Using Opioids and Having a Job—It’s Not Easy

Using Opioids and Having a Job—It’s Not Easy

By Denise Hedley

Those of us with chronic pain are well aware of the new laws that have labeled the opioid crisis and thus punished chronic pain patients. We are all affected in one way or another, and a good number of us have had our medications taken from us. Just today, I was told to take Advil for my pinched nerve and three herniated disks in my back – oh and from now on, I’m supposed to basically live on my heating pad.

Those of us who have lived with chronic pain for quite a while are well aware of what it takes to hold down a job with an invisible illness. Most of us hide it for as long as we are able to work. We are the ones who are not addicts, of course, but there is a new threat to the chronic pain community in the form of proposed legislation and other movements that want to punish those in pain who are still able to work.

The fear of abuse is so rampant, that they want to make pre-employment and random drug screens add opioids to their lists of banned substances for the workplace. In those jobs that have safety concerns this might be understandable that they might worry about impairment. This move, however, seems more like a witch hunt.

What is not understood by many of the parties proposing these actions is that those of us who function only because we have this one tiny tool towards some degree of relief do not find ourselves impaired. We are better able to focus. For some, this relief could be the only thing keeping them in the workforce where they can have a benefits package and better insurance.

It is now recommended that prescription pain killers be considered a violation of the drug-free environment. Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) have now been advised to recommend that any employee who is using prescription painkillers be referred for treatment.

Companies who have thus far avoided drug testing programs may soon be required to begin one. There is a large movement towards taking the war on opioids into the workplace. Companies are now requiring employees to notify their employers if they are placed on prescription painkillers. Most will be required to take leave for the duration of their pain treatment while others may lose their jobs. Ironically, the company does not have the right to ask what those employees are receiving their pain management treatment for.

There have been some moves, as a result of the recent HHS task force activities, to rewrite instructions to primary care physicians as to the prescribing of opioids to those chronic pain patients with a proven history of staying within guidelines. The right to continue treatment seems like it is being excluded for those patients who are still able to work. If all of this new legislation passes, then the war on opioids is taken too far and it seems like it officially becomes a war on chronic pain.

This gives us one more reason why those of us in the chronic pain community need to be more vocal. Even if it is only one person at a time, our voices must somehow be heard.

Denise Hedley

Denise Hedley was initially diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2009. Her condition has worsened, and was diagnosed with bilateral RSD in January, 2019. She also suffers from Osteoarthritis, 2 herniated discs, and Systemic Lupus Erythematosis



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Authored by: Denise Hedley

Denise Hedley was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2009. Her condition has worsened, and was diagnosed with bilateral RSD in January, 2019. She also suffers from Osteoarthritis, 2 herniated discs, and Systemic Lupus Erythematosis.

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Paulette Wright

Are there any laws protecting patients who are legally prescribed medications, as opiates, to continue to work in a public workplace yet? If there is a law protecting the patient, and the prescribing doctor, it would be a step in the right direction. I know patient rights don’t mean anything anymore. New laws are needed by our government officials.

Jeanie Beal

The ADA prevents any punitive action against an employee taking a legally prescribed medication, providing that medication does not constitute a danger in the workplace. If you work as a truck driver, airline/flightline employee, railroad or other similar occupation, the workers’ prescribing physician likely will be contacted, to aid in determining the ability of the employee can safely perform their job.

Katherine Wolfe

After the surgery that kept me from being paralyzed there were a few weeks that I worked in a lounge chair while taking oxycodone. No way was I endangering anyone, I was nearly flat on my back working on a computer and being driven to and from home. With this law I would have had to go on short-term disability instead, my project would have missed its deadline, and the company I worked for would have lost a client. Do these people actually live in the real world, or in some drug-free, pain-free fantasy?

Delores Malone

This is disgraceful and unacceptable. I have chronic migraines and when I had to work for ten years my pain medication was the only thing that made it even possible to work. Now at 63 with my co ndition still the same I have not had any pain medication for almost 2 years now. Not because I dont need it but I dont need all the grief of the doctors pharmacies and whomever else decides that an aspirin will do the trick. When will they realize we are not addicts but people with real pain. The suffering is tremendous for many. Oh how I long for the care I received from my precious caring doctor 15 years ago. It has been made impossible for real authentic care in our cases. They have made it impossible for tender and quality patient /doctor relationships. It is well past time for change.

