A Missed Opportunity

A Missed Opportunity

Totally whiffed. Air ball. Not even close. On Sunday, I watched the 60 Minutes story about the Heroin epidemic and once again, the media have it wrong.

They linked the Heroin problem to, are you ready; Narcotic Pain Meds!

Is anyone who has to take narcotic pain meds surprised by this?


There were so many missed opportunities here but instead, they focused on the over-prescription of narcotic pain meds as the reason behind the Heroin epidemic.

Why does this continue to happen? Has it become now that one or two bad apples have spoiled the whole bushel?

The insinuation is the problem is too many narcotic pain meds are being prescribed. I am frankly tired of this. We who suffer with chronic pain have to battle so much and then when a news story breaks that points the finger at medicine that is being responsibly taken as the problem, it creates another fight for us.

What was missing in the 60 Minutes story also is missing from much of the media coverage on this whole issue. Where were those who suffer with chronic pain and are taking pain medicine as described in the news story last night?

Didn’t see one.

The over prescription of narcotic pain pills has been well documented. We can all agree that it should have been better regulated than what it was at one time. But there are those of us who are using them as intended along with other nontraditional means of managing our pain that are having positive results.

And yet we aren’t covered as part of the story. We are inconvenient because most of us don’t fit the profile the media (or more specifically the government) is pushing-we aren’t pill popping addicts, we are people in chronic pain who need the pain medication in order to live our lives.

Look, I get tired of this constant justification and re-justification of the use of medication in managing our chronic pain, friends! I do! And the next thing that we will see happening is that narcotic pain meds have been banned because someone has abused them and created a nightmare for innocent victims. For those of us who suffer with chronic illnesses and have to use them, we use narcotic pain pills because they are a last resort for us. We use them as prescribed by physicians and they have a place in treating chronic illnesses. Let us do everything in our power to make sure that we use them responsibly and as prescribed when we have to use them. And let us together point out to those who do not know the whole story, the whole story!

The media have a job to do. It used to be to inform people. You did that by telling all sides of the story.

There’s one side missing these days-the angle of the responsible chronic pain patient.

There are millions of us.


Authored by: Kerry Smith

newest oldest
Notify of
Dale L. Masters

I just amazes me that those who have control over pain meds don’t realise two very pertinent and important things:

1) Chronic unremitting pain makes people desperate…and desperate people are dangerous.

2) If you’re in chronic untreated ( but treatable) pain and you’re denied medication, your life very quickly becomes worthless to you. It should be obvious to those in power through the manifold examples of history that THE MOST DANGEROUS people are those who KNOW they have nothing left to lose but their lives. The courage of such people would make the armed forces of any nation in the world green with envy.

MORAL: If you poke a a dog with a stick long enough and hard enough, that dog WILL bite you…and there are MILLIONS of us. 50% of all returning veterans are in chronic pain…and they have been TRAINED in how to win wars.

If I was in Congress, this would scare me witless…but you need to have those wits first.
Apparently Congress has those in negative amounts.


John P.,

It would be helpful if you told us the name of the “old medicine” that works so well for you. I think it is helpful for all of us to pass on any information that could help all of the pain suffers who take the time to read and post on this site.

I know I would love to hear of a new medicine that seems to work so well for you. I am happy you found something that takes away your pain, but I would be even more delighted if you could share this miracle medicine for all of us. Thanks!

As someone who has lived with chronic pain from the age of 2 and for a total of nearly 50 years, the CDC and others have it all wrong and are making it difficult for those trying to live with high levels of pain and trying to remain productive in society. It’s not easy to be on or rely on any medication especially for 30 plus years, and worse yet to have to rely on any pain medication, opioid or not. In the case of those of us who must rely on opioids to function, the majority are responsible users taking them only as prescribed and working with doctors to continually evaluate. The CDC is going after 5% of those who do abuse opioids and overdose; however, what are the statistics to show how many of those who overdose are enduring high levels of pain and/or have trouble getting pain medications? If competent doctors are working with patients and over time need to prescribe opioids, one would hope they would know their patients well enough and would evaluate them enough to treat them the way they believe will help them. As someone who has to rely on opioids, I hate to take them or any medication for that matter and my doctor is very aware. This 5% they are after does not represent those who are responsible and there is no reason those who are responsible should be virtually punished because we do have to rely on the opiods. Though personally I have level 7-8 pain on a daily basis, from several different disorders/conditions, I still work a full time job, take care of a permanently disabled husband and mother and two children with various disabilities. Those who are making these decisions do not have all the facts, they do not know the whole story, they do not know what those with chronic pain deal with on a daily basis and dare say that they would not be able to deal with this daily pain without pain medications. They believe by “cracking” down more on those overdosing, etc. that it will decrease that number; however, what they don’t realize is that the number would likely increase because of the inability to get medications they need. If they could live in our body one day, maybe it would only take 1/2 day, they might realize what it’s truly like. Perhaps they could just live with someone who has chronic pain for a day and see what we go through, the struggles, the strength it takes to get out of bed every day, to function. The seem to have no regard for any of it and I would never wish this kind of pain on anyone, not even an enemy, and hope those making these decisions never have to endure even a quarter of this chronic, unending, unrelentless, life-long, no cure for it, horrible pain. This also includes big pharma and insurance companies who refuse to cover certain treatments those of us… Read more »


Granny Ralls, are you saying that you do Not have drug screens and a pain contract with the non Medicaid Providers that you see for pain management ? Can you pay for the pain management dr and have Medicaid pay for your pain meds from that dr ?That is one thing that some patients do in other states when they receive Medicaid but have to pay to see a pain management dr.

