Are Pain Patients Getting The Short End?

Are Pain Patients Getting The Short End?

bigstock-Painkillers-97670When the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) rescheduled hydrocodone from Schedule III to Schedule II last October, many pain patients feared their pain medication supply would be interrupted.

100 days later, it appears they were right.

A survey released today (Friday March 19) found that two-thirds of responders reported an inability to access hydrocodone-combination prescriptions.

The survey was presented by the Millennium Research Institute at the 31st annual meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine in National Harbor, Maryland. The survey was conducted by the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association.

The other key findings of the survey include:

  • More than 15 percent of the responders reported negative impacts on doctor-patient relationships. They noted experiencing withdrawal due to the regulation change.
  • Survey respondents cited higher expenses from more frequent doctor’s visits, higher medication co-pays, and greater transportation expenses for extra doctor’s visits and travel to multiple pharmacies, and lost income related to inability to work due to pain.
  • More than a quarter of respondents (27 percent) reported suicidal thoughts due to being denied their hydrocodone prescriptions.

For readers of the National Pain Report, this hardly qualifies as news. Since the DEA announced its attentions, a recent story we published about prescribing narcotics, set off a long chain of commentary from readers who were (and are) plainly frustrated about the effect of the DEA action.

Said Tammera Heiberger:

“For those of us who are legitimate chronic pain sufferers it will severely affect our lives and the lives 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.”

Brenda Smith wrote:

“I could not and will not live a limited life of suffering. It’s limited and painful enough even with the narcotics.”

In the survey released this week, 52% of the patients expressed an increased sense of stigma about being a pain patient.

Rhonda Brashier echoed those sentiments in a note on the National Pain Report website.

“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!”

The survey also found something that we are picking up in our coverage. 53% of patients say they are forced to drive more often to see their health care provider, with 42% driving an additional 20 miles or more to see their HCP.

What are your thoughts?






Authored by: Ed Coghlan

newest oldest
Notify of
Kevin B. Graham, D.C.

It’s amazing that these legal responses are still thought of as being in the patient’s, or society’s best interest, when usually the changes in law are simply political maneuverings by people in power who have no idea what to do, but feel they MUST do something to prove to their constituents that there’s a reason for their representatives’ existence. This change will do nothing to stop abuse of the drug by those who are seekers, it will just send them elsewhere and we all know where that is. When, in another bit of political manure(ing), pseudoephedrine was limited and made much more troublesome to get, the expected reduction in the production of “meth” never occurred. What did happen was that several producers of the drug stopped making it and a shortage caused needless suffering in those who have found nothing else that works. Likewise, this type of change will only cause undue suffering.
Regardless of the obviously strongly held beliefs of some of the commenters here, there are some pains for which very little aside from extreme pain control drugs, works. I developed RSD, or CRPS after a severe car accident, lost my capacity to work at my chosen profession and have been marginalized by a society that thinks (collectively) that I must be a drug addict … I might find this entertainingly ironic, given that my profession is strictly non-drug based, and that I only rarely even drank alcohol … unfortunately, I am usually in too much pain to really see the funny side of such idiocy.
Since the new, stricter laws came into play, my doctor has been forced to reduce my pain med scripts to one month supplies, where we had been doing 3 month supplies. This despite the fact that I have a proven record of over a decade of maintaining a non-escalating rate of usage. I have on occasion needed more during flare-ups, but likewise, I have needed less during times of reduced pain. She trusts me and I her, and yet, her power as a doctor to decide what is best for me has been unilaterally removed by government regulations which will do nothing to curb real drug abuse.
So, now, I must make an extra 8 trips per year (usually taking between 2 and 3 hours) increasing the amount of money I must spend (money I don’t have to spend) and take the extra risks of driving the 40+ mile round trip, and enduring the extra pain from the stress and physical insults encountered on those trips.
I have CRPS … it is the single most painful disease known to humanity. There is no cure; no one therapy, or combination of therapies and/or drugs works for even a small percentage of the CRPS patient population; A very large percentage of CRPS patients ultimately commit suicide due to the inability to get their unrelenting pain under control. Will laws like this make our plight better, or worse? Simple question with a really simple answer.

