TV Shows on Chronic Pain Do Not Get It

TV Shows on Chronic Pain Do Not Get It

I cannot stay quiet any longer. I have been a chronic pain patient for over two decades: CRPS – Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, dystonia, Dysautonomia, Barre Lieou Syndrome, vasovagal syncope, fibromyalgia, chronic migraines, etc.… I used to get upset that no one in my situation was ever represented on television.

I recently started to become hopeful when I saw advertisements for some of my favorite television shows announcing that their future plotlines were to include chronic pain patients. One popular prime time show even has one of its main characters diagnosed with CRPS. When I first heard about these shows, I thought, “Finally, we will have some much needed public awareness about chronic pain and what we go through on a daily basis.”

Beth Stillitano

Now, I am furious. Not one of these prime-time shows has shown a chronic pain patient in a positive light. It has been quite the opposite. As I have been following some of these story lines, I have become increasingly distressed.

Each show has deliberately depicted someone with chronic pain as a drug seeker, an opioid addict or as someone who has died due to an overdose. This is sickening to me. I have not taken any pain medications for over 10 years, but many of my fellow pain warriors rely on them for pain management. When I was appropriately prescribed Oxycontin/Vicodin/etc. I took it as directed. Most chronic pain patients follow the rules. Our opioid crisis in this county is hurting the people who need the medication the most.

Last week, I watched a show where the medical director of a hospital directed that no opioids were to be prescribed throughout the entire hospital. I wanted to scream at the doctor on television. There is a correct time and place for this medication.

I used to wonder why after a wisdom tooth was extracted was a patient given a 30-day prescription for hydrocodone when all that was called for was maybe a day or two. I know this practice has changed; this is a step in the right direction. When my daughter recently had an emergency appendectomy, they gave her three days worth of hydrocodone, after two days, she switched to acetaminophen. Again appropriate; since they too used to prescribe a month’s worth of medication for this procedure. In my non-medical degree opinion it was these former type scripts that were some of the root causes of unnecessary addictions.

Chronic pain patients are people who need help. Most of us do NOT want to live or depend on medication. We try physical, occupation, water, talk, massage therapy; acupuncture; alternative medication; meditation; yoga; everything short of standing on our heads all day. These televisions shows make chronic pain patients look like common drug seekers. I have already written to several of these TV shows asking for some positive changes. I encourage you to do the same.

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Authored by: Beth Stillitano

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In many ways, I agree 100% with this post. However, I contend that the DEA and other authorities know precisely what they are doing. They are modifying the stereotype of ‘drug addict’ to encompass chronic pain patients, shipping us off to rehabs, and failing to treat our pain properly. That means we will die sooner, folks. Public media is a highly effective way of altering what viewers believe about, well, whatever certain rich, powerful people want to modify about the human brain’s system of implicit, aka unconscious, cognitive function. That is most of the cognitive function of a human being. (I promise I will publish data on this. The problems getting my pain covered interferes with writing publishable material, sadly.)
This modification is very easy to conduct as there is little sympathy for pain patients to begin with. Most of the people with chronic pain are aging white females and people of low SES. Not our most prized humans. Drug addicts are also not valued members of our citizenry. Treatment for them is costly to get, for the consumer; but for the provider of treatment it is cheap. Many staff members have no training beyond ‘getting sober in AA’. These are not technically savvy, sophisticated treatment professionals. Most of the treatment in a 28 day rehab, e.g., is comprised of alcoholics and drug addicts speaking with one another; not highly trained clinicians. When I saw for-profit rehab chains going up like weeds a couple of years ago, I knew what was coming. Television has been turned on -again- like the gas in one of Hitler’s facilities for removing Jews and other unwanted members of German society at that time; concentration camps. For the most part the victims are the same motley crew of people: the indigent, mentally ill, chemically dependent, survivors of childhood abuse and neglect, etc. The only major difference here is that women are substituted for Jews.The new ‘gas’ was made in the 1960’s and 70’s. It was used to create income disparity.


