Opinion: Regulators, I Double Dare You!

Opinion: Regulators, I Double Dare You!

By Richard “Red” Lawhern.

Gross over-regulation of doctors in their prescription of opioid pain relievers is driving hundreds out of practice, deserting their patients to agony, disability and sometimes death by suicide. However, despite the protestations of many State and Federal regulators, “the opioid problem” isn’t from over-prescription. Rates of opioid related mortality from all sources are almost entirely unrelated to rates of physician prescribing. The contribution of medically managed opioids is so small that it gets lost in the noise of street drugs. Published data of the CDC prove this reality beyond any reasonable contradiction.

In the relatively few deaths where a prescription-type drug is found in postmortem toxicology screens, it is rarely found alone. Instead, it will be accompanied by multiple illegal street drugs and/or alcohol. Likewise, morphine found in such testing maybe a byproduct of heroin metabolism, rather than a prescribed drug. Although we can’t say this is “proof” of anything, it seems at least plausible that significant numbers of deaths attributed by county medical examiners to prescription drugs are in fact the consequences of suicide or misadventure from under-treated pain and depression, rather than from medical exposure to opioids.

Richard “Red” Lawhern

We must acknowledge that small numbers of patients treated with opioids for long periods at high doses will develop dependence, displaying withdrawal symptoms and/or breakthrough pain when opioids are rapidly tapered. Much smaller numbers will develop full-fledged addiction, characterized by obsessive drug seeking behaviors. From multiple studies, we know that substance abuse disorder or chronic prescribing in post-surgical patients treated with opioids is uncommon (less than 0.6% for substance abuse, with up to 6%of post-surgical patients needing prolonged prescribing — due to emergence of chronic pain from failed surgeries, not because of substance abuse). Other studies fix the rate of overdose death from prescriptions at about 0.2% per year - comparable to mortality from blood thinners prescribed to prevent atrial fibrillation after stroke.

Widely available demographics data also directly contradict the “over-prescribing” myth. The typical beginning addict is a young white male with a history of joblessness and family disintegration. The most common chronic pain patient by a ratio of 60/40is a woman in her 40s or older; substance abuse is rare in women whose lives are stable enough to see a doctor repeatedly.

Pain reliever prescribing rates are highest among seniors and lowest among kids and young adults. But seniors have the lowest opioid overdose rates of any age group, and mortality rates have been stable over the last 17 years. Mortality in kids has skyrocketed in the same period and is now six times the rate in seniors.

The demographics of so-called “over-prescribing” don’t work. They never have.

It can be said accurately that physicians need better education in pain treatment and prescribing opioids. GPs get fewer hours on pain in medical school than veterinarians. But regulators need better education too. With so many medical practices turning away pain patients, our remaining doctors are prescribing for more patients with a wider variety of underlying medical disorders, raising their risks of sanction when patients die from their diseases rather than from opioids as such. Complicating all of this is the reality that the genetics of opioid metabolism produce wide variability between patients, in minimum effective dose. There is no one-size-fits-all patient or treatment plan.

The AMA under Dr McAneny has addressed these realities in a recent resolution from their House of Delegates. Regulators would be well advised to read and heed this advice:

“RESOLVED, that our AMA advocate that no entity should use MME

(morphine milligram equivalents) thresholds as anything more than

guidance, and physicians should not be subject to professional

discipline, loss of board certification, loss of clinical privileges,

criminal prosecution, civil liability, or other penalties or practice

limitations solely for prescribing opioids at a quantitative level above

the MME thresholds found in the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids”

Thus my message: Regulator, HEAL THYSELF!

I dare you to try to prove the CDC data or my interpretation of the data is wrong. I DOUBLE DARE you!

The author is a technically trained non-physician patient advocate with 22 years of experience as a moderator and medical literature analyst in social media and peer-to-peer patient support groups.

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Richard A Lawhern, Ph.D., is a frequent contributor to National Pain Report. He has over 22 years experience as a technically trained non-physician patient advocate, with 70+ published papers and articles in the field. He is a co-founder and former Director of Research for the Alliance for the Treatment of Intractable Pain.

