A New Approach to Prescribing Narcotics

A New Approach to Prescribing Narcotics

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BOARDS OF PHARMACYIf you talk with Dr. Mark Ibsen of Helena, Montana—one thing is certain- you come away with an opinion.

He runs an Urgent Care practice in Montana’s Capital City, and depending on your point of view ,he has either been thrust or has thrust himself into that state’s argument over pain medication prescribing.

The Montana Medical Board of Examiners is investigating Ibsen for his pain medication prescription practices. Their opinion of him isn’t so good. They haven’t come down with a decision yet to Ibsen’s effort to reverse the decision by the panel that concluded he should be sanctioned for over prescribing narcotic pain medications.  Here’s a story on the dispute from the Helena Independent Record.  In the meantime, the major chain pharmacies in Montana won’t fill his prescriptions anymore.

Meanwhile, he engenders passionate support from many pain patients in Montana, many of whom come to see him because other doctors—fearing government reprisal—have stopped prescribing pain medication.

Thus he says that he’s treating more patients and prescribing more pain medication because he says, “others aren’t and the patients need it.”

The National Pain Report first learned of the Ibsen story during the Christmas holiday season when this reporter was visiting his daughter and needed some medication for a heavy cold. I visited Dr. Ibsen’s urgent care and became interested in this story.

We reported on the story and have published some subsequent columns from Dr. Ibsen. We are not taking sides in the regulatory dispute—but we think Dr. Ibsen’s voice is interesting—as do many of our readers.

He recently shared a long digital communication he had with a friend about his battle which shed some light on what makes him go. While he thought the entire conversation would make an interesting column, we felt that sharing some of his thoughts this way might be more productive.

His friend (Monica) asked him “What do you get out of fighting the system?”

“That’s a great inquiry, one of the great inquiries of my life. I get to be heroic, no doubt…..I think the best way to put it is that I’m a continual threat to the status quo.”

He added, “I’ve long ago given up a desire to be liked, and yet some of my behaviors are those of someone who wants to be admired.”

Ibsen has been called a narcissist by some close to the investigation. He didn’t disagree.

“I’m just narcissistic enough to take on a big battle.”

When the conversation turned to narcotic pain meds, Ibsen’s comments weren’t about a patient but the system.

“As we have improved pain care (a hard earned win) we have empowered people to stay active, work, pay taxes etc. As these people lose access to pain meds, productivity drops, suicides increase, more disability benefits need to be paid, and most importantly to me, degrees of freedom are radically constricted.”

Ibsen also thinks he understands the end game that the DEA started last year.

“Opiates are going away and I am helping patients figure that out.”

He then tore into the DEA.

“The DEA has created unwritten rules which are onerous, vague and anxiety producing: that doesn’t work for anyone. I never asked for a battle with those guys, they brought it to me. And when the DEA brings you a battle you are likely to be indicated….The DEA almost always finds a way to indict a person once they go after them. So yes, I am clearly fighting for my professional life.”

Ibsen also admitted to Monica and later to this reporter in a recent phone discussion that the battle with regulators has taken its toll.

“The toll is greater than I projected, the risk has been great….If only all the risks to me were spelled out in advance..Knowing what I know now, I would’ve run to another country.”

mark ibsen

Editor’s Note:

I wasn’t sure whether publishing some of this conversation was advancing the discussion that the National Pain Report is trying to have on the challenges facing the people who suffer from chronic pain, their families and their physicians.

Dr. Ibsen is at the center of this debate—at least in Montana and sharing his views expressed in this discussion seem, on the whole, valuable to our readers. And as we said, he has expressed these opinions before on the National Pain Report.

But—and this is an important “but”—the doctor who dispenses pain medications and the patients who use them and are willing to talk about it aren’t the only voices we want to bring out.

Pharmacists, doctors who won’t dispense, pain psychologists, pain sufferers who won’t use narcotic pain medications and public health officials are all part of this discussion too. We will continue to effort to bring those voices to the National Pain Report.

As always, we appreciate your thoughts.

Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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Done,,hope it helps,,,

P. Pierce

Please everyone, email the American Academy for Emergency Medicine at lartis@aaem.org and let them know that their policy regarding the management of chronic pain needs to be REVISED!!! Emergency Rooms will not treat a breakthrough of pain with narcotics and some of us need that!!! Thank you

Thanks, that’s the Morphine Pump and I have heard of that.

Ater my stimulator was removed my doctor asked me if I wanted
to consider it. After my research I went back to my doctor and asked
him if I was a candidate for the pump. My doctor asked if
my oral meds were doing what I expected of them and they are.
So no morphine pump was indicated for my case.

Maybe one day down the road but for now I don’t want or
need the haste and the problems caused by having an open port
in my stomach. I’ve seen the problems the pump can cause and
I want no part of it right now. For those that have one and it helps
them I say; more power to you if it works. It’s one more tool that can

I saw my Dr. today and she told me when I start to have
bowel and bladder problems or if I lose complete feeling
in my legs then surgery will be a Must have.