Brenda Alice

All health-care workers should be required to watch the utube clip by Ken Mckin on the loss of compassion. It’s so hard to deal with the pain despite the narcotics, poverty, discrimination and being treated as a criminal instead of a patient regardless of the class of medication. The DEA interference has put targets on the back of pain management doctors so they are limiting what they will write. Pharmacies are refusing to fill legal prescriptions. So many people are forced to wait long periods of time for pain management in certain areas of the country. Addicts are going to use whatever they can find until treated while a patient with chronic pain has regular drug screens and routine doctor visits with additional expenses. We need more advocates for the disabled.


Judy, those that make the rules and their families will never be denied pain meds. They live in a bubble and what affects us doesn’t affect them. When a politician needs to see a dr, the dr comes to them. Politicians don’t have to go to the pharmacy and tolerate bad attitudes. They have aides to do that for them.

Studies have shown that those who receive Medicaid have a higher rate of abusing and diverting prescriotions meds as well as having illegal substances and those not prescribed to them in their system. The politicians have demanded info from the states regarding how they will discipline Medicaid Providers who are high prescribers of pain meds and certain other meds. Most states have limits on how may doses their Medicaid will pay for with certain pain meds in a 386 roling day period.

Medicare is now beginning to pay close attention to when Medicare Patients are rxed pain med also.


You hit the nail on the head,this is about employment for the D.E.A,,plan and simple,,,there salaries run from 70,000 to 150,000 for g-11 or higher,,,Take a look at D.E.A opportunities for employment on the web,,,in 2003 a audit was done,,ie,Department of Justice Drug Reduction Acitivies,” report, febuary 2003,,,They got their butts chew-ed out,,for absolutely no change what so-ever on this ,”war on drugs,”,,same #’s as in the 80’s,,They got yelled at for spending the tax payers monies on salaries,dinners,luncheons,etc,,,but not a ,”drug reduction,”’and having no data to prove their worth,,,soooo here comes little miss high horse ,ie,,Michele Leonhart,,,she is gonna get her ,”data”,,and prove the need for the D.E.A,,the easiest way possible,,,our Doctors in the states,,our medical record,are medicines,,are now all being enter into a mass computer,ie,,”data” to prove their worth,”Look it up yourself,seriously,,look up,,the report I mentioned above,,and another 1,,called ,”National Drug Control Stategy,2012,”,,,,,that report speaks for itself,,but also shows only 4% of people use prescription MEDICINES,,for non-medical purposes,,,So your telling me,,kill ,forced torture of all us Chroni Pain suffers for 4% out 100 %,,,thus 96% of us use our medicines properly,,but kill the 96 % for the 4% that use our MEDICINES irresponsible,,,,,thats stupidity& terrible,,if your interested to help stop this torture,,email,,,this is the United Nations Human Right council,,add your name/story to our formal complaint,,,paita

honora kelly

“may cause dizziness”

Huh. May ALSO cause being able to take a shower every day and do dishes 2 out of 7 days. One OR the other.general sense of well being ONLY.SECONDARY to Functioning even on a low level.

50% 50 goddamm f!cking percent of us kill ourselves. Our pain is no longer in the least bit tolerable. And if these sick, sick sadists are okay with that , the “He shall prepare me a meal in front of my enemies.” They can rot in the deepest depths of hell, in an infinite times number of pain we deal with every single moment of every single day.