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Richard A Lawhern

Nicole Armand. The detailed analysis from which the demographics are extracted may be read at https://face-facts.org/atip/analysis-of-cdc-wonder-rx-and-er-data-v1-4-may-2018-2/

Linda hoefer

I don’t understand why I get so many old articles from this site. I also would like to comment on the mme, this is, or if all the riduculasness from the CDC and the TASK FORCE, the worst. what makes these people experts on what pain each of us has and what will treat it?? one size DOES NOT FIT ALL!!! Someone with a headache verses someone with chronic crohn’s disease are so many worlds away from each other where pain is involved that it sickens me to even consider that they can be treated the same. I just hope one of their family members doesn’t have to live thru this hell, it maybe I don’t.

Nicole Armand

Can I get links to the data regarding women and seniors “seniors have the lowest opioid overdose rates of any age group”? I need to take this information into my pain clinic since I am starting to get new pushbacks from them because I am turning 65. According to them, this puts me in a new category of danger and I would like to show data to disprove this.

Norma Gonzales

Why does this doesn’t get fixed quickly???? Why so many people with chronic pain conditions that are never going away are being left in agony and O legit pain management. Does this country know what they are really doing. This country is making drug cartels richer with fake pill and sending desperate chronic pain patients to the ER with more severe consequences because of this country. I can’t wrap my head around it and it has me pissed off. and angry of all the foolishness of addicts or people that should not be even thinking or touching these for the chronic pain patients who spend a lot of time getting on them responsiblely from their doctors and the pharmacy medications but for the addict drugs cuz they mix the with every thing they can. If I did not need to be on my medications and pain medication I would not even what to take them. The thing is I need cuz of a tramatic accident and I have no time to be in withdraw throwing up my other medications for complex conditions. I think it time for all chronic patients in agony to yell at our government. It’s time for a revolution like the French threw over their own government. I happened to be French and if things don’t change here I am going back to my motherland like most people will do. Then what the government is going to crumble to the ground for what they are doing and know that they are hurting a lot of chronic pain patients and the ones to come with almost fatal accidents. Come on we do no live in accident, disease or chronic pain free world. Someone do something quick if you care about this country and the generations. Yes, keep busting the drug cartels before they bust everyone in this country but do not put foolish restrictions on the pain or chronic patient that is spending time at the doctor’s officescuz we also for I have mutiple doctors for complex partial seizure, severe chronic pain syndrome, vertical, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, a dislocated thoric disc, fail neck surgery……………

David Hunter

Pot did nothing to help me and I suffered an insane amount of pain and non treatment for 18 months. I was lied to, demonized, blacklisted and I was systematically dropped by doctors and PA with BS excuses. I am now terminal. Gone are the days of making very good money working from home so I could also take care of my mom.who has Parkinson’s with dementia among a lot of other things. They didnt just took my life, they took the light that made me special, my sense of humor kindness to others, my mental strength and discipline. I feel like I am barely human. When I was referred to palliative care they refused to accept with no explanation. Now Hospice delivers that same medication that would have saved me every 2 weeks. I played it straight I never bought, borrowed or begged anyone for any medication. In hind sight I should have cashed out all of my stock and bought as much oxycontin as possible and saved myself. Isnt that a sad statement to make in what is supposed to be the greatest country in the world. I should have bought illegal prescription medication and saved myself. I am very angry. Angry about the lies, angry at the users of illegal drugs that started all of this, angry at the worst liars of all. My doctors and the politicians. I have been through some hard times with my mom and I could always bounce back. That was taking from me as well. I fear peaceful protest and accurate data is not going to stop the life destroying train wreck that is running full speed ahead. Most of all I am angry that I will not get to see the necessary revolution that seems to be needed to stop really sick people from being killed and my poor, agonizing suffering fellow CPPs from having to end their pain and our 0 quality of life permanently. I never would imagine 30 million people in this country being ignored, discarded, ridiculed called crazy and thrown away so the liars in GOV,law enforcement churches and hospitals can say see we are beating the epidemic


Red, your writing is always outstanding & anyone connected with chronic pain owes you a huge debt of gratitude for all your work & advocacy!!