Gretchen Freeman

Too Mary who writes about alcohol being much more of a problem then pain medications Thank You and Amen I’ve been looking at that for quiet some time I am permanently disabled and pain managed I have 5 metal discs in my neck and 2 in my torso all due too people who drive and drink and rear ended me and did not lose their license they are the cause of me needing pain managment help and will still struggle just too live now My Goverment does not care about me at all too allow alcohol too ruin my health and stupid people who do what they want I do not drink and my quality of life has has been taken by people who drink and drive not too mention the mental and physical abuses that drinkers have caused many not just myself The Goverment of the USA thinks this is exceptable IT IS NOT AND WILL NEVER BE JUST BECAUSE THEY DEM ALCOHOL LEUGLE WHAT A MESSED UP GOVERMENT NOT PROUD TOO BE AN AMERICAN ANY MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!☹️☹️☹️☹️☹️☹️☹️☹️☹️😥😥😥😥😥😥😥😥😥😥😥😥😥


I’m one of those people who was able to work for many years only because I got strong pain meds. My doctor first recommended I apply for disability in 1988; I managed to put it off until 2011, when the number of debilitating conditions piled up so high that the amount of meds I was able to get didn’t adequately control them (tho I’m struggling to survive now on a much lower dose, which is still better than the nothing I got for a while since this witch hunt started). I spent most of those years working in medical research, doing basic science to try & understand the mechanisms of such diseases as cystic fibrosis, pulmonary failure, and End Stage Renal Disease. I could argue that my laboratory years helped millions of suffering people. Why am I now a legitimate target for discrimination, abuse, and denial of care & compassion because some morons & deluded criminals have convinced the country that anyone taking pain meds is (A) an addict, and (B) getting high off their meds? As a person who’s been dedicated to science my entire life, the amount of anti-evidence, anti-fact, anti-sanity hysteria being promulgated is literally causing me to not only do without effective pain relief, but is endangering my very sanity. Why the hell are people who CHOOSE to recreationally abuse drugs deserving of better treatment & everything else than people who need treatment because of incurable, non-voluntary pain conditions? I watched my mother die in unspeakable, untreated agony from leukemia because someone apparently was afraid she’d become addicted in the few weeks she had left. I’ve yet to hear anyone explain how literally torturing her & millions of other cancer patients helped even one recreational drug user.

If this country ever regains a bit of sanity, this will be known as the Age of Officially Mandated Sadism.


This is so pitiful that the American people in chronic pain are suffering at the hands of uneducated politicians (most of them alcoholics & cigarette smokers). It’s shameful disgraceful and unacceptable to allow this to happen when so many good citizens that are tax payers doing the best they can are now denied medications to give them a quality of life. All of the those individuals against providing pain medication to our VETERANS and our CITIZENS must be reminded that they are ONE ACCIDENT AWAY from them needing pain medication to relieve pain. We don’t choose to be in unimaginable pain 24/7/365 it just happens when you least expect it. Any age, female or male it JUST FRIGGIN happens! Most people are in their prime of life making good money have a family etc and then BAM your life does a 360 7 times and there goes your health your job ( sometimes your family) and your friends! Not many people can cope with you when they see you in uncontrollable pain most walk away. I am speaking from my own experience thank GOD I have been blessed with the best husband on the planet and good doctors. 37 years of my life has been in uncontrollable pain. So I ask our Federal & local Government to take time and think about someone other than your political careers and for just one day be a human with compassion and empathy for the good honest law abiding citizens of this great country.


It’s all UN agenda 21 de-population agenda. I’ll say it until I die - it’s designed to punish and eliminate the useless population that largely can be replaced by robots and artificial intelligence. Easily. We’re just easy targets, like Germany in the ‘30’s. Just look up project 2030. That’s when it’s all supposed to be complete. All this sustainability and climate change leading to our demise. Of course the climate is changing, they spray thick plumes of smoke in the sky all day to block the sun. What do they use? Metals - aluminum, barium , to make the clouds heavy so they won’t move. The entire globe is being sprayed. Look up geoengineering. It’s such a bad word that the phone doesn’t have it spelled out after you type in five or six letters of it. My point? Pain patients suffer from this the most because it attacks the chronic fatigue weakness. Who is “they”? The UN. The govt lets all the drugs come in, now it’s an excuse to kill pain patients. It’s all connected.

