Opioid Prescriptions Drop – Cigna To Reduce Further

Opioid Prescriptions Drop - Cigna To Reduce Further

By Ed Coghlan

The New York Times reported Friday that opioid prescriptions have been dropping for the first time since OxyContin was introduced in 1996.

One of the nation’s largest insurers announced this week it will slash its customers’ use of potentially addictive opioid pain medications by 25% over the next three years. The 25% reduction target would bring Cigna plan holders’ use of the drugs back to the “pre-crisis” levels of 2006, according to the company.

For chronic pain patient advocates, this announcement represented another example of what they believe is the troubling trend of shrinking the supply of pain medication to patients who use them responsibly.

“Addressing the addiction issue is an important goal. What’s missing is what the company proposes to do to promote alternative therapies that will help chronic pain patients who are using these medications responsibly,” said Paul Gileno, Founder and CEO of the U.S. Pain Foundation.

Cigna’s chief medical officer for Cigna’s behavioral health business is Dr. Doug Nemecek, who gave the National Pain Report the following statement:

“We recognize that for millions of people, access to opioids for pain relief is essential; for example, people undergoing treatment for cancer or receiving palliative care. However, for millions of others, a prescription for opioids – especially a high dose for more than 21 days - should be the last resort, not the first. Our policy is consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines and aims to break the cycle of dependence, overdose and death. We want to encourage doctors to prescribe opioids responsibly, treat pain appropriately, and help people with substance use disorders get the treatment they need so they can have healthy, productive lives.”

Cigna believes the reduction can be achieved by:

  • Providing physicians with profiles on how their prescribing habits compare with the CDC guidelines as well as compare their prescribing habits with other doctors in their communities to see if they are doing something different from their fellow prescribers.
  • Helping physicians understand when their patients are receiving hazardous levels of opioids and other drugs by conducting outreach to more than 2,600 prescribers of high dosages of opioid medications identified through Cigna’s risk detection outreach project.
  • Supporting the White House and Congress efforts to increase patient limits for qualified physicians who prescribe buprenorphine; making med-assisted therapy more accessible.
  • Calling for a change in the lexicon for how we talk about substance use disorders, removing words like “abuse” from the conversation.

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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Wayne S. Swanson II

We as Chronic Pain Patients are living in an American Holocaust right now. I’m not trying to take away from the horror of the German Holocaust at all, or minimize it. The purpose of Hitler’s attack on the Jews was Economics propelled by Racism and Anti -Semitism . And right now the American government is also involved on an attack of intentional genocide, also for economic reasons. Our government has done this before when it distributed Small Pox infected blankets to unsuspecting Cherokee on what is now known as The Trail Of Tears where 8 to 9 Thousand Cherokee were Murdered—the people you have voted into office to work for you, has chosen a path of genocide for economic reasons. Their intention is to cull out the “undesirables” and “expendables” in our DOLLAR-based economy. And who are the “undesirables” and “expendables”? Anyone who has lost their productivity or who are costing the government money. That includes the disabled, the elderly, those on Medicare or Medicaid, the poor, and the uninsured.

They are doing this culling through the withholding of pain medication. Since many of the expendable population are dependent on pain medication to do their activities of daily living, by denying them access, the expendable population is shrinking, through DEATH!!! Regrettably 5 years ago my Stepdaughter committed suicide she was suffering from Fibromyalgia and Lupus . She stayed in bed some two weeks out of a month and treated horribly by the Medical Profession. She as thousands more are losing hope turning to suicide and knowing pain relief is out there but being denied help .


You know everytime you answer someomes comment and their worries about losing the meds they take to manage their pain and that as we get older we need to let go of things we use to do? For one ive got cronic pain wich ive had for 10 years and before that i tried acupuncture deep tissue massage chiro inversion tables everything then slowly my dr put me on meds to stabalize my pain so i can work and afford to live im only 33 and i have alot more years ahead of me that ill have to work my doc stabalized my pain and ive been on the same dose for the last 8 years so i dont think you really know what your saying not every doc constantly increases meds? Why would you? Not everyone can afford to nkt work or “change” the way they live life why should i give up my lifestyle when im happy and stable? But people like you dont agree with a certain drug


True — the body doesn’t distinguish between positive and negative stress.

This is a great post.
I have an incurable disease(Rheumatoid Arthritis)that causes me to live in pain every day…for the rest of my life. The non-opiod medications that I take to try to control my disease are very very expensive. Cigna’s decision to decrease opioid prescriptions makes me suspicious that they may indirectly be trying to get out of paying for my other expensive medications since everyone knows that insurance companies are driven by greed and not concern for people’s health.
I smell the potential for a class action suit. Especially since other news reports this week have stated that the decrease in prescribing opioids has done nothing to stop overdose deaths with neither legal or illegal drugs.
Thank for share !


Krissy, a friend of mine that is a psychologist told me many yrs ago that even good moves can cause stress. We always seem to associate stress with negative things because of the media. Moving from one place to another means adjusting to different surroundings, doing things differently, etc. Moving from one state to another just adds to that.

A lot of people have the belief that more is better, which is rarely true especially when it comes to medications, supplements, etc.