Thanks for the help,

John S

Kristine Anderson

I feel sorry that you are going through this and feel that you have to change jobs. (I don’t blame you - this whole thing is a mess.) I am on heavy pain meds for the rest of my life, and I just moved to Florida. I can’t get my Rx’s filled anywhere. If this doesn’t change, I will end up in a nursing home and lose my independence completely. I won’t be able to walk or sit. Some of us have very serious conditions that require treatment with opioid meds. The problems the DEA are having should be distinguished RIGHT NOW for those of us who have to take the meds and the problems of over prescribing, theft, illegal sales, etc. Please help us by writing to your local government and get acquainted with the national sites and agencies where you can state how you feel. Just don’t forget about us. It’s REALLY tough out there. We are robbed of the ability to be free and do things we want to do before we hit the grave! Good luck to you.


To John;Oh they work,,if u have time,,look up Mr,Richard Paey,,he had 1 also in prison,but he had straight morphine in his syringes,or a pump full of medicine,,I got syringes,,,,now I had 15 of them,,,over 1.3 years,,,what it is,,,is they put a spinal catheter,in,,a very thin hollow tube,but long tube,,into your spinal colum at the vertebrae area of pain,,my were the thoracic,,T-1 thru T-9,,,,they put it in your spinal column,,wrapped it around your side,,and their is a blue plastic screw on type of adapter at the end of the tube,,,u screw a syringe,non needleless,,,u screw a syringe specifically made for tunnel catheters,,a syringe full of medicine,,a mixture or what- ever pain medicine works for you in liquid form,,u get sent home with this cathereter ,”in” for 1 month,and 30 syringes full of medicine in liquid form,,u get sent home with a bag full of screw in syringes full of medicine,,and it literally takes care of all the physical pain in a certain area from the spinal cord to nerve ending,,there wonderful,jmo,,first and last time I never felt any pain,,it goes straight to the nerve endings,,,their wonderful,jmo

I hear you

Help me out, you mentioned the term
Tunnel Cathiter - that’s the second time I’ve heard
that on this site and in my 25 years of problems
I’m hearing it for the first time.

What is it & Does it work - how does it work ?
Maybe it’s another name for something I know about
but can honestly say - I have no idea what it is.

Can you tell me a little bit about it.

Thanks paita,

John S

ps : you are never out of the fight


To John;,,this was 20 years ago,,and ,”why” I knew I had nothing to hide,,notta,,,soo if they wanted to ask me about my pain whilest I was under,,i did not care,,I got set-up with the best pain management I have ever had in my life,,it was the 1st and the last time I was actualy pain free,,except for the intial injection part,,,they were called ,”tunnel catheters,”,,and they brought medicine directly to the damage cord and nerve endings,,,it worked beautifully,,,but because my damage/tumors were not cancereous,,and some nurse pointed that out,,,my doctor had to stop them,,,,
I am trying to find a solution to finding the so-called ,”drug seekers,” if there are any,,,from these comments it appears several people have been ,”labelled,” drug seekers,” and they were NOT drug seekers,,,soo I was wondered if they were given the option to talk to their doctors while under anesthia,,thus a ,”truth serum,” type thing,,and if the doctor found out they are not lying,,thus they get there needed medicine,,,I mean my husband was there whilest this happened,,,but it left no doubt in anyone’s mind my physical pain was real,,,,and I got my needed medicine,,that what is the main objective,,,,and it is fact that no-one can feel someone elses physical pain,,,this just might be a way to get out the truth,,find the ,”seekers,” and get those who really need meds,,there medicine,,,,just looking for solutions,,,thats all,,,,

I can answer that question for you - It’s illegal.
Would you want a doctor doing that to you ?

As far as the people and the % of those going to
Pain Clinics just to get drugs ; I believe those numbers
to be fairly accurate. I see that at the clinic I go to, I listen to
them as they talk about what doctor they are going to next
and what doctor had a reputation for treating with narcotics.

On my last visit to my doctor I was told as soon
as I walked in the door I was getting tested to make sure
I was taking my meds. The woman behind me heard it to
and she quickly replied - Oh, I ran out of my meds 3 days
ago. To me it was obvious she wasn’t getting the meds for personal
use, if she was she would have called the Dr. and told him
her pain was worse and gone into the office. 3 days with no meds
and no sign of withdraw and no sign of pain that I could see.

My monthly allotment of pain meds has a value
of over $5,000.00 on the street but the money would do me
no good as the pain would be overwhelming. No amount of money
would make it - worth it.

Don’t take it all so personal; those of us that use our meds as
prescribed know who they are. Yes there are people abusing the meds
and the system and thats why we have the problem that exists today.