It will do no good to complain as a chronic pain patient that you aren’t getting your medicine. The DOJ and DEA has projected the following false fact trail:
1. Opioids cause addiction.
2. Anyone taking an opioid is an addict.
3. Doctors are providing drugs to addicts.
4. Doctors are therefore drug pushers.
5. Doctors can therefore be arrested and put in prison.
So to get to the cause of the problem we have to get to the beginning-the racist reason drugs were made illegal in the first place, and how much money would be saved in the budget if we simply decriminalized all drugs. We’ve shown that by the history of Cannabis-a perfectly healthy and helpful medical treatment that has been criminalized and actually created more drug use because of that. Join our DoctorsofCourage communication campaign to get this word out.

Julie Walters

I cannot take this any more. Look at all these people in chronic pain hurting day after day with no relief and after a while you don’t wanna live anymore. I am on pain medication I am not on the dose I was once on but I am below the 90 MME. I have been a chronic pain patient for 20 years. If you look at all the legacy chronic pain patients we have been on pain medication and benzo‘s for many many years and we’re all still here living. You are hurting the wrong people. I have had a horrible time myself and been B 12 deficient to where all I could do was lay in bed Thank God I am getting better now with the 12 shots I give myself at home I am going to call a new station and tell them the stories that I hear Dan and day out because I know what severe pain feels like and for the people not getting adequate care I get why they want to commit suicide I’ve been there and I am so so sorry for all of you people

HJ Anon

Denise Hedley,
I would like more information on this, to verify that this is taking place. Where can I learn more about this? I don’t want to have another scare as I just don’t have the energy to manage such emotions. I am glad to still be able to work but yes, opioids allow me to still be active in the workforce.


Debbie Nickels Heck,
I sent you a message on Facebook. It looks like you haven’t been active there for awhile, though.



We need more info about this, which EAPs, which companies, which workplaces? Before we terrify ourselves and get more stress and anxiety.


Hi stacy,what state are u in?you asked how u could help.I have a few ideas.if u could email me at


I think this entire thing is horrible to us with chronic pain. I have fibro and CRPS and am lucky my primary care doctor takes care of me as far as pain meds mostly. I’ve been afraid to tell him my pain is getting worse as the CRPS is spreading.

It is also pretty bad when you take your daughter to the emergency room when she rolled her ankle and tore 4 ligaments and couldn’t put any weight on her leg. The girl was crying hysterically and they wouldn’t even give her Tylenol there. We had to beg for an ice pack. They ask for pain level between 1 - 10. She was clearly at a ten because of the obvious crying that she rarely does (she’s 17). Why bother asking her level of pain when they don’t do anything about it? It’s all ridiculous.

Mary spoonmore

I want to speak up and join the voices that are calling for the insanity to stop. Those of us in chronic pain sometimes cannot survive without relief from the pain. I suffer from interstitial cystitis which affects my bladder, I have pelvic floor failure and I also have Prudential nerve damage which affects the bladder the vagina and the rectum . I used the fentanyl patch and also additional opioids to control the pain. my nerve damage was caused by a doctor when he did a colonoscopy on me. I can take no recourse against the doctor. Thank God I go to a pain management clinic and the doctor there monitors me closely to help relieve my suffering. I am 77 and before I found this doctor I laid on my couch for months wishing I would die. What appalls me is the witch-hunt punishing people because they suffer from pain. Where has the compassion gone in our society. The people who are making life hell for people who need pain relief have never suffered acute pain or they would not be so adamant and would have more understanding for suffering. Now I want to ask you all this there are three times as many people in this country dying from alcohol abuse everyday. There are 80 thousand people a year dying from alcohol-related deaths which is way way more then this so-called opioid crisis. Where is the outcry about alcohol? Where is the outcry about the damage that alcohol brings down on our society and our children. I think that this witch Hunt and the scare of opioids has been created on purpose by our government who does nothing about alcohol and does nothing about tobacco addiction. yes there is an epidemic but it is nothing compared to the deaths from alcohol and tobacco. I am sick of hearing about this opioid addiction and having people who need opioids to get relief from pain being punished and possibly will not even be able to work. This is insane this has to stop. I am 77 years old and I have never seen anything so insane in my life