I want to thank all of you for the great posts, i have learned something from each you.
I too suffer from chronic pain on a daily bases, I have degenerating discs and arthritis in my lower back, Now the only thing I ask for is 50 MG of Tramadol twice a day and now that is becoming a problem with my primary care doctor and it;s not him, the feds keep restricting him, COME ON NOW Tramadol, look, for me i can tolerate the pain with Tramadol, tried using Ox-condone but it messed up my digestive system really bad so I had to stop, A one size fits all approach to chronic pain will never work, most doctors get it but the Feds and the Media don’t, when is someone going to have our backs. Thanks

sarah yerxa

We watch all the medical and cop shows. Yes they are depicting doctors and patients in the light that Prop wants people to believe. So I have taken to writing to the writers of the shows. Giving them a snip it of facts and and websites to visit. Maybe we all need to start writing to the writers and showing them the real truth of what is happening to our doctors and patients. I’ve written several writers and they really have no idea of the truth. Since we can’t get the politicians to listen maybe try and add a different avenue. This situation is multifaceted so our approach to getting the truth out should also be. Help me write to these writers and see if something might happen. If you have Directv go to cast members and find the writer then go google or Facebook them and you’re off. The more letters they get maybe they’ll see the truth is not what they have been given to work with. Let’s get those letters going, remember it only helps us…

Niese Lee Cramphorn

Oh my, I am pretty sure I know what program you are talking about. I didn’t just get distressed I got mad! I have formed a letter to send to the writer and producer of the program and I am asking that they in fact do a show showing our side of this unholy mess that we are stuck in. I won’t even begin to tell you how I feel. I live in a state of idiots. They recently reviewed the medical information on opioids and the CDC and FDA rulings. They chose to do nothing!!!!! They are still stuck on the original ruling of 2016. It infuriates me. I do not know why I spent the time and energy to testify in front of them. Oregon is a state full of liberals in the Portland area and as Portland goes the state goes. They even have encouraged homeless people to come to Oregon. Now they blame those of us on opioids, Legal Opioid medication. as the reason, so many of these people die and are homeless. Our governor is taxing us to provide for these people. We are paying for those in the past and now and the future. They are taxing us to repay the counties and cities for the last 10 years of expenses for the care. Yet those like us can not get care.



I dont have a TV show story but just lies about pain. My husband took a nasty fall, transported by ambulance to the ER. They could find nothing wrong other than previous conditions. He had to wait 6 weeks to see his orthopedist, not given pain meds by his PCP to get through this time. He was either in bed or on the couch, taking massive doses of Tylenol and ibuprofen. Then I asked the orthopedist if he could give my husband a script till his injection. He told us that pain meds cause more pain. I wanted to tell him off but didnt want to get my husband fired. So he is going around probably telling all his patients how bad pain meds are and scaring them. He didnt see the times my husband cried, couldn’t sleep, couldnt eat. All he needed was a little break.


You are so spot on…

I thought I had commented my bad where is my brain these days? Oh yes in pain land! I believe that we should as a community keep a fluid list of any and all shows that portray negatively the plight of chronic pain/intractable pain patients it’s time for us to change the narrative and educate these brainwashed or just plain ignorant individuals who have been unindated day in and day out by social media And they’re #KolodnyKoolaid

We need to let These shows/movies etc. that we will contact their Advertisers and let them know that we will boycott their products as a community which is 100,000,000+ if they don’t start portraying Us in the proper light…
The pocketbook is the best place to hit them it will resonate. The bottom line it’s all about money