Thanks and God bless,

John S


I have a question for Dr.Ibsen,,and jmo,,your name to me,,will always be DR.IBSEN,,,,,,,,my question being,,,after my thoracic lamectomy,,my physical pain never changed,,the doctors told me permanent scareing,,but,,my question is,,,I would come in for my tunnel catheters,,my anesthesiologist would knock me out to place the catheters and to ask me under anesthia how my physical pain was with the catheters,,,like a truth serum,,asking me questions while under anesthia,,,,why can’t anesthesiologist who think there patients are lying,,,why can’t they just knock them out,,and ask them while there under anesthia?????thank u for your time,,


To Dave’;;; Fact,,it is a self evident truth/fact you can never physically feel someone else physical pain,,can you????With that FACT in mind,,who are u to tell anyone how much they should suffer,fact!!!!!!!,,The basic humanity I admit is gone,,from pain management,,and I believe 100 % of those 20 % u claim will agree,,,u can never physically feel someone elses physical pain,,thus a decent respect and dignity needs to be law,that you or no-one else can forcebly make a human being endure their physical pain by not giving them something to lessen their physical pain,,for me,,a law, a humanright,,that ,”forced endurement of physical pain is no longer allowed in a civilized world with-out infringement!!!!,”Please tell me where u get your numbers???u tell me the government,,and I’ll tel you,,b.s.,,every single piece of data out of ,”our” so-called government is 1000%%%% a lie,,All government data was preconceived to prove a lie soo they can continue their employment,money,or illusion of this ,”war on drugs,”’,,,none of the data is true or accurate,,,soo please tell me where their is a independent source of your so-called numbers,,,Hey u don’t care about human beings in physical pain,,why should we care about you???I just truly wonder why,,soo many medical personel think its there job to decide who suffers and who doesn’t,,,can u answer that for me?????Why,,do they think its there job to decide how much we should suffer in physical pain?????


I work in a pain clinic and it is tough. There are a lot of people who need pain medication but these are facts:
We have drug seekers
80% of the World’s opioid narcotic pain medications are prescribed in the US.
20%-30% of the people walking in our door should not be on prescription opioid pain medications.
A lot of angry people come to pain clinics which make for a stressful day, I fear for my license everyday because I prescribe when I should not. it is also the reason I am looking for a new job.


jmo Mr or Miss Pierce,,There is a United Nations Human Rights Council,,,,???,,,their email address is CP@ohchr.org

P. Pierce

I live in the state of VA and would like to write the appropriate government people about this problem. Does anyone have any advice on who I should write? Also, does anyone have a straw-man letter I could use???


well some of us got together and sent in a formal complaint to the U.N,,human rights council,,,if u would like to addd your name to the complaint the email is,,CP@ohchr.org,,,,if u would like to see a copy of the formal complaint first email me private,,cmwmkw@gmail.com

P. Pierce

I have chronic migraines and degenerative disc disease. I take a daily pain preventative prescription, I have a rescue medicine and I have emergency medicines I use at home to help me take care of my pain as an out patient. However, when I have breakthrough pain that doesn’t respond to any of my at-home meds, I have to go to the ER to receive a shot of a narcotic and nausea meds. My most recent visit resulted in the ER refusing to treat me with the narcotic. They offered a cocktail containing an NSAID , which I am allergic. So, I left the hospital in pitiful condition. I came home and medicated myself, lost more time from work, and recovered feeling helpless that I no longer have a safety net for my breakthrough pain. I want to be in on the fight for folks who need pain relief to have access to opiates. Please let me know how I can help!!!


Ditto Anna,,we don’t have the money,,,I use to go 1nce a year,,300 miles round trip,,,now,,well u know,,,ditto my hubby has to take off of work too,,,this is all b.s,,,and a ,”witch hunt” on us,,and I agree,,we need to scream it to the heavens,,the sqeaky wheel gets fixed first,,A few of us got together and sent a letter of ,”please help us,” to the United Nations,,Human Rights Council,,since our country has not listen to our sufferings at all,,,as a matter of fact they just answered our sufferings w/more rules,more hurtful regulations,but if u want,,u can add your name and your story to the complaint.,,at CP@ohchr.org,,Now I mention this to u ,with the understanding to me,,you are an adult,this is your decision as an adult to do what you think is right /or what will help all of us,,,,,,For me,, we are all adults,we are not children,,and as adults we should have the medical; freedom to choose how we are treated…not to be forced into severe physical pain,ie forcible physical pain,is torture,,,,if u would like to see a copy of the complaint letter feel free,to email me at cmwmkw@gmail.com,,,paita

Anne Rachall

I am disabled with degenerative disk disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Neropathy, and several other issues. I am unable to drive due to my condition.
My husband HAS to work. He earns the money for us. He has to keep his job. He takes off a lot of work to get me to doctor appointments. Usually a couple every other month or so.
Then the change was made to my Hydrocodone. The prescription can not be called in. It must be hand written every 30 days and done in triplicate in the doctors office.
Then it cant be picked up by my husband on his way home from work. No that would be to simple. Not only does my husband have to take time off work. But we also have to use a copay on our insurance each month. We waste the doctors time because he JUST saw me 30 days or less ago. Gas money for the driving. The way I hurt getting me out when its not necessary. All of this is reason to change the way this system is handling our pain meds.
I am willing to help in changing this system. I would like to be kept up on what is happening and what I can do.