That said, I do have to take a small exception to the discussion of dependency…or maybe I just wish you’d pointed out that many/most medications -& lots of other things people take in regularly (coffee is the first thing that springs to mind)- cause physical dependency. There’s so much confusion over the differences between dependency & addiction I feel like it’s critical to really emphasize it…and the confusion is certainly not helped by the anti-opioid zealots who insist (with NO evidentiary backing) that there is NO difference between them -the wackos of PROP spring to mind, particularly He Who Must Not Be Named & Jane Ballentyne.

If we banned everything that results in dependency, the world would be a much sparser place (& much slower, since caffeine would have to go). I have experienced first-hand the devastating results of being forced abruptly off an anti-depressant (Prozac) by an idiot doctor (he believed it wasn’t possible for patients to have physical problems when stopping an anti-depressant abruptly…& this was in 2008, long after it was proven that there can be huge to fatal problems). That withdrawal was much, much worse than any withdrawal I’ve ever experienced from stopping any pain med.

Hope I’m not being too critical here…but I think it’s a very vital piece of info that laypeople & doctors need to understand…& all too many don’t.

Michael Swift

One thing i can say on behalf of all of us CPP’s we are greatful to have your voice speaking up for us in this fight Dr. Lawhern. Thank you! Your time is valuable, yet you choose to attend
our corner of the ring with informative research - facts that hopefully will open the eyes of the powers that be to a middle ground of thoughtful reasoning. Also, without specific names, these kudos i cast as well to all of you posting articles, comments and histories of your struggles and those of others as well for all of us to digest. You are the momentum that advances our weaponry against this discriminating and cruel conflict of misinformation assailed against human suffering.
Knowledge is power, and, i believe, so is prayer. I will continually submit my petitions to two sources. The first one being the political echelons of my home state, The Oregon Health Authority and special interest groups that are poised to gain everything from this landslide of apathy, greed and lust for fame and power. Second, God Almighty to open the hearts and blind eyes of those who can stop this blitzkrieg of insanity.

Michelle Bachmeier

i am one of the patients that had not abused AT ALL, and had been cut off cold turkey. I do not wish to go into all endured since I am at point where I am beat, and I am in pain and i am tired. Im at a point where I no longer have the desire to give what little strength I have left, in being continuously abused emotionally. It all began as I was reporting what I believed to be emotional abuse in my marriage. Emottonal abuse, the kind where you have no clue what hit you and cant quite articulate, if farmiliar with narcissism.or BPD, YOU WILL UNDERSTAND THIS FULLY. Well, in my state of shock, and an unfortunate case of lack of knowledge or insight on two of my doctors part, I was suddenly, and on the spot, branded a BPD myself, after 17 years with this one of the doctors! I imagine I had woke up with it that day, but he was now using the words, such as, ‘cant always play a victim’ and he wasnt going to ‘enable these behaviors by providing pain meds”and wasn’t going to provide any help to allow assistance for food stamps or disability. With the bizzarre behaviors of my husband abandoning me, taking my vehicle(the only vehicle), and just leaving to stay with his mother, without any explanation as to what is happening, and these 2 doctors terminating me, I was angered and shocked by all of this, but mostly felt vulnerable as hell. I decuded to not give up and continue to search for a new primary or pain management doctor. The first doctor I had gone to acted as if he understood fully, and provided assistance with food benefits and pain medicine for two months, also referring me to pain management doctor. I felt as if he understood what I had told him of my previous experience with abandonment in both of the cases, and so he also guided me to what he felt were the right resources. UNTIL, the next visit, and I had told him of the trouble I was having when my records were being transferred to new facility, and read the slandering content reported by my former gp of