Emily Ullrich

Anyone who has had to be treated for pain in the past few years, specifically women, minorities, and people in lower socioeconomic sectors have inevitably experienced the accusatory, distrustful tone of doctors, and thereby the breakdown of the doctor- patient relationship. This is not merely my opinion, by the way, it is fact, based on numerous credible scientific studies. Additionally, as an Ambassador for the US Pain Foundation, I am constantly researching both by reading credible medical articles, and by asking questions and paying close attention to pain patients and doctors, and the growing new “acceptable prejudice,” in this country. In my research and observations, I have learned the following (and much more): It is my approximation that about 95 percent of woman, versus about 10 percent of men who come to the doctor or ER presenting with pain as their main complaint, are told that they don’t need pain medmedication, what they need is psychological help or medicine, and/or that their pain is psychosomatic. If the woman happens to be overweight, on Medicaid, unmarried over a certain age, or not Caucasian, their odds of being denied proper pain care are even worse. The even more upsetting part of this is that it has become entirely acceptable behavior within the medical system. More than once, I have been legitimately and severely ill, for example, in one case, I had a severe kidney infection, and had gone to three different ERs in my area, in hopes of getting a compassionate doctor. The first three hospitals that I went to kicked my mother out of the room, accused me of being a drug addict, and threatened to call the police. It should be noted that there were no drug tests performed upon me, nor did I give them any reason to believe that I was an addict. Not to mention that their threats to call the police had absolutely no basis in reality! Thankfully, the fourth ER I attended recognized how I’ll I was, but by this time, I already had sepsis, and my life was in serious danger. I spent two weeks in the hospital, mostly incoherent and fighting for my life. In addition, I was given only one half milligram of morphine every four hours. In my febrile state, I pled with nurses and the doctor, that my pain was absolutely NOT controlled. The charge nurse took pity on me over the weekend, while the doctor wasn’t there, and significantly increased my pain meds. I was so grateful to have relief and be able to sleep, I cried. Since I’ve been a chronic pain patient and Ambassador for US Pain Foundation, I’ve experienced and witnessed unspeakable atrocities perpetuated against pain patients. It is unacceptable, and frankly downright abusive. One must engage in a manipulative and artificial relationship with doctors, because we can no longer say, “I feel this…In the past, this medication worked for me.” It is unfortunate that all patients are assumed criminals, and that we feel unable to… Read more »


I am a retired Nurse Case Manager. I have worked many years with elderly patients and the medicaid population. I have found that over 50% have chronic pain. I wonder what is going to happen when all the baby boomers (probably a lot of the decision makers of these RULES) need to use pain medications. I am sure they know someone personally that has chronic pain. Ask them what they think. I too suffer from chronic pain… I take multiple meds. I saw this coming and refused to go on hydrocarbon long term (even though it did work the best) I live in constant pain. It is what it is…

Mary Tanner

I liked the number 3 comment made by Dr Rodriguez. He’s correct when he says people with chronic pain are trapped with only two choices. Surgery or pain medication. I have severe Fibromyalgia and am unable to work so I receive disability. I am only able to afford what is allowed by my insurance company. I would love to take advantage of other treatments but sadly cannot afford them. I went to a pain management doctor and she offered acupuncture. After asking if insurance would cover the treatments she checked my insurance and told me it wasn’t covered. The cost out of pocket was exorbitantly expensive. I told her I couldn’t afford acupuncture. Her response was “if you really want to get well you would do the treatments…”. I had a choice between food, heat, and rent or acupuncture.

It’s a sad commentary on this country that a large percentage of people are being denied treatment because of a diagnosis of chronic pain. Because a small percentage of people take advantage and misuse pain medication the majority of us have to suffer their consequences. Here’s an idea, how about the DEA track down the doctors who are misprescribing pain medication. There is so much to be said about insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies. There isn’t enough space here. But something needs to be done. People who legitimately need pain medications should not be made to feel guilty about asking for something that will help them have a better quality of life.


Sandie, prescription meds can still contain Tylenol, but it can’t exceed 325 mg in each tablet of prescription meds. January 2014 was the deadline for the pharmaceutical companies to make the changes.

Acetaminophen Prescription Combination Drug Products with more than 325 mg: FDA Statement - Recommendation to Discontinue Prescribing and Dispensing-

Questions and Answers about Oral Prescription Acetaminophen Products to be Limited to 325 mg Per Dosage Unit-




It has NOTHING to do w/the Tylenol liver issue,,,The meeting to change this hydrocodone and any codeine related medicines was all about the D.E.A. controlling the amount of codeine related medicine, check out the meeting notes yourself under” D.E.A. changes all hydrocone medicines” and see for yourself,,,it is all about control.


If my memory serves me right, a law was passed to remove the acetamenophen from combination drugs as it causes too much intake of the med, as people just do not pay attention as to what is in the drug combos and take acetamenophen alone or in other drug combinations, then complain because they have liver or other organ problems. since this happened drug manufactureres are trying to speed up the change over, but any change, requires times.

Stephen S. Rodrigues, MD

IMO. All of this is an attempt to distract from the primary cause of pain. Distract from the reasons why you are still in pain. Distract and add to the controversy and resentment associated with medicine.

