By Ed Coghlan.
In late October, the National Pain Report published an open letter to Governor Chris Christie by C.A. “Andi” Robertson of Cypress, Texas. It was a reasoned and passionate request to listen to the needs of the chronic pain patient as he and his committee addressed what it called “the opioid epidemic.”
Here’s part of what she wrote.
“Sir, I beg of you to open your door and listen to us as if what we believe will get so very worse for us happens, there will be many, many more deaths than what you are trying to prevent from this “opioid epidemic”. All we ask is to be heard.”
I am just an ordinary citizen, college educated, hard working, once successful in business, life and marriage, yet because of this stigma placed upon me and so many others, have lost nearly everything… the “everything” will be when without a workable alternative to my physical issues and the loss of the very medications keeping me functional, ALL will be lost.”
Click here to read her entire letter.
She was trying to start a conversation - what she received in return was a canned response from Christie that did not address her concerns as a chronic pain patient but kept talking about the “epidemic”.
She fired off two more emails to Christie.
“I was pretty angry,” she said this week. “I still am because as the government discusses the opioid issue they are not including the pain patients in the conversation.”
Her letters, which still haven’t been answered, includes the following paragraph that resonates with what we’ve been hearing from hundreds of patients.
“The difference in those who misuse or abuse prescription medications ARE NOT chronically ill or injured! The chronically ill or injured person DOES NOT get a “high” nor “crave” opioids!! Yes, our bodies are dependent/addicted and ultimately build a tolerance and then may need adjustments to the dose. BUT, I can tell you from my own experience, my body’s tolerance does not change very quickly… I sometimes can go years before needing an increased dose or change in the type of medication. Because we chronic pain patients DO NOT want to take these medicines, at this point in time, there is NO ALTERNATIVE!! In addition to what is available to us, many of us STILL NEED THE AID OF OPIOID MEDICATIONS!! If you would only invite patients, our physicians, family members, etc., we can explain what we need today and in the future. Just, please, give us a chance!!”
As she mentioned in our phone conversation, “I’m waiting for Governor Christie or someone in the government to tell us what the alternative for those of us in pain.”
On that issue, Andi Robertson speaks for the entire pain community.