I want to know why the pain doctors aren’t getting together and fighting back. The office of our doctor just had one of their physicians lose their license for over prescribing. She had been monitoring their most difficult patients and they knew the quantities she was writing. She was a pain physician for over 30 years, so she knew what she was doing. Now that her license is in danger, every prescriber in the office must adhere to their knee jerk reaction. What’s even more irritating is that they are all suddenly “shocked” by the way she was writing scripts…. PLEASE! Our prescriber suggested over a year ago to move my husband to her care as she wrote much higher doses, so they all knew and I don’t think they’ve all undergone lobotomies in the past year. Instead, they are running scared and have placed a blanket maximum dose on every patient that must be in place by February 1st. My husband, whose DNA study proves he doesn’t process opiods properly, thus needing higher doses, has been forced to drop his meds by over 80% in less than 2 months. I just don’t know what to do. I’ve written to the media begging them to expose what’s happening. I’ve written to our medical board and members of congress with no response from any of them. AZ implemented an Opioid hotline that I have called numerous times, and although they’ve tried to help, they have no answers or suggestions. I’ve tried speaking to our provider, but they have cowered to the fear of losing their licenses and replied with what essentially means “you can’t fight the government and expect to win”! They’re best suggestion is to get a medical Marijuana card. That’s all well and good if you can afford a minimum of $300. per month, which we cant. We make just about $100. over poverty level, so we don’t qualify for any type of assistance. Not to mention, I don’t see marijuana replacing opiods.
At this point, I have told my husband, a 34 year pain sufferer that I would understand if he can’t continue

Cindy R

I used the link and noticed the deadline was Jan 13, 2016.Did I miss something, like a new hearing date?

EVERYONE NEEDS TO RESPOND TO THE TASKFORCE! I plan to complete my response this week, Red has given me some good pointers for responding. I’ll be happy to share


It’s about time that these so-called regulators leave doctors alone about the care of their patient’s!! They alone have the right to treat patient’s for pain that has been diagnosed!! Meaning, it’s been proven that the patient has the issues that are causing pain!! Especially chronic pain! I have been in pain for over ten years an. In the last two to three years have had my dosages lowered to the point that my suicide has been at the for front of my mind since this has started happening! I have two children that I have to live for, but it gets harder by the day to take these pain levels and call it living! I can’t do the things I used to with them and it really puts a lot of stress on me! They are losing out along side me also, and that’s not right or fair!! The patient isn’t the only one suffering from these regulations! Our family and friends also miss out because of them! Let the doctors do their job!! Regulators need to stay out of my health care!! Let us have the right to what little relief we can get and live a life that actually is worth living!! PLEASE! My children would thank you also!

Mary W.

When is the CDC going to study statistical data on pain patients who have taken their lives because of this absurd 90MME guideline? Where is the AMA dialogue with the CMS/HHS Agency executives?


Thank you Dr. Lawhern. We are blessed to have your dedication to our cause. Like Diana I wonder why after all this time chronic pain patients have never been able to organize and get any media attention. We’re sick of course, but I think its fear holding us back. All of us are literally scared to death of losing what little pain relief we’ve been able to hold on to. Scared our doctors will drop us. This is our lives, our pain, and we’re frozen in inaction because we can’t survive if it gets worse. And so we need so badly advocates such as yourself who are not themselves in chronic pain, but understand to fight for us. Only we need lots more of you, more media attention, and probably more money for the fight. What outrageous protest could people in wheelchairs do to get on the evening news. There’s anonymity in large numbers, right? What do we need to make it happen??

Gail Honadle

As Richard “Red” Lawhern says print this out and use it, Send it to you State Legislators as well see who sits on the Health Committee in your state. Carry a copy with you. Together we are stronger. So many diseases have that 4 letter word attached, they are not treatable, no cures, Thus they are INTRACTABLE PAIN, a MEDICAL Disease.

Just because there are known medications for Painful conditions like Osteoarthritis, Doesn’t mean everyone can take them. Like OTC drugs that will destroy your Gastro Tract OA drugs have the same problem.

