Time for Congress to Clean Up Its Mess

Time for Congress to Clean Up Its Mess

Readers who follow my work on National Pain Report or in social media may be aware of the June 28th editorial article on Stat First Opinion. With a potential audience of 100,000 readers – many of them doctors or policy makers —  “Stop Persecuting Doctors for Legitimately Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain”, strikes to the heart of controversies surrounding the 2016 CDC Guidelines on prescribing opioids. I show conclusive evidence that the entire public policy narrative surrounding regulation of medical opioids is fundamentally wrong on facts and assumptions. Over-prescribing by doctors to their patients is a mythology, not a fact. CDC data shows that there’s no relationship between prescribing rates and overdose mortality — and never has been.

Richard “Red” Lawhern

We shouldn’t think that just because patients and doctors are right and drug regulators are wrong, that the regulators will give up without a fight. They won’t. Hundreds of Billions of dollars are at stake in city and State prosecutions of Pharma companies. DEA and State law enforcement authorities defending their empires won’t voluntarily stand down from persecuting doctors, despite lacking any rational standard for whatever it is that “over-prescribing” supposedly means.

It will take legislation from Congress and US Statehouses to clean up this mess. We need that legislation this summer, before our legislators move deeper into gridlock during 2020 election campaigns. With these issues in mind, I’ve drafted proposed legislation. The following excerpts are from a longer initial rough draft.


2019 Federal Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids to Chronic Pain Patients

Purpose of this Bill: To stop departure of physicians from pain management practice by amending and clarifying Federal guidelines and regulation for prescribing opioid medications to patients in acute or chronic pain, as applied by CDC, FDA, NIH, NIDA, DoJ and DEA….

WHEREAS: CDC guidelines published in March 2016 have since been challenged broadly by many medical professional associations, individual researchers and practitioners on grounds including bias on the part of the writers, failure to conduct adequate research or establish consistent standards of research quality, and failure to address the natural variability in individual genetic profiles and responses to treatment employing opioid analgesics…

WHEREAS: Regulatory over-reach has interfered with doctor-patient relationships and usurped physicians’ authority to manage treatment regimens which include prescribing of opioids for pain…

WHEREAS: Patients with medically documented needs for management of chronic, non-cancer and non-terminal pain are being denied the only pharmaceutical products in the formulary which are effective for many of them…

WHEREAS: It is now known definitively that the declared National crisis in opioid addiction and overdose deaths is driven almost entirely by illegal street drugs rather than by medically prescribed opioids…

WHEREAS: When medically managed and used properly by patients for medically established needs, opioids have for decades been safe and effective pharmaceuticals for controlling chronic pain…

WHEREAS: The American Medical Association affirms that some patients with acute or chronic pain can benefit from taking opioid pain medications at doses greater than generally recommended in the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain and that such care may be medically necessary and appropriate….

WHEREAS: DEA and other drug enforcement authorities have seized upon the CDC guideline as a standard for assessing when doctors are “over prescribing” opioids to their patients. Investigations of doctors have ruined their practices by prominent announcements in public media, attempting to coerce physician employees to disclose physician misbehavior, seizing and freezing access to patient records, and in some cases seizing civil assets — often for months before cases are brought to court…

WHEREAS: Despite significant admissions of error and misdirected policy by CDC and FDA, State regulators continue to restrict availability of opioid pain relievers as public policy. Doctors are continuing to leave pain management, fearful of losing their licenses or being ruined financially. If drug enforcement agencies are not directed to refocus their investigation efforts, this flight of skilled practitioners will continue and more patients will be forced into disability, agony and sometimes suicide by misdirected public policy…


(a)  In Federal policy and practice for regulation of prescription opioid pain relievers, no Federal Agency shall apply MME (Morphine Milligram Equivalents) thresholds as anything more than general guidance; further, that physicians shall not be subject to professional discipline, loss of board certification, loss of clinical privileges, criminal investigation, prosecution, civil liability or other penalties or practice limitations, solely as a consequence of, prescribing opioids at quantitative levels above the MME thresholds discussed in the 2016 CDC Guideline for prescribing opioids.

(b) The 2016 CDC Guidelines on Prescription of Opioids to Adults With Chronic Pain are hereby suspended and withdrawn, pending rewrite by other US Agencies in a publicly transparent process including patient advocates as voting members of the writers group.