All “pain” has a pathologically significant cause that should be uncovered to be effectively addressed or treated.

All “pain” types or categories must be effectively addressed and treated with the appropriate therapeutic options until the “pain” is completely resolved.

All “pain” problems that must be surgically removed or repaired are cancers, tumors, aneurysms, infections autoimmune, metabolic and anatomic defects and can be found on scan, X-ray or other equipment used in modern technology. Or pain is within muscles and connective tissues.

The “pain” in muscles and connective tissues, so called Myofascial (MF) Pain, can be easily treated with hands-on and needling myofascial release options. They can all be viewed on a spectrum from; traction or inversions, Rolfing, Active Tissue Release, John F. Barnes Myofascial Unwinding and Chiropractic adjustments.

Higher intensity and more invasive options include; Acupuncture, Myofascial Acupuncture and all other various types, dry needling and Gunn-Intramuscular Stimulation. The most aggressive of the group are Travell/Simons hypodermic needling and various other Bio/Prolo/Neural hypodermic injections.

All of these restorative or “curative” treatments for chronic pain have been removed from the table. They have been removed from your insurance benefit packages too. All this is to improve profit margins, divert profits from primary care up to the specialist, to keep you sick with pain and misery stuck within the system.

The system has altered your care so you only have 2 options: pills and surgery. Since pills and surgery do not work well for the treatment of chronic pain that is MF pain, you will be hooked into the system forever.

If you have the extra cash, time and effort and be lucky enough to find a complementary and alternative medical providers you can escape the system.

The “pain” in muscles and connective tissues, in essence, is an invisible pain, so many in academia can easily deny, refute, disavow and marginalize all of your needed treatments. All they have to do is say, we can not prove that the patient has pain, so we do not have to address their pain. Can you prove that you have pain in a court of law? NO. So if you can not prove it you don’t have it. Here take these pills, it is the best we want to do for you.

This is a huge game of flawed logic, half-truths and deception. Read: Gunn, Travell & Simons’, Rachlin, Baldry, Seems, Helms, Rapson, Starlanyl, Hackett, Cyriax, Craig, Gokavi, Lennard, Burke, DiFabio and Pybus, B.J./D.D. Palmer, Wyburn-Mason and Chaitow.

Judy Harvey

I called DEA regarding this and I was told it is so the drs who pass out scripts to junkies would stop and get caught, this was not supposed to effect the people who need it , what a bunch of crock!


Very well said,,in my humble opinion, very well said,,


I have degenerative disk disease in my lower back along with two slipped disk an arthritis along with herniated disk in my keck due to a car wreck that are on top of my main nerve going down my SPINE I live in horrible pain everyday an suffer because we that actually need the help are being punished for others wrong doings posses me off

Joanne kuyava

I am a chronic pain sufferer. Without proper pain meds I can barely get out of bed, do dishes or even shower. I havent been to a store to shop for over a year. When I go to the Dr I have to wait two or three hrs for her to see me. And have had to leave because my pain level went off the chart. Every thirty days I go through hell to get meds that really dont help that much. I have osteoporosis and osteoarthritis in all joints. I know my pain. I also feel like I’m looked at as a drug abuser. It isn’t fair that I cant visit my grandchidren or go grocery shopping or take a long pleasant shower. We need to be taken serious by our government. We are human beings that deserve a better quality of life for however long we have it.


Go to a different doctor!


Michele, the reason most insurance companies won’t pay for Zohydro is the cost. Zohyrdo is very expensive. I seriously doubt Zohydro will be pulled from the shelves because based on the clinical trials and the reprts since it has been out it is a very good drug. Based on recent reports,the pharmacist that told you a lot of people were overdosing from Zohydro was lying to you.

The Prescription Monitoring Program that each state has is not the DEA. It is up to each state if they want to impliment a PMP. If they do, the rules and laws that govern each states PMP is left up to the states to decide on. Who can view the info in each states PMP and exactly what that info is depends on the state and their laws

Renee B.