Most Autoimmune patients are very drug sensitive. Botched surgeries often can’t be fixed. Not all medications can be mixed. Why do I have to have a Steroid Shot before going for Physio after a Fall I’m 70 and falls are part of my life, thankfully only Physio has been needed, when I have a Severe Degenerative Spine with Stenosis, Osteoporosis at -4, that Steroid shot damages the fragility of my Spine and bones. That is another area that needs addressed forcing damaging drugs like Cortisone, Steroids and Predisone, before a person can have Physio or other treatments. NO Glaucoma patient should take those drugs or Allergy ones not approved by your Glaucoma doctor, my husband’s doctor read him the riot act over One 10 mg Predisone pill to treat Unspecified ear pain coming from his spine the ENT had suggested and prescribed.

There has been a Plethora of SNAKE OIL devices palmed off on us claiming to manage pain. Want a Eye opener those with Netflix stream The Bleeding Edge before you fall and break a hip or need surgery. Thank you Dr. Lawhern.

Richard A Lawhern, Ph.D.

A follow-up if I may, to those who have responded to the article above. First, thank you for participating. Second, a thought on “what can you do”:

(a) print out this article and give it to your primary care provider(s),
(b) read a companion article here on NPR about commenting to the HHS Task Force on Best Practices in Pain Management, (https://nationalpainreport.com/tell-the-task-force-advice-on-commenting-to-the-hhs-task-force-on-pain-management-8838375.html) and
(c) follow through and comment in your own words.

The HHS Task Force has done a mountain of work, but flinched from the politics of real change in a few important ways. Their excellent effort will come to nothing if it doesn’t force major change in regulatory policy and legislation.

They need to be told that the CDC Guidelines on opioid prescription must be outright withdrawn and publicly disavowed on grounds of anti-opioid bias, serious scientific errors, over-confidence in unproven “alternatives” that have never been trialed as replacements for opioids, and omission of the reality that there can be no one-size-fits all threshold of risk for bad outcomes, due to the wide range of individual opioid metabolism between individuals.

See https://www.hhs.gov/ash/advisory-committees/pain/reports/index.html for instructions.

The prescription/overdose rates between young folks and the elderly speak for themselves…
I am a retired pain-patient who is suffering because of this crackdown brought about by uninformed or irresponsible young pleasure-seekers…PLEASE focus your punitive energies on those ABUSING these meds,not we who need them.
Thank you.

Barbara Danley

I’m appealing decision to make insurance company to agree to a medicine for my sisters intractable pain. She has suffered for 27 years with complications from Lyme disease. Because she has a full page of servere allergies or autoimmune responses to everything but 1 medication. She has been on this medication for 10 years . I have moved from Virginia to take care of her because she is now bedridden, and getting very weak. She was abruptly withdrawn from medicine without warning. As you know, this could have killed her. I hope I can help her before she dies from being without her medicine for 10 months now.

Mr. Lawhern, I thank you dearly! You have such an endearing way about the things you bring to the chronic pain community. I wish there were a way to bring them to congress as well as the others that truly need a wake-up call and a “double dare” as you refer to your brilliant article. Thank you for continuing to spread the truth on behalf of all of us. Without people like you I don’t know what people like us would do! May God continue to bless you and your work.


Why can’t the people with chronic pain organize and March in the streets so that we become noticed we are not the problem we are not the drug users that abuse the system we need help so let’s organize and get together and stop the government from thinking they can control our medical needs they’re not doctors and you can bet if they had chronic pain they would change their mind on a lot of thinking


When is this nonsense going to end? At 60 years old and a 30 year pain patient I truly fear for what’s left of my life. My doctor of 25 years retired in 2014, leaving me to discover how upside down the medical community is. I’ve been poisoned with horrible drugs, spent two years in bed crying as my family tried to cope, been treated worse than a drug addict, shamed, embarrassed, bullied. I’m currently seeing a doctor who barely prescribes anything but I’m grateful that I’m no longer being poisoned and do spend less time in bed on a heating pad. I’m losing more function as the months go by and not a soul cares. My family needs me but I don’t know how much longer I can hold on. It’s just all so wrong. Thank you so much for speaking out Red, I’m praying that someday this will be reversed for the future generations.