Thank you,
Anne Rachall


We, as patients are a huge KEY in getting changes made, and we need to bring a LOUD voice to our Government . The DEA needs to be regulated and STOPPED on their WILD tangent to reduce all access of medicine to legitimate pain patients!! Somehow, someway,.. WE NEED to gain MORE support from ALL across the nation, pain patients, pain doctors, others in healthcare who see and deal with pain patients each day to join in and HELP us to find a way to get a handle this HUGE horrible, out of control issue. Our government is allowing this agency to WRECK MANY lives and it’s killing some of us !!
This needs to stop now! Please contact me through.
https://www.fightforpaincareactionnetworkcom and let’s find a way to be heard. Currently we’re involved with SSPAN affiliation of American Academy of Pain Management, we’re trying to gather national organizations and patients to help us with getting this situation to STOP! If anyone else has anything projects going or wants to join us at FFPCAN? I want to hear from you, so that you may join us as one huge coalition in fighting this horrible problem of access to pain medications. It’s out of control!!


Contact the email in above comments to complain to the United Nation. Also, by federal mandate, disabled must be two thirds on all disability agency boards and staff. If they refuse, formally request full tax annuals and board of director namrs and contacts. Each day they do not send is a $200fine, that you report to the federal tax office that gives them dif types of non profit status.

Ron Henry

I’ m able to relate on all levels with all 50 comments I just read. I agree with most each and every one of them.In all I do believe it’s the government that wants to torture us and make us suffer.we need to be vigilant and courageous and not waver on all these opinions and facts stated.I myself just walked through the front door and I am now feeling real relief and a real calm in my physical! Thank you Dr Ibsen 🙂


Anna,,send me your private email soo I can send u a copy of the ,”complaint,,” for your approval,,,,cmwmkw@gmail.com

Jackie T.

I’m a 53 year old female. I have chronic pain. I have degenerative disc disease, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis among other health issues. I’ve been in 2 car accidents and have gotten whiplash. I had a rheumatologist that did prescribe pain meds that went all the way up to morphine. He moved to another state. I got a new rheumy and she wouldn’t give me anything. She told me to go to a pain clinic. What a joke that was. I got the cortisone epidural shots in my spine. They worked great at first. Then they no longer helped. My current rheumy and family doctor will not give me anything stronger than Tramadol which is a joke. I need something more than that for this type of pain. The drug addicts have ruined it for the people like us that need these drugs to function. If someone is in pain they can’t go about their day and do what they have to do. They are not productive. So denying a patient their pain medicine is just cruel. Do you know what that does to a person mentally? Do you know what chronic pain does to a person? If a person can take a pain med and at least take the edge off and be able to do something helps. It helps to at least get some relief. Not all people get addicted to narcotics. By the way, I’ve taken Lyrica. I didn’t like how it messed with my head. The same with gabapentin. I was on Savella until my insurance changed. Now they want over 200.00 a month for it. I’m on Social Security disability. I can’t afford that.

Tammera Heiberger

I have Arachnoiditis and it is imparitive that I have adequate opiate pain medication for some relief of the unrelenting pain that I live with everyday since 1999. If I am unable to adequate pain medication to control the pain or at least make it possible to aquire these medications my quality of life would be void of medication and access to these would be devastating to me. Those of us who are legitimate chronic pain sufferers It will severely affect our live and the lives our our families. I do understand the concern for those who are just drug seekers but the AMA. need to take into consideration that doctors do know the difference between the two. And the DEA need to not punish legitimate doctors who are trying to help those of us who do need opiates to help control the pain .


U know sometimes things aren’t as they appear,,,maybe these good people have are already sent their letters to their congressmen,,maybe these good people have already signed petitions,petiions of no consequence,,,letters of no consequence, Over here in wisco,,the latest witch hunt is good Dr,,Houlihan,,despite a town meeting where once again,not one PATIENT,,complained about him,,not 1,,,all his patients had nothing but good things to say,,,but they are still going after them,him, with a ,”government”’ session in Madison at the end of the month,,This is a WITCH HUNT,,this is Salem in the 21st century,,,The D.E.A. has thru propaganda,,demonized our medicines,our Doctors,and us,, we are the new Black people of 1950’s in 2015,,as aweful as that sounds,,it is the truth,,,and it sounds aweful because it is..This government is allowing good men,good women,,people to suffer,badly,,to the point of death,,Endurement of physical pain over a long period of time takes the fight out of any good humanbeing,,why do u think they use torture,,,and that is what there doing to us,,,why not think outside of the box,,and go outside the country for help??paita

Ed, I made an error in the website in March 14 post. Here is the correct link for C.K. Laurence website:


She is a novelist and mystery writer who was harmed by an Epidural Steroid Injection with Pfizer’s Depo-medrol. Patients who suffer arachnoidtis rely on various medications to survive horrific pain.