Yes, BL. It was the first thing they put me on in the early 80s, but I won’t take it anymore. I’m really doing better with sleep, I just wish I didn’t have to take so many things. I like 3mg of Melatonin and Formula 303. Many people don’t know, but no one needs any more than 3mg of Melatonin. If you Google it, you can see the huge list of good things it does for you. Why they are selling bottles with 10mg I don’t know, but it’s been awhile since I researched that too. I get a few bad nights but not like before. The first year I was in FL I did not sleep more than one hour at a time for eight straight months. Very strange, because I wasn’t unhappy and I’ve learned to turn off stress at night. Classical music is a wonderful relaxer also. I usually either listen to that or watch quite documentaries. I know they say not to watch screens at sleepy time, but it’s always helped me. I shy away from things that are really interesting, though, because then I stay awake so I can hear it all!

Please do not read my comments the wrong way. My Doctor got on a three way call two times in six years to confirm with Dr. Chopra from R. I. And Jim Broatch a scientist from Connecticut. To confirm I am on the right meds that work for me. The other meds such as Cymbalta etc. will not work for me and most patients who I know who are stabilized on the meds that do work. Such as mine. Each person chemicals in their body may not be receptive to the drugs you mentioned unless you are one of the people who are paid to recommend these drugs which I don’t believe Sir with due respect I know some people benefit financially to recommend certain drugs. Just make sure Rsd/Crps is on the list of Cancer diseases as well so the many who suffer with RSD can get pain meds to prevent not good results. My Doctor is the only Dr I trust besides Dr. Chopra. They want to do what is right and best for those with RSD. Do not miss read what I meant in my comments. Do not think my Dr is doing wrong. He took the time to talk on a three way call to experts on RSD because he wants to do right. No hospital or doctors In DE. Understand this disease.. Some Doctors I went to said to a nurse and office staff Did you ever hear of RSD or CRPS??? Truth!!!!! Don’t punish me or other people with RSD to decrease meds that took much time to determine stabilized. I went thru hell bluntly to be understood and finally stabilized. So did others I know about. One time during a crisis of a loved one I went to my Dr. And we decided to temporarily try Valium. I needed some pretty bad stress relief. I tried it and it gave me a headache and had no relief of stress at all to relax me. Again this was a one time trial period!! So I gave back the Valium. True!! What meds I am on works. I can live life the best I can but the meds go right to my main area in foot and leg. It somehow knows where it is needed. Do studies on this you will understand. Don’t mess with what took much time to determine what helps me and others with RSD. Your name and reputation is at stake if this starts hurting innocent sick people. I look ahead as possible results that. Might or will happen if innocent sick people are hurt by playing with what may take years to get them stabilized with the pain suffering. Thank you.


I agree with Krissy. Valium and other benzodiazepines don’t affect everyone the same way, jiust like opiates don’t.

Krissy., if you have fibro, have you tried Elavil (Amitriptyline) to help with sleep ?

In response to your answer to me. I understand what you are saying. I have RSD/CRPS. A horrible disease which after studies on people who have it have come to several conclusions as of now. There is no relief from the pain no matter how hard we are taught to survive without or decreased meds. The 6 years I have this disease I only asked for an increase once about 4 years ago. I exercise.. Eat the right foods.. Think positive thoughts as much as I can… Only watch happy movies etc. To help my pain attacks. The first few weeks of this disease I called 911 several times due to the pain. The meds I am on never made me high. It is my body knows exactly where the meds are needed to help me function. I am sorry if you missed understood that I would resort to street drugs or even think of suicide. I could never resort to that at all. I was stating the information sent to me from. A newsletter from Rsd/Crps scientists found out after extensive studies that some patients resorted to this. This disease is on the top five list our soldiers come home with. After studies done they realized way back to wars in history especially the Civil Wars when after soldiers screaming in pain the pain in leg or arm was amputated. Doctors back then believed this was the answer. I am sure you recall what most people know there were many many amputees done. Most soldiers had Read but Doctors of course didn’t understand why theses soldiers still screamed in pain. Now we know it’s a nerve damage disease.. Once gotten it affects your whole body areas if one lays down wrong or a splinter in your finger hurts 10 times more than it hurts you. One cannot do errands too long. Your body tells you to get to bed rest. This is a very common symptom. Yet if we feel well enough to do more errands or out of bed fun we can.. But the body let’s us know stop and get to bed. It’s a weird disease. One gets weird symptoms all with severe pain. Studies I read from scientists are so true. Without the meds I would not have survived five years ago. In the last six years with help from my meds I strictly believe I doing good for others and I have in pretty many ways. I knit baby sweaters for year-round wear and gave 80 to scientists for fundraising and to local Dr. Office here the rest I hand out to pregnant women I meet know my errands about 300 I made and gave free. I volunteer for political people. I volunteer at church food bank. All this I do and more when I feel well enough to do. If not for meds none of this would happen. I suffer every day. 24/7But under some control with meds easing the pain. Every person I… Read more »


Hi Scott, I believe your comment is fine but I have to disagree with this part:

“Our sleep is not affected. If we’e tired we sleep if not we dont.
The drugs like valium,xanex etc are the one that make you sleep and get a person completely out of touch with reality.”