Teresa E Smithss

Why should doctors write scripts for pain pills? They make more money on nerve blocks .

Deborah Rank

About time, I’m putting the link to this article on my phone screen.
Seeing the doctor who cut off everything,then decided that I can take 120 tramadol a month after 17 years on oxycontin this next week. She was threatened by the state and I’ve been bedridden since.

Phil Griffith

Excellent information “Red” thank you thank you.
Great comment by Dr.Fusfield .

Jillian Drexler

Thank you, Dr. Lawhern!


Red please get this to the media and to congress. Someone surely will listen for time is running out for many.

Anthony Harding

Thank you so much for taking the time to care and do the work on all the Data.


Red, you always have such great information. Would it be ok with you if I sent some of your articles to my representatives and Senators? I would, of course, give you full credit. I just don’t have the energy to do this kind of digging.
With your permission, please.

Mildred Bradway

Thank You Mr. Richard “Red” Lawhern! Hugs, Love & Prayers!
I double Dare the CDC, HHS & AMA too. Not everone is a drug seeker.
I like to go back to work. I need a revison fron a faiked Aesculap B.Braun Columbia Total Knee Replacement Implant. The manufacturer lied to the FDA about their Creamic Coating that gets attached to the metal plates that gets attached to the bones. Why did the FDA rush this product without a griup study. Now their is a class action law suit against the manufacture. Why has there Not been a recall on this product especialky when the product is nit in useage any longer. Other dictors dont want to do revisions on anither doctir patient. Why shoukd U have to suffer crin8c pain from 2 liers?


Dear Mr. Lawhern - thank you for your letter. How do we get this message out to the mainstream media? We have a ‘Heroin/Fentynal crisis’ - not a one- size-fits-all “Opiod” crisis.
Most of us are too sick to fight back, but this data needs to heard loudly, clearly & repeatedly. One time on CNN will not be enough.
Non chronic pain ‘people” do NOT understand that without pain medicine, I can’t move. The public also does not understand that we derive no joy or buzz from our pain Rxs….it is like them taking a Tylenol. It merely takes us from a 10 to a 6 on a good day so we can be civil & maybe accomplish a few minor chores, if that. Again, many thanks.

Gary Raymond

I agree with you, Dr. Lawhern. The chronically ill within our population are such a small minority that we are not being heard over the alphabet people. We cannot take to the streets and create mayhem in order to be heard. Up to now, our only advocacy was our physicians. Now they are abandoning us. What is one more suicide to the government? What is one less soldier to the government? I favor separating medicine from legislation with a Constitutional Amendment. Physicians can be more effective by being self-regulating.


Good to see those CDC Wonder database graphs printed and questioned as to what they really say.

chuck darrah

Great article; I am 19 years disabled, my pain is off the charts with nerve pain , sciatica and all kinds of other back issues non of which are operable.My old Doctor of 17 years kept me comfortable but never totally pain free.I had a real life then .Now I live in hell with horrific pain 24 hours a day and my wife suffers with me. I am housebound and many times bed bound except when I have to go out for medical issues.My Doctor now does not care how bad my pain is she is only concerned about her own issues . My opiod medication worked until it was cut this low, I shudder to think how I will feel if they take it away leaving me with no hope.How can Doctors treat us this way ?I have lost all hope in humanity !

Lori Cosgrove

So astutely and precisely stated! Thank you Dr Lawhern (Red) for your tireless, phenomenal efforts researching for truth, advocating for patients, and educating those misled/misinformed . So many innocent people are being harmed by this fiasco, and propaganda.

Trina Vaughn

Thank you for bringing these ever so important facts to light! We desperately need to spread this information as far and wide as possible. The stigma must stop before all of us are suicidal!


Finally someone with a brain and the ability to review empirical research. The unsupported determination that folks with a legitimate right to access pain medication and their prescribing doctors were part of a street drug problem has destroyed many lives and was put forth to stigmatize pain patients and increase profit margins for pharmacy benefit management. The follow up to this well written piece should include research into how many pbm teams have allowed employees without medical licenses and ever even seeing patients to discriminate against and deny right to access pain medication secondary to militant MME protocols and how many ADA complaints have been pushed off due to bias and the DOJ conflict of interest.