(c) Section 131 of the “Veterans Administration Mission Act” of 2018 is hereby repealed in total;   within two years, VHA is directed to withdraw and rewrite its “Opioid Safety Initiative” and all Clinical Practice Guidelines associated therewith, to reflect Federal policy changes directed above.

(d)   Within 90 days of enactment of this Act, VHA, HHS, and FDA are directed to publish letters to all medical practitioners licensed under their respective healthcare systems, summarizing mandatory changes of Federal policy above. These letters shall further be disseminated to all State Medical Boards, Pharmacy Boards, Departments of Health, Medicaid programs, Insurance Boards, drug enforcement agencies and Attorneys General.

___ ___ ___

Note for readers: every Federal and State legislator, Governor and senior law enforcement official need to see this proposal this summer. Only you can make that happen. Start looking up phone numbers, folks. They won’t read our emails.

About the Author: Richard A Lawhern, Ph.D., is a frequent contributor to National Pain Report. He has over 22 years experience as a technically trained non-physician patient advocate, with 70+ published papers and articles in the field. He is a co-founder and former Director of Research for the Alliance for the Treatment of Intractable Pain.

Richard A Lawhern, Ph.D., is a frequent contributor to National Pain Report. He has over 22 years experience as a technically trained non-physician patient advocate, with 70+ published papers and articles in the field. He is a co-founder and former Director of Research for the Alliance for the Treatment of Intractable Pain.

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Rosalind Rivera

Kudos to Dr. Lawhern,
We are with you and will follow you with our cooperation in contacting all agencies demanding that your guidelines be read and tha appropriate action be taken!!!


Thank you Dr.Lawhern for your continued research & Efforts trying to turn this God forsaken mess around. I would like to create a Website where people could go to easily find the Phone #s/ Contact info for their State “Elected Officials” I would like to do have this info listed for EVERY State easily accessible in one place My hope is if people could easily find out who their elected Officials are and have the phone numbers listed maybe then we could begin to get more people on the phones calling? We can all share our “Horror stories” in Forum comments & on social media everyday & that is fine…but if we dont start speaking out & getting on the phones to those people who hold positions of power than I’m sorry to say we cant make changes. It is time people to stand up & start speaking out…LOUDLY. This is for our right to “Effective Pain Management Medications” that are safe & we know work. We are losing access to our Life-Saving Medications every day. Every day more & more chronic pain patients are being Force Tapered. Pain Management Doctors are giving up & giving in to “Threatening Letters” they are Receiving Daily from State Medical Boards, Pharmacists, Insurers/Payors & DEA. The Government & DEA hold No Medical Degrees and yet are being allowed to Dictate to our Doctors what an “Acceptable Dose” is for pain medications? Its time people we stand up & start to do something about this!!! We can talk amongst ourselves every day but the reality is we are getting No Where doing this…We are being ignored as more draconian policies are being passed. Please get on the phones & start calling your elected Officials!


Dr. Lawhern
Thank you so much!

To all Americans we the govermeant of the united states of americia want to inform you you will no longer have access to eny type of relief from pain+suffering +access to pain medicine period for horrible medical conditions or injuries of eny kind??you +all your family will be forced to suffer until you die or commit suicide which ever comes fris??we take all responsibility for this denial of all relief from pain+suffering+denial of access to pain medicine to cure the crisi??you will be denied access to god given pain medicine until you+your family die or are forced by us to commit suicide to stop your pain +suffering??we the govermeant of united states of americia take all responsibility for denial of access to pain medicine to relieve this preventable pain+suffering??you +your family will be required to suffer. Until you die or forced to commit suicide due to our denial of access to pain medicine??we take responsibility for this easily preventable relief from this pain+suffering??we require no thanks your blood+money will be sufficient??you are welcome americians?? The govermeant of the united states of americi??it has been our pleasure to to inflect so much preventable pain+suffering on our people of americia??thankyou!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Belinda Cox

It would be great if it were that easy. Unfortunately the reality is that those “Guidelines” were not developed by anyone who had done research into the Physiology of Pain and its detrimental effects on all Bodily Systems. The “working group” only included individuals in “addiction studies” and excluded ALL Verifiable Medical Research done on Pain itself.
They ignored that it is possible to Image pain and there are Tests (labwork) that can verify the presence of PAIN. The Body reacts with production of Stress Hormones, elevated Blood Pressure, shortened electrical signals to muscles etc. Long Term Pain does real PHYSICAL Damage to Organs in the Body and the Immune System Response and DOES shorten the Life of the Person. Advances in Medicine because of the Research into Pain have all but stopped.