So many of us have syndromes/diseases that affect sleep big time. And the opioids don’t always help. In fact, they used to keep me awake, while others fall fast asleep. I have sleep disorders from my pain issues where it isn’t the pain that keeps me awake or keeps me from staying asleep, but it’s part of the chemical make-up of my body. There are various sleep meds, one being Trazedone, which works for me. I don’t like it, but I’ve been on it long enough to be able to “forgive” the morning hangover (just added grogginess). Sleep has been an issue for people with Fibromyalgia and many other afflictions for so many people. I have nights — even with my meds — that I am awake all night. But while I can’t speak about it in scientific terms, it is a medical condition proved by science and patient studies. I also don’t think xanex and benzos put everyone in a state like you mentioned: “completely out of touch with reality.” That’s a bit broad and overstated. Any medicine can affect someone in a bad way, and I don’t like those meds either, but they do provide solutions for several conditions.


Bill Halper, I had no problems understanding what you wrote. When you say Oxycodones, are you referring to Percocet or Oxycontin ? A lot of people say oxycodone when they mean oxycontin, so I’m not sure which you’re referring to. It is up to each dr to decide if he wants to continue prescribe opioids. If a dr does decide to continue prescribing it is also up to him what patients he wants to prescribe to, what opioids, the dosages and what other drugs he is comfortable prescribing with the opioids. It is not unusual for some drs to continue to prescribe opiates to come patients but not to others. although the dr may tell some patients that he is no longer prescribing opiates. How do you know that a dr has been visited by the DEA ? They don’t wear anything that says DEA when they go and talk to someone. Drs have people go in and talk to them that wear suits and are not DEA. I understand the concern of chronic pain patients have about not being able to function with a decrease and/or without pain meds at all. It is important to realize that as chronic pain patients, we have to adjust our lifestyles. As we get older, there are more adjustments that we have to make. We can’t expect our drs to continue to increase our pain meds beyond reasonable amounts. The majority of those that have had fatal and non fatal overdoses are on high amounts of opiates. When you stop opiates for a while or lower the dosage and give your body time to adjust and you adjust your life style, it is something that is done with a lot of success, but it takes time and effort. It seems that many of the drs that are decreasing and/or no longer prescribing opiates are doing so with patients that are on high doses. Drs have to use their professional judgement to protect their patients and themselves. A dr is not going to get sued if he decreases or cuts a patient off of opiates, as long as the patient doesn’t die as a direct result.. But, if that patient overdoses and dies, the drs risk of being sued goes up drastically. Chronic pain patients saying they are going to commit suicide or they are going to turn to heroin, only reinforces the picture of chronic pain patients being drug addicts and unstable. Chronic pain patients saying things like this or turning them into action will only make more drs not prescribe opiates. It is no one’s right to be prescribed opiates. Being prescribed opiates is not something that anyone is guaranteed. I think that this sence of entitlement is one of the things that has caused problems for many chronic pain patients. That is like thinking that they don’t deserve to be drug screened, so they aren’t going to do it or they aren’t going to do it without complaining. Many chronic pain… Read more »

Bill Halper

BL, thank you for the information about how doctors can prescribe the opiates, seriously! I didn’t know that! Why then are many or most doctors no longer prescribing these medications even after the DEA paid them a visit? I’m one of four administrators on FaceBook for a closed group of about 850 members who have fibromyalgia with the associated “perks”, and I have been reading so many horror stories about how their doctors either stopped them cold on renewing their prescription for the oxycodones which is extremely dangerous to do, others are being cut way back until they can no longer have the oxy’s, but instead using lesser drugs that do not really lower the pain level, and what frightens me the most is that there are some who speak of suicide because they can no longer get their pain medications which is throwing them back to the time where they felt the full force of fibro all because of the CDC and DEA and probably a few more. Which brings me to the point about your mentioning that the opiates are not a right. Before I wrote that, I was having a conversation with a number of members absolutely terrified about what their future will bring because of the lack of the opiate medication that they take responsibly, that helps them function in society, and keeps them out of bed because of the pain levels. It was a very emotional conversation. I do not think it’s fair that people who are Chronic Pain Syndrome patients were left out of the suggested forms to follow for opiate prescribing which then precipitated their doctors, again after a visit from the DEA, to reduce the amount prescribed until they no longer take them, then starting another regime of other meds like Lyrica, Cymbalta. That’s why I had mentioned that we do have a right to receive this medication as we are responsible with our drugs, we have found that through trial and error, the Oxycodones were found to be the best in giving us more relief than any other meds. Now there are some who are thrilled with the Cymblata which is great! But I believe the National Pain Report, or another one did a survey of those using the Lyrica’s and their ilk, meditation, exerciser, Percocet, marijuana and a few more. The majority, a large majority found that the oxycodone and medical marijuana had the highest rating out of all others on the list for best pain relievers including the FDA approved Lyrica’s. For those who have been using the oxycodones just to have them taken away is wrong, they have a right to continue using them responsibly. This goes back to the doctor-patient with their discussions on the various pain relievers, and if the doctor prescribed the oxycodones. I should have said that not everyone has this right, certainly those unfortunate people who are addicted to opiates, others who’s pain is minor but looking for the narcotics should not receive… Read more »