Cary Cassell

Thanks again Red. Once again seemly the sole voice of reason rising above the government PROPangda.


“thank you” ” thank you” Please don’t stop telling the CDC

Joyce Noel

If someone married to a victim of this opioid crisis my husband has gone through many highs and lows including the thought of suicide when the pain is too much to bear. We need to hold accountable those who have over-prescribed but not punish those who truly need these meds. My husband was kicked out of his pain clinic because he was prescribed 10 Percocets in the emergency room after being in a car accident. His first pain doctor told him that pain receptors took his maintenance medication to his original pain and any extra pain would be Amplified and not be touched by his maintenance meds. He has been out of a pain clinic now for a year-and-a-half we have tried 3030 at least different pain doctors to have which suggested increasing his gabapentin and an exercise program. You are talking about a man who worked maintenance for 50 to 60 hours a week plus hunted and fished all day every Saturday plus some evenings. He is now on disability has no pain meds and cannot do any of the things he loves. He has degenerative disc disease no cushion left Between the bones in his spine yet they say exercise is the answer? What exactly would everyone like these people to do? When even taking a shower hurts this is a major problem. I would so love to sue these pain doctors the pharmaceutical companies and I don’t know who else. Because not only have they robbed my husband of his life they were robbing me of mine a little boy of his grandfather and a girl of her dad.

J. Flowers

Thank you Red” Lawhern for your story!! It is refreshing to read a story that speaks THE TRUTH about all the different situations involved!! It gives us CPP’s relief that there is SOMEONE of knowledge out there speaking out on our and our doctor’s behalfs!!
Plus, how can these agencies restrict us to 90MME when by the time our bodies metabolize the medications, we are only getting an EXTREMELY SMALL percentage of what we have consumed going towards reducing our pain?? We are not EVEN getting 90MME a day of meds going towards reducing our pain!! They should up the daily MME so that AFTER our bodies metabolize the meds, we are getting the 90MME/day going towards pur pain! I know tricky bc everyone is different. But what they are doing to us is NOT WORKING!! They are LITERALLY KILLING US!!!!
AND, they should MAKE IT CLEAR, it’s JUST A GUIDELINE- NOT THE LAW!! AND they need to get the DEA off the backs of our doctors & pain mgmt doctors who are genuinely trying to help us & have been TRAINED to PRACTICE MEDICINE NOT POLITICS!!!! Politicans need to stay in politics NOT in the medical field!! AND the same goes for INSURANCE COMPANIES!!!

What about regulating the need for medical treatment denied to many suffer severe daily pain , diabetes, cancer , many people suffer these, to name a few, because treatments and medications are denied, or unaffordable. This leaves many with 2 choices; suffer constantly, be confined to bed , or slowly die; or treat quality of life with medications? Can we no longer die with dignity??? Sad, but our animals get better medical treatment than millions of people.


Thank you. In a time of facts vs opinion, it is encouraging to know that the facts have no opinion, they are just facts.

These ideas from Dr. Richard “Red” Lawhern are all very sensible and more or less identical to what anyone who actually KNOWS something about the ongoing UDHR-violating attacks on the rights of severe chronic pain patients to receive adequate treatment of their conditions is also saying. The problem is that the AMA is so tardy about advising upon these crucial matters that virtually all of the 50 states have already passed laws explicitly OUTLAWING all but a very few physicians from prescribing opioid medicines to their many patients who manifestly need them. In my own case, for example, my PCP knows as well as any other competent doctor that the laws against prescribing me the meds that greatly palliated my severe chronic pain for over two decades are little more than a very bad, and downright dangerous, joke perpetrated by medically ignorant state legislators whose only real intention is to APPEAR to be doing something about the so-called “opioid crisis” still being hyped to the moon by the mainstream media. He knows that as well as I do, of course, but such knowledge hardly allows him to break the draconian laws to restore my needed pain treatments. Thus, nothing that the AMA might finally decide to do on this matter is likely to be of much help for those tens of millions of us in the SCPP camp. The only way forward would seem to be a series of massive class action lawsuits filed, at first, in each of the largest states with opioid prescribing proscriptions. I have myself contacted the PA ACLU about initiating such a lawsuit, to which I would gladly serve as a lead plaintiff, but not been able to convince them that these egregious violations of the most basic human and civil rights, indeed violations which explicitly fall under the category of “torture” in the UDHR, are something which they urgently need to fight. I would thus be interested to hear ideas from other SCPPs or their advocates about how our persecuted community can best fight the new laws.