Margaret Drumheiser

Absolutely ! So true! When will these These tv shows get it right. We are not addicted nor are we overdosing . Many of us have taken these meds for 10, 20 30 + years without getting addicted or overdosing. WE ARE NOT SHOOTING FENTANYL like the CRPS character on station 19 . Maybe if the doctor would have treated his pain appropriately and not cur him off when he needs those meds the most . They haven’t offered him not one other type of treatment for his pain as we all know CRPS is one of the most painful illnesses you can have and very hard to treat. Maybe they should be showing his journey through different treatments along with using his meds appropriate as most of us do.. instead of showing him becoming an addict . This is not the most often case less then. 06% ever get addicted if taken appropriately. Also most surgical pts dint get addicted either on their scripts getting 3 days or a months worth has nothing to do with most addiction to pain meds . Most often due to already hereditary gene for addiction or underlying substance abuse issue or mental health issue like depression , bipolar disorders ect. The depiction on NEW AMSTERDAM was outright discrimination at it’s best against those legitimate pain pts who need these meds. A Dr. Cutting off a dr’s ability to prescribe meds as he sees for each individual pts needs and diagnose based on education an knowledge that he was licensed to do. Causing the suffering of both legitimate debilitating pain pts and acute pts is barbaric and inhumane I was furious. Dr did not cause this crisis. This illegal drug crisis caused by illicit fentanyl, heroin non opioid street drugs such as meth and cocaine fake counterfeit pills laced with illicit fentanyl . They use over 90% or more due to substance abuse issues , and mental health issues ,socioeconomic issues not because a dr prescribed pain meds or pharmaceutical co. Manufacture them . Most addicts never had a script overdose on 3 or more illega

Thomas Wayne Kidd

Unfortunately insanity has infected millions of chronic pain patients. Looking at the wrong source for help.

Thomas Wayne Kidd

This is deliberate and planned. They are not going to actually discuss our daily chronic pain with any sort of logic. Between 50 and 100 million people in daily chronic pain have been targeted deliberately. The sooner we face this fact the better prepared we will become. Hang in there fellow-sufferers it is going to get worse before getting better, if it gets better at all. I cannot see any glimmer of light at the end of this horrible tunnel created by our own government. Our country is way more divided than at the time of the Civil War.


Was that New Amsterdam? I love that show but that part made me mad. At least in the end it showed how many people were HELPED with the pain meds.

Jeanette French

Sadly you are so very right, also the media has not been our friend either, they have helped blow this whole fake crisis out of balance and created a huge amount of false information for pain patients, and I have seen many TV shows that continually depict everyone in pain as an addict. I have seen one called Scandal who’s writers actually did do some research on the real issue at hand, not totally, but they got it right that the drug issue is tied to street drugs and the legalizing of pot actually cuts the head off the snake of the cartels and drug lords. Loss of demand = lose of supply, and reason to supply, and less kills/violence, etc. thanks for your article, it would be so refreshing if the TV shows would show the real issue and whats really going on with patients. What pain patients encounter in the ER, and from doctors treating them like dirt and only drug seeking when they are in legitimate pain. The way doc treat patients now is nothing short of torture, and against the patient bill of rights and civil rights as well. If they say they have pain they are treated like they are saying they are insane/mentally ill, and they then enter the twilight zone where things become totally unreal. Also the way that doctors have been treated is also inhumane as well, forcing them out of practice, out of being able to treat patients medically, instead of politically. Forcing them to cut patients lose and ignore their pain. Closing clinics and leaving the patients to the wind. You guys all know what I am talking about and it would be so nice to see a New Series on TV depicting what it is really like for pain patients in today’s world, it would be great, so producers, listen up, great TV series to make. Please, we need you to do this for us. You would have sooo many story lines to follow.