I understand your frustrations and know first hand the difficulties of maintaining a full-time job, let alone trying to develop and advance in a professional career, while suffering from chronic pain. I also try to stay abreast of current and proposed legislation, regulations, research and other developments affecting chronic pain patients. As an HR person, I am especially interested in employer actions, and in particular, why they do what they do. I get it, I have walked in your shoes.
It can be cathartic to share our individual stories and frustrations but to successfully oppose this “witch hunt”, we must know exactly who the figurative and literal “they” are. For example, who told you to only take Advil and live on a heating pad for your pain? Your employer, congressperson, the ER, personal physician? Yes, we must be vocal and let our voices be heard, but we must target our voices to those who can actually do something about our plight. Just sharing our horrendous stories with each other will generate more similar stories, but not get much accomplished.
Your very last sentence includes the phrase “…our voices must somehow be heard”. It would be of immense help if you could specify exactly what proposed legislation and other movements you are referring to in your article. There are advocates and activists both inside and outside the chronic pain community who sincerely want to help. We must all know which specific threats to address, which battles to fight and, most importantly, who to share our voices with if we want to get something actually done.

Vicki lynn mathison

1st HIPAA law you do not have to tell them your medical history long as it doesn’t effect your job they cant say wait rx drugs you can take…2 CDC did not advise against stopping pain meds…it advised against rx more than needed and gave guild lines

Signe Topai

If it weren’t for the fact, I could not get treatment for three years I might still have my job as a Physical Education Teacher. It took 5 years for a diagnosis. This is a right out war against chronic pain patients who must have meds to sustain employment.
My sister works for oil company. An employee was let go for antidepressants! This is a violation of our civil rights. We must stick together and write those congressman, go to those rallys. If all you can due is print flyers or hand write a note…more power to you!!!!


Gee we fight with the Doctors, Insurance Companies,Pharmacist and now my Employer. I been on one Opioid or another have taken my meds as told for the last 20 years without any accidents or injuries on the job. Guess what I am still alive. I am safety sensitive and my Employer knows I take pain meds because of drug testing. This just adds more pressure on me because I could be fired at any time. The Government can’t win the war on drugs and now has chosen to open a new front with Chronic Pain Patient. Without these drugs I would have been on SSI or dead a long time ago.
At this point in life thinking that I will be force off my meds I have opted to try Marijuana and found that it helps and actually works very well. I would never use on the job and found that it works best at bedtime using a cartridge with indica works the best for me.

Diana Reabold

Dear Denise,

I’m so sorry for you. I have suffered twice from fibro. It’s terrible! I’ve also suffered from bipolar (mainly depression) for 61 years and daily migraines for 49 years. The opioids help with tardis dyskinesia I suffer from from everyday as a result of antidepressants!

It is far harder to work without Opiates and CRPS Rheumatoid Arthritis etc etc ,Doctors like to play god but are they more knowledgeable, I kinda doubt it This is all so pitiful I have to get on my belly sit up begany ideas ?

Sheenan West

The government needs to get out of doctors doing there job. after having 2 pain management pain doctors and the 2nd one it was 1:50 hour drive just one way and would make my low back hurt so bad after my last visit to him I saw my primary doctor two days later and he asked what have you done to your back, your hurting more than average. told him about the drive and how it makes my back hurt close to a week. He said get your paper work from pain doctor and I will manage your pain. He did a better job than both of them plus it was only a 4 mile drive to his office. In 2016 the government laid down new laws and he could not write out what I needed. The government are punishing chronic pain patients due to junkies taking illegal drugs, pain pills they get threw dark web from China plus pain pills smuggled in from Mexico plus illegal hard drugs. Yeah there were several bad doctors running a pill mill with certain drug stores yet the government takes it out on real chronic pain patients. Our Federal Government, state government and on down are controlling our lives more and more and they know it. Congress members can get what ever pain meds they need or want. Congress members are bought and paid for buy lobbyist that lobby for drug makers, health insurance, big business and the rich people plus they get in sider trading with stock market, have their own special health insurance, free retirement for life even if they served just one term. America is a great country but our government does not work for the average hard working citizen and now they are making chronic pain patients suffer due to junkies using illegal drugs - those who sell it and use it should be the ones who get punished for it. Our government is as crooked as it get’s. Let me and other pain patients get the pain meds they need so we don’t suffer every second of our lives. Chronic pain is quasi to torture and that is the pure truth.