The Medications for Addiction are Important but they were not being funded at the level needed.

Also Those “Big Pharmas” that are being sued were sued about this once before between 2000 and 2008. A DOJ Settlement then required makers of Oxycontin to reformulate the meds with Abuse Inhibitors (thin layers of a substance all through the pills that make CRUSHING or MELTING them impossible (for inhalation or injection). That Company and the others also PAID States massive amounts to begin the Pharmacy Database Tracking Systems linked to Law Enforcement. Fentanyl (Jansen Pharmaceutical) is not even AVAILABLE in the US for Prescription in ANY form but the Trans-dermal Patch. Until 2007 those Patches did not Contain any Gel that could be removed but had to be just like the Nicotine Patches (completely Flat) Around 2006-2007 FDA allowed a “Generic” to be manufactured which had the Gel and the “Mylar Brand” (the SAFE Patches) disappeared.

The really sad part is that the “Epidemic” was Heroin related and NOW Law Enforcement is seeing a swing BACK to the days of METH LABS. METH is the polar opposite of any OPIOD.


You are my hero, Dr. Lawhern! How incredibly grateful I continue to be for your compassion, your laudable clinical expertise + pragmatic understanding of chronic pain and its effective treatment, and the endless effort you continue to put forth to champion the rights and well-being of those of us who live with relentless 24/7 pain. Not possible to thank you enough! Bless you for your ever-ongoing support and for leading us in this absolutely essential campaign and quite literal “fight for life”.

David James

Our greatest hope. A Masterpiece. Thx

Dennis Shivers


Do you suggest printing this and mailing to legislatures,Governors and senior law officials? I’m willing to do that if that is OK by you

Thank you for your outstanding work

Nicole Armand

Is it possible to save the initial rough draft in PDF format? Without Word, I can’t open it to read or print. Or, maybe save in both formats of those who don’t one or the other

Dennis Shivers

Only want to say Thank you for the work you are doing! I can’t imagine what it is like for you to try and get people to have an “open mind” and listen to fact instead of this hysteria that came about .


They have prosecuted and continue prosecuting our doctors who are tryimg to help those with pain. All the while … addicts are dying in record numbers. I can not understand how the DEA could possibly think they are helpimg either of these issues. YES … they had a problem with addicts and somehow thought by taking pain medications away from people in pain would stop addicts from dying! OK … I see the point! But the problem is that people who are in paim are suffering and addicts are still dying in record numbers from street drugs! I can not give you numbers … but know pain patients are now also dying. They are dying by suicide and I immagine some have been forced to turn to street. I was fortunate enough to have had good insurance. I was able to yurn to an implanted pump for help. That did not mean that it was easy! When they weaned me to half of my dose in only 30 days after being on opoids for more than 15 years … without the help of my doctor because they refused to see me early when I knew I needed more help … I almost killrd myself; more than once! If it were not for the NEW doctor who finally took me on and put me back on my original dose of medication until I could have the surgery for the pump .. I am sure I would not have made it! I will never forget what they put me through .. both my doctor and the givernment of the country I love so much! They did this to everyone who was in pain even though we were responsible and did what we promised in our pain contract!
Just stop the insanity! I am sure if our goverment who make these rules need these medications; they can get them. People are starting to wake up now however because anyone who has surgery or is injured are now seeing what those of us in pain already knew. They are suffering far more than they wanted to because they send them home with 10 pills .. if they are lucky! I am absolutely disgusted!

Dennis Brezina

Dr. Lawhern’s professionalism and courage readily show through on this an understandably most heated subject.

In-depth interviewing of opioid drug use/abuse can shed light on the psycho-socio dynamic of the largely under-represented non-medical use of legal and illegal opioids.

When the metrics are skewed toward measuring what is easiest to measure – actions under the STREET LIGHT — and much less so with the more difficult to measure — what is happening in or near the CLOSE-BY DARK BACK ALLEY — the street-lighted medical profession and drug companies are in large measure disproportionately blamed for the ravages of the opioid epidemic. Non-medical use is therefore greatly undervalued/measured. Federal and state bureaucracies are positioned for growth with little concern of recognized unwitting complicity in DISPLACING the problem, through traditional, siloed prevention strategies, into a higher risk setting.
NEEDED: More in-depth interviews and prodigious cross-cutting research.