Each state Medicaid Program has it’s own restriction regarding pain managment and the pain meds that Medicaid will pay for. Some states won’t pay for the management of chronic pain at all. Medicaid Providers receive very little from Medicaid compared to what Medicare, private insurance and self pay patients pay.

Granny Ralls

I’m a responsible narcotic user & have been for approximately 15 years. Currently & for the past 4 years I pay $400 of my $733 SSI check on my pain mgt & pain meds that inadequately manage my pain because I refuse to agree to be treated like a criminal & be randomly piss tested like those paroled after a drug conviction or the other numerous unreasonable, inapplicable terms of the “treatment contract” IL Medicaid’s Long Term Opioid Treatment insists upon my signing in lieu of pymt for the very same pain meds it once covered for 7-8 years & I was certified annually for. It’s all about $ ALWAYS & FOREVER with state Medicaid & Medicare wanting to save $ on all expenditures for the chronically ill regardless of who they are. Discouraging physicians from doing procedures that would (or might) return patients to some semblance of the quality of life they need by establishing poor (and timely) reimbursement rates even tho it’s illegal for a Medicaid provider to discriminate, they certainly do. I don’t know how long I can keep this up financially since I’ve been raising 3 grands for 10+ years with the help of my now 22 year old son. I can’t afford to continue paying for pain meds that don’t adequately address my pain but can’t afford not to. OxyContin its prescribers and its users have been given very bad names like dope dealer and dope fiend and have been vilified despite the fact most Oxy users do NOT abuse their meds and are instead, very compliant & conscientious with the one drug that returns their fully functioning life to them. There’s a huge difference between drug maintenance and drug addiction yet, that distinction isn’t being made by anyone as it once was especially journalists who are again only interested in what sells, not the truth. Thanks a lot 60 Minutes! Your piece probably put the final nails into many poor & suffering folks coffins but then you & your audience must not be interested in knowing that the main cause of death for those in chronic pain is suicide.

royal brown

You were spot on Holly. 60 Minutes story was totally off based and one-sided and they should be ashamed for furthering the myth that everyone with chronic pain who take prescription opioids are on the path to heroin addiction. In an attempt to further control us, the federal govt. and the FDA have severely reduced access to needed pain meds for millions of patients suffering ailments that produce chronic, severe pain.

In order to shut down a very small number of unethical doctors and pill mills, they have made it so bureaucratic that family practice/primary care doctors will no longer prescribe pain medications for millions of patients with legitimate chronic needs who must now go to see more expensive and less available specialists to get relief.

This is not just a matter of inconvenience either. Often these specialists are booked in advance for many month and patients must wait beyond the expiration of their previous 30 day supply to get help and must suffer in the interim.

Not to mention that many Pharmacies fearing they could get in trouble with the FDA are now not stocking an adequate level of pain meds and patients must wait for them to order them or, just as bad, the pharmacies will not fill without first verifying from the doctor further delaying the meds.

The overly restrictive regulations and rules should be reversed.


The Agenda.
Is it the desire to see the final collapse of the United States economy? You will succeed. Due to the enormous financial burden placed upon Medicare and Medicaid, by the millions of patients who were, previously, effectively treated with a pill, at an affordable cost to themselves, and at a manageable cost to the American taxpayers.

Who will benefit from the vilification of millions of pain patients and the simple, effective, affordable pain pill they need? Many.

An entire industry has figured out how to fool the American taxpayers, yet again, based upon propaganda and fear.

You now have substance abuse and addiction centers begging for tax dollars, with answers on how to fix the crisis and every patient sent their way.

You have pain psychologists, pain management clinics, new minimally-invasive procedures, injection specialists and the chemicals provided to them by the pharmaceutical companies, who, by the way, also have the latest, newest, best non-opioid expensive medications to go along with those injections and procedures.The clinics and hospitals are all paid as well. All receiving enormous amounts of money from Medicare and Medicaid.

You have the politicians on the state and federal levels reaping donations, wooing the voters during this political cycle, being viewed as compassionate towards addicts and some pledging additional to fight the “drug crisis”.

Who loses?

The patient and their family. Forced to expend additional time, energy, and resources tirelessly complying, and trying procedures repeatedly, at the additional cost of it causing further damage to their health; physical, financial, and emotional.
Patients who were able to work while taking pain medication, are now dropping out of the workforce, and their families are paying the price.

The taxpayers. More people who were employed, able to function by taking pain medicine, are now forced to apply for SSD benefits. Many of the treatments patients are coerced into receiving instead of pain medication, are causing irreparable damage and permanent disability, automatically qualifying them for SSD.

We are being duped into believing whatever propaganda is being pushed by the media, the politicians, and by the “experts” with agendas.

This approach to pain medicine and pain patients will only add to the enormous debt already burdening the United States of America.

Can we press pause for a moment please?