scott michaels

bl you are correct. Tge docs that see chronic patients every 30 day only do so to make the extra money. tgose are generally the pain mgt drs. If your hmo primary is helping you, then they generally do the 3 prescription route. They dont have time and get paid anyway.
Actually pain medication is only a sleeping aid if you are not taking you medication as directed and at the end of month you only take at bedtime. Witgout the medication you will go thru withdrawls.
I along with The large majority of pain patients tkake as directed and the medication only takes the pain away so we could be more productive and live in less pain.
Our sleep is not affected. If were tired we sleep if not we dont.
The drugs like valium,xanex etc are the one that make you sleep and get a person completely out of touch with reality. I still cant believe they hassle us, when more deaths and overdoses always have a drug like xanex and alcohol involved. IN TALKING TO YOUNG PEOPLE THAT IS THE HIGH FOR THEM. XANEX WEED BOOZE AND COKE. UNFORTUNATELY NOW HEROIN AS BECOME MAIN STREAM. THAT IS ONLY BECAUSE ITS CHEAP EASY OURE AND THAT IS WHAT THE REHAB CLINICS LOVE. THEY PROBABLY SUPPORT THE HEROIN TRADE. THEY MAKE MORE MONEY ON A RECOVERY THAT RARELY HAPPENS THEN THE DRYG DEALERS AND THEY KNOW THEY WILL SEE YOU OVER AND OVER AND OVER


Tim Mason, as you stated it is up to each dr if he wants to prescribe opiates and if he does how much and for how long. Any dr can prescribe a chronic pain patient high doses of opioids indefinitely, if they chose to. Federal law states that any dr can write 3 thirty day opiate prescriptions at the same office visit. They can write for more than one drug, but prescriptions for the same drug at the same dose can’ t exceed a total of 90 days on the three seperate prescriptions. Federal Law also states that chronic pain patients that are taking opiates Must be seen by their dr at least once every 90 days. Although most drs require these patients to be seen once every 30 days.

Bill Halper, there are no laws, policies, rules, etc that guarantee anyone opiate medications.

these pain relief drugs are actually sleeping drugs. there are no such drugs called pain relief drugs. Doctor has only sleep drug, so that patient can sleep and does not feel pain. this is really dangerous

Tim Mason

“Is this an advertisement?”

Sounds like one to me.

Bill Halper

To begin with, opiate medication IS A RIGHT!!!!! This is the only medication that truly works for those with chronic Pain Syndrome including Fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease and cervical disease, horrific pain from veracious veins, severe bone spurs in the neck and shoulder region and so much more. For those unfortunate victims who must find a pain clinic yet must drive hours to get to one, and then only receiving 21 days of medications, I am very sorry that you are treated like an addicts or a second class citizen. I am so tired of hearing this cr*p about how bad opiates are, one doctor at the CDC said that the bad out weighs the good with this medicine. Excuse me, but he has no right to base his decision to withhold oxycodones from those that are willing to accept the risks. It’s that or living with unrelenting pain, the type of which keeps one in bed, can no longer work, no longer can function without help, then loosing their independence completely having to rely on others to live. For years, my primary care doctor has been prescribing my medications without a problem. She knows me, she trusts me, the CVS pharmacy trusts me! Then all of a sudden, I must find a pain management clinic. I interviewed two so far, both want me to reduce the amount by half. Since medical marijuana is legal in my state, I use it for the nausea, appetite (I’m never hungry) and to a lesser extent, pain yet this is not allowed by both clinics as it is still a federally mandated illicit drug, therefore if I do use it, and it shows up in the blood test (monthly), I’m ask to leave. This shows me that these clinics are geared more toward drug addiction, not chronic pain patients! I understand completely about this crisis, but I found out recently that when the CDC was forming these “suggestions”, they never spoke to pain specialists, doctors who are familiar with chronic pain syndrome, no one that would stand up for us, the legitimate pain patient! And then the mass media see’s a cash cow in this topic, so CNN does a Town Hall Meeting with only former drug addicts, never once interviewing a pain patient! I find this who crisis (the way it’s worded now, I read it) completely unacceptable, very mean spirited, lack of empathy and frankly placing us as an addict. Sure we will see a drop in opiate prescriptions, the DEA and their goons…sorry, representatives haunt the doctors who prescribe this needed, no, required medication using fear tactics to the point where they are afraid to even mention this drug. Perhaps the overdose rate may drop (I understand that those who do overdose are using this drug illegally), but I wouldn’t be surprised if the suicide rate from the pain patients go up. To cut my prescription in half not knowing me, what I am going through, what this disease has… Read more »


Is this an advertisement?

this is a big issue with pain relief, pills always has the risk of addiction and this has adverse effect on health. EMS and electrical stimulus is a good alternative for pills. This will make you comfortable and you will be vibrant and work effectively

Tim Mason

Sandra, BL is actually correct. Several years ago GP and regular family doctors saw an increase in pain patients. Subjective as pain is, they prescribed. Low and behold police arrests found prescriptions in the hands of those in the medicine had not been prescribed. Where I live PCPs stopped writing narcotic pain medication over 8 years ago. Even now, neurosurgeons can’t write for more than three months. After that, your pain is considered irretraceable. So you go to pain management with rules and guidelines etc.
All of BL is talking about is explained in the book “Pain-Wise” by Dr. David Kloth, Dr. Andrea Trescot and Dr. Francis Riegler. ISBN # 978-1-57826-408-7
These Chronic pain specialists are highly skilled and trained. They have spent a large portion of their lives and money becoming a REAL specialists. Treat these doctors with respect and your needs will be met.
As far as my skill set- I am a research chemist. I spent >25 years in pharma. Plant chemistry, alkaloids and formulation research and analytics. I helped make the first goop for transdermal patches. I don’t ever claim to be an expert at anything but this book I mention is a must read. It’s only $15. 144 pages + several pages of high quality color plates and images.