All I can say is this just scares me to realize how bad it really is getting for those who take the meds as prescribed and are the ones being denied treatment. Yet, methadone clinics are doing anything to keep them on any amount needed. And you look at addiction treatment centers and the money they’re making from this made up crisis and I can only shake my head and pray someone wakes up soon in our government and see the damage they’re causing patients who have used meds as prescribed without abusing them. The ones overdosing and abusing will get them any way they can no matter what the government does to stop the ones who use them as prescribed. We need protection against those that have no medical degree and chronic pain issue knowledge. But, instead, they give the ones they know abuse drugs Naloxone to take for WHEN they do overdose! Go figure.

Jody Hoffman

If you are taking a prescribed opiate medication they can’t force treatment or terminate you. That is called discrimination and against the law and will open them to a lawsuit. My employer was just fine with me taking the opiates I needed and supported me working until I just couldn’t anymore, I think that this is just another attempt to create fear for people

Lise Paul

This would not be good.

Deni H

I knew when I first saw the material that triggered me writing this article that there are too many of us out there suffering. My fibro triggered in 2009 and by 2014, I was on SSDI. Condition was bad enough that I made it through the system the first time without having to appeal it. I was more functional up until 9/2017 when I lost my meds. Since then, I was medicated following dental surgery and when I had the shingles. When I sprained my back last summer, I was given 10 Percocet. When everyone recently realized that I have a pinched nerve and 3 herniated disks instead of 2 disks? Not a thing. I hold on as I can. I write for activism purposes on this subject. We need to be heard. I feel blessed that I can still type and write, but at the same time, the arthritis in my hands is worsening so I’m not typing quite as fast as I used to.

We lose other things with our disabilities as well. I was blessed to have a precious cat who always knew when I was at my worst, and it was at those times, he would quite literally hold me. Sebastian was my everything. He died two weeks ago at the age of 22 months. He died because I didn’t have an extra $1,000 that would have saved his life in an emergency. Nobody would help me and his death was completely unnecessary, Nobody was willing to do payment plans or extend credit to someone in excruciating pain who doesn’t look sick. I have been gifted a new therapy kitty who at 8 weeks old is very much in training, but has some incredible potential. Actually, she is my sanity right now because the pain of absolutely everything — on top of my 8-1/2 out of 10 on a good day pain levels - doing without that factor might just have been the end of me.

I wish you all well. I know I’m not shutting up any time soon - we need to be loud about these issues and not allow ourselves to be no more than collateral damage.


Hi I to have disk problems and pinched nerves . I to take opioids that is the only way I would managed to get to work . I live in the UK we don’t quite have the same drug policies at work . This is the list of what I take OxyContin pregabalin naproxen deluxaten all to help the pain . Ps they cut my OxyContin proscription in half still il a lot of pain I’m thinking of trying to get medical cannabis and try that see if I can get off the OxyContin it worth a try kind regards Brian

WOW! Thank you Denise for this information. I had no idea it would ever go this far! It truly is an awful invasion of privacy. Let’s hope that attorneys will finally see this as a reason to fight for us.
God bless you for having the capability to work with all that you suffer from. I truly hope this will never effect that livelihood for you. Keep strong.

charles w ball

I worked for 17 years without telling my employer i was taking hydrocodone 4 times a day for cronic back pain. Im now retired and dont live in the fear that i will be let go because of my pain meds. I would of been on the street’s and in emergency rooms if they would have treated me like i did something illegal instead of being productive. I now jump through the hoops and try to live with three hydrocodone a day. Enough to dull but not take away the pain in my back. I sleep a lot and am not going to have my nerves in my 4 / 5 area burned to kill the nerves. What i want, no but another hoop to jump through.
Its horrible to think of myself as an outcast but that is what i have become. At 70 at least i have some good years to look back on.


How do I get involved? How can I help


How can I get involved?