John P

I am disabled now for 23 yrs, I once took high levels of Rx Opiates 1125mgs a day of Opiates like OXYCONTIN, and other Rx drugs. After 12 yrs of using these Opiates, I learned a better way to control & relief my pain. So I replaced these Pain pills now for 11 yrs with a Very Old Medicine, that OUR Federal Government knows will help pain patients. I write my Federal Senators Feinstein to get this NEW great Medicine for the 100 million Rx pain patients. Pain such and I only want to be Pain free, On the scale of 1 to 10…This new Medicine can get me to a 0, sometimes a -2. One Drug….All with the Understanding that my medicine works better than any Rx Opiates. Rx opiates never got me down to a 5 or 6. So Pain Patients just know this, the DEA are the ones that are taking your Pills away. Just go to there web site and see how they are telling Pharmacies & Doctors to stop giving out Rx Opiates. Please understand My pain is Real and I once was going to put in me a Morphine Pump, I did want it in my body, so I am so happy I didn’t. I have had five lower back surgeries and they took 3 disc out, I have 5 more disc that need to come out in my life time. Pain I know, just found a better way to control it, I still have to take Medicine…Just NOT Opiates. This 60 Min show, cares less about Pain Patients, We have to show them we are REAL suffering and I see a Pain Doc every six weeks now for 21 yrs, same Doc that gave me my Rx pills. NOW all he can do is write about what I use and take for my real pain. Any pain patient can use my Medical reports to show your Doctor what I use and maybe some of you want off the Rx Opiates, I found a way. I am on SSDI and 100 % disabled, helping other pain patients is what I want to do. We have over 100 million of Us…You would thing We would be the Biggest Group, but they make Us only one…Peace to the pain suffers, Peace to the Pain patients…

Jorja Ghera

Two years ago, while behind another vehicle @ a stop light, I was rear-ended by a teenager going 55 mph. The first impact was that of his car slamming into mine & the second was that of my car being pushed into the car in front of me. This resulted in a necessary Total Knee surgery. During my recovery period, I was diagnosed with CRPS (caused by the total knee surgery). In addition to the CRPS (after an MRI), it was discovered that the pain I was feeling in my back was due to multiple issues due, in part, by the accident. Initially, I sought assistance/care from a back specialist. Numerous epidurals later (along with Pain Meds), I was told it was time to see a Chronic Pain Specialist because the doctor could t treat me any longer & this was due to the laws of Opiod therapy currently in place. I have been seeing “this” doctor for the last year & a half. I have had several (more than I can count) different injections. Have they helped? Yes. in a moderate way. So they last? Absolutely not. Last Monday, during my regular monthly visit, it was clear that something had changed. I was asked, rudely I might add, to “show me where your pain is” — this question caught me off guard as I have not (as others in this post) deviated from my “ONE” pain medication prescribed. My response was, “where would you like me to start?” I stood up and pointed to the many areas in my back and verbally told her, again, about the CRPS which was diagnosed previously by a neurosurgeon. It felt as though I was being attacked, accused of being a pill shopper (you have to sign a contract with these people). The result of the visit is another MRI, the results of which will guide their decision regarding being sent to a back doctor (again). This is unacceptable to me … the back Doctor sent me to the Chronic Pain Specialist because he couldn’t do anymore for me and, more important, surgery is NOT an option as it was explained that there was a 25% success rate with my issues. As others in this thread, without my medication, I cannot live a somewhat normal life. The Meds give me the ability to go to work and earn a living so that I can, in turn, pay bills and live my life. I am 59 years old and sick & tired of justifying the pain that runs throughout my back, up & down my right leg on a continuous basis. I am tired of being awakened each & every night from searing pain that runs from my lower back all the way down my leg. We, as chronic pain sufferers, have become the “silent” victims of others that have abused their medications and, as a result, become addicted to their Meds and sought other means to obtain the “high” they’re seeking. Feeling like… Read more »


Having been on both sides now, I am still astonished at the ignorance being spread by the medical profession. I was involved in trying to give people compassionate pain care, while trying to not encourage abuse of the drugs that would lead to addiction. Trying to practice by the rules, I still found myself on the bad side of the medical board of my state. After losing everything for trying to do what was right, while not encouraging people to abuse their medications, firing patients, all the while, I lost that battle. Following everything I learned as a scientist/practitioner, proved to be of no advantage. After falling in a deer stand accident, I became the proud owner of a cauda equina syndrome, with disabling peripheral neuropathy. After moving back to my wife’s home state, where I had all of the problems. I found it impossible to receive the medications that had been working. I found a family doctor, but she was scared so she sent me to a pain specialist at the regional hospital, one of the competition, in the past He proceeded to tell me he gave no one narcotics. He cut me down to four Tramadol a day, which the family doctor is writing. After four years of treatment, I have, three or four good days a week Other days, the tingling is severe. keeping me up for stretches of 48 hours or more. I have never abused drugs or alcohol. Sadly, the pain doctor, after seeing me for one visit, felt that I had used up all of the available methods for the pain control. He felt obligated to send a letter to Medicare saying so much, offering to put a dorsal column stimulator in my spine. Funny thing was, he did not even consider my six month infection with MRSA as a contraindication to putting a foreign body in my spine. The hardware was removed from my spine because of that infection! I was treated with oral antibiotics to no avail, which sadly, I had learned was inadequate care, as a second year surgical resident! But, as in so many in the pain management community, in this state, he was more than willing to risk my life without adequate attempts at alternative therapy. I also had a neurologist tell me that I had an abnormal EMG and that it was likely due to some other problem, since he did not feel that having L-2 explode into my spinal canal could be causing “neuropathy”. Since my complaints were not burning, but parasthesias, he felt it was not a peripheral neuropathy. I never did figure that one out. But, what would a, graduate school educated, general surgeon, with an additional certificate in pain management, earned with the American Academy of Pain Management, know about peripheral neuropathy. I guess that extra education did me no good at all, other than set me up for a fall, to use a pun! I have been on both sides, as I said.… Read more »


Scott michaels, I am assuming that you aren’t aware that they may be changing the 120 mg Morphine/Morphine Equivelent Daily to 90 mg. Things like this are important to know.