It’s the acetaminophen in the hydrocodone that is dangerous (in high doses) and you can buy that OTC without a problem. Also, many of us DO NOT WANT to be on disability and are on these meds so we can remain productive, tax-paying members of society. I have Fibro, small fiber neuropathy and cervical & lumbar disc herniation. I finally gave up the hydro (because I needed 5+ daily to handle pain) and now take Subutex by choice which helps take the sharp edge off, but it’s expensive and I must take a urine test every month to prove I’m not diverting (I work 60 hours a week and manage a home and family…where would I find the time to become a dealer?) I’m being treated with this drug OFF LABEL for pain, but am stigmatized as though I were a heroine addict. So I’m damned if I do, and damned if I don’t. Meanwhile across town, every Walgreens is attached to a liquor store which causes more problems than all the pills combined. Subutex has a ceiling effect (I.e. I take 2 mg daily, and have no desire for more). On bad days I’ll add ibuprofen. Bottom line, the DEA needs to leave true patients alone and focus on the abusers. Walgreens is the worst offender when it comes to patient harassment and making up rules of their own.


I was told the main reason why Vicodin was rescheduled to a higher class was due to the amount of overdoses that were occurring on a daily basis. When I tried to fill a Zohydro script, I was told by my insurance I would have to try something else less strong. So my Doc ended up prescribing me OxyContin 40 mg. extended release. I was on just 20mg of Vicodin twice a day, and was just hoping to get away from the acetaminophen since I was already on Mobic, an anti inflammatory, and didn’t want to double up. So I went ahead and filled the Oxy, and wow was that a lot more powerful than the Vicodin. The reason I originally wanted to try Zohydro was because it was an extended release type of Vicodin with no acetaminophen on board. The pharmacist told me that Zohydro would be pulled off the shelves anyway because of so many fatal overdoses from it. That ended up being so strong, too strong, so I stepped it down with my doctors blessing. I think the whole movement to regulate our pain meds is directly sponsored by the DEA, because they have a database that can see when, and how many narcotics we take all the time. I think this is there way of having the hand in out cookie jar, and the government is getting way too much freedom to dig in private citizens biz.

Sadly the folks making the rules are clueless about the amount of harm their interference in the doctor patient relationship has caused and the number of valid pain patients who do without needed meds as a result of the new laws, fear on the part of physicians and lack of funds. A chronic pain patient is treated with disdain and mistrust simply because they have a medical condition that requires pain medication so that they can enjoy some semblance of “quality of life.” They are required to sign pain management agreements and are often not even graced with a copy of it so that they can ensure they don’t inadvertently violate it. Should patients with other conditions whose medications can be misused be subjected to the same indignities there would be a huge movement crying foul. Should Diabetics who are Insulin Dependent also be put under contracts and vilified when they go to the pharmacy to pick up their syringes and insullin because some folks misappropriate and misuse it? Should anyone seriously suggest making such a rule or law, there would be a huge outcry and support for these folks who could be put at risk should they be deprived of the medicine needed to allow their systems to function properly. What many fail to realize is that they are no different from people who have chronic pain disorders that require medication management. In order for the chronic pain patients systems to function within “normal” or more often “tolerable” levels medicine is needed. Most would much rather be able to exist without the need to subject themselves to the indignity of monthly personal visits to pick up prescriptions, peeing in a cup with a temperature sensitive strip taped to the outside, and being treated as a drug seeker if their pain reaches levels they’re unable to tolerate and they have to go to the Emergency room. Most would much rather not have to suffer the side effects caused by the pain medication. Dizziness; nausea; constipation so severe it results in tearing, the development of hemroids or requires additional medical intervention. Only an idiot would LIKE having to take pain medication to make their life bearable. Regrettably chronic pain patients all too often turn to suicide as an alternative to living in the world forced upon them by their condition, society and the under educated people making the rules we have to live by. At a recent educational seminar I hosted one of our guest speakers who is a physician suggested that all patients be required to attend mandatory pain management counseling and be required to undergo physcian recommended treatment regardless of their choice in order to qualify for pain medication. It makes one wonder when or if common sense will ever again rear its head. Who is going to pay for it? The “so called Affordable Care Act” hasn’t made medical care more affordable. The politicians apparently don’t realize that just because you are insured doesn’t mean you can afford… Read more »

Mark Ibsen

Pain is a fucking terrorist.
This is more terrorism: fear, manipulation resignation resistance


I just flew across the country to get my meds! This mess has cost me so much money, pain and worsening of my conditions it is absolutely crazy! I’m tired of writing about it. It’s positively frightening.