If no dr in any pain clinic where you live is accepting new patients, that is not anything that a politican, the FDA, CDC, news media, etc can do anything about. You will need to call pain drs in the closest city or town. If you live miles and miles from medical care and/or a pain management dr, that is your choice. Perhaps you moved there before you needed the care that you need now. If this is the situation, it is a matter of priority, what is more important to you, where you live or having your pain managed.

I do get out and talk to people and some of these people are chronic pain patients.


Your title is ??? You work for who ???
How many pain management clinics do you think we have vs millions of people. You need to get out and talk to people doctors are stopping pain medication . No not because people are drug addicts. Get out go talk to people unless you have a job that doesn’t permit you to .


Sandra, nothing has been said about drs not prescribing opiates for chronic severe pain long term. What has been said is that patient need to see a pain management dr once the meds get to a certain point, drs need to keep the doses as low as possible and in order to try and do that non medication forms of pain management need to be tried first, as well as included with pain meds. Pain contracts need to be done along with routine drug testing and seeing the patient at least once every 90 days, although most drs see their patients every 30 days.

If the small number of pain patients that can’t find adequate pain management would adjust to the way things are now and educate themselves on what the federal and state laws actually are as well as the Guidelines and accept the fact that having chronic pain treated with opiates is not a Right that they can successfully demand, most would be successful at finding pain management, if they really looked and tried. If they don’t want to do these things, then the chances are very good that they won’t have their pain managed. They can spend their time complaining online and in letters to politicians, new media, etc about how they can’t find a dr to manage their pain and how unfair it is and how much they are suffering, etc and they can settle for doing that instead of having their pain managed.

Unless someone has access to a nursing home residents medical chart or a patients hospital chart, they have no idea what they may have been given for pain, how much or when. Also if they weren’t given anything for pain, without reading their medical chart, you have no idea what the reasons may have been. When it comes to the elderly, especially those in nursing home, things are not always as the patient says they are or as the appear.


You do understand that everyone is treated the same when it comes to taking the opioids away from them don,t you. .?????
Just because you elderly very elderly or your a Vet injured with chronic pain your opioids will be taken away from you. All are treated the same so report it all for everyone.

scott michaels

not true. pharma just want tgings as is and new meds to be approved. Oxycontin is about 600 for 90 pills and fent patches are about the same. thats with no insurance. No generic available.
This problem we have is caused vy ins. companies that do t want to pay, govt, just to male it look like they are doing something about the war on drugs. While the are punishing us, heroin is pouring in over the boarders cheap and pure and finally the big sponser are the rehab centers, if everybody was forced off opioid medication and didnt turn tu the streets, they know they would have lines to get it.
the whole thing sucks. We are innocent victims.

Tim Mason

Sandra, You are right. Methadone is to opiates as Heroin was to opium smokers. One of my pain management doctors to me to never take the first dose. Never, Ever, Ever. He was a neurologists and Chinese surgeon. He know his stuff.
Methadone is a big money maker. $95 dollars a week for the “biscuits”. That’s $400/months with a urine screen. That’s a car payment. It is not an alternative to pain medication but is mainly used in youth that has ruined his/her brain at a young age by taking medication from elderly grandparents that have chronic pain.


Sandra Gayle, if someone is suffering from pain or other issuesof neglect or abuse and in a nursing home unable to speak for themselves and without family to speak for them, someone can call local attorneys that specialize in Nursing Home Neglect. I can’t imagine, and I am not the only one, a nursing home patient being allowed to suffer day in and day out. It is customary for the same dr to see all or most of the patients in a particular nursing home when they don’t have a reason to see their drs outside the nursing facility that prescribe the meds that they need. Most local attorneys that specialize in neglect and abuse in nursing homes are familiar with most of the drs that see these patients in the nursing homes and certain names will raise red flags.

If you aren’t or haven’t been involved personally in a situation like the one you mentioed, please be careful when you talk like it is common place because it can cause fear in those that are going into or living in nursing homes as well as their families.


Speak out . Yes I do believe they are trying to. Emails for those who want to do this need to be posted if people want to unite. On this site.

Sandra Gayle

We must not forget our Vets and our seniors laying in nursing home in pain with no voice. Some of our seniors we told they we being sure they didn’t b come addicted so they lay crying in pain hidden away from public so no one sees them. No voice. They talk about how many people die from pain pills. 30,000 a year they say. Not true. They do not have the statistics correct and they can,t prove they do. Dishonest.
We have 80,000 that die over alcohol related deaths every year. Why don,t they pertect the people from that if they are serious about helping the people. Big Pharmaceutical company’s want you to pay for the new 300.hundred dollar meds now on market. Taking away your pain medication is forcing you to try and stop pain with anything you can. Pharmaceutical company’s provide funding for our politicians they just need little favors to control the people in their favor.
Behind everything political is always a dollar sign. Just follow the money. Just follow the money.
Washington , Shelton