Scott michaels

The existing laws regarding. Going to Dr. Every month, contracts, and rrug screening is done. We know that. Altough, it.is onlt creating.more.paper work.for doctors, more copay from people that.live on.fixrd.income and the general.distrist of taking a drug screening. Its wrong.but done.
The argument is they want to cap dosages to 120mg morphene eq. A day. Many of us take 300 to 900. These doses enable us to get out of bed, work, be somewhat active. Now that sounds like alot but many just need it and smeike myself have metabolism and tolerant issues. So, 1 dose isnt right for all. If a diabetic needs 4 times the insulin as another. The doc lrescribes what it takes to keep the person alive. It sounds like you dont understand chronic pain. I could get 5 good days a month, the rest are ok, but i still have a very hard time. It causes depression and amkes us feel non existant. If i were to have my meds cut 75% i will be bedridden, my wife will have to be with.me 24/7. I will feel as though.there is a steel rod going thru my neck and a k ife in my lower back.
We cant.just get up an go. Finally we have so.e people and groups speaking up for us. We are your parents grandparents children friends and neighbrors. We are not junkies waking the streets looking.t get loaded. We just want to be part of society.


Scott michaels, in order to be taken seriously, we have to be informed. How serious do you think a chronic pain patient would be taken if they made the statement that the governement needed to change the laws that said they had to see their dr every 30 day ? Or change the law that said they had to have drug screens ? Chronic pain patients need to be Educated, Informed and Up To Date regarding current laws before they do anything. It takes time and energy, but if having your pain managed if a top priority, the information is not hard to find. By the way the info regarding the public hearings and comments came to my inbox and anyone can receive what I did if they just take the time to educate themselves.

Scott michaels

The population of pain patients wer not made aware of. Any meetings between PROP and CDC. It may have been made public but we dont know where to look. Most of us stumbled on to this site. With that said i wish we had access to the same date base as the dea,fde and CDC. IF WE HAVE A LIST OF ALL CHRONIC PAIN PATIENTS WE COULD NOTIFY EVERYBODY OF WHAT THESE GROUPS ARE DOING BEHIND OUR BACKS.
All we can do now is spead the word and hope peoe do what they can.
If anybody feels we have been infrmed of any meetings you.are wrong.

Donna Skelton

Why is the chronic pain population so silent and not causing a riot for lack of adequate pain relief? Fear. Fear that our doctor will no longer care for us, because they will see us as troublemakers and fanatics. Not because I am lazy, not because I am invisible, not because I’m not informed. It is because I am afraid of losing what I do have.


Scott michaels, the meetings that I am referring to were public, by federal law. These meetings were not secret, if anyone was following this they would have known about it. Plus, anyone could submit comments during the public comment period online or by regulat mail.


@ Scott michaels
You are so right. Scott, I have been an ultra-high dose patient over the last five years and while on this dose, my quality of life has greatly improved and I have not had to increase my dose. I also take my meds as prescribed and it is the best decision I ever made. I can do things at age 65 that I could not do when I was thirty. Yet, I feel like a victim. Decisions about opioid therapy should not be based on abusers.

Scott michaels

Wrong. Thats the problem . Bad information. Nobody that has taken the medicine as prescribed has died. There are millions of us that go what were supposed to do. Its because of the few thousand that abused the medicine by looking for a hogh that overdosed or died.
I have been.on very hi dose for almost a decade. Never an issue.
Im sure if i mixed with booze or other drugs or trippled my dose it would be different. But there are millions that are like.me and were the ones getting punished


My understanding of this issue is that it is more nuanced than what 60 Minutes or this author presents. The medical research I’ve seen, combined with insane public policy at the FDA legislation level has just made a mess. After reading medical literature, FDA and CDC briefs, multiple news sources the best I can sift out of the issue is that returning to the base level of this issue, Narcotics were initially intended for short term, post trauma/ post surgery pain and at some point decades ago, medicine started trying to manage using them for long term pain, and drugs like OxyContin came on the market in the process. As I understand the issue, a percentage of patients, not one or two, not bad apples, will have a physical reaction at the neurological level where the opioid receptors in the brain will become stimulated and sensitized by the drugs where dependency is created and more drugs are needed over time to deal with no change in physical pain profile. Doctors used to believe they could predict who was an addict, the CEOs and Police Officers, etc. weren’t addicts, therefore it was safe to prescribe to them. Decades of data tracking drugs like OxyContin indicate that doctors have no idea how to predict predilection to opioid addiction, who will turn to heroin or other narcotic street drugs if they are cut off. So, as I see, it, there has been a knee jerk reaction from treating narcotics like candy for those with access to “liberal” doctors to severely restricting access to the drugs where there have been many, many doctors over time that have found a middle road with treating the everyday person with intractable pain but still have an issue with that percentage predisposed to addiction to narcotics, whatever that body type is. So, drugs that have an established track record (10 years plus of data) are getting yanked while new narcotic drugs are being approved because the FDA doesn’t have regulatory authority to block drugs that have passed clinical trials, much more minimal since the late 1990’s, but don’t have the decades of track record that established narcotic medications have. I truly sympathize with those who are stable with their situations while using narcotic medications long term safely and responsibly, I’m simply saying that there seems to me that there is good evidence that severe dependence issues are real for some, likely for certain genetic profiles, but doctors have zero clue on how to test for predilection at this point, hence the ridiculous overreaction. Overdose death data tells the story, nothing shakes a medical professional more than killing their own patient.

Scott michaels

The cdc meetings were by invite only and the agenda was not to be about limiting doses. Just discussions. They did not invite anybody in the pain community except for one person that was asked to come last minute and was out of the country.
These were secretive meetings where the opioid natzis could put their one way agenda together without any distractions.