When Vicodin first came out it was billed as the Percocet
alternative and quickly became the drug of choice for a DDS
to write for pain. Fast forward 30 years and Zohydro is approved
by the FDA - Zohydro is the ER version for Vicodin with doses ranging
from 10 to over 50mg per tablet; Like a little brother to OxyContin
and 1 more alternative for chronic pain patients.

Shortly after its approval the complaints rolled in like
a tidal wave - Oh my god, another killer pain pill - so in true form
states quickly voted to have Zohydro made illegal for a pharmacy
to fill a script for the new drug. I’m yet to meet a person that has used
the new version.

Vicodin was made a schedule II so that it would be harder to get
not because less Tylenol was now used in the pills. Zohydro came out
as a schedule II because of the amount if Hydrocodone it has.

The DEA came out and said ” it’s not us, we want the
patients to get the pain medicine they need ” what a load
of BS. The DEA is going after doctors and the doctors are
scared to prescribe pain meds now more than ever.

After 10 operations I still have debilitating pain, pain so bad
that if I didn’t have strong pain meds I firmly believe I would not
be able to just TAKE THE PAIN. A person can only take so much
and we all have a breaking point.

I was labeled a Drug Seeker after my 2nd operation mainly
because tests could not see the fragments embedded in the
nerve root. It took a Myelogram that showed the disc fragments
were causing the severe pain. After 18 months I had 5 back operations
and in the end I was made worse.

So Mr. DEA please let the doctors decide who gets what and how much
it’s not your job to make people suffer. Go after the dealers and the smuggler and leave the chronic pain Dr’s and patients alone. You
have already done enough damage and caused the death by suicide for
a lot of people. Let us make the choice.

Thank you,

John S


It’s so frustrating! I have fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease, and migraines. I have been treated like a drug seeker and it’s humiliating! It’s like we are almost forced to self-medicate because Doctor’s are afraid to give us anything that might help. I am currently taking Lyrica, which I really do not like the side-effects, but Lyrica can be addictive also…so why is it ok to prescribe that and not Vicodin, which actually helps without so many side effects? I agree with the person about medical marijuana, although if they do legalize it, are they going to deny us that also?

I am a chronic pain sufferer for well over 20 years. My diseases and ailments are too many to list. My Dr is a two hour drive one way. I use stronger pain med with norco for breakthrough pain. It has become a hardship just getting to my Dr to get prescriptions now that refills aren’t allowed. I understand the reasoning behind the change but once again those who need to be able to get out of bed and have what we call a life are being treated unfairly. The norco classification needs to be changed back and the healthcare system needs to look at pain patients with ooen eyes not as all patients are drug abusers.


Kurt W.G. Matthies, Federal Law allows for a dr to write 3-30 rxs without having to see the patient at least every 90 days.. It is up to the dr if he requires a patient to have an office visit before getting a rx within those 90 days. If a dr and pharmacy have approved software, a Schedule II rx can be faxed. They have never reclassified a drug back to a lower schedule and they wont start now. As I said in my earlier reply, the difficulty and decrease in these rxs was the objective. For the record, I don’t agree with it.


My thoughts on this article is dead on,,,,I use to drive 300 miles,,once a year to see my Doctor,,,now,,I have to drive that 300 miles round trip 3 times a year,,,,I drive that far because,we live in the boondocks, and the archaic ideation about pain management is deadly up here,,ie,,go take an aspirin for your broken back,,type archaic,,,Furthermore this all came about for me since I live only 40 minutes from Tomah V.A..,,My last appointment I was told this,,March 2nd,2015,,,wonderful,,or find a doctor up here,,which I have 2 choices,,Dr.Love and his associate,,who doesn’t believe in Narcotics as per his comments on his web site,,,soo,,I will drive 900 miles to get my medicines,,The D.E.A..under Michel Leonhart,,,are as close to a tortureous regime as they come,,She point blank doesn’t care about people in pain .When she started going after legitimate Doctors and forcing the corrupted justice system to side w/the D.E.A. on every case no matter if u are actually guilty or not,,most our innocent,,She will make up charges,,,like blaming Doctors legally for the illegal acts of there Adult patients,,,that has to stop!!!A certain humanity of respect should be given to Doctors who spend well over 500,000 $$ on their education and up to 10 years of their lives to become a M.D. in pain management,,,she shows these doctors NO RESPECT,,none,,by pressing criminal charges on Doctors for the illegal acts on their Adult patient the D.E.A.’s made up a charge to prosecute these HONEST,,hardworking men and women under these made up charges has created an atmosphere of fear.,,,They D.E.A. has crossed the line,again,,and until they are stopped,,,their not going to stop…The D.E.A. has cause more pain,suffering and death,,,then any pill..Michelle Leonhart dictactes her wishes as a government entity hell bent on Despotism,ie,governing by tortureous means,,that defines Michele Leonhart,and we are the ones being tortured,paita

