changer, I no longer want to amputate my left hand and I’m very happy about that.

  7. Cherie LeClair at 5:15 pm

    I wanted to add to my comment, that I also, take care of my 73 year old mother. she has several fractures (shoulder and spine) from recent falls. She can not get any pain medicine. Infact her current pain clinic said her case was too complicated and told me that she needed to be discharged. I begged them not too. So she receives ADVIL for her multiple fractures because the orthopedic, said see your Primary. The Primary said see your Ortho or Pain doctor. The pain doctor said you are too complicated.

    Lastly, my 93-year-old grandmother who takes her “white pill” at night since her son died of cancer 2 years ago. was just refused the valium. (low dose) as she might be an addict. she needed the doctor to call the pharmacy to make a one-time approval.

    neither of these great ladies or myself has any history of addiction. i have to say if you are an addict. and i do have sympathy for addicts. i know for a fact, they will find something else to abuse, if it is not alcohol, etc. they just move onto the next best thing. taking away the badly needed medicine for chronic pain sufferers is only going to put people like me to an early death. God Bless, Cherie

  8. Cherie LeClair at 4:57 pm

    Let me start that I would never call anyone who deals with chronic pain a wimp. When you are faced with this lifelong diagnosis regardless of the disease, you truly seek out all cures. it has been 23 years for me since daily pain. 40 years of surgeries.

    I have gone thru the Boston Scientific implant, and to say I would consider surgery first before a medication, is really not sane medicine. The reality is that the implant is 4-5 cuts for a trial implant, Then if successful, you go thru a second surgery. Not for wimps at all. I have been undergoing spinal surgery since I was 13 for severe scoliosis. I have heard it all. They tried to do the IV non-opiod treatments last summer for my migraines and in the process put me near death in anaphylactic shock.

    In 2012 I finally had to go on daily medicine for pain. I started OPANA ER. It worked great 2 pills a day with no side-effects. In Sept. this year the FDA pulled the medicine for the opioid epidemic with no replacement. I had emergency appointments with my neurologist and pain clinic to try and get the neck, shoulder, spine, leg, chest pain under control. Managing Long-term Chronic Pain, and stabilizing it with any compliment of medicine. This process to me has become “BAD MEDICINE” in this country. Very Difficult to be taken seriously, and treated effectively. The Patient Quality of life is no longer considered as a factor.

    The goal is to live, function, thrive, paint, and hopefully not to just barely exist in a high moderate pain 24.7, in bed. the neuro gave me the injections and then did what the cardiologist did; referred me, either to the ER or back to the pain clinic, to get the pain under control, which is affecting and stressing everything, chest pains, fever, etc.

    When I sat with the pain clinic and said to them, I do not care what you prescribe, but this is the third, substitute, for my normal medicine. I cannot live like this anymore. It has been two months of experimenting with my body failing and take the brunt of what you see on paper vs. what is actually happening in person. I have to be able to take care of myself and my mom. I trust you to make a better judgment in medicine than what has happened in the last two months. so they did their work. I now have 2 new scripts and am praying they will work.
    my aid nick offered to play music on the way home. we rocked to “we are the champions”, by Queen. I felt like I had won a battle.today. just today….thank you, Jesus!

  9. JOHN SANDHERR at 1:10 pm

    As a 1st choice treatment that would mean more surgery- minor but still creating scar tissue.

    My SCS required a total of 3 operations after the implant and subsequent migration of the leads. Three procedures in 5 days & each one involved removal of bone. In the end the SCS was removed leaving me with increased pain from the attempts.

    Should a Dr cut into the body to avoid the use of medication that for most patients works well ? I say Hell No !

    Most medical procedures are dangerous – more dangerous than the possibility of addiction.

    This whole; “First line should not be Pain meds” contradicts acceptable standards of practice and it needs to stop now.

