My Story: Giving Up Our Rights

My Story: Giving Up Our Rights

When I read Colleen Sullivan’s column about being humiliated by a pharmacist, I was amazed at the similar treatment I have experienced by both pharmacies as well as doctors.

Larry Phillips

Larry Phillips

I live in the state of Alabama, and apparently the latest political hot button is to “get tough” on the abuse of prescription pain medication. However, the only individuals who are within striking distance of the lawmakers are legitimate pain sufferers who follow all the laws and regulations, only to wear the scarlet letter for all to see.

I have something in my spinal cord called a syrinx. Apparently it has been in my spinal cord all my life but after two traumatic falls, one 12 years ago and one 4 years ago, it awakened a sleeping giant. The first time I was even informed of this blockage in my spinal cord was after an MRI in 2012.

The bottom line is the syrinx is causing pressure within my spinal cord and the result is intense, never relenting back and leg pain, as well as leg paralysis.

I have exhausted any and all avenues to “cure” my condition — at least to the limits of my insurance and willing surgeons. My neurologist’s only solution is to address the pain issue is through medication.

However, due to a new law in Alabama, any doctor’s office that treats the majority of its patients with regular pain meds must be a “certified” pain clinic. Since my neurologist wants nothing to do with wearing the scarlet letter themselves, my treatment must now be transferred to one of these pain clinics. The clinics require all patients to sign a multipage agreement more menacing than a parole certificate.

One of the “rights” a pain patient must give up is doctor-patient confidentiality. The patient must agree to allow any law enforcement agency upon request (no warrant, not even probable cause is required), total access to any and all of my medical and prescription records. Some of these clinics even go as far as to force the patient to allow warrantless searches of their person or premises.

Now, before you think I am misunderstanding this new law as well as the conditions the pain clinics require, know this:

The traumatic fall I experienced 12 years ago was in the line of duty as a parole officer. I had 17 years of experience as a law enforcement officer, the last 12 of them as a parole officer.

I can assure the reader that the real pain medication abusers will not be stopped by this political stunt to get tough on drug abusers. None of the parole violators I ever arrested followed the same rules and regulations that law abiding citizens who legitimately suffer from chronic pain follow.

Without fail, every time the government involves itself in the areas of our private lives, it re-invents the wheel. Instead of making the true offenders accountable for their actions, Uncle Sam is becoming Big Brother.

The Nazis, Stalin, and North Korea forced citizens to sign all sorts of documents using pain as the “persuader”.

It concerns me when the government can effectually withhold pain medication from cancer patients, neuropathic pain patients, etc. until they “sign on the dotted line.”

12_7.jpgLarry Phillips lives in Arab, Alabama.

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The information in this column is not intended to be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Only your doctor can do that!  It is for informational purposes only and represent the author’s personal experiences and opinions alone. It does not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report or Microcast Media.

Authored by: Larry Phillips

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People in pain need to organize so as to have political capitol to be heard by legislatures and Congress. Of course, doctors and pharmaceutical companies interests are treated well by government- to the detriment of people in pain. Its more than tragic that the dried voices of people in pain remain mute and meaningless as fading stars to government.

John Jordan

Americans need to wake up and say no to politicians who think “new” laws are the answer to old problems. Enforce the laws on the books and go after scammers who “doctor shop” and fill multiple scripts at different pharmacies. (This was already a crime in Alabama and the pharmacies had a data base to flag these multi-script scammers) Unfortunately, unless this issue directly effects you, the adverage self righteous citizen doesn’t care. But eventually the divide and concour method will get to most of us and when all of us have no right to privacy, don’t say we didn’t know…


Larry you hit the nail on the head. We are losing so many rights. Our constitutional right to seek treatment and have a quality of life. We are profiled the moment we walk up to the pharmacy counter. This is considered appropriate and is taught and encouraged. In my state of Florida they allow pharmacies that choose to carry the medications to charge what ever they want. Most choose not to except insurance for pain medications. The reality is if you don’t have these issues yet you will. What the government does not understand is someone that abuses something will move to the next thing. They are not effecting them. It’s effecting legitimate pain patients. Patients who did not ask for their fate and has no choice in the matter. We need to find a way to help pain patients and end needless suffering. There should be enough medication to go around and be affordable.

trudy myers

I am in Texas and I am going through a nightmare as well, I was a RN who injured my back, then my neck, then got fibromyalgia. I had 1 pain clinic get angry at me and so their documentation is affecting my care. The pain I suffer is ridiculous.

Gerard Hill

I was a Letter Carrier for 27 years.For 15 of those years,I walked with a bag on my right shoulder and delivered a route that was nine miles a my 20th year,I developed intense pain in my lower back.Stuck it out for seven years with pain meds.I retired from the job,and because my doctor refused to write pain med prescriptions,I was referred to a pain management doctor.I have herniation in the discs in the lower back and herniations in the neck.You are absolutely right,in that,because of the pressures on interns and pain doctors,I at first was treated as an addict.Now with four epidurals and a Buprenophine Patch,I am surviving.But the Buprenorphine Patch does not work as intensely as the pain meds,so I supplement it with Motrin.And the winter months are horrible.I can definitely empathize with this gentlemen,For years it was a given that if you had a chronic injury…..Vicodin,Percocets were standard treatment for pain.I worked very hard to get off the pills because I couldn’t stand fighting the doctors and have achieved some sort of relief with the Buprenorphine patch.I wear one every seven day.Only a certain amount goes in your system.You can’t overdose,snort it,nor sell it because it is just not as potent as the pain meds.I would tell you sir to stick to your rights,but it is a rocky road.


Thank you so much for writing this. In many ways the chronic pain field is where Breast Cancer and AIDS have been in the past: misunderstood and criminalized. Even worse is that fact that our treatments are being criminalized as well. I don’t understand what the lawmakers expect us to do to manage our disease.

I would love to see more media outlets investigate this pubically. It is hard to imagine people with other health issues putting up with the complete lack of compassion and customer service that pain patients do. Somehow we are left feeling shame about really difficult diseases that we did not in any way choose for ourselves.