Terri you have said it best. I am a retired writer on disability and am trying so hard to get the energy to write and help expose these problems like you. However the difficulty in doing so could be compared to the stroke victim who is frustrated by not being able to get a word out, as I am frustrated by not being able to write and research because of the pain I have. I am on high doses of controlled meds yet I still have a level of pain that is unacceptable. If I can’t get better care then I will be forced to live in assisted care and I am in no way ready for that mentally. I recently braved a road trip from Minnesota to Florida where I am moving. I had no trouble filling my prescriptions until I got to Florida, then my life changed. In fact, I just flew back to Minnesota just to see the doc and get my meds — an expensive undertaking! I will try to research and write to help the SEA distinguish between real people in pain and those who ruin our treatments.

It’s all part of the condition, people that suffer need to voice their story to others in the same boat. We are made to feel like sub-human cry babies and most need to legitimize their condition by sharing it with others. After all, after a while we start to wonder if its just me or do other people feel the same way - like group therapy and its perfectly normal.

Yes, we need to carry the fight to those elected officials and get the laws made to work for us not against us. I have already had a complaint form sent to me because of this ” group rant ” so it must be working.
There is greater strength in numbers.

Thank you,



Just in time,,cmwmkw@gmail.com

Thank you Dr. Ibsen for bringing this battle to public awareness as the State of Montana really needs to go after interventional pain physicians who harm patients then abandon them when they do not submit to more profitable invasive spinal procedures. We know you are getting these complex pain patients who have been abandoned by various “pain” physicians. This is the issue that needs to be addressed by the state medical board. I have brought this to their attention. Of course, they have done absolutely NOTHING to address this serious public health issue. Back pain is a leading cause of disability. Epidural steroid injections (ESIs) are pushed on back pain patients esp. in Montana. There is NO steroid approved by the FDA for epidural use: https://www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs/datasheet/d/Depomedrolinj.pdf Patients are not informed about the real risk of potential harm: https://www.cklaurence.com/epidurals.htmlI I have a friend who suffered seizures (and high blood pressure) when she experienced uncontrolled pain. She was harmed by a surgeon several years ago and ended up with adhesive arachnoiditis. She was taking fairly “high” doses of opioids compared to “normal” doses. She was slurring her words and her heart rate was up, so she had a friend drive her to the ER. Luckily, the ER doc recognized her uncontrolled pain and treated her with opioids - which brought her heart rate back down and stopped her seizure. Uncontrolled pain can cause death in the worst of intractable pain cases, and I have witnessed these problems in arachnoiditis support groups (one of which is approaching 1000 members). Sometimes it is a balancing act between Life and Death. I wonder just how many “overdoses” are actually suicides because Montana has an uncontrolled chronic pain. Dr. Forest Tennant provides guidance as uncontrolled pain can lead to serious health problems including cardiac arrest and stroke: https://www.thblack.com/links/RSD/Tennant-PainSigns-6p.pdf Montana is ground zero on this national debate as invasive spinal procedures are pushed on chronic pain patients (instead of prescribing medications for legitimate patients). Many patients are misdiagnosed then accused of being addicts. Intractable pain patients may need higher doses for various reasons: https://www.practicalpainmanagement.com/treatments/pharmacological/opioids/why-some-patients-require-high-dose-opioid-therapy The first step is to differentiate between pain which has “centralized” from extremity, or peripheral, pain. For example, a ruptured lumbar disc pressing on a nerve causes extremity peripheral pain whereas central pain changes the entire central nervous system and brain. If you have pain that is constant, problems regulating body temperature, difficulty remembering, problems with smell, taste, hearing, burning or “electric” pain, fatigue, tremors, progressive pain, etc. then you probably suffer central pain. More invasive procedures (such as ESIs or spinal cord stimulators) will only add to the complexity of the problem. The current model to treat chronic and intractable pain is FAILING THE CONSUMER. We all need to push back and call our Congressional reps and explain the problem. We also need to start a grassroots movement and call our local reporters and convince them to investigate further. This is a serious healthcare crisis affecting 100 million Americans. Ed, I hope… Read more »

John Oliger

paita says:
March 10, 2015 at 8:02 am

Would u be interested in signing a formal complaint against the D.E.A,,and submitting thus establishing a chronic pain patients bill of right to the United Nations Human Rights Council???paita



Ppl! stop living your life story on here we all have the same story everybody agrees it is a pain patient that we can’t get pain meds instead of utelling your story to the choir here please send these stories to your government representatives better yet go to your local representatives and ask them what they’re going to do about this. then broadcast their message to all their constituents especially if they are not helpful and letting people know what they are or are not supporting. Fight back don’t spend hours writing your life story on a website where no one will read it and if they do they are in the same situation as you.

This is a topic that needs attention and not just talk. The VA Hospitals in this country have abused the heroes that returned home hurting and in pain and many are left with one choice for treatment - anti depressants.