With 42 years of recovery from alcoholism and prescription drug addiction, which has enabled, pro bono, my Lewis and Clark scale program/policy surveys in concert with Mt. Rushmore decision ladder climbs.

Nicole Armand

I am ready to send this out. Is this the final draft you propose? If so, it is going out to everyone. This is what I have been looking for, something concrete to use to fight back.


Its amazing how quickly state and federal agency’s are willing to sue big pharmaceutical company’s in response to this “crisis” yet these same officials shy away from holding gun manufactuers responsible for the mass shooting “crisis” that happen as frequently.
Thank you Red for supporting so many pain patients that have no one to speak up for them. God bless.

Gwen Green

I am on pain meds for chronic spinal issues and have been for 19 yrs. I’ve always complied never Dr. shopped, one pharmacy and I’m sick and tired of being linked with illegal drug users. In this overreach of the laws they have made life even more difficult for many responsible people. This REALLY NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED IMMEDIATELY!

Connie Dendy

I have seen with my own eyes friends and family who have horrible pain try to function since these new laws have passed and it’s very sad to see how they have lost all quality of there lives. Seeing people going from being able to live with there pain and make it through a day of work without crippling up as the day drags on for them. Having a friend say her husband says he just wants to die rather than continue like this.
I work in a factory it’s a hard life 12 hour shifts. There are people who after 20 years of standing in the same place doing the same thing day after day has left them in constant pain. It’s wrong to take away there medicine so they can live and function .


The dammage has been cruel and swift, with every non medical professionals up for re-election putting the only relief From agonizing pain I have known down as just an addictive pasifier for people in chronic pain. If only their lives were up ended with pain spasms days in bed with the covers over your head trying to forget your still alive.Thank you Mr Lawhern for fighting for our rights …

I would add in states as well as feds. States have a lot of pull on their own Medicaid programs.


Thank you Red.
I will be making those calls.zwe48

Barbara Sheridan

Amen! Thank you Dr. Lawhern, thank you from the bottom of my arthritic toes to the top of my shingle laden head and from every throbbing pain pulsing nervepoint in between! Thank you for treating us chronic/acute pain sufferers as human beings and not as criminals. Thank you for continuing to fight for the rights of a population of people who fight everyday just to be present in our own lives. Thank you for understanding that opioid pain medication is not the enemy and when used responsibly by patients in conjunction with any and all other treatments deemed medically beneficial by competent and compassionate doctors… opioids save lives! It is that simple, and that complicated. Thank you for not giving up on me even as I feel like giving up on myself… Did I forget to say thank you? Thank you for being an actual superhero, I swear I’m going to get you a freaking Cape with a giant “L” because as long as you won’t give up….neither will I!

Tera C Crayne

Thank you for fighting for what is right and just! Your making a difference.


The CDC initiative back in 2016 is the MAIN reason we have a Heroin Crisis right now! The “Professionals” drove alot of these people TO using heroin by taking away their pain meds! There are a lot of drug seekers and addicts out there but why should the rest of us have to suffer because of them? And the Dr’s that chose to over prescribe attribute to it also. But punish THEM not US or the Dr’s that are doing everything right!!
This Bill is great! I hope some of these lawmakers and officials will finally pull their head out of their asses and realize that they don’t know everything (most are not even IN the medical field) and that THEY caused all of this HUGE problem themselves!!


Thank you so much For this Dr. Lawhern. I and so many of us are at the bottom of our ropes.

My calls have begun. I didnt know how to begin when I called but someone “taught” me how to go about making these calls.

I only pray these rules get abandoned!

Rebecca Payne

My pain meds had been slashed and I was no longer able to get out of bed and had been dropped from physical therapy and occupational therapy. In the past I had been able to walk with my walker. Most fortunately I now have found a new physician who believes in me and has increased my meds up just a bit. I have started back with PT and OT, and have started the journey to become active and regain all the core strength that I had lost. Thank you Red Lawhern for vocalizing the quandary that physicians are placed in leaving all involved in a terrible and dark place.