I am retired RN, CNN because of cancer. I am a irretractable chronic pain patient and the reality is I have more years behind me than ahead of me. Cancer, fibromyalgia, chronic pancreatitis, and debilitating migraines with out Opoids has depressed me to the point of panic attacks. I have been compliant for 20years and now I am profiled as an addict.
A travisty of Injustice by profiling me and stripping away quickly any dignity I have. My government agencies have taken away my trust to live my last year’s free of pain. I worked as an RN and never worked as an addict. Now I am given NO choice in my medical care but to learn to deal with the pain or die. Those who are working have been profiled, bullied, demeaned, devalued, and stripped of any dignity as a citizen.
My government has abandoned me as a citizen and placed me with drug addicts with no appropriate studies or evidence.
I have no advocate in my government agencies. So now my irretractable chronic pain is beyond bearing but my government is SILENT.
For those who continue to work this is a battle that wears every fiber of your body to profound depression, pain, and tiredness.
Our government has abandoned us to the point they are punishing the ones who are physically exhausted from pain and can’t cry out “Please listen to my plea” and shutting the door to there cries.

C. Sieving

The new CDC regulations have Drs putting a spin on everyone’s situation. No opioids in work places & if you’re on disability, you must be depressed so no opioids.
I’d be happy to share my story as well. Thank you for sharing yours. We are all being labeled addicts and being punished for chronic pain that we obviously wish we didn’t have. I wish Tylenol and ibuprofen would work so I could sleep and live again. None of us want to keep going to Doctors and asking to be heard and helped.

Sherry Bender

What they fail to understand is if we can no longer work because we take pain medication to have some kind of life, we will all apply for SS disability….. who is going to pay for that as this will over whelm that system as well.

Thomas Wayne Kidd

I fear that this insanity will be like the Prohibition of the early 20Th. century, actually it already us like it. Beware that this is a concerted effort by evil to control all peoples lives and it is without empathy or compassion. Chronic pain people are considered expendable. Our world will soon become a literal hell on earth. Be aware that this has been going on for at least 2 decades now. We must realize that we cannot count on our government to protect us. The innocent is always first to be attacked. This should be plain by looking back to Roe V Wade of 1973, but people refuse to acknowledge that these things are going on. Talking about these horrible things does little good, especially when people continue reading vote and elect those greedy uncaring bastards to go to our state and federal government’s. For decades now anything concerning Jesus Christ has been systematically removed from public life. Yet people just continue on complaining and doing nothing. The warning message of these horrible coming catastrophic things coming upon this planet is rejected by most people here and world-wide. A couple of generations have been conditioned to accept the evolution lie and now act like the animal kingdom. Yet those who claim to be Christian (Christ like) just roll over and go back to sleep. In my 67 years on this earth I have tried to warn people if these times we are now living in, but sadly with little success. The states of this country will fall in line eventually whether people believe it or not. I encourage people was individuals to prepare themselves before a loving and just Creator. Those who have rejected our Redeemer and Creator, darkness covers them. Seek The Holy One while there is still time. “Now is the day of Salvation, but it has an end. “Marvel not at this: For the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the RESURRECTION of death.”

I want to know why any drug addict can walk into a methadone clinic and get medicated and have their dose raised anytime by just asking. All they have to do is give a dirty urine. As a pain patient I am being forced tapered along with every other poor soul who is not dying from terminal cancer or in a Hospice. I give a urine every visit and I have never given a dirty urine In 25 years. Do I I have to take illicit drugs and rest my life and freedom just to be properly medicated there’s something very wrong here and this goes against human rights, patient rights and it is not acceptable to become collateral damage. Being forced to become an addict is insanity.

Victim left suffering...

Intractable cpps have ALL been virtually raped by all levels of medical, PM, pharmacists, the Feds, the whole gamut. Nothing but deceit, lies, betrayal, a faux Fed Agenda and their Fed alphabet soup Agencies.

Sorry ( NOT) if anybody cannot handle the truth but sarcastically I say ” Thank you illicits, SUDs and Duds. You made the conscious choice for your doings, then made the conscious choice to refuse rehab. You had, you have options. POTUS has ensured it’s ” free” treatment with the 10b $ pkg. he approved mainly for your group.
CPP’s don’t have that choice. Our suffering 7. 24. 365 IS your fault. Our PM Docs have been witch hunted, victims of bogus charges and run out of practice. We did nothing wrong, no illicits. We are cpps. Not addicts. We have horrid diseases and suffer terribly. We had 0 fun using rec illicits, abusing substances. We would only like our once functional lives back when we DID have access to appropriate PM and legal prescriptions for pain proven to work well and alleviate our suffering.