    Thanks,

    John Sandherr

  10. Michele Youngblood Howe at 12:49 pm

    Becky S.
    I can hear the pain and frustration in your words.
    I also know the pain of watching a loved child suffer endlessly. I am so sorry for what both your Daughter and you are going through.
    The reason why I chose to respond to your letter is to try to help you understand that pain is pain. It doesn’t matter what causes it, pain is a living hell to live with.
    It bothered me to hear you strike out at those who have experienced failed Stimulator Implants and to call them
    “Wimps.” Can you please understand how your words impacted those who are willing to try anything just to try to feel “normal” again. Uncontrollable pain takes a toll on anyone despite its source.
    I’ve been victimized by many who look at me and think that bcuz my injuries are internal and unseen, that I must be faking my pain. This has caused me to become a prisoner in my own home. Yes, this is my way of dealing with it, but I refuse to waste my breath or time trying to convince ignorant people that my pain is real. I get angry and wish that they had to live one day in my body. They would quickly understand that all injuries are not visible, yet leave devastating results inside.
    Empathy is what has been lost in our world. It is rarely shown. Sometimes all it takes to save a life is a smile or kind words, empathy.
    We all have it in us, just as we all can feel pain either mentally or physically. Please try to remember this. I’m positive that everyone on this site empathizes with what your Daughter and your family is living with.
    I pray that life will get better for all of you and that a way is found to ease the pain that your Daughter is in.
    My thoughts are with you. I understand.

  11. Mr Marty at 10:14 am

    When did it become proper or appropriate for the government to be in the doctor’s exam room? Chronic pain patients have the right to take care of their own bodies in the way they wish. (We’ve tried everything!) The stimulator that doctors are pushing, my doctor tried also, are insurance company money makers. During stimulator trials the unit is on belt, w/electronic leads to your nerves in back. High infection rate! Even if you fail the trial period,(30-90days) insurance co still made15k. And doc got a cut. Some doctors don’t care if you get the implant or not, just go through the trial and everybody still makes money.And more injections, that’s always a go-to…it’s all about the money. As a chronic pain patient who needs small levels of opioids to gain minimal relief, leave me alone. I dont get a high-on , abuse, sell, or share MY medication. Gov needs to leave my Dr to prescibe as ethically & morally trained. I understand why the suicide rates will increase now and in the future. God bless and write your congressman and representatives. And do it twice a month. Plan the march on DC. I’ll be there.

  12. Ruth Beck at 8:09 am

    They are addressing the situation all wrong. We have lost young people in my family to overdoses. There was no opiod involvement with these young adults, they were street drugs which are always available in their community. What does Trump do about the large amount of street drugs causing overdoses.?
    I have RA among other diagnoses and
    I have had horrible pain for years and recently prescribed low dose hydrocodone. It helped a lot. I was referred to as a drug addict and told to go through an addiction program. I immediately stopped them after six months of relief. Put back on Tramadol which stopped working. There is something scurrilous behind this.

  13. HAZZY at 6:41 am

    I JUST GOT STEROID SHOTS IN MY NECK FRIDAY, NO ONE TOLD ME THEY ARE BAD, WELL I’LL BE,,,,,,,,,,,,THANKS FOR THE INFO.

  14. BeckyS at 2:51 am

    Haha a spinal cord stimulator….then those people don’t have real true pain, wimps… if a pain doc or any other reads this, go to a Lyme or EDS group .
    My daughter suffers in pain severe to point of not walking, not bathing cant cook, talk much, don’t know why other than Lyme undiagnosed for many years and autoimmune disorder. Can it cause this disabling pain? Why yes!
    Does anyone count the Lymies killing themselves daily to end their suffering? No one cares! Why can’t she get pain med to help? Why is her bachelor degree and life completely gone to waste which in end suicide will be the only way out… no one cares. Not a one of these high and mighty people making decisions because OVERALL no one cares about the good people in this country suffering ! BREAKS MY HEART AS A MOTHER SEE MY KID WORSE PAIN THAN A CANCER PATIENT FOR YEARS, not joking. No one cares.

  15. Cherylmarie at 11:59 pm

    I also had an experience with an anesthesiologist who tried to push me into getting a SCS. He said I had CRPS which was a load of crap. I knew the signs and symptoms of CRPS and I didn’t have any of them. I had extensive adhesion takedown and ended up with an entrapped nerve. I’m just thankful I knew medical terminology, was pretty sure about my condition, and always researched. But I wonder about those who are so desperate to fix their pain they get these SCS when it may not be the answer.

