This Marine’s Fight Against Chronic Pain Treatment Continues

This Marine’s Fight Against Chronic Pain Treatment Continues

While celebrating a relaxing Memorial Day, I decided to check in with one of our favorite veterans—Robert Rose of Tennessee who has been fighting the Veterans Administration (VA) over their pain treatment of vets—including himself.

Rose famously sued Tennessee Congressman Phil Roe and others in federal court over the pain treatment of veterans that he says has and is causing Irreparable Harm to the plaintiff and the veteran community and their families.

“22 veterans a day are killing themselves, a number that is probably actually higher than that,” he said. “Yet the federal government does nothing.”

Robert Rose

Rose, who turns 54 this week, has been struggling physically—“my back, my side and I’m just very tired,” he said. He sounded very weary when I contacted him, but the strength in his voice increased as we discussed his latest efforts at “seeking justice”.

Rose first came to our attention in January 2017—and I would recommend you read this story to see how he wrote Congress and characterized his pain, its impact on him and his family’s life.

Read Robert Rose—January 2017

Rose has been particularly incensed by the impact the CDC Guideline on Opioid Prescribing has had on his and other veterans care. Quite simply, he said, “government has no place in the doctor’s office.”

He’s waiting to hear on his latest request to sit down with attorneys from the eleven people he’s suing in federal court to discuss these policies, their impact and urge action be taken to restore effective care to veterans and military members.

“I will sit down with any elected official and any federal bureaucrat and urge them to do what they so far have resisted which is to have a real investigation about how these policies are hurting people, robbing them of care and, in some instances, driving men and women to suicide.”

“Other than exposing these policies,” he said, “I’m not sure what else can be done.”

As the call was winding down, I wished Robert a Happy Memorial Day and thanked him for his service to the country.

He quietly responded, “God Bless”.

You too, Robert.

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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M.F. Smeriglio

Damn anti-opiod freaks need to spend a few months in one of our shoes and see how many dont blow their own heads off trying to play ni e with all theze games!! No kiddi g about “..govnt has no business in Dr.’s offices. Morins and clowns every damn last one of these fools! Hope you all choke on your tounges!!

Josh Hansen

Consider the intelligence and level of information possessed by someone who says (knowing well that he’ll be quoted): “22 veterans a day are killing themselves, a number that is probably actually higher than that.” Yes: 22 is higher than 22. Nevermind that what he’s trying to say is false –
“The report shows the total is 20.6 suicides every day. Of those, 16.8 were veterans…”

There are good and bad veterans. There are honest ones and dishonest ones: they are HUMAN, not Christ. So get over that someone is a veteran for at least one minute to try to consider whether s/he is actually right or not. Consider the basis, the reason or lack of reason, even the argument of the other side. This recent trend of fawning and ass-kissing over veterans to see who can appear the most patriotic sycophant is blinding half of this country and turning you into little more than an angry, shouting echo chamber. Some guys I served with should most definitely not be making public policy! Nor should they be police officers; they are not fit. Others indeed should be involved in the debates, as their intentions are good and they are in fact intelligent.

The measure is sound. It is supported by research and common sense. There is no need for this self-righteous indignation; you are adults. You did not protest when the politicians sent 4,497 Americans to die in a war that had nothing – nothing! – to do with 9/11, and which was wholly unnecessary. Predictably that sick crusade emboldened Iran, tore the region apart, and gave us ISIS. You were silent; all was flags. But now that you must have an in-person consult with your doctor – now THAT is injustice! You are the people who will take the easiest path to a cause instead of choosing one that truly matters for humanity. Lives will be saved with this measure, but that doesn’t matter – what matters is YOU.


One way is to post these letters to social media. People out there care. I care. The more people that see these letters the better. The bigger the outcry, the better!