” THEY MUST KNOW THAT MILLIONS WILL SUFFER” How will “they” know ? What tangable evidence do “they” have ? How many chronic pain patients do “they” see when they go into work or watch the evening news. There were more in favor of reclassifying combination hydrodocone meds than those against it when the FDA had their public meetings. “They” have no way of knowing how chronic pain patients are being effected because when it counts there are only a few that are visible and vocal, if that many.

What about those they are complaining because they are offended if their dr requires a drug screen and a pain contract or because they have to see their dr every 30 days ? Chronic pain patients also have to pick their battles. Those that are talking about the drug screen and pain contracts are getting their meds and getting them filled, or they would be talking about not getting them. We can’t reverse what has already been done. But, if enough of us are consistently visable and vocal in numbers we might be able to stop or reduce the next new law or guidelines BEFORE anything is accomplished.

Even though the time to fight to prevent the reclassifying of combination hydrocodone meds has long passed, I’m going to use it to make a point. Was someone that represents you in the Senate of House in Washingto D.C. a original co-sponsor the bill at the link below ? If you don’t know without looking and you were not in favor of this reclassification, why don’t you know ? We have to be Educated and Informed and Up To Date on what those that represent us are doing. By the time we hear it on the evening news it is too late to voice our opinion and make a difference.



@ BL,
You make a valid point but I think that mobilization of pain patients is beginning to take place as we speak and you will be seeing more and more people speaking out. Sometimes it takes a scare (the CDC fiasco certainly got my attention) when they speak of capping doses, etc. and how much I would suffer if my meds were taken, especially after finally finding such wonderful relief after so many years. “The National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association” (NFMCPA), an organization of which my wife and I both belong, is currently planning a major offensive and will be contacting both state and federal officials via letters, emails, and personal visits to state capitals and Washington, DC to explain the ramifications of lowering doses, etc. (use of street drugs will increase thus more suicides and overdoses will take place.

@ Scott michaels,
I think PROP has been discredited by so many organizations, pain care professionals, and articles in medical journals that they will not get their way. The CDC was also called out for their under-handed tactics. I hope that you are not correct but only time will tell. How can anyone take away life-saving medications is beyond me. Pain care should be a basic human right.

Scott michaels

Youre lucky for now. Come january if PROP AND CDC have their way you wont be getting your meds. If you are high dose patient you will be cut back dramatically. If you are a low dose, there is a very good chance you will get nothing.
And what we are and will be going thru if these guideline take place. The story on sunday was telling 1 side. THEY MUST KNOW THAT MILLIONS WILL SUFFER


LouisVA, I believe we can respectfully agree to disagree. I’m also in my 60’s, so you and I have seen many of the same things. When has change been brought about when the people that it directly impacted and their families stayed hidden and silent ?

Look at it from the viewpoint of the powers that be that are saying the new laws and tighter guidelines and policies aren’t having a negative empact on those that really need pain managment and pain meds because if it was those patients wouldn’t be hidden and quite. What benefits the larger majority of people is what rules. Maybe there are far more addicts than there are chronic pain patients that can’t get pain managment and their meds.

If countless Americans can’t get out of bed because they aren’t being treated adequately for their pain, why aren’t other speaking out. If someone can’t get out of bed due to severe chronic pain they have to either have family, friends or personal care services come into their home and take care of the thngs that they can’t. Why aren’t those that have to take care of them visable and vocal ? And if someone has no family, no friends and they don’t have private insurance or Medicaid that will pay for personal care services then they will in a nursing home. I dont know about you but I would crawl to the curb and call a local news station before I was put into a nursing home just because I couldn’t get proper pain managment. Maybe the ones that complain are embellishing when they talk about their pain. If you can’t get out of bed to try and do all you can so you will receive pain management , then you can’t get out of bed to do other things either.

What chronic pain patients have or havent’ been doing consistently is what has brought us to where we are now. What addicts and their families have been or have not been doing consistently doing is what has brought us to where we are now. If what chronic pain patients have been doing all this time isn’t working, then they need to change what they are doing. Why would anyone continue to do the same thing when what they have been doing isn’t having the effect they want ?


@ BL ,
Don’t you think your comment is a little hard? Maybe you had a brain burp ? Personally, I still have the meds that I need and have done exactly as you suggest - speak with my local representatives, senators, etc. I work very hard, along with my wife, as advocates for people in pain. Many of the people in chronic pain are the nation’s elderly - I’m fortunate to be a young 65 and won’t be in the ‘elderly demographic’ for a long time yet, lol. Some are in wheelchairs, some hurt badly when they move. I’ll stop there BL, but there are reasons without end why the chronic pain demographic would have difficulty with mobility; some cannot even get out of bed because the pain is so intense. I hope that you take this as constructive criticism due to a brain burp. I have them all the time !


If chronic pain patients and/or their families, supporters, etc are not visable and vocal no one can be blamed for thinking that they aren’t being severely impacted by what is going on. Those with other severe conditions find ways. Saying chronic pain patients aren’t being seen and heard because their pain is too severe and they can’t leave their homes accomplishes nothing. You can’t just vent on the internet and send emails and make phone calls. Email may not be read by the persons they are sent to. Talking to a specific person that has some power may get that person attention for the duration of that phone call. But, what about the next day, week or month ? I’m willing to bet that 95% or more of the people that are complaining cannot tell you how their state and national senators and representatives voted on legislation over the past several years that may impact their pain management and the meds they need.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I misunderstood and thought that these chronic pain patients wanted the powers that be to know how adversely new laws are impacting them and their ability to get care. Maybe I was wrong when I thought that pain management and being able to get prescribed meds were top proiority to them.