    I told my pain doc and the pain psychologist I was seeing at the time about this and they both admitted to me that this Dr pushes for these SCS when maybe not necessary. For what, to line his pockets as I heard these are expensive and cause possibly more damage to a patient. I know they do a trial first but have also heard of the trials working and the permanent one not. I hope everyone who is considering this does their research and always get a second opinion.

  16. Wanita Umer find me on twitter at 11:53 pm

    no one should ever be coerced into an invasive procedure when conservative treatment will do. Pain patients are agreeing to risky invasive procedures under duress because they are not being offered all reasonable treatment options. This is denying Informed Consent and needs to be addressed legally. if anyone has been pushed into surgery or other invasive procedures when other reasonable options were not presented to them then they may have a case against their provider if one can find someone to take it. If it has happened in Canada I will help with information as we have Informed Consent legislated in both The Federal Health Care Consent Act and Provincial Health Care Consent Act

  17. Notasheep at 10:28 pm

    Mr. Trump and every public figure will continue to have access to opioids no matter what laws (suggestions my butt, they are treated as law) come to pass. Guaranteed they and their families will never suffer with the common masses.

  18. MichaelL at 6:05 pm

    “Numbing” extremities , by cutting the nerve, brings back the pain in a short period of time. It may last up to six months. But, the pain usually comes back, even worse.The last person that I knew about having it done was a guy with a malignant tumor in his shoulder, in 1995! As far as the dorsal column stimulator, my mother had one and it never helped with the pain, EVER! The first pain doctor that saw me, after my injury, wrote Medicare for approval, without my knowledge. He told them I had exhausted all forms of care. I had never been given anything different than gabapentin opiods. He did not offer a TENS unit, first. Since I had a very dangerous MRSA infection, surgery would have had a high risk of a recurrent infection. I obtained a TENS unit, having a friendly pharmacist and cooperative FP doctor. I need nothing stronger than I was on, three years ago! And, I can, finally, control the severe neuropathy! I worry that there are many unscrupulous pain doctors that only see us as $$$ and what procedure that makes him them money, It seems as the only pain doctor that I consulted, up to now, seems to care nothing about risking my death!

  19. Vicky at 2:14 pm

    I seriously doubt trump is going to help us. This entire opioid crisis is a great distraction while military is ramping up.

    Trump has shown 100% lack of empathy.

    No one is coming to save us. We have to save ourselves.

    We are going to have to organize and lobby.

    I’ll help!

  20. Ruth Beck at 1:29 pm

    More and more people are turning to heroin; without starting out with prescription drugs. Nobody is looking at why the people are turning to heroin immediately bypassing the opiod crisis. We have an addiction crisis, not an opiod crisis.

  21. Michele Youngblood Howe at 12:25 pm

    Ibin,
    Please accept my condolences regarding your Father. I can understand why he chose to end his life. I’m sure he had debated on it for a long time bcuz he would not want to hurt his family. But, uncontrollable pain takes its evil toll on the strongest person alive. It wears you down and robs One of any enjoyment of life, in fact, pain steals your pride, all of your achievements, self esteem, Everything. Only us who suffer from uncontrollable pain can understand. I recently went through a Pain Pump Trial. I actually cried when it was removed bcuz for the first time since I could remember, I was pain free and full of energy. Despite my usual dosage of medication, the pain came back with a venegance which threw me into depression, worse than ever. Since the products are manufactured in Puerto Rico, following the Hurricane, there is now a backlog of Patients waiting to receive their surgery to implant the permanent pump. I wait.
    Now, without much patience bcuz I so desperately want to feel “normal” again. I am so thankful for my pain management Dr. She fights tirelessly for her Patients.
    I pray that anyone in pain can find some way to hold on until we get through this “DEA Disaster.” As my Mom always said “This too shall pass.” Let’s pray that it does, especially before even one more person ends their life.
    Blessings to all.