It’s just so uncaring and disrespectful, especially for a vet. Somehow we need to find a way to get the word out to 20 million chronic pain patients and tell them to write their elected officials. I suspect that maybe less than a thousand have done so. If I knew of a way to get the word out to them I would. If anyone has any suggestions I would gladly help to get the word out. Maybe we need some kind of fund that we all donate to so we could send people to Washington as a large group or tv commercials, I’m just not too savvy on the best way to get the word out to millions of people. That’s what it’s going to take. This forum is awesome and I appreciate Ed Coughlin for organizing it but I don’t think many people get the blogs, not millions anyway. I would be a willing participant in any venture somebody wants to put together. Just remember, there is STRENGTH in numbers, the number has to be in the millions. Maybe Ed could write a blog and ask everyone to send 10 emails, texts etc. or more to people they know and ask them all to do the same. We could have a standardized, short letter outlining our plight and asking them to write to their congressmen, senators and governers. We really need a strong voice in Washington to advocate for us with great passion! I send an email every week to all of my government officials. LETS DO THIS BEFORE TOO MUCH TIME PASSES AND WE ARE JUST FORGOTTEN. God bless all my chronic pain brothers and sisters. Stand up and BE HEARD!!! Our life does matter and they’re taking it away for NO GOOD REASON. Take the time, send some letters. Together we can change the world!!!


Robert is giving a valiant fight,bUT it should be noted he has not won his battle against the VA. Many people may think by suing he won, when he didnt. It should also be noted he hasn’t given up either.

Roland, if u are truly a real MD then u shld realize that benzos & opiates are not the cause if OD’s! They have stated this in the HHS taskforce meeting just 2 wks ago! These statistics previously were fraught with misinformation & things have been corrected! Taking these veterans off of the meds is driving them to commit suicide daily in large numbers! I hope with yur interventional procedures you do indeed offer yur pts medical mgmt & l don’t mean a stiphon of meds but a dose to make them functional once again! Also it’s my hope that u r not indeed holding them medical hostage by making thr medical mgmt dependent on whether they submit to yur procedures! Basically making patient centered care the nucleus of yur practice!

Cynthia, as far as Mr Rose getting to speak to the president, personally his intentions are always good, however Roberts lack of awareness in regard to how to hold some1 attention is severely lacking! He tends to draw out sentences & never quite get to the point! I find it difficult to even listen to his videos due to this! If some1 actually wld get the chance to get into the presidents ear l would hope it would be some1 articulate that can get the point across better! Unfortubeately, Robert doesn’t take any kind of constructive criticism very well as in the past ppl have tried to help him but he doesn’t want help as he tends to want to do it his way! Quite stubborn which is @ Times a good trait to possess, but as far as this very important message l would love to have some1 like Red Lawhern speak given the chance! Again Roberts intentions are our indeed, but unfortubeately his speaking is lacking! Thx u


After reading these comments at least I know I’m not alone. My pain meds have decreased 60% in the last 18 months. I work, I come home and lay in bed with back-neck pain and neuropathy that feels like my toes are being squeezed with pliers. I have no life. I cant go for walks, I have gained a lot of weight, and I think about Suicide every day.
Also, my piss tests have said I’m not taking a medication or that I’m taking a medication that has not been prescribed.

Toni Taylor

I’m a chronic pain patient that suffers from MCTD (Mixed Connective Tissue Disease). I have a pain pump and take meds but it’s been harder to get them. Currently I’m a member of a pain group and we’re fighting for pain patient protection legislation (that includes veterans too). No one should be forced to live in constant pain. If you’d like to join our fight please email me your story at I print everyone’s story off, put them in packets and mail them to our reps and the media.

God bless you and thank you for your service.


This is one of the biggest problems that should be fixed without a doubt and us so sad these men and women that serve our country are being treated this way, I believe they should be shielded with civil liberty’s to have access to pain control when they sign up then go into battle, it’s not like the there is a shortage of natural pain meds and there are many pain meds that cost very little money to fill and they are not being treated with dignity after serving the tours and then a intractable injury takes place l, then surgury in most cases makes it worse, why are they being denied pain meds.