joan hamm

Scott. All your CAPS sounds like you are yelling at us. I believe in sharing. Many new people need to realize they are not alone. That’s what made me feel not alone. Yes they are sad depressing stories but we help each other. And learn new things. But you are right this is not enough. Somehow we need to have politicians bombarded with our stories. And figure out wheelchair borrowd donations…vans donated. Doctors to be on hand volunteer. Dear Krissy you are a strong woman!! You Are not giving up even though you are so I’ll . I admire you Krissy. All the work you put into this and others who suffer. I myself have to lay down after about 3 hours being out. I feel it coming on full force and I start crying and hide it. I barely make it to bed..feel lime I am crawling to get there. Wierd!!?? We have to stick together fjnd more people to join us and create a plan. God bless all of you.,.keep the ideas coming. Talk to friends family churches.. Politicians… Etc. I will try too.

joan hamm

Dear Geo Sims and Mr. Coughlan. I may have misspelled your names but you know. Thank you for your kind and respectful response. I now understand. I apologize I misunderstood your good intentions.

Hi Joan,

NationalPainReport is very liberal in posting comments - we do have limited staff, so comments are not always approved immediately. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your readership and comments.


Teresa, I am glad you’ve been doing what you can! I’m certainly not talking about you when I talk about egoists. You aren’t like that. I believe all of us appreciate just about anything anyone can do, but as you know, it’s a hard road. And, I am on very high doses of oxycodone and Fentanyl, with Rx Ibuprofen and a few other things. I work from my bed, which is sort of how I got involved. I started reading things about opioids because I had time on my hands (which I don’t anymore) and pretty soon I felt I needed to write about it too. I don’t have the answer, but I’ve been able to see some of what doesn’t work and why, in some cases, it has to do with attitudes and that an idea that is good for change, entitles one to its ownership. Please don’t be offended, not about you for sure. Keep writing Teresa, these comments do indeed get read by people we need on our side. Thanks.

joan hamm

I have put on this site many comments that were not allowed to be on here for you to read. None of my comments were disrespectful to anyone except for my opinion similar to many of you who suffer with pain. I have no ego as stated in my denial to write on this site. I want to hear other people’s thoughts and true stories about how they suffer. Not to enjoy but to hear the truth and the strength we need to get from each other. And come up with ideas to help each other. So I offered some help and ideas and asked for your opinions. But it was denied to be read here??? What happened to respectable free speech? Maybe there is another site I need to join that is welcoming. Especially to us who suffer with pain.. If so this site better look for illegal practices to innocent people.

joan hamm

I would love to take charge like all of you who suffer with terrible pain!! But how? If I knew ,What to do other than support all of you I would. I can be one of the leaders. I have political and business contacts to try and explain we need their help. I can try to contact them all. They don’t know me personally but I do believe I can talk to them. They do have their contacts and possibly tell me what steps to take. All I can do is try. I personally do know a Professor who maybe can help. She has a Doctorate and popular in our community. But again my email doesn’t work so I would have to try to talk to these people personally. I said enough. Please tell me what you think? I hope these people know someone who suffers with pain disease and can relate to us better. I am on your side everyone. No one should ever suffer with severe pain without meds to keep us all living life we deserve.


Krissy, this portion of your post has been bothering me all day: “But those whose fragile egos need protecting aren’t letting anyone in. People have to be willing to share — not feel that their information and ideas belong only to them, and take a working position — a stance — on any level, putting aside their protective attitudes and their guarding of ideas and information.” Perhaps I am misinterpreting. Guilty as charged of having a “fragile ego,” I suppose, but I am by no means withholding any secret, important information or fantastic ideas. And I fail to see how my sharing every detail of my horrible medical journey is going to help anyone - I think we’ve all read enough of those stories. People are different. The way I am, through no real fault of my own, is not any “less” than you, and your remarks remind me slightly of how people who do not have chronic pain cannot understand, and therefore diminish it. I have stepped far out of my comfort zone to contribute to this fight and am very proud of that.

joan hamm

I am willing to help. But as stated many of us don’t have the money to get to a March to protest the people who want to hurt us by reducing ms we need to live life. There has to be someone who has money to help us. If I had money I would offer to set up the groups to fight but I don’t. Is there someone who can??? My email doesn’t work well so I need to be called so I can help. I have been a victim of the system like most of you. We Can do it by supporting each other and fight back.


Krissy, you bring up some valid points. What about national organization that are suppose to be advocating for those in pain? They have more than a household budget and obviously the people at these national organization don’t have the physical or financial limitations that others do that you mentioned. I have seen where the heads of some of these national organization said that they meet with politican leaders and people in the FDA, CDC, etc. So far all that these people have been given are polite responses with a “don’t call me, well call you” attitude from those they have had contact with. How many leaders of national pain organization have been asked to testify before Congress or the FDA, CDC ? What did they accomplish ? These national pain organizations have been around for a while, what have they accomplished so far ? If those that have the physical, mental, emotional and financial ability to speak out and it is their job to advocate for those in pain, what are signs of their success in the last 5 yrs ? What have they accomplished ? The laws and guidelines have gotten tigher and stricter in the last 5 yrs than ever before. If these organizations can’t accomplish anything, then who can ?