I have learned that formerly the VA was giving the severe PTSD patients very strong pain meds along with a mixture of anti depressants and muscle relaxers. Most of the prescriptions were handed out by psychiatrist that would give the patient post dated scripts that could be filled month after month with no interaction with the doctor for several months. The end result for many of those patients was death by over dose.

To fix the problem the VA has implemented a new program that punishes the veteran by not allowing them to have opiates to treat their pain. My research shows that opiates are still the most effective drug for acute and chronic pain when used properly and prescribed responsibly. The VA chose not to educate the doctors because its much easier to blame the pain meds for the problems caused by the doctors.

My son asked to see a specialist for his back problem over 18 months ago and as of this day he still has not seen one. A Chiropractor’s visit took nearly 6 months to get approved and he was allotted only 6 visits.

Suboxone and Methadone are now the drugs of choice for pain at the VA but studies show that those two drugs have more potential for abuse than opiates. So what is the VA doing and why are they ignoring the pleas for help from our returning Vets ? Two wrongs still do not make a right but it appears the VA hasn’t learned that yet. So in the meantime our heroes will just need to suffer even longer. Can anyone tell me why ?

Thanks you,

John J Sandherr


Please keep us informed. I lived a good life because of pain meds, I was managing my pain and was a mother, wife, employee. I knew what worked for me, took as directed and never abused them. Then something changed in Ohio. Now I am always in pain and unable to do much. I often wonder when I die from taking NSAIDs in their place, (I now have ulcers, gastroparysis and Acid Reflux and have to have scheduled endoscopies because now I have Barretts Esophagus) if my husband can sue all of them. Now the primary docs are sending us unfortunate sufferers to Pain Management Docs, who insist upon spinal injections just to get low dose pain meds. My final straw came when I told the PM doctor that the pills were not helping. He said You are on enough. I took a Norco .5 twice a day. Meanwhile, if I broke the law and sought medication illegally I would be risking my freedom and ruining my record (I have never even had a ticket). Are they doing this so Marijuana will be legalized. It isn’t legal here yet. I often say if I was an animal they would put me to sleep.


Hi,,well some brave souls have agreed to sign a formal complaint to the United Nations Human Rights Council for torturous pain and suffering created by the United States of America’s government Agency,,The D.E.A,,and Michelle Leonhart,,there tactics have literally scared doctors into not treating humanely chronic pain,,it has set an ideology of fear of loss of license’s to any Doctor willing to help us,,Further more we need a good writer,,to write a patients bill of Rights for all those suffering in physical pain,that the United States must follow in treating us,,opiates being a necessary tool in those rights,,my email is cmwmkw@gmail if u would like a copy of the form and info on this quest,,my jmo is we owe to all those who tragically choosed death as their only means of stopping their physical pain because of D.E.A. tactics,and its long over due,,paita ;


I am in the process of moving from Minnesota to Florida. I just had to buy a plane ticket and fly to Minnesota just to see my doctor for my pain medications. It has taken me months to find a pain doctor who prescribes Oxy and Fent. patches in Florida, and I still don’t know if he will accept me as a new patient yet. I have lived in chronic pain for many years (now 62 years old) and have not had too much trouble in Minnesota, but Florida is absolutely full of doctors who won’t prescribe and pharmacies who refuse to fill. I have RA, ME/CFS, severe Deg. Disk Disease, Scoliosis, Sciatica, Stenosis, Bone Spurs, many surgeries and am being tested for Lupus now. This is such a ridiculous fight that it takes up energy that (we) all could be using for something more productive. I will fight this — just let me know what to do!!

Brenda Smith

I have been following his ordeal. Such a nightmare and the DEA closing any office could happen any time. I do wish we could help in any way. I do admire his refusal to give up part of his license as the primary care physicians in Tennessee did by all agreeing to limited prescription drugs.
I could not and will not live a limited life of suffering. It’s limited and painful enough even with the narcotics.

I think its great you are able to use other modalities to help with your pain and yes there are lots of different tools one can use. I had a spinal stimulator implanted after just operations with a lumbar fusion. The stim was working for about a month and one day while getting out of my car I felt a sharp pain along with stimulation that went down the inside of my leg ( put in for pain outside part of leg ). The stimulator has to be put back into place. It was a Monday morning and I was told the procedure would take about an hour and I needed to be awake. Now this time the Dr. had to enter my back a bit higher to get the wire where he wanted it to be. So, more bone was removed to make room for the lead wire to be placed properly. Several attempts were made to duplicate the first result but the Dr. was not able to get the wire in place. After my screaming and crying they put me to sleep or I passed out I don’t recall and the procedure was stopped. I woke up in the PAR and the Dr. asked if he could try again on Wednesday and I quickly said yes. Well Wednesday was a repeat of Monday only more bone was removed. No luck and back to recovery then my room. I asked why the tube in my back and it was for drainage of blood - they never closed my incision. The Dr. asked if he could try again on Friday only this time another Neurosurgeon would help along with a Rep from the company that made the stimulator. I was still hopeful - two of Pittsburgh’s finest cutters and the Rep from Medtronic’s were there to get it to work properly. Awake and holding hands with 2 nurses I held out as long as I could even the Dr.’s were amazed at how long I let them swim in my back while awake. Results - 0 for 3 - three strikes. Later in my room with the staff it was explained to me that working with the nerves in my back, all the scar tissue, it was like working with cooked spaghetti noodles tied in a knot. All they could do was say, I’m sorry John and the Medtronic’s Rep sat on my bed and told me that my case was one in a million / not one in a million people but patients that got the stimulator. After a total of eleven low to mid back operations my Neurologist told me that it was only a matter of time for me, meaning what, I said. Before you end up in a wheelchair and totally helpless, your condition is ACUTE, CHRONIC & PROGRESSIVE and in ten years or so you will begin to go down hill and the pain will become unbearable. Name the modality and I have tried it.… Read more »