  22. Roni at 10:13 am

    I had a spinal cord stimulator implanted( 2005) that lasted one year due to the manufacturer it broke and was removed. My then doctor wanted to try another I said no .The scar still aches from 10 staples he used.
    My ten year pain doctor left his practice( due to accusations from another patient) and in 2015 the clinic closed. Until then I was being treated successfully. Along with my disabled husband. I saw my second my Pcp for a few month’s until I found my second pain doctor. I saw him for two year’s until this past January when he re- tired due to all the regulations. So I went back to my Pcp for two month’s which he for the first time ever drastically reduced my pain medicine. I was waiting to see get into a Spine&Pain clinic so I said nothing. Starting February my new doctor keep me on that smaller dose, but had me get tests that I needed( MRI, ex rays) . He never discussed the results. He did a caudle procedure in March on my hurting tail bone ( five shots), then two test procedures on my lower back to preform an ablation in April. In May his NP did trigger point injections on both sides of my shoulders. I hurt worse. Then in July the doctor did one facet nerve block at the top of my neck( awful). After I refused anymore procedures he reduced my pain medicine for the first time. After all these procedures I got worse. Then I found out they are not FDA approved.
    I saw my Pcp to discuss this he thinks pain medicine is bad now from how he sounded.
    I had several teeth infections after June losing my top teeth replacing with dentures now. Dentist first said it was from the last neck procedure. When I told my Pcp he laughed. Now my dentist claims all these sudden infections are from my Hashimotos. To which it has been 50 year’s since I’ve had a tooth infection.
    I saw a new doctor at the same Spine& Pain center a few month’s ago she like the other doctor never examined me, but offered shots in my hips. I said No. I noticed she wrote a diagnosis for my hips after I left. I have another diagnosis from my Rhumatologist for my hips. Where does she get off?
    I now have incurred several thousand dollars that I make small monthly payments on to pay the enormous cost for this past year’s doctor and procedures.
    Besides the added pain these at least 23 shots this year in my body caused I was upset for awhile that the new things could be done for my conditions that were not around the past 16 yrs I have suffered did nothing.I had hope, but these things did not help me. I have heard of other’s who have gotten some relief.
    So now this Thursday I change pain doctors due to insurance changes I made. I hate how they make you sign the contract first before seeing them.
    I am refusing medicine to get off the small pain meds I am on. I will not get a stimulator or anymore injections.
    I will lay in bed first.

  23. Ibin at 9:58 am

    You tell it Christine! Straight from a from a patient AND a health care professional !! am 59, shot down at 37 with back surgeries but, I did NOT wish to “go on disability” then, nor now. NOT forced to “quit”. I too have had appropriate treatment with medication, adequately prescribed, monitored, screened the whole none yards. It is really intrusive to life, to have to be monitored so vigoursly but, if that is the price for a little normalcy, continued “freedom”, then I choose….to remain active. After 23 years of treatment, “vetted”, “trustworhty” as a patient that uses as directed. I don’t like being forced…… to be told or do…..what is best for me.

  24. Amanda at 9:43 am

    I am grateful that there are epilepsy willing to speak up about chronic and intractable pain patients rights! I recently found out that epidural steroid injections are NOT FDA approved and yet it’s the first thing they try to do with patients with spine problems! I refuse to let anyone touch my spine with something that hasn’t been FDA approved! We found out the hard way when my husband had two rounds of those injections in his cervical spine after failed spine surgery and it made his pain SOOOOOO much worse! Educate yourselves on what treatments they are offering you! If it’s not approved tell them you refuse it! Just because they are trying so hard to prove every pain patient is equal to an addict doesn’t mean we should swallow that garbage! We must fight back with guns blazing! And that was a metaphor for those of you who might think I intended harm to someone because I am not! It’s a figure of speech. JS. Prayers and love to all of you in this fight with me and my husband!

  25. SheWolf at 9:30 am

    Chrusty has no business whatsoever, being in charge of anything addiction!
    Regarding his “friend” from law school that died from addiction, one time he claims Percocet was the cause, next interview it was HEROIN. Liars that can’t get their tall tales straight, have no business being in any government offices!!
    Has everyone forgotten BridgeGate? LIAR from day one!