Not all chronic pain patients are in wheelchairs, what about the others ? It is human nature to do the things that you want ot do and to resist doing the things that you don’t want to do. Advocating for changes in anything is ongoing, it is not a one time thing. There has to be consistency and the people have to be visable and vocal. The more people the louder the vocies and the more visable they are. They take their message with them to work, school, church, the grocery store, their drs offices, etc. They make t-shirts with saying on them to draw attention to their cause and they sell those t-shirts to raise money for trips to their state capitals and to D.C. Saying that chronic pain patients can’t advocate in large numbers or in their daily lives because they can’t do this or that accomplishes nothing but silence.

Then there are the chronic pain patients that are having their pain adequately treated, are going by the rules and are keeping their pain meds at a low dose and these are the majority of the estimated chronic pain patients in the U.S. If they honestly believed that they could or would lose their pain management and pain meds, they would be speaking out in numbers.

Sandra Gayle

I in Scott. This is the only way it will work. We ca also take this to the capital. I live in Olympia. Obama has on his site start petitions. People have to start in the area they live. Sometimes when you in a lot of pain you can,t travel far. Two hours out and I hurt so bad I have to lay down for a while.oh the pain is bad.
I live in Shelton , WA not a town to do anything in. Olympia, WA about 45 minutes away would be a place to start. College kids are great for helping people.
I can do it. Please keep me informed.
Sandra Gayle


Scott, how many comments say just what you’ve said? You are telling others here in these discussions that no one is taking action, like it’s up to someone else. It’s up to all of us, no? You are willing? Then you get 50 people to sign up, you raise funds. Become a leader and take care of the problems. You will find out that it’s not easy. I am on around 32 FB groups and we had a plan to do a march in Washington and at CNN at the same time. Guess what? I backed out because the logistics of traveling, staying in a hotel and “marching” or even sitting in a wheelchair isn’t something I can physically do. Same with most of the others. Many would have to be in a wheelchair to do that kind of activity. Who is going to rent vans and drive us around? How do you go to the bathroom? How do you get rest when you can’t stay in the same position for long? Who’s going to help take care of patients’ medical/physical needs each day? Those are tiny examples of the logistics that have come up. None of us could afford it. Raising money for that is not a feasible expectation when you don’t have a place to begin, or (pun) a leg to stand on. And, there are hundreds of groups of various kinds picketing and marching in Washington every single day. They aren’t getting press or getting noticed. We found this out by looking toward people who have done it. I get a new frown line whenever I read these numerous comments that say, “Why isn’t anyone (else) doing something about this…?” I just want to say, we are doing things (and sometimes it’s not yet ready for public knowledge because we are working.) And I want to say, “Then why don’t you do something about it?” Take a leadership role, come up with an idea that will truly work, and try to work out the logistics. If you can do that, don’t you think thousands of us already would have succeeded? A march or a large group trying to make a statement will not fix what is going on in our situation. The players on the other side would laugh us off the street. We need more — like many more doctors to speak up, attorneys to step in and realize this is a huge problem. We need educators and high-level research/writer/author types who can use scholarly information and studies with the proof that must accompany anything we do. That’s tough. We need a great deal of more knowledge, professionals and organizers, not to mention financial backers. There are a lot of people working behind the scenes right now. What you see here on NPR serves many of their ideas. There is value in watching what we all say to each other, learning things that help in research and hearing stories for documentation. We need more science, methodology,… Read more »

scott michaels

you are correct. the only thing we could do is real action. Large protests. but NOBODY IS WILLING TO actually do something.


This is really a state-by-state issue. In some states now, there are very very few pain doctors and they might be hundreds of miles away , for some people. I don’t think any kind of blanket statement can be made about the conditions for all pain patients. It’s very scattered and checkered, what is happening, from what I’ve heard and read. In many places, pain doctors are over-full and not taking new patients.


Krissy, well good luck with that. It hasn’t stopped anything that has happened in the past 15 yrs and longer from happening. The numbers needed just are not there. The powers that be look at things for “the greater good”. In other words the more than will benefits from it is what they are interested in. Pain meds are still being prescribed for chronic pain, although you may have to change drs, or go to several before you find one that is the right fit. You may also have to agree to drug screens and sign pain contracts. If you have nothing to hide, there should be no problem with this. Life isn’t fair and there are many things that we all have to do everyday that we don’t like doing and we don’t want to do. When our need for something is greater than our dislike for what we have to do in oder to get it, we do what we have to do.

Tim Mason, all drs can prescribe Schedule II meds for chronic pain. There have not been, nor are there now, any laws stating that they can’t. Unfortuantely, some drs tell their patients that they can’t. For those that have been getting their pain meds from their regular dr, they seen to like it because most of the regular drs don’t do drug screens or pain contracts and some regular drs will write three 30 days rxs. No one is going to care, and rightfully so, if someone isn’t receiving pain management because they don’t want to see a pain management dr.

Tim Mason

BL this is what I have been saying all along. I gather that many commenters are or were getting schedule II from general doctors. Where I live they have not been able to prescribe schedule II narcotics for about 10 years, everyone including me was sent to pain management.


BL, I don’t believe chronic pain patients, or intractable patients like me will never be happy. I also don’t believe it’s too late. We will never get millions of patients to speak up at the same time in the same place, but that isn’t what’s going to fix this mess anyway. Inner workings and associations deep within government and law are still largely available and we’re not giving up.