Scott michaels

Not the case. Most are in terrible pain not getting what they need or are having anxiety that what they get will be taken away. Its horrible, unfair and a shame that so many people just dont care. Just ttake a look at most in wheel chairs and walkers and realize that the cdc will be taki g away their pain medication. Youll never see them again cause they wont be able to get out of the house.


Sandy Auriene Sullivan, will all due respect it didn’t take 30 years for the powers that be to become aware of AIDS. Ryan White and others educated the public and increased awareness. But, support for those with AIDS and HIV was well under way long before Ryan White.

The FDA tried to reclassify hyrdocodone in the 90’s as a Schedule II drug, in 2014 they succeeded. Connecting addicts to pain meds is not new. Perhaps the group of those with chronic pain that aren’t receiving adequate pain managment and are having problems getting their meds is very small compared to those that are receiving adequate pain management and able to get their meds. If you’ve notice the online petitions asking for changes in regulations have never gotten anywhere near the number of needed signatures. All of this indicates that the vast majority of those that have chronic severe pain are receiving adequate pain management and are able to get their meds.


@kwgmatthies: I find your story very compelling as I also did an excellent job of hiding my pain for many years. I worked for 25 years as a construction electrician and worked through the pain with a smile on my face. I even convinced myself that everyone must feel this way; it’s just what life is like for everyone, right? I could not be a ‘drama king’ at the doctor’s office – no crying or wincing in pain. Of course, my stoic style worked against me as no doctors believed that I was in excruciating pain as I described it to them. Finally, at age 60 I could no longer stand the pain and sought help from a pain specialist, Dr. Forest Tennant, of West Covina, CA. I live in Virginia but could find no one in the East that would do anything as far as relieving my pain. For the last five years (I am currently 65), I have experienced my highest quality of life I’ve had as an adult thanks to Dr. Tennant. He understood my pain was very real and put me on opioid therapy. Now, due to all the bad press, physician bias against opioids, backlash from government agencies, etc., the ‘decade of pain’ and ‘treating pain as a fifth vital sign has run its course. Now I find myself frightened that the only thing that has worked to effectively treat my pain may be short-lived. It is an appalling state of affairs when addiction problems are more important than treating people’s pain. In fact, addiction is a disease and should be treated with compassion just as pain patients should be treated with compassion. What does the future hold for me? Can we allow legitimate pain patients to suffer?

Sandy Auriene Sullivan

BL remember HIV/AIDs took nearly 30 years to raise that level of awareness and it also took a brave young boy to discuss how he contracted it; via a blood transfusion for others to realize it could hit their home it wasn’t some ‘gay sex disease’ but like 60 minutes piece correlation doesn’t not equal causation. Not even Reagan would use the word HIV/AIDs. He made a one sentence statement. So imagine we CPPs are an even smaller demographic that come from a wide range of illnesses and injuries that made us CPs. Raising awareness is much harder. That is what makes the National Pain Report so invaluable to the process. We have a dialogue here from professionals and patients alike. The rise in heroin use and prescription drug abuse isn’t the fault of chronic pain patients. We, patients are not the ‘causation’ just because someone sensationalized a possible correlation. Personally, protesting does very little IMHO and at least in Florida when you talk to your reps and I mean talk to them, get to know them. Have them on your FB account and discuss legislation you have to understand the government moves slower than molasses running downhill on a frozen morning. My state is very much pro MMJ and some counties have decided to decriminalize MJ for anyone found with 20g or under. These sheriffs are doing this of their own accord. Lets get back to HIV for one moment though… My roommate had AIDs and died from it at 35yrs old. He would be 44yrs this Christmas. Even in 2000 people were ignorant of how HIV was transmitted. I came under fire by family for having a room mate who was full blown and two elementary school aged children in the home. It was when my CP really kicked in from a car accident. My roommate with full blown AIDs could do more than I. DO MORE THAN I COULD. He could cook, clean and helped me far more than I could help him. Ironic. 16yrs later spine shows more damage, still nothing earth shattering but there is a known nerve issue in my hip but the MRI doesn’t show what the EMG does so I am SOL on my paralysed left leg. I posted this on my FB profile, public btw if anyone wants to add to it. One friend explained how her brother died within 1 year of losing his doctor. No other doctor would or could take him on. He turned to alcohol and it killed him. As for addiction awareness - that’s even more broad in the community than chronic pain or HIV. And ‘addiction’ doesn’t need a narcotic. It is a form of mental illness, it’s hereditary and an addict ‘abuses’ almost any substance when their drug of choice isn’t available. Nearly every home in the US has an addict in their family. Chronic pain? Millions are silent sufferers. Addiction makes it’s self known through dysfunction and destruction. Chronic pain patients do not… Read more »

Scott michaels



Maybe somehow we could start a video showing “The Face of the Pain Patient” and we could all just give a short bio and how the new laws are effecting someone’s mother, grandmother, sister, father, brother etc. if we could compile these short stories, the people could see us and that we are just normal human beings who because of no fault of ours are in a very scary and potentially harmful situation. I think their perception of us is not at all like who we are. We could possibly post it on you tube and maybe it could be a start. Then we could send it to our leaders and healthcare decision makers to show them. It’s just an idea as if we don’t have a voice or a face to associate with this health crisis we don’t stand a chance to ever change the way society perceives us.