I agree with you 100 percent. I have surgery that something never healed properly, there never have figured out why. I have done pain management programs and use the techniques all the time. I still really on some meds, but I always fall back on good pain management techniques as well. I would love to help you with advocacy. Might even know a pain Dr who would consider such things


Well said and it does need to be told to other, so thank you Beth. is an amazing and extremely helpful site. I get emails from them and have posted on many irresponsible friends fb pages about the “opioid crisis” and how they feel any one who takes them is a drug abuser. I just tell them that drug seekers/abusers and chronic pain patients are two totally different types of people. It is barbaric what is happening to honest folks who have to deal with any chronic pain illness. I’ve had chronic pain since 1986 and have tried everything there was to try. We need to go to Dr Cheek’s website and spread the info to anyone who will listen. I honestly do not understand a government who will keep subscribing opioids to drug abusers along with Narcan because they know they’re most likely going to OD. Yet the millions of patience that use the medicine as prescribed are the ones being crucified and being denied the meds they have used responsibly for years without incident.

The media & television industry are hawking the opioid crisis for ratings and should be ashamed of themselves. I never thought I’d see the day that the drug abusers are treated more humanely than chronic pain patients.


Dr. Cheek,I totally understand your frustration with your perceived inaction by chronic pain patients. But the reality is we all educate and inform family and friends about out horrid situation but most dismiss our claims. How can you think that sick people battling pain can change the minds of a nation brainwashed by the respected CDC and the EXTENSIVE media coverage of this issue? I tell everyone, write politicians, defend my use of opioids to all who will listen. Mmm. Who’s right? Me or the CDC? Guess who they believe. TV dramas are not reality. No one should expect them to be.

Mareaeric Campagna

People that have chronic pain are a group of people like any other group of people. When you consider race, color, gender, occupation, etc., why are people like myself not included as one of the groups that can be discriminated against?
That is not okay. We are people who have feelings, and families, and want to function on a daily basis just like everyone else. We can’t help the cards we’ve been dealt. Just like people who need assistance financially, or are born a particular race, color, gender, or are born non-seeing or non-hearing, widowed or orphaned, disabled or a Veteran. The list goes on and on. For some reason we all seem to be clumped together as drug seeking individuals who do not have legitimate reasons to be taking pain medication, or we are addicts from taking our prescribed medications. Try walking in these shoes for awhile. Experience what it’s like when pain isn’t covered, or even considered. Experience what it feels like when you are discriminated against for having pain on a 24 hour basis that you have no control over.
We are individuals just like everyone else, that matter, that have feelings and that have needs. Just because it is INVISIBLE does not mean it doesn’t exist. Please include chronic pain people.


I can’t remember if it was The Good Doctor or The Resident that had someone come in with crps. It infuriated me because that’s not at all what it’s like. I wish these shows would be more accurate with pain and not just assume it’s not real pain.

Stacie Wagner

We CPP get painted with the addict brush all the time. These story lines are from uneducated idiots that do not care to know the truth because it is painful. When I see bad writing like you’re describing I stop watching all together. I don’t need to waste my time on anything that cannot be written from an educated and thoughtful place. The challenge of having to take opioids every day and then deal with the commentary about them and addiction infuriates me. People have no idea how low the rate of addiction is for a CPP. Most CPP never abuse their medication at all, not even a little bit. They do not over take it their medication because they know that if they do they won’t have enough for the month or that they could be dropped by their doctor. I know that I wouldn’t purposely misuse, steal or overdose on my opioids. I wouldn’t buy them on the street or obtain them in another illegal fashion but I also wouldn’t make a week without them because of my pain. That’s my reality and the reality of too many other CPP. Our suicide rates have skyrocketed because of the prescribing guidelines and general ignorance. I personally would love to see everyone involved in creating those guidelines, from both the boards of both the FDA and CDC, to be brought up on homicide charges for all the CPP who have died because they did become aware of our suicide rates and still did nothing to help(and still haven’t done anything to help). That is at worst homicide and at best involuntarily manslaughter. All of those ‘people’ at the CDC and FDA (and I use the term people very loosely) deserve to spend the rest of their lives in a 9×6 cell, on lockdown, 23 hours a day and perhaps some television producers and writers should join them. #chronicpainkills #cortisol