My husband of 46 years is a severe constant intractable pain patient. From late 2010 until November 2018, he had excellent pain relief & a very good quality of life in spite of his illness. Then, a series of events involving the Virginia Board of Pharmacy & the DEA resulted in losing access to the opioid medications that really helped him. Virginia implemented a 500 MME threshold in the state PMP, my husband’s prescriptions were flagged, our pharmacy was investigated and charged with negligence just for filling his prescriptions…the same prescriptions for the same medications at the same doses that we had been filling in Virginia for 8 years. A pharmacist at another pharmacy reviewed my husband’s medical info and was willing to fill the prescriptions on the strength of the justification we had provided. Then, that pharmacist was told that his drug distributor would not adjust his opioid allocation so that he could fill the prescriptions. The pharmacist told me the distributor rep seemed to know exactly what patient was being discussed even though my husband’s name was never mentioned. The distributor rep said we can’t possibly add to your quota so you can fill these, because the DEA is watching our every move. These were entirely legal prescriptions for a high dose of opioid pain medications & exactly the same as prescriptions we had been filling for 8 years. In CA, the DEA issues “suggestions” to distributors that they immediately interpret as “law”; these “suggestions” limit numbers of opioid pills per month that can be dispensed to a patient & set mileage ranges within which a patient must reside in order to get prescriptions filled by a particular pharmacy. The DEA is clearly using intimidation to control exactly who can get prescriptions filled & how much medicine a person can be dispensed. It’s past time to get Federal & state agencies out of the doctor-patient-pharmacy relationship! Congress, start with DEA…the worst offender!!!

Walter Strickland

Thank you Mr. Lawhern for all of your generous hard work and the time you unselfishly put into this fight for all of us in chronic pain.I cannot express to you how much I appreciate you ! Everything I have read that you have written is just so true and as a CPP I can relate to all of your writing s on this subject.Evey since my primary care doctor had to turn me to pain management in 2016 I have had to fight for the medications I need for the Chronic and painful condition s in my cervical spine from degenerative discs desiese and degenerative osteoarthritis in my Cervical Spine.I always feel like I am being scrutinized as a drug seeking addict and really do not like going to the monthly appointments because of that.Many others o talk to in the waiting room feel the same way as I do,so I know is not me being paranoid.I only am allowed the 90 MME’s and no more medicine for this painful condition.But I make do,I use as needed to get through the day and mostly have to suffer for 8 hours or more thru the night.If I don’t take the medications this way I will have a very hard time getting thru the work day , or else will have no medications to take for the last 4 or 5 days before my next appointment.i have done that before and the urine test showed no medications in my system,the it really hit the fan.I was treated as a drug seller and question hard by the PA, what are you doing with all of your medications.I explain to them but falls on deaf ears.So, now that is why I chose to use all the daily medications during the day and to suffer pain and many sleepless nights.I wrap myself up at night with heating blankets for some relief,but very little,just is better than no releif at all.Please continue to fight for all of us and please know myself and millions of other people with painful chronic conditions appreciate you very very much !


I agree with the below poster who asked for specific guidance on what to say when we contact legislators.

Before today’s article, it was just a matter of calling and complaining and explaining about the CDC Guidelines and their authors’ retraction, etc.

Now that this proposed legislation has appeared, do we send them this entire article?

When we contact legislators, we need to be clear, and efficient.

So, please give us specific instructions.

Thank you and thanks so very much for your work.




Our congress critters are hungry to sue Big Pharma just liked they licked their chops with that monsoon of dollars they got suing Big Tobacco. (Nobody even knows where all that money went.) They are seeing dollars for many, many different little (and big) projects they want to promote and put their names on for future elections.

The FACTS are that most deaths are caused by illegal drugs. They are saying illegal fentanyl is responsible for about 50% of drug deaths. Comes over the border every day. Well, can’t sue the street dealers, yeah?


I wish you had some strong identifier on this “proposed rough draft”. We can phone our congress critters and refer to… what? There is no ‘bill’ here with a bill number. This is tantamount to calling and saying “I don’t like the new prescribing rules so you should read these others” but that has no punch. You can recommend they read the “STAT News” link but it is long and convoluted and peppered with advertisements. Plus you could not give the url well in a phone call – it is one LONG freeking link..

PLEASE try to get someone to at least introduce a bill into the senate or the house – THEN we’d have a bill NUMBER we could easily promote.

I can be reached by email at lawhern@hotmail.com for follow-up.

For C. Smith

For C. Smith, you can contact Red Lawhern via Facebook, Twitter, or the ATIP website.


May I offer my sincere appreciation for all of your efforts on behalf of those of us without a voice, or at least one that will be heard.