  26. Ibin at 9:11 am

    My Father, diagnosed with “nueropathy”, worse in his feet than anywher else,had a relatively “pain free” life until he reached about 65 years old. Diagnosed with the issue, he refused to take any type medication, especially an opioid, “dope” he called it. He was advised to have a stimulator surgiclally implanted after a “trail run”, he thought that it helped with the neuraopathy. I did not even recognize the emotional devastatsion that it caused after continuous “re-adjustments”, un managed continuous pain. I admired his strength. A blue collar worker all his life. He succeeded “in life” through his will to overcone any issue.
    . He took his own life at over 70. Still physically fit, no “apparent” emotional issues, he kept personal problems….personal. Too personal. The continuous pain along with “no options” to manage it short of medication, he was lost to the family. ANY one treatment for all patients, the purposed “alternative” treatments short of medication with technology, emotional, psychiactric treatment may be the answer for some but, in my opinion my Fathers stimulator implantation was premature. It was…..his choice but, maybe more advisement before he elected the stimulator would have been appropriate.ONE treatment, one maximum dosage, for all is rediculous. Intractable, “chronic” pain exists and iS manageable through many different treatments. Opioid medication, dispensed, monitored through a licensed physician has been very effective with FAR LESS negative uisuuses than positive treatment. The patient, through the advisemwent of our physicians should have the choice “how” to manage personal pain. manage with……appropriate medication not regulated through DOT/GOV and psychiatrists. The “choice” is ours. Thanks, Ed

  27. Rick at 8:38 am

    So many lies and half truths fueled by $ & politics. Other than perhaps the progress in Med Schools, the ‘real issues’ and false arguments steal the headlines. Follow the $.

  28. Scott michaels at 7:31 am

    Snakeoil and expensive machinery…
    Opioid therapy works. Why are we the gunnea pigs here. Heroin and illegal fentanyl are now in the streets killing. Proof that addicts will always find dope. Proof that even if pain relievers werent available. The junkies would get dope. Proof addiction hits all colors. Super undisputed proof chronic pain patients dont gethi. They take as directed. At least they used to. Once the right dose was found they were fine. Now that drs took away that medicine theyre forced to the streets for pain relief. Millions will die because the media and govt along with Prop and the medical community abandoned us.

  29. C. “Andi” Robertson at 7:13 am

    Ed,

    Thank you, and all who contribute to this newsletter! This is a wonderful place for us chronic pain sufferers to keep up with the latest in efforts to help us. I truly appreciate you all!

    That said… I have been wanting to play some part, even if small, to advocate for our plight with the stigma about addiction, abuse and misuse. I took the liberty, through an article submitted by Richard “Red” Lawhern, to voice my concern to Gov. Christie. No expectations, but thought you all may find it helpful in maybe getting others to participate. Let me know if you are interested in what I “begged” of him…

  30. HAZZY at 6:35 am

    I’AM ALREADY BEING CUT BACK ON MY PAIN MEDS. ALL BECAUSE PEOPLE WANT TO GET HIGH AND NOT GET RELIEF……………TOTAL B.S.

  31. Dana Shore at 6:32 am

    I think it will be extremely difficult for President Trump to get this problem’s course set in the proper direction. Just take a look at who is supposed to be looking after our best interest. Everyone of them have something to gain from this if they keep the President misinformed. Chris Christie is a politician who livelihood depends on getting either getting elected for appointed to some office or position and he certainly isn’t going to go against big pharma and put his campaign contributions in jeopardy. Given drug manufacturers don’t want it fixed unless it involves a very expensive product of their own. Please remember that such schwanzlutschers like Andrew Kolondy has had an active role in keeping safe economical cancer cures from the American people so we will not benefit from anyone President Trump has in place to solve this problem until someone finally tells him the truth and he finally trash cans them. Until then nothing is going to happen in our favor.

  32. Rachael Hall at 5:11 am

    I imagine that if the President, like everyone else “The People” are listening to, has no idea what it’s like to live with a congenital, debilitating and completely incurable collagen disease that causes, among many other symptoms, horrific pain and he’ll make some statement which further impedes our access to effective pain management when all treatment has failed but use of opioids.