Sherril Penix

Thank you for bringing this subject up for discussion. I agree we need to be “seen and heard” as the honestly in-need pain patients that we are. I have a few questions though.
What ARE we going to do if narcotic pain pills are outlawed? I seriously want to know what the rest of you are thinking. I also want to know what THEY are thinking we will then do? Start using street drugs? They have to know that the use of street drugs will surely rise leading to more legal problems. What a headache for our doctors dealing with all of us as very unhappy patients. Why are we not hearing more from the medical profession? Maybe it’s because the DEA is always down their throats about what they prescribe anyway?
I for one am scared. I can’t have any quality of life if I can’t have access to the pain pills I need. I said NEED not want. I hate my CRPS/RSD and taking all these pills but if I can’t manage the pain, I’m not so sure life is going to be worth living.
They may want to think about having blood on their hands, the kind you can’t wash off


Sandy Auriene Sullivan, that is a good question ” why dont OUR supporters help protest?” Some that say they are supporters of those with chronic pain say they have meetings with politicians and others, conduct surveys, write blogs, etc. But, what have they actually accomplished in the past 5,10, 15 years to help chronic pain patients receive pain managment and their meds, better treatment for chronic pain that is not cancer related by insurance companies, etc ? Laws, guidelines, policies have gotten tighter and tighter and they are and will continue to get worse. Their activities keep them busy, but what else have they accomplished ?

Addicts and their families also find it difficult and expensive to be visable and vocal on a consistent basis, but they find a way. When AIDS patients were being ignored and spending their past dime trying to find answers, they and their families found a way to be visable and vocal on a consistent basis. It is a matter of choices and priorities. You can’t blame the drs, politicians, DEA, FDA, etc for not hearing and seeing you when you aren’t visable and vocal. If chronic pain patients were visable and vocal on a consistent basis, they would have either been included in the 60 Minutes segment or 60 Minutes would have an upcoming segment covering how chronic pain patients have been affected by the new laws, guidelines, etc that are to reduce drug abuse.

Sandy Auriene Sullivan

Bless your heart BL! We are sick! Hard to travel and protest. Do talk to legislatures and my Reps in FL.

The better question is why dont OUR supporters help protest?

Talking to Reps is best. Puts a name and face to chronic pain.

What can we do maybe the need to walk in our shoes. With all the pain I live with everyday. And the pain I am left with. It’s been 13 years I an not a pill popping, drug seeking person. I take my meds as prescribed I don’t over medicate and I don’t drug seek. I am a human being trying to live my life the best I can. And I wouldn’t need medications if the Drs could cure me. And I would rather have a cure than the meds any day. I say to them please fix me my body because I don’t want to live like this. But I don’t get a choice.


Well the people that own the Phoneix House have access to unlimited amount of resources and probably also make huge contributions to the elected officials in Washington DC. Follow the money and you will find out why the huge change in the way the DEA, CDC and other agencies have all of a sudden changed their views. It is not because they care about the people of America or the States they were elected to protect and SERVE! I would love to go and protest in DC but I can barely do my daily care and make my doctor appointments. I have severe nerve damage in my legs, arms, neck and I can’t stand for long periods, nor sit, it is a day to day survival. Plus when I became disabled I was making a very good income and just received a promotion and a raise that I worked so hard for, now my income is not enough for me to afford to go to DC which is across the country from where I live. I am sure their are many people in the same position I am in. Another point I would like to make is you never here about marijuana being the first point of addiction to other drugs like cocaine, crack and heroin. Don’t you ask yourself why? Well I imagine that again it goes back to money. People have invested billions of dollars to now say this is the new miracle medicine for everyone. I am sure their was much money sent to help elect the officials to support their ideas and many people have made a lot of money investing in this rebirth of marijuana. The news is just as corrupt and one sided as the politicians. Do you think they would even pay attention to us? I doubt it. We no longer have a leader who cares about the people he was elected to serve. Wake up people they have us targeted as “drug seeking, lazy people who just want to live off of SDI. Which is a joke when you live in California. I would give anything to be able to work again as I loved my job and it was my entire life. My children were raised and on their own, I was single and I received great satisfaction from going to work at a Hospital and working in Quality and Performance Improvement. We solved issues and found better ways to deliver the best health care services to our community. They have targeted us as the reason all of this esculated. I have be in charge of several support groups for patients who suffer from chronic pain and I did not see anyone abusing their medications. I saw responsible citizens many who worked for years in jobs that required long hours sitting at computers, some were involved in horrific accidents either on the job or car accidents, many were veterans that served our country and now had injuries that caused them to… Read more »


Very well said, Kerry. I take my meds as prescribed and am having my highest quality of life I’ve ever had as an adult (I’m 65). I fear for my future access to these life-saving meds and continually wonder why the addiction stories are always getting high ratings and we are simply left out of the story.

Bill Halper

We all should know that the media tends to be a tad slanted. They make their points with dramatics especially in this case. If they had interviewed those who are on the opiates/oxycodones for chronic pain, it would lessen the drama of the topic! The less drama, less viewership, less advertising revenue. But rather than making such an issue over this, why can’t the big pharma companies continue developing the narcotic pain meds with the built in abuse-free mechanism which is if the pills are crushed, the narcotic side affects (the high that the idiots feel) will essentially be gone. Was that brought up on the show? Although they could simply swallow the pill for their “needed” high. I seriously feel awful for these poor souls who are addicted to this medication. Instead of locking them up, help them, reform them, get them off of the medication. There will always be abuse, this can’t be helped, but maybe with reforming them sans jail time, they can be saved. But until that happens, we, the chronic pain patients who rely on this for our survival still must fight, pathetic but true!

Thank you Kerry Smith for addressing the 60 Minutes story about the Heroin epidemic.