This is an absolutely perfect template and example to other Physicians who remain quite or refuse to take the bold stand that you and others do, regardless of consequence. I have been dumbfounded that so many have either decided to capitulate to the idiocy of this ongoing persecution, or have drank the Kool-Aid.

Again, many thanks for all of your efforts sir. You are indeed a hero to us.

Rebecca Hollingsworth

Thank you Mr. Lawhern! You are the biggest advocate for people suffering from chronic pain. We have all been truly harmed by these outrageous and unfounded claims that 90mme (or less) is enough to assuage everyone’s chronic, non-cancerous pain. I call bullsh*t! At least cancer patients have a chance for recovery. Many, including myself, do not. There is no cure for arthritis, DDD, stenosis and scoliosis, just to name a few. At 54, I am being forced to file for disability. It is not my desire to do so, but at this point, I am out of options. Everyone needs to participate in helping with the recall of these ridiculous guidelines that all of the governmental agencies have taken as gospel. Also perplexing is why many doctors are willing to break federal laws by prescribing medical marijuana, but adhere strictly to CDC guidelines for opiate prescribing. We all know the answer to that. Doctors are being literally persecuted and prosecuted for prescribing any opiates, let alone doses that actually allowed patients with chronic pain to function. By function I mean just that, maintaining a job, a home, a family, what most people take for granted. Its going to take every chronic pain patients participation. These guidelines are not based on facts and evidence, but distortions of the truth twisted to accommodate the storyteller’s point of view. As I have stated before, the government cannot control the illegal drugs flooding in through our unprotected southern border, so in order to get “a win” they opted for what they could control, legitimate prescriptions written for people who are suffering from chronic pain. Isn’t it amazing that even though opiod prescribing is down, overdose deaths have increased? Please everyone do what you can whether its phone calls or emails or letters to your local, state, and US representatives. They need to know the harm and tragedies these guidelines have caused.


As a patient suffering for over 20 years from intractable pain I would like to give a short narrative. From the beginning of my use of opiates I made the informed decision with my physician to choose quality of life over the then knows risks of opiates. Opiates made it possible for me to handle the activities of daily living. As time progressed I ended up taking more MME’ s than would be allowed by the CDC guidelines. When word that the CDC was going to publish, the state developed more stringent guidelines for all physician not noting that the guidelines were for primary care. My physician panicked and reduced my MME’ by 75% in a single month. I lived in a very rural area and alternate forms of therapy were not available. I became bed bound and so disabled I was not able to leave bed to perform normal bodily functions. The excellent physician relationship I had almost instantly deteriorated to one something like law enforcement versus a criminal. My son moved me to his home in the city and with the medical services available I regained limited ambulation. My primary frustrations are:
1. The guidelines were for primary care physicians and don’t allow for the expertise of pain specialists and neither does the proposed bill.
2. Systems have been in place for many years to monitor the prescribing practices of physicians and pharmacy hoping by abusing patients.
3. A very large study was perform at Vanderbilt that showed there was a 0.49 % chance of dying from the use of opiates over the non-use population. People didn’t read the next sentence that said there was no statistically significant difference in the morbidity of patients on opiates versus those not taking opiates after 6 months of use.
4. Alternate forms of therapy and the urine screens are catastrophic to my fixed income.
5. One of the primary donators to the Republican party is Sheldon Adelson of whom I read lost a son to an opiate overdose.
6. Why isn’t the focus on the black market/illegal fentany?

sarah yerxa

This should also read ” wrongful arrest” of Physicians in the Pain community. Now we need to get this out there and get someone to bring it to committee for a bill. But this needs to be spread high and low. Don’t forget the press.

C. Smith

I tried to post this comment but it is far too long to do so in the spece provided.

However, I did share my comment with the URL to this article with a friend and received a compliment as well as the suggestion that it be sent along with this article to legislators, both at the state and federal levels.

Is there any way to contact the author, Richard A. Lawhern, Ph.D.? I want to share what I wrote with him and ask a few pertinent questions.

Thank you

C. Smith

My full response to this article is far too long to for in the allowed space. Is there some way I can send It to the authos, Richard A. lawhern, Ph.D.?

I shared it with a friend and the response I received was to send it to legislators with a copy of this this article/ blog.