I have Fibromyalgia, Neuropathy, DETERIATING spine disease, RHUMITOID and Osteoarthritis, and in a year, I have fractured my back in two places and fell three months ago and broke my hip and Femor so I have a new hip now but my Pain Specialist is still bringing me off my pain meds. I cry at least every day due to the pain. My blood pressure stays up now so I have to take meds for that. I can’t go anywhere or do anything that I use to enjoy! I have no life anymore! I think about ending it all a lot now. I wish that I could afford a Lawyer and sue who ever I can! I hate my life!
I know that my life is so small in the big picture of this fight! Thank you for your time!

John J Slavick

Knee, hip, back, sciatic, shoulder, all in pain. VA has done nothing but experiment with non opiod drugs, side affects-lost hair, grew hair, grew breasts, gained weight, lost weight, impotence, migraines, constipation, diarrhea, but no pain killing! Finally after 10 years of being a lab rat they gave me a low dose of Vicodin which helped and after a year they stopped refilling, hello pain again! Can no longer hold a job and yet I’m supposed to live on 40% service connected and receive no pain management. I can totally relate to why some folks are throwing in the towel.

Alton Hooks

I know ur pain I have had 3 back surgery since 2012 had 2 in last 60 days no relieve have cervical spinal cord damage dizzy spells ask pain dr. for something besides 10mg. Methadone every 6 to 8 hrs. Goes in one ear comes out the other cant sleep life is terriable


I hope Mr. Rose can get some time with President Trump. Trump listens to veterans and I think he would be moved by the presentation of this evidence, and how veterans have had their meds cut or stopped and how they can’t get pain relief from the VA. May this happen soon.

Maggie King

Mr Rose,
I was cut off 12 years of compliant Pain Management last year. My MD decided to retire early, leaving 100s of us with 1 month of meds and no legitimate clinic to accept us.b
But if I was offered a place, I’d gladly give it to you or another vet. If anyone in the US deserves the best care in pain treatment, it is the men & women that served.
We have a large Armed Forces Retirement Home here in Coastal Mississippi, so many have been cut off in this opioid hysteria!

I hope and pray that our “leaders” stop politicizing this travesty be and using vets and law abiding citizens for reelection. I hope doctors grow a backbone and return to patient CARE, and THEIR sacred oath to “first, do no harm”.

To all of us who struggled today, peace be with you.

Timothy Mason

There is a book out “A Government of Wolves” The Emerging American Police State by John W. Whitehead. A must read.


“Government has no place in the doctor’s office.” So succinctly and well said in on a few little words. It’s more than a dirty shame our military veterans are not being taken care of properly. I love America as much as any one of us, but this is America’s dirty little secret.

Even though I’m suffering greatly even at the moment, I would give up my piddling dose of the opioid I do get, if they would give it to a veteran in need. It wasn’t me who put on 90 pounds of gear and take off into a hot jungle not knowing where the hell the enemy was. It wasn’t me who saw my best buddy blown to bits, with his brain smattered all over me. It wasn’t me who somehow survived and came home to the States, only to be met by people spitting on me and throwing things at me. And it’s not me who gave 2, 4, 6, maybe a lifetime of service, and my wounds be played down and ignored by VA doctors while I writhe and cry and my spouse hold me because there’s nothing they can do.

No, it wasn’t me that looked for that loaded gun that my spouse has to hide.

Life is precious and it’s meant to be lived. Honor our military men and women and veterans. They’re willing to die in honor on the battlefield, NOT in pain in what should be their American doctors on American soil and not willing to help them. Shall we classify these politicians and groups like CDC and DEA as enemies of the State? Why not, when they’ve made clear and convincing effort to kill our wounded?

Oh, make no mistake; the government is in my doctor’s office too. I’m receiving one fourth the effective dose that I was used to in 2009-2013. This asinine reasoning has forced many to seek underground relief. The whole thing is CRAZY.