I know about chronic pain and the medications prescribed in a vain attempt to alleviate my own painful, debilitating, chronic Fibromyalgia. I was fortunate to have a caring physician who was forever researching my disease and the treatments which might help. He was forever monitoring my status, the medications and treatments he prescribed and their successes or, in my case, their failure to alleviate the horrid symptoms which just kept getting worse. He modified prescription dosages and when they weren’t working he tried something else. When nothing worked, not the physiotherapy, the massage therapy, the acupuncture, Effexor, the Wellbutrin, the ellovil, the morphine patches, the Tylenol 3… or the countless other treatments, he supported my search for alternative and complementary approaches.

Thankfully I finally found the unique work of Joy of Healing, and because of their help I have been in remission, both pain and prescription free for nearly 15 years.

Like others suffering from chronic pain, I only wanted to be well. I didn’t enjoy the medications and their horrid, life-altering side effects. I just wanted to lead a “normal” healthy and productive life and now, because of Joy of Healing, I can.

Scott michaels


Paul McCoy

Hear, Hear. It is the despair of the American people that cause many of our issues. Serious pain management patients and their compassionate Doctors ARE NOT THE ISSUE. What sells is the media versus the government.


If chronic pain patients were being vocal and visable the national media would cover them, but they aren’t. Some of them use the internet as a way to vent, but it stops there. Why aren’t chronic pain patients and their families, especialy those that can’t find adequate pain management, demonstrating in Washington D.C. and their state capitals ? Why weren’t they at least equal in number to the addicts and their families when it came time to address those that were deciding to reschedule hydrocodone in 2014 ? Some have said that they didn’t know about it. If they spent as much time researching and learning the actual laws and what changes were being decided that govern the meds they take for pain management as they do venting about how unfair the DEA, FDA and drs are to them, they would have known.

It seems that most chronic pain patients seem to think that they are entitled to have their pain managed. There are no laws that state anyone that suffers from pain has a legal right to have that pain treated. There are ethical guidelines for various medical organizations, statements from the FDA, DEA, ect that those that are in need of pain medications will be able to receive them. But these are not Laws.

Emailing, sending written letters and phone calls to the powers that be will not change anything. The phrase “the squeaking wheel gets the oil” seems to apply here. One squeaking wheel doesn’t make much, if any noise. But when you get large numbers of squeaking wheels together over and over they are heard and seen. If chronic pain patients want to be seen and heard like the addicts and their families are, they need to follow their lead in being visable and vocal.

Keri, thank you for writing the story that I missed, and welcome to the National Pain Report. How many of our readers could have written that story? Folks, my readers and friends in pain, it is time to speak up. I hid my disease from the world for 25 years, for the sake of my career. Opioids are “narcotics” (so is cocaine, surprisingly), and everyone knows that people who use narcotics are of a certain ilk. Do you know that word, ilk? It carries a specific negative connotation. So do we, who live with daily intractable pain, are untreated or under treated at best, and have to rely on medication we neither desire nor enjoy, to do those things in life most people take for granted — wash our clothes, shop for and cook a meal, or even sleep for more than 3 hours without being awakened by pain. I worked as an expert consultant for attorneys pursuing patent litigation during the last phase of my career. When that work stopped, it was not for lack of success or productivity. I helped win every case in which I consulted. I had a knack for finding cases of software infringement, and for explaining it so that your average jury would understand. I was never told why my services were no longer needed — but I suspected that someone in a law office that extended across half the world, and employed over 1,000 attorneys discovered my secret. Hell, by then I couldn’t work anyway. My spine disease had progressed to a point where the demands of work could no longer be met — I was done. So here I sit, writing what I can to support people like me who live with daily pain, and for the men and women who still have the courage to treat us, because they know that they have a moral and ethical obligation to do so. I’m slow. I’m not as productive as I once was. I can’t hold more than one or two things in my mind anymore, because pain occupies a large portion of my consciousness. I’m not asking for your sympathy… I’m asking for your cooperation. America needs to know what its doing to us. Your friends, family, neighbors, the people with whom you speak every day — they all need to know what we need to function in this world, and how our resources are dwindling. Without your help, the prescription of opioid analgesics — pain medicine — may be outlawed for the treatment of chronic conditions. These fools are even talking about limiting opioids to people who have had major surgery, or have terminal cancers. Please — become alert to the problems we face. I’m not asking you to blow your job — we all need to put food on the table and pay our rent. But do what you can. Do it for me. Do it for Keri. Do it for you. Forgive me Nike — Just Do It. Tell… Read more »


I watched the show too and agree with everything you said. I also want to say I think the parents hold some responsibility as the kids are getting pain medicine from their parents medicine cabinets. I keep mine locked up because I have grandkids and I do not want to temp them.

I would like to make one more comment about the goverment changing medicine like Vicodin into a scheduled narcotic. My daughter works for an endodontist (they are the dentists that remove root canals). They use to only give narcotic medicine to patients that called in if they were having a lot of pain. But since they now can’t call in Vicodin for a patient suffering, every single patient receives a prescription of Vicodin or Percocet after the procedure is done. So now instead of just having a few patients receiving these narcotics all patients receive them.

I worked at a hospital for almost 25 years and remember when they (JCHAO) made pain the 6th vital sign. So if a patient called the Department of Health Sevices and said they suffered in pain at the hospital an investigation would be done. So we had to change everything as in our policy and procedures, making pain charts for children as it was a huge movement to improve patients pain.

But those were the days that we listened to our patients and did the right thing for patient care.

Now we are throwing doctors in jail and labeling pain patients as drug addicts. The Government needs to let the healthcare providers do what they do best!

It makes me sad to see how things have changed so much. We need to fight back! Thanks for sharing as I too was upset about the story on 60 minutes and maybe we should ask them to show the other side!


I was surprised as well and once again we have to suffer do to the negligence of other people. Shame on them!!