Chronic pain pateints have waited too long to vocie their opinions. The phrase “too little, too late” describes it well. The changes in laws have not ome over night or in the past few years. These changes have been coming for over 15 yrs. It does no good to “shut the gate after the horse gets out.”

Sites this this are good for helping people vent. But they do give false hope that things can be changed. The numbers needed and the volume level voices would have to be at are just not there. There is no hard evidence millions and millions of chronic pain patients are not able to get adequate pain management and/or their pain meds. Saying it does not make it so. A few thousand, if that many, do not make millions and millions. This site does help when it comes to giving chronic pain patients alternatives for managing chronic pain with and without pain meds. Learning how to do this is important. Learning how chronic pain patients are going to pay for things that insurance won’t cover is also important.

Chronic pain patients saying that they are going to get their pain meds on the streets, turn to heroin or commit suicide makes the powers that be more creditable. It makes chronic pain patients look like they can’t live without their pain meds. The fact is that no death certificate has the lack of pain meds as a cause of death. If someone can’t get out of bed, how are they going to go and get their drugs off the streets ? If someone has enough money to support a daily drug habit and pay for an attorney, court costs, support themselves if/when they losetheir job, possibly be able to afford to cost of an attorney for a divorce, losing cutody of their children, etc they can find a dr that will manage their pain, unless they have broken the rules. They may not like the routine drug screens, having to go in regularly, no being prescribed high doses of pain meds, etc, but they can find a dr that will mange their pain at least somewhat. Having some of your pain managed is better than not having any of it managed.

Karen, the pharmaceutical companies lied to the FDA and the drs. The FDA, DEA, CDC, etc are all trying to prevent what happend to your daughter from happening to others. Being pain free is not realistic. Chronic pain patients that expect to be pain free will never be happy.


I am aware that this is a news site and a place to voice opinion and feelings. The letters I have written and phone calls I’ve made, large in number, have all been to politicians, corporations, professional organizations. That hasn’t seemed to do any good, so far. If there are suggestions for who else to contact, please advise here. Thank you

scott michaels

of course we have are dependent on opioids. After several years of taking it i fear the law or my doctor taking it away. I dont fear the withdrawls, they will go away. I fear the extreme pain that i havent had since being on opioid therapy.
I fear having to lay in bed all day, need help just to get out of bed and in many cases just to lift my head.
The widthdrawls will ho away the pain wont!
We that take opioids on a daily basis resorted to this because the dozens of other things did bot work!
Yes we we made a choice to take pills to have a life. 99.8 % of us take it as directed.
Because .2% of the 20 million people Abuse the medicine and take other drugs to get high, WE DONT!

Jean Price

Cynthia…I couldn’t agree more that Ed is a decent person and very knowledgeable about pain issues. (You mentioned all the other things he does regarding pain care, and I’d love to see this from him on this site so we could all know about them and know too if he might need our help with some active advocacy or know where me might lend our support!). Even though his background isn’t medical and he himself isn’t a person with persistent pain, he is still very knowledgeable and also knows a great deal about bureaucracies and how the world works! I would hope you’d know I have no issue with Ed! Unless saying he’s a journalist is negative, and I so hope not! And a newspaper is always using its circulation as a measure of success, not necessarily the editorials, so I hope that’s not an issue. Plus news has to be given in a way to encourage the reader to read, so provocative isn’t a bad thing by itself. Perhaps it’s that I said we didnt need that, and seriously, I don’t…if it means it can be more disheartening or alarming sometimes. I’m certainly not referring to the Pain Report earlier when I said it felt like it was a wasted resource!! But rather to all the resources of our ENERGY used and the frustration in the comments…which simply end up here, preaching to the choir. That happens not because of Ed, but rather because this isn’t meant to be an action oriented advocacy site, as such. It isn’t about that type of support for those in pain. Like Krissy said, and I already knew…it’s about news! Perhaps I wasn’t clear but both you and Krissy seem to be concerned about my comments being negative to this site and possibly to Ed… and yet they are not, or at least again not meant to be! I feel it’s just the reality of what it is, news and updates. And most readers are those like us, who live with pain…not those we’d like to reach. I know this site is of service, even though it’s a for profit site, and there is lots of good information and personal accounts to educate people. That’s never been an issue for me. Yet I believe we need more actions and ideas to put into action…and for people who have limited ability, using it up to comment rather than to write a letter or seek a place to be active in this fight may be something they’d want to consider, like I am! It isn’t about dropping out but rather changing the focus of my input and any help I could be. It’s also, I’m certain, a measure of my frustration that the outcome of efforts to date don’t seem promising! There are so many groups about pain, yet they all seem to be going their own way. I think this also lends to fragmenting our strength to work toward positive outcomes and makes it… Read more »

Cathy M

Hey, here’s an idea: Let’s push through a federal bill that requires all insurance companies to PAY DOUBLE if someone commits suicide and there’s evidence that it was due to untreated pain. I am not being sarcastic - hitting them in the pocket book is the ONLY way to make them pay attention! If they are held responsible for double life insurance payments (instead of none, with suicide, as they have now), they would have a huge incentive to change the pain relief laws - and I bet they’d do it. Let’s make them put their money where their mouth is!! What do you think?