Barbara J Segeti

I used 1 1/2 10mg Vicodin on a daily basis. My doctor decided to no longer prescribe because of the strict government oversight. He gave me the names of several pain management programs. Sent referrals. Apparently I’m not in enough pain to need meds. I take one in the morning to help me with my daily chores and work. I take half in the after noon to continue.

I’m sorry I’m not in enough pain to keep me in bed or get me hospitalized. I only have fibromyalgia, arthritis, spinal stenosis, osteoporosis (5 breaks in 4 years no meds) and 3 herniated discs which cause frequent and painful sciatica.

I’m sorry I sound like such a crybaby to those of you in much more pain. But if they wont give me one a day, will they give you six???

Barbara J Segeti


Thank you for stating Facts as they apply to patients who require, and have taken opiate ANALGESICS for Chronic pain issues. Be it from a prior injury, surgery or disease, if a person is a patient presenting pain from any number of complications, a professional licensed heathcare provider is obligated to do and treat that individual. My situation parallels Red’s statement. I’m in need of long term analgesia, opiates specifically opiates. For over 13 years I had prescription opiates along with muscle relaxers (prn) as my main treatment for long-term chronic pain from a MVA and subsequently displaced hardware in ankle and tibia. I also had physical therapy, post surgery, early in my situation. As years went by, arthritis became CHRONIC and widespread. I’ve not been able to locate a prescriber for the last 6 years. My previous doctor retired. This ongoing pain is wearing on my health in other ways: too much ibuprophen and OTC pain/anti-inflammatory meds on a daily basis. Causing gastrointestinal and kidney problems to ramp up. I’m ready to throw in the towel. A recent visit to the original orthopedic surgeon who did my reduction surgery post MVA (19 yrs ago) told me to 1)have a guided injection and if not successfull, 2) surgery to fuse my ankle. I had a horrid injection once, in 2016 and will not go thru that useless and PAINFUL experience again. Surgery is out of question. I’d do fine, as I did for the previous 13 yrs…using prescribed opiate analgesic, as directed, which moderated my chronic pain issues. I live with this situation, 24/7/365, of constant pain and know what helps to moderate this pain. This is malpractice imo. Thanks RED.

I agree with this article .im a 39 year old female who s health is bad. I have been on my pain meds for 20 years .same two meds .and now I went to dr this month and I was told in being cut down to 2 and 2 pill s a day on both of my scripts .my heart sank i felt sick to my stomach .i have 3 herniated disc in lower back .gout .ra graves heart deasise .copd 3 stage. And I have had a major heart attack at the age of 35 because of being in pain my blood pressure stayed so high to where it caused me to have a heart attack .and now I’m finding out my ra is attacking my organs my lungs .and I know I don’t have much time left here on this earth and if they take my meds away I don’t think I can handle the pain I would end my life ..my husband is 63 years old he has been on the same 2 meds for 30 years .his health is bad just lost half of his foot .and there cutting his meds back .cutting back pains meds for chronic pain people is only going to make things worse they going to push them people straight out to st drugs .there is people dieing with cancer and have been cut back .not fare. And no one seems to care about us chronic pain people we are treated like junkies .2 pills a day on long acting and 2 pills a day on short acting meds is not enough for some people its not for me .doctors are running scared and leaving us hanging .something has to stop .and change. ..I have tired every treatment that I could nothing works except for pain meds .how is this fare to chronic pain people .