carol levy twitter acct for Station 19 writers

sarah yerxa

I agree with the TV shows not dealing with the other side of the issues. What has to be done is get hold of the writers, not the station. I have recently started conversation with a writer of one of the medical shows hubby and I love. I get them links to sites their research people can go and learn the real truth about this whole crisis. If we can more people to get with the writers we might be able to get the real truth out there. Remember get them links with facts, stories and more. Remember they are going on the facts they hear from the news and never the real truth but it’s time we all get with them and get them to write a story or more about the real situation. Remember we know the facts the non- pain community have no idea and that’s who we have to educate. Remember stories and such to newspapers and writers of the national stations/cable etc. any medical show.


The worst thing about that episode of New Amsterdam, IMO? When Max announced his plans, Lauren – both a doctor AND recently suffering horrific chronic pain herself – did not say a single word in defense of patients!


You are so right . I saw a show, “New Amsterdam”, on NBC and this was the plot. I will no longer watch that show. Of course, I should not be surprised NBC has had so called”news reported specials by Kate Snow” that are very prejudiced against chronic pain people and rarely show any support. Once again the media fails.

The marijuana industry continues its deceptive advertising, pretending that the epilepsy drug CBD is s pain drug. Pot investors want to believe this because many are losing money on their investments!

Why they are losing money, is that a great many desperate patients who used cannabinoids to treat nausea, eating disorders, anxiety, epilepsy, and spastic disorders, had already been using black market sources for their marijuana. Legalization simply moved these people out of the underground economy and reduced the prices they once had to pay. Legalization was a great thing for the patients who need cannabinoids but did zilch for the suppliers, because competition brought prices down and shrunk profit margins drastically.

Holding on to the hope that pain patients are simply too stupid to light up a joint and get relief, is the only way these investors can get back some of their losses. They have to trick gullible investors into buying their stock in failing businesses by pretending an anti opioid movement will force patients onto marijuana. The gullible investors will then lose their own money, when the truth finally comes out that weed is not an opioid replacement, but a completely separate medication that treats other conditions.

Hollywood insiders invested a great deal of money in the marijuana business.

I am not surprised in the slightest, that Hollywood will regurgitate self-serving anti-patient propaganda, trying to get out of some financial losses.

Is it time to boycott the movie business?


I have also seen these shows n I get very angry…but not suprised that hollywood wld follow the MSM….If i learned nothing else in the lsst 3 yrs ..I have learned its one huge echo chamber…they want to shove those ridiculous unfounded info down the publics throats…I will no longer watch any media or shows that choose to continue to push those lies that r harming so many innocent people….


The TV show, Station 19, has a character with CRPS, and shows his doctor walking away, refusing to treat him, and then the character’s seeking pain management medicines however he can, in a desperate attempt to control rising pain levels.


A show I WAS watching has a main character diagnosed with CRPS, he’s told he could have surgery “but it probably wouldn’t do any good” and that he wouldn’t be prescribed any more pain medication. So he steals fentanyl off of the surgical ambulance and injects himself, lies to his employee about the inventory and eventually overdoses in his office only to be saved by a new employee!! Really???

It was bad enough hearing that people are now being told that chronic pain is “all in our heads”!! Well, maybe, but it leaked to my legs and became RDS/CRPS. And being the type of person whose motto used to be: “break a leg? walk it off” It was VERY hard to resign myself to medication 15 years ago because it was the only thing that allowed me to be able to wear very loose shoes. And yes, we tried ALOT of stuff before turning to meds. And yes, I still use of few to keep from having to up dosages.

How about a more realistic script? A REAL day in the life of each type of chronic pain suffers?

Thank you for bringing up this recent/additional issue.