Nancy Ribok

I have fibromyalgia. It affects almost my entire body. I have pain which is in fair control with a combination of tramadol, cymbalta, and turmeric. I exercise to be able to function, which increases my pain, but I know I need to do it. I go to a pain center 40 miles away every two weeks, which they do a urine drug test. I get 2 weeks of meds. Aand drive home 40 miles. I have been told narcotics don’t work for fibromyalgia. They do work, prob not for everyone. I had a urine test that showed suboxone. They accused me of taking it and would not listen that I didn’t. Why would I? That didn’t matter, they were reluctant to prescribe my meds and reduced the dose only after a lot of discussion. The 2nd urine test with same urine showed I did not take suboxone. No one called me to tell me. I am 60. I just want to function. I worry that at some point, they will refuse for some reason, probably because they are scared they will be challenged by the authorities. I am/was a nurse with certification in palliative care. I know tramadol is probably not the best med to be on, but they won’t give me anything different, I am taking the max dose. One doc said take tylenol and ibuprofin together, that can’t be a good combo for long term use. I make suggestions…but not to often as they may deny me because possible dependance, addiction or whatever. It sucks and there are no alternatives that I know of. Does anyone. I have an illness and I feel like a criminal. I have low energy and poor memory, thank you fibromyalgia. Its hard to fight the fight. Give us a break….please.

Lila Johnson

I feel so sad and angry. We treat our animals better than we do legitament pain sufferers. I am fearful about the future….we need to do something now. Well written and believable article because I know some of these people.

Tamera Wise

For me nothing has changed. My doctor required me to come every 4 weeks anyways. To be honest I wish they would legalize marijuana then I would not be held prisoner the pills!

Kathy Leeper

I am a 68 year old retired RN with the following being some of my diagnoses: osteoarthritis,severe scoliosis,AFib, HTN, emphysema,and others. I have been on Norco 10/325 for several years. Without pain medication I am barely able to function. I currently live in Iowa and had to go to my doctor’s office during an Iowa winter to pick up the prescription every month. I am truly amazed at how poorly pain is treated in our country in 2015. I am a member of several groups on Facebook that are for people who deal with pain on a daily basis. Several times after reading posts from chronic pain patients, I have been reduced to tears to see how poorly we have treated their pain. As a nurse I studied pain and its treatment and the experts have said for years that when there is a physiologic need for pain meds the patient won’t become addicted. It is only when there is no need for the meds that the patient becomes addicted. I am ashamed of the health care system that looks at every patient asking for something for pain as a drug seeker.

Jackie T.

I suffer from fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, degenerative disc disease (among other things), and have been in 2 car accidents with whiplash. The most I can get is Tramadol which is a joke. It’s almost like taking nothing for this type of pain. I realize there are druggies out there. There are also people like me and the others that suffer with chronic pain that need pain meds to function. I’m having a hard enough time dealing with the pain. Let’s make it harder than ever for me to get my meds.

Diane Succio

I am on opana Er and Opana for the breakthrough pain. I am not a drug seeker, Dr jumper or pharmacy jumper. I go to pain mgmt , summit random drug test and still live in pain. I work 45 hours a week in retail on my feet for most of my shifts. After 4 failed back surgeries and another 1 upcoming I know what it feels like to be judged and scorned. If my Dr writes my script and I go to the same pharmacy I don’t think anyone has the right to question them, and certainly not some snot nose pharmacy tech. I switched pharmacy just for that reason where she tried to OVER RULE my DR’S SCRIPT. If I am on any other type of drug and take it regularly what is the difference really. Daily maintenance drug whether a narcotic or not should be treated the same. I am a human living in constant pain and I apologize to NO ONE.