Intersted in doing something about this forced endurement of physical pain,ie,torture????I see a lot of comments about wanting to do something to stop this terrible treatment of us,,,well,,we can try to stop it,,,There r many other countries right now who are filing complaints with the United Nations Human Rights Counsel ,,,look it up yourselfs if u don’t believe me,,,just look up United Nations Human Rights Council,,and type in chronic pain in the search box,,Canada got together and actually wrote a Pain Management Bill Of Rights,,,,this I believe is a good route,,we can’t go to our government,,there are petition every where,and no-one is listening sooo,,,how do u think it will look,,if we go to the U.N,.people from America,,telling the U.N,,,what the D.E.A,,,of our country is doing to us,,,The D.E.A…was literally thrown out of Bolivia for human rights violations,,they have a terrible history already w/the U.N,,,,,,it certainly is worth a try,,,all of us who still get a little bit of relief and have the medicine right now to have the energy to fight these inhumane idiots should fight,,,for all those who have already died due to severe physical pain that wasn’t being treated due to the D.E.A..’s tactics,,,we should at least file a formal complaint,,,and the more people we get the better,,jmo,,,paita


kerry, good for you if it works, but there are some conditions that don’t respond to, as the last quack/pain specialist told me “you are just a drug addict, and you will have your life back once you are weaned off narcotics, and put on a diet of green leafy vegetables.”


I have suffered from chronic, severe, intractable pain since 1996. It took over ten years to get a proper diagnosis of severe FM. I was treated with every non narcotic pain med there is. Lyrica, Cymbalta made me feel worse and ruined my liver. The other drugs like neurontin and u name it did nothing to help. By 2008 I could no longer tolerate it and all I thought of was suicide. It was the only way out. Luckily I found a kindly Physiatrist who treated many FM/CFS patients. He was kind, gentle, understanding and non judgemental. He started me on Fentenyl patches with Vicoprofen for break through pain in 2009. Although still disabled he gave me some semblance of a life back. I was able to get out of bed and start to rebuild a simple life. I get no feelings of being high, I can function, drive without any side effects. If I stop the Meds for a short period I get no withdrawal symptoms. This man kept me from killing myself. He has retired but I have a new MD who has continued my treatment. If she ever was forced to stop prescribing these Meds I don’t think I will be able to handle it. Did it once, not doing it again. I understand that drug seeking patients have ruined it for real pain patients but there must be some balance here.


The DEA, and those who use and obtain drugs illegally are making it impossible for legitimate pain patients(with the documentation medically backing it up)to obtain pain treatment that provides relief and allows the patient for whom it was prescribed for to function better than he/she can without it or in some cases it provides the ability to perform even the most basic life skills that enable a person to care for his/her basic needs even when employment is impossible. My particular pain doctor prescribes long acting narcotics without any short acting narcotics for break-through pain. As a result the pain is so unbearable by the next dosage that the prescribed medication makes no real noticeable difference and so it is a never ending cycle that keeps repeating itself as most things that run in circles tend to do. I have talked to the M.D. and both Nurse Practitioners in the office but nobody appears to be listening and the fact that it has already been mentioned several times without any change in behavior on the part of the Prescribers of these Medications leads me to the conclusion that this practice has a sadistic streak and that this practice takes it out on the financially lnsolvent. Within any other community of patients they would be getting at the very least investigated for providing inadequate care and at the worst case scenario being positively negligent towards their patients. However,in the State of CT this pain practice is the only one to take government insurance and in addition the patient must jump through many medical hoops to allow Pain Management to be a covered service. That is one of the reasons why I am left utterly confused by the Undertreatment of My Pain and that of so many other Patients that have no choice but to see this particular practice and its sadistic and uncompromising practitioners. I am very allergic and when I asked for an Epi-Pen to go with a newly prescribed Nurse Practitioner LaErica Williams flat out refused to give me an Epi-Pen without any reason given to me. For a very allergic person like myself the Epi-Pen can often allow just enough time to get to the Emergency room where resuscitation takes place but time is very critical in this situation. An Epi-Pen can make a huge difference! If you have a choice go to a doctor or Nurse Practitioner that treats you like a human being and not like someone or something to be put out like yesterdays trash!!!!