Give us back “sensible respect.” It’s really simple.

Chronic Pain Patient

God Bless all of our Vets and SHAME on the CDC and their catastrophic “guidelines” and the subsequent DEA raids on Doctors across the country.
The irrepubable damage they have caused to our VETS and other American Patients will go down in history as one of the most agregious and misguided Federal Failures of our time. That One Man’s overzealous and misinformed intentions to save America from what he calls “Heroine pills”, could cause MILLIONS of Patients to be denied their life allowing medication AND WORSE MANY HAVE OPTED FOR SUICIDE RATHER THAN SUFFER is a sad AND TRAGIC reminder that our Federal Government has gotten far too powerful. Andrew Kolodny has never treated Pain and his field of expertise being Chief Medical Officer of a National chain of Addiction recovery centers (a billion dollar Industry) should tell you all you need to know. Profits over People. SHAME.

Julia Heath

Thank you Robert for continuing to stand even when it’s not the easy thing to do. I speak peace, strength, and wisdom from our Almighty Father to continue guiding your efforts & helping you and all of us be effective conduits of change for the chronic pain community.

What these people have done to veterans all over this country should be criminal. I like a lot of other Veterans have taken our pain out of the VA. Month after month I had to worry would they fill the prescription of the Pain management doctor they paid me to go see.
Now I am facing interventional pain management, not because it is the best way to go, but because of the pressure put on pain providers to cut down on their counts of pain pills prescribed and because that is where the money is at.
The VA which I think has come a long way is losing providers because of caseloads and not being able to treat their patients the way they choose. The latest things we are observing are private providers/doctors that veterans are being “CHOICE” out to will not take TRIWest because they are not being paid or being paid late, and lacking a say in what happens with their veteran patients. Chronic pain and opioid use is a nightmare for patients because regardless of how the veteran has handled opioid use the veteran is treated by a guideline not what is best for us Veterans.
I am hopeful that Veterans like Robert are able to help to make positive changes at the VA. I also hope that more veterans will come forward to add their voices to this battle for fair treatment of our chronic pain.

Gretchen Freeman

Robert Thank You so much for your service I am so sorry that you and many others are not respected as you should be by our government It’s disgraceful and constitutional but GOD BLESS YOU I WILL PRAY FOR YOU DALIY AND ALL PAIN PATIENTS keep up the fight our government has over stepped it’s authority


AS Mr. Rose so justifiably is attempting to bring policy for opioid prescribing physicians to light and how badly these “policies” are affecting Veterans with intractable pain The same “policy” from the 2016 CDC “guideline” for opioid prescribing physicians is affecting millions of people/patients so badly who have not misused or diverted our personally tailored AND monitored medication It is not medically, scientifically feasible that a “maximum” dosage will be effective for one and all. $$$$$$$$$ saved is the desired result even at the expense of our Veterans, first responders, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and simple people wishing to continue having some type normalcy…….in life.90 mme daily is far to low a dosage “for one and all”. Dot/gov realizes this fact but, is very hesitant to make change. The 2016 “guideline” is NOT helping to lower overdoses monitored yearly, it is making the situation worse! Pain is here to stay. It has been here since the creation of “man”. I do NOT believe that our Creator intended for us to suffer for life when there ARE medications as the last result to help us manage our lifetime, intractable pain issues. I pray that Mr. Rose gets his point across top dot/gov and MANY same type suits will follow. The suits can be avoided with common sense however, those fortunate enough to NOT have to live in continuous, constant pain simply do not and can not comprehend what it is like. More power to you Mr. Rose and may “right” and just be realized.

Donald Amos

I was going to the VA hurt my back I am veteran the Vietnam War era they refused me on pain medication I had to go to another doctor and leave the VA to get pain medication this ain’t right I served my country even though I didn’t go to war I did my part where does it end

Robert Rose is a good man fighting not just for the veterans, but for all people who suffer in pain. He’s doing more than just talk about the issues cpp are having . He is a man of action.
You can find him on twitter. If you want to help this brave marine trying to help all of us, I recommend that you look him up on twitter.