Adam Prince

Very well said! We completely agree with and support your comments. We too watched the latest episode of Station 19 in the hopes that the characters story would have been used to educate the unwitting audience about the issue of chronic pain. Instead the writers and producers have taken a path of making chronic pain patients out to be addicts looking engaging in illegal drugs use. The facts are that statistics show less than a few percent of chronic pain patients become addicted to their medications. The vast majority use their meds as prescribed and are subject to an elevated level of oversight (urinalysis and other testing) because of those using these meds illegally. These prescription opioids are the only thing giving many chronic pain patients any ability to enjoy the bare minimum quality of life. The damage these shows and the media do by portraying all chronic pain patients as drug seekers is reckless and inaccurate. Those abusing the drugs developed , and proven to be effective, for the treatment of pain will simply find their drugs elsewhere; as they always have. The media has got to stop getting this wrong. Stop lumping everyone into the addict category. The drama they are fabricating is harmful to those who need the meds. Stop treating chronic pain patients as drug seeking addicts !

They are simply following the government propaganda. And they will continue to do so until we boycott those shows, and get the word out to the public as to the REAL Cause of Drug Abuse. This has been available now for 4 years, but CPPs, families and friends don’t bother to learn it and teach it to others. So the pain will continue until that gets into people’s heads. The short explanation is on the video by that name on

Meanwhile, if you watch a show that puts opioids in a bad light, write a letter to the show, get the email address, and send both to me through the contact page on the sidebar of DoctorsofCourage. I will put it up on the call to action page, and others can follow suit.

But the second problem is, that with all the people reading this post, few if any will do what I am asking. So the pain will continue. Those who have ears, let them hear. Those who have eyes, let them see.


TV show, Station 19. They are making the character with CRPS into an addict, after his doctor stopped seeing him.


Beth , as i have been in school for the better part of 6 years studying law and economics with ploitical science what ive learned is astounding when it involves the :DEMOCRACY” For one we are fooled and arent in the sovereign liberty minded republic brimming with common law truth and honesty from officials we think we elected . More so a quasi coorporation full of foreigners and bankers subjogatting the people at will from birth . The tell-e-vision is a powerful tool for programming human minds and keeping common people obediant and in servitude as the Social enginerring types designed it to do ! The messages are delivered this was behind the entertainment and really, who would watch with out the entertainment value?? I hold the actors responsable and consider them traitors aslo ! What ever narrative or subliminal message the government wants to promote weather it be diversity ,same sex marraige ,global warming ,overpopulation and one of my favorites is the de imasulation of males and obediance to authority etc.. by the time a infant is of age they are totally programmed and duped! What is the real reason we are being targeted and trampled on for our afflictions and disabilitys? Thats a good question, while i know it has nothing to do with saving our lives or saving any addicts lives so what could it be ? My personel opinion is with sustainable development the main agenda from the United Nations and the Americans totally fooled about the real intent of Agenda 21 and 30 it could be the largest population of people in the world are the elders which are considered resource hogs and undesirables to the population stabilization intent of agenda 2130 ! The next reason ive concluded is to follow the money and ive noticed a large increase in the cost of medicines that used to be very cheap! Now one cannot afford without insurance . The increase of black market has increased the prison population as well which makes up 1/3rd of the GDP!The truth is stranger than fiction.


WELL stated. “Chronic” pain and EVEN acute pain…have been dismissed as not “bad” enough, or it is too dangerous to use “opioids”, especially by those who have lost a loved one from overdose. I can not imagine the distress caused by a young ones’ OD by substance abuse and overdose but, there IS another side to pain relieving MEDICATION! I am reading by the pain warrior experts that the VAST majority of PMP’s have used and still use our pain meds….as DIRECTED. This apparent information is being totally disregarded but the “experts” at CDC and DEA. I solemnly agree that there is an appropriate use for opiate based medication, even synthetic compounds for pain management especially since after 3 years of force “tapering”, I and MANY more patients, nationwide, continue to have our lives degenerate into very difficult situations. I will say it again, documentation of beneficial use of medication long term, has been ignored. Well stated Beth.