Rhonda Brashier

I wish I could find a doctor like him, my pain is bad some days I just want to die, that sometimes seems like the only option, of course then I think of my husband,mother,siblings,children and grandchildren I know how bad it would affect them. I just went to a pain doc I told him I was taking norco 1tab4xs a day his reply was I would not let you take 4 of anything in a day! So continue to live with no quality of life is what they want us to do. I mean if you have to take blood pressure, insulin etc the rest of your life you are dependent on those drugs,it is a difference in dependence and addiction!!


I have maintained for a long time that the DEA deciding whether or not people should get pain medication amounts to practicing medicine without a license. I have a rare genetic connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Hypermobile Type. Essentially, my body is unable to make normal collagen. And collagen is what holds everything together in our bodies. It is incurable and there is no treatment. It causes, among other things, chronic severe pain, loose joints, frequent dislocations or subluxations, and chronic migraines. I was born with this disorder; I did nothing to cause it. I’m 60 now, and have been in chronic body-wide pain for over 20 years now. I could live a long life, as this condition isn’t generally fatal. This condition is degenerative though, so I could have many, many years ahead of me with my pain continuing to get worse as the years go by. To restrict access to pain medication as a way to battle against those who abuse opiates is beyond ignorant. They will just obtain them illegally, so there is still a problem. But now there is an even bigger problem created. Many people in chronic pain that is not controlled commit suicide each year. Are those deaths acceptable? Why is the educated, earned right to practice medicine effectively being taken away from our doctors? I believe my care should be between my doctor and myself. He knows me, knows my disorder(s), and is licensed to evaluate and treat me in whatever way he determines is best. As far as I know the DEA has never examined me, does not know my history, and they do not hold a license to legally practice medicine. When is our government going to wake up and put the power back where it belongs: in the hands of our personal doctor’s?


I am sick and tired of people judging me about how I deal with chronic neck and shoulder spasms, following a 4 level cervical fusion. (it fell apart once and nobody BELIEVED ME!)
A drunk driver drove me to disability, and she “walked” after the burning crash.
I am now qualified for a medical mj card, and I am substituting Kadian and oxycontin for Setiva oil in a vape cartridge and Indica for pm, so I can sleep.
Using something that does not “bind my intestine” anymore, has allowed me to lose 20 lbs, and I am no longer “nodding out”, from side effects.
KADIAN was something that I did get good benefit from, and I had no side effects. My primary care doctor is the one that is so nervous about prescribing.
Once you are on MEDICARE, they refuse to pay for the “drug testing” that comes with being in a “pain clinic”. They have contracts and rules, and the testing is very pricey.
I still have to take oxycodone BID, but I reduced it gradually from 40mgs TID, to 20 mgs BID.
Live with 8 screws and a titanium plate in your neck, and then get back to me, on how that feels.
Doctors that are kicking their patients to the curb, because they are not “comfortable” making their pain relieved, should find a new profession.


This is heart breaking! I hope he wins this fight for himself and his patients. I am 27 years old living in chronic pain now for 4 years from a MV accident. I have bulging discs, spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis in my sounds, hemangiomas, degenerative disc disease, fibromyalgia, Capel tunnel and gout as of right now. My life was robbed and the person I knew no longer exists. I’m losing everything due to chronic pain and simply suffering. I have told my Dr several times my medication isn’t helping anymore and it gets ignored. What place does the dea think they have making it so we suffer? This needs to get fixed and I’m willing to fight!

My fellow sufferers, what if, what if for a moment, we stepped back and began to ask a simple question and began to empower our own lives for pain management? That question is, what is out there that can help me take hold of my own pain management in ways where I do not have to rely on the whims and policies of agencies that may or may not have our best interests in mind and heart.

I have grown so sickened by it all. I have had 21 neurological procedures and surgeries and was taking 15 miligrams of Oxycontin, three times a day, and 10 miligrams of Hydrocodone twice a day for breakthrough pain as well as gabapentin and other medications and I simply began to ask the question, what are other doctors and studies saying about the use of narcotic pain medicine that you and I are not being told about?

It was exactly here that I discovered that even the best well intentioned pain doctor does not fully understand the effects of these medications on us and that there are options to consider in pain management. Please my friends, please, begin a journey to look at these medications and what they are doing to us and become empowered. Empowered to manage our own chronic pain with tools other than narcotic pain pills.


Would u be interested in signing a formal complaint against the D.E.A,,and submitting thus establishing a chronic pain patients bill of right to the United Nations Human Rights Council???paita


I continue to support this man. It’s to bad more doctor’s won’t get on the bandwagon with him. He actually sees and understands what chronic pain is. Live with it. It’s the most depressing and painful thing. It robs you of your life. I am 62 years old and can’t even cook a family dinner anymore, can’t garden , can’t even go to the store alone or without my walker, can’t do anything I used to do. Until you live it, you just don’t understand it


Hi,,,do u know where I can find these ,”new” guidelines??thanks,,,m