Overreach and over prosecution by prosecutors,(both state and federal) Mostly on drug laws is the number one problem within our justice system. Their methods have become so underhanded and unscrupulous that no justice or civil system nor person can long tolerate or withstand them. Their ability to compel and manipulate jury’s and to extort confessions has completely removed justice from within the justice system.they should all be required and held to a much higher standard.The same as judges or higher.At present, they are held, only, to very low standards,no more than any ambulance chaser yet are allowed to make decisions of national import.This allows villains and tyrants to flourish, all hiding behind legal status. Many use their office only to play politics. The protection of our Civil and Human Rights are supposed to be protected by these louts.Instead they completely ignore their responsibility. Most should be tarred and feathered before being ran from town.At the very least, most should be brought before a board and dis-barred on ethical grounds for total disregard and subversion of our Civil Rights as well as incompetent irresponsibility.The Boards who are supposed to censer or control these villains need to be removed for inaction


The D.E.A. and F.D.A. have become the U.S. equivalent of Gestapo S.S.. The D.E.A. was a bad idea to start with and has only gotten worse ever sense. States are able to do their job. They don’t need the D.E.A. I don’t need the D.E.A. You don’t need the D.E.A. .Nobody needs the D.E.A. They are misappropriating and commandeering billions of dollars of public funds that America can no longer justify..Their funding needs to be cut by,at least, ninety-five percent and all need to be restructured to a much smaller and much more restrained gang of Authoritarian sociopaths.. This is a group of renegade law enforcement completely out-of-control .and way over-the-top.They are using the war on drugs as a smokescreen and a ruse to subvert our Civil and Human rights and increasingly more as a ruse to seize cash and property in their war on the American people.Also, through gross incompetence, have made it nearly impossible for a pain sufferer to get treatment without being thrown in jail.

Kurt W.G. Matthies

Our friend Pharmacist Steve notes that while hydrocodone is hard to find, heroin is widely available and cheap.

Hydrocodone has long been used for mild to moderate pain. A few years ago my wife had a root canal and our dentist provided her with a few Vicodin samples to get through the day until her script was filled.

Vicodin and Norco are both compounds of acetaminophen and hydrocodone.

When it was a Schedule III drug (that is, prior to spring of last year), doctors could phone in the medication, and provide refills for chronic painers, and those in acute pain.

It was convenient for patients and saved money.

Now that it is a Schedule II drug, people require a written Rx each time. This means that if people in acute pain need pain relief for another month, they have to pay for another doctor visit.

Also, now the books say that hydrocodone is not for mild to moderate pain. Instead, it is for moderate to severe pain.

Hydrocodone does NOT relieve severe pain for most people.

We had it right. The DEA/FDA bureaucracy spent millions getting it wrong. Big Pharma has spent millions in relabeling.

These costs are passed down to the consumer, who is the person in pain, whether at the pharmacy counter, or in taxes.

Who remembers the New Coca-Cola? No one wanted it. People asked — who said we wanted a new Coke? Coca-Cola, being a business that is run to satisfy its customers, said OK. They returned to the old Coke formula.

Rescheduling Vicodin and Norco reminds me of the New Coke.

It’s a bad idea. No one likes it. Give us our Schedule III pain pills that worked for mild to moderate pain for the past 60 years.

Will the Federal government have the courage and common sense to return hydrocodone products to the status quo of last year???

Anyone want to bet???




The intent was to make these prescription more difficult to obtain and to reduce the number of prescription written for these medications. It seems like they have been successful in doing what they set out to do. Remember that the belief among those that make these changes is that if a patient really needs these medications that they will be able to obtain them. Another line of thinking is if your suffer from chronic severe pain that you should be taking extended release pain medications, as the FDA recommends. The only problem with that line of thinking is if Hydrocodone works better than other medications for you, unless you have money or insurance that will cover Zohydro, you don’t have much choice, except hyrdocodone combination.