Walter Strickland

Further more, as far as myself ,if you are in office and have voted to , urged this , appointed people to this roll, helped set up these stupid guide lines in any way , that is hurting these wounded veterans and all of the teens of thousands of people being forced to live with excruciating pain because of your lack of the courage to go after the real problems, heroin and fentanyl, you are picking on the easy prey to make your numbers look good while in the meantime honest people being forced to live in a world of real pain .Takes a lot more effort and sacrificing to go after the real problems and the real bad people who are causing the problem. SHAME ON YOU !!!

Walter Strickland

This is unthinkable what the VA is doing to these wounded veterans, I would not treat my dog this way One thing we can all do is vote all of these heartless people out of office. This is unimaginable to say the least !!!


Our government agencies have been negligent in duediligence for many decades in trying to control Opoids. Unable to stop street drugs, recreation drugs, drug addicts, and illegal drugs the patient population they could control is the COMPLIANT Intracable Chronic Pain patients and Veterans. This travisty of injustice has not been the government agencies first blatant disregard in negligence of duediligence to “first do no harm”.
1. Black men syphylis study deaths.
2. Infant’s thyroids radiation cancer.
3. Infant’s deaths in the third world countries due to promoting formula.
4. Agent Orange veterans & there children’s lukemia and cancer deaths denied.
5. AIDS patients early on no chart
in hospital with diagnosis and nurses with needle sticks no reports of contamination.
6. Intracable Chronic Pain patients given priority to receive pain medicine to relieve pain. Physician’s were encouraged to give medication to relieve pain.
6. COMPLIANT Intracable Chronic Pain patients and Veteran’s 2016 stripped of all pain meds. Placed in studies with addicts and denied appropriate medical care, denied physician care, profiled as an street addict, bullied by physician’s and medical staff, labeled in office and chart as noncompliant, and given no medical care to evaluate if stripping them of pain medication was appropriate.
Intracable Chronic Pain patients and Veteran’s do not have the same symptoms of withdrawal as street drug addicts.
Intracable Chronic Pain patients and Veteran’s have been profiled to stop a False Epidemic of drug abuse in this population that have a totally different diagnosis than your illegal drug addict.
Suicides have paid a great price for those of us who are left behind due to absolutely NO HOPE to ease the COMPLIANT Intracable Chronic Pain patients and Veteran’s real and valid unrelentingly pain.
Intracable Chronic Pain patients and Veteran’s are collateral damage of the government agencies negligence of “first do no harm”.

I am an Interventional pain specialist in Wheeling WV and I know how frustrating it is for Veterans to get the chronic pain help they need.
We have a contracted VA in St. Clairsville Ohio and these guys will either give short acting Opioids or send them up 60 miles to Pittsburgh when all they need to do is send them to me 15 minutes away.
I believe it’s financially driven as they lose funding if a veteran goes outside the system.
Gotten nowhere with Senator Portman, Manchin, Capito, or Brown to solve the fact that Veterans are suffering needlessly and by only getting short acting meds and benzodiazepines, at risk for addiction and overdose.

Billie McCurdy

All I can say is God bless all of our military men and women. Thank you for your service.
Our government may not care about you but the people of the United States do. Thank you for our freedom. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank You For Fighting the War chronic pain.

Gary Raymond

When will the CDC release the mortality statistics for the past 3 years? Is no information disinformation or a coverup?

If hugs could be given over the internet, I would hug this man’s neck to say thank you! He is one of my biggest Heros. Thank you for all you’ve done for our country Mr. Rose and for going above and beyond the “Call of Duty” more times than you should have for all of us. May God continue to shine down on you and through you. With many prayers for you and your family.
Most Sincerely,
Ms. Terri James


Such an inspiration! Thank you for your service, and God bless you Robert!