Debbie Nickels Heck, MD

EXCELLENT document that should be read by EVERY legislator at every level in every state and in the National Government to reverse the harm currently done to both physicians and their patients. EXCELLENT work in wording this. Now the hard part. Enacting it! Everyone can do their part by copying it and forwarding it to the proper people in their state and having their friends, both those in pain and their physicians do the same. Unfortunately, I’ll bet it will be the most difficult to get the scared, lazy physicians to do so.


This needs to be done above the state level and go straight to the federal government. Chronic pain is a fact and the plubic needs to know the miserey many of us are living with every day. With pain comes depression, feeling of worthlessness,the lack of sleep and physical motivation.
It should not be allowed for the federal government to document what a lisensed doctor can prescribe to there patients because of a few people that abuse opioids,. Yes this is the real problem and it’s up to the doctor’s to stop giving out prescriptions to people who intend on selling pills or abusing them. This is where the real problem lies.
Yes the state level is a good place to start, some links to to Congress were patients can show thier support for the prescriptions they need.
Everyone in need of pain killers will have to get involved.

Stan Riedel

Just like they say about guns. If you take away guns, only the bad guys will have guns. You have taken away opioids, now only the bad people have the opioids. The good people are suffering. All for no help to anyone. Except maybe the regulators.

Charles Fischbein, Phd

Someone in downtown Washington DC with a College Degree in Art History or Womans Studies is sitting in comfort in a tiny grey office dictating what Physicians with Fellowship training in pain management should perscribe to their patients.
Not only is Washington a political swamp it is run by inept swamp creatures with no idea what they are doing or how their dictates impact real people with real pain
Maybe if they got a swift kick in the ass they would know what pain is and how much they want it treated.

David W Cole

Thank you Red,
I can only hope and pray that Congress will do anything. However if we could get just 500,000 people calling them everyday things might change. As the old saying goes the squeakiest wheel gets the grease first. Another great effort on your part Red, to end the suffering of Millions.

Gary Ash

Very well written.
enforcement authorities have seized upon the CDC guideline as a standard for assessing when doctors are “over prescribing” opioids to their patients. Investigations of doctors have ruined their practices by prominent announcements in public media, attempting to coerce physician employees to disclose physician misbehavior, seizing and freezing access to patient records, and in some cases seizing civil assets — often for months before cases are brought to court…

These government agencies have created a monster that they are unwilling to admit they screwed up. They will never reverse their decision. I believe that they know they have lost the war on drugs on part of medical marijuana so now they have created this fake epidemic to target a different LEGAL medication. It is big business to them to have the power to seize assets and to incarcerate. If they have no war they can’t justify all the tax dollars needed for prisons and law enforcement.
It is a shame that they are targeting well meaning physicians, veterans and the poor disabled. I don’t think they realized they would create a whole new class of disabled people by cutting off the only medication available that assist people to be employed.
I asked my former pain doctor I didn’t understand why people desired to abuse this drug because I don’t recall ever once feeling high from it. His answer was that for people who do not have legitimate pain it targets brain cells that can cause euphoric feelings but in people that do have legitimate pain it targets the brain receptors that carries pain to the brain thus there are no feelings of being high. Just relief from the cronic pain symptoms.

To the author of this article; keep up the good work. I pray you keep up your energy and knowledge to fight for the innocent being effected by these knowledgable bureaucrats that have created this fake crisis for their benefit. And not for the millions of cronic pain sufferers.

Marjorie Booker

Dr. Lawhern,
This is an awesome initiative. I went from acute pain from the initial injury to 5 years of chronic pain and 5 lumbar surgeries. Even with my miserably low dose I live in pain everyday, all day.

My experience with this type of request to the public would do better with an example for the constituent to use when calling their state and federal representatives.
Maybe you could amend this article and include examples and Ed can republish.
Remember too, these representatives don’t answer their phones.
Many patients want to speakup but don’t know how and it is a lot for them to just get past their pain to function. We need to mobilize the pain patients but they will need more help than the average person.

Thank you for your time and your help!
Marji Booker


Wow Red thank you! You are just the person I need to help me with organizing a very LARGE PROTEST.Your right about no one reading our email,not wanting to lose money,or admitting to making a BIG MISTAKE .This has gone on for to long.We the people need to stop it….

Susan Smith

How totally needed for those of us chronic pain 24/7. Just as important for the prescribing physician. We are all being punished .Get out there and call your local mayor up to your Govenor and Senate. We have in this process. We have come to far and worked so hard using a whole approach to coupe with our chronic pain.