  33. Christine at 4:36 am

    I am a RN for 17 years now & i have been a chronic pain patient for 16 yrs! After 4 major surgeries, severe weakness on my right side and having bowel incontinence r/t the spinal injury I cant keep silent any longer!
    I want people ..the people who are trying to change this
    the law to remember this…
    A patient has the right to be pain free.. every individual is diffrent… pain is diffrent for everyone! We have the right to decide what goes in our body and you do not have the right to dictate what does ! You do not have the right to tell me what will work and will not work!
    When you ..a loved one.. your child has pain due to some accident …what will you do when they are lying there screaming! What will you do when there nothin non narcotic works? Can you imagine having a career .. a career you worked so hard for; making your family so proud .. and bc of a reason i have nothing to do with; there are people trying to take away my right to be pain free ( and to have a quality of life)!
    Now ..I have worked so hard to be an assistant director of nursing ..
    .I am single .. .I have no family ..I have no savings ; no retirement bc i had high medical bills and still owe! but i work hard and i’m not ready to go on disability or welfare or section- 8 ! My life at 46 years of age should not end here! I have not asked anything from anybody my entire life! I have raised my kids i was a goid mother even days i had hard time getting out of bed! For the first time i am scared ! I am so scared bc people are talking after 16-17 yrs of managing my pain meds lowering when i can and adjusting when needed under a pain managers direction /orders and his education/specialty!
    Inthe last few yrs I have had pharmacists refuse to fill my medication! I have to wait upto the 30 th day to fill them .. hoping i can leave work and get them filled before i run out .. i have drs appt i goto every month ; i have had recently a pharmacists who in the same time apologizing he asked me infromt of every one who was waiting if i needed naloxone ?! He apologized for askin and said i am being made to ask! Im not even concerned about you or you dose but i am being made to ask! Omg! 2 yrs doing what im supposed to never trying to fill anything early i have abided by the orders given! And he is sorry? Bc he is beiing made to! I dont know if the president reads these but if you do you need to know what they are doing ! you will have to help and think of the people like me; the elderly who are suffering with fractured hips ; severe arthritis that they cant even use their contractured hands or backs that fracture just spontanous; all bc they are not being medicated properly r/t them being fearful of these law makers ! ( When asking for an increase for this poor lady who screamed out in pain, i had a doc say well we have to worry about addiction?! What are you talking about they are 80 – or 90 yrs old suffering bc you are worried about addiction? Come on?! What if this you??! Do u goto a real pain managers office .. and follow patients who are truly in pain?
    We got here bc of crack and heroin and physicians who prescribed carelessley who have lost there licence but you never took care of the people they were trsating ! You just cut them off afyer shutting these places down! These drs. who prob have their licencense’s back and living their lives…have ruined so many lives by providing young “healthy” adults pain meds they had no buisness prescribing ! It was called GREED! What did you do with thesepeople? Ask yourself this ?!
    OUT OF ALL THE CLINICS YOU SHUT DOWN ..? WHAT DID YOU DO WITH THOSE PATIENTS? Did anyone assess the pnes who truly needed a pain manager …? Who was just their to get high… was their assesments was their counseling / education provided? Was their addiction treatment offered? Was there anyone thatv directed these people on what to do? Ask yourself ..WHAT RIGHT YOU HAVE TELLING US WHAT WILL WORK AND WONT WORK ESPECIALLY FOR THE ONES WHO HAVE REDUCED WHEN THEY CAN WHO ABIDE BY THE LAW! You have and are ruining; you are killing peoples dignity.. their well being .. self esteem .. their lives who didnt ask for pain or to be in accidemt or have a painful disease! WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS , WE ARE CITIZENS of the UNITED STATES…OF AMERICA WHO HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE PAIN FREE!
    I am now hearing the true chronic pain patients people like me …are committing suicide! They were left with no choice.. old folks telling me they want to die bc the pain is to great! What are you going to do about it .. what if it were you or someone you loved .. ..EVERYDAY YOU ARE PUT IN THE CATEGORY AS A DRUG ADDICT & NOT A CHRONIC PAIN PATIENT.. HELP US MR PRESIDENT! I DONT THINK YOU KNOW WHATS REALLY GOING ON! I DON’T BELIEVE ..YOU WOULD ALLOW THIS!
    Sincerely,
    Christine RN & Chronic Pain Patient

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