It’s a travesty we cpps not only are denied access to appropriate critically needed pm when we struggle to pay health insurance, deducts, copays. Most of us are not ” entitled” to free care ..

God bless the intractable CPP who continues the infinite hoop jumping thanks to the Illicit Drug Crisis which created the National Pain Crisis…

Everything written here is absolutely correct. A lot of pain patients are only able to work because of their pain medication. But their medication can keep them from from working due to stigma.

Mary W.

There is no federal legislation banning opioid Rx medication in the workplace; if this were true it would have made front page headlines.

However, companies are obligated to carry workman’s compensation and general liability insurance. These are commercial insurance products. I have seen “marketing” material encouraging employers to reduce risk by implementing a zero-tolerance policy.

Personally, I believe this is anti-ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and an invasion of privacy.

Any company’s HR department enacting a zero-tolerance policy for legitimate prescribed Rx medication is wrongful, anti-American and police state. Cruelty in the workplace. Seems like the Industrial Age 19th century putting small children to work for pittance wage. Horrific.

Debbie Nickels Heck, MD

Assinine & uneducated! Those are the ONLY words to describe such a proposal. I’d already seen this happen in some workplaces years ago & found it disgusting. Because I am well-versed in brain chemistry, I could fight for the rights of patients to take needed medications by stating how they were not adversely affected mentally and usually won usually language many other physicians couldn’t because they didn’t attend the same meetings I had, didn’t have the same knowledge base and unfortunately still don’t because so few ever decided to attend such programs to become as educated. Unfortunately, I was wrongly forced out of practice by unethical parties known to drive good Drs out of practice by fabricating false information against us and feeding it to the board who has remained unaware of their devious actions so patients were robbed of my ability to help them by telling employers the truth and fighting for their rights to work just as MY right to work was taken from me by an unethical person who is yet to be exposed.

Kim Quintero

My God if it weren’t for my past pain pills I would of had to stop working way before I did. I suffered at work anyways, but loved working. This is going to far. I would not say my focus was better, but it allowed me to work. Then one morning I could not get out of bed and had to take disability, not job related.
I tore my spine in my 20’s from L1-L5 have fibro since the 80’s, osto, Triminegal Neurology, and bones growing in my skull that have attached to my brain. I’m a worker and always have been. Now my life is heating pads and Tylenol #4. My pain is at 9 and they don’t even touch it. I feel bad for people trying to work and are treated to such political crap. People are trying to make something of their lives when it’s hard enough dealing with pain. How can anyone judge a patient without even seeing them.
Shame on those judges and Doctors.

Alex Stephens

I am a full time professional Construction Manager who has CRPS and who takes opioid pain medications to function. This has been like dancing on a tightrope because in my business there really is no such thing as long term employment. So the constant threat of pre employment drug tests rear their ugly heads all too often. But I have discovered that there are two types of drug test.
Test type one is just a flat out test for anything in your system. You can actually fail this test if you took two Tylenol this morning for a headache. These centers doing this test could care less about your prescriptions, your illness or anything related to why you might take something that is illicit in their mind.
Test type two is far more fair. You take your prescriptions with you to the test. They record the medication and the dosage. Then when they test they test to see if you are taking more of your medication that prescribed and/or if you are using any other “Street” drugs. These tests I see as fair, the first type however … NOT.
A year or so ago I was subjected to the first type of test. I dutifully brought my prescription bottles, literature on CRPS including a McGill Pain Scale for reference. All of this was brushed aside to my dismay and I told the person at the testing center - “I’m going to fail this” - as if they cared. They made me feel small, dirty, like some scumbag panhandling bum it was to say the least humiliating. I did everything to be pre-emptive about this. I went immediately to the Health and Safety Director of the company and told him about the test and my projected outcome. I then called my treating physician right in front of him on speaker and requested he send the director a letter stating that I was first of all safe to do my job and second of all that my use of pain killers was monitored by monthly testing at his office. With that in hand the company faced a wrongful termination charge if the dismissed me.

Eric Howard

In my workplace there were quite a few people here that had to have pain killers to function. There was no abuse and this is a school district. Not allowed to take your meds is bull crap 😠


This is so so sad. Being someone who can’t work because I know I would be a liability. No job wants someone who would call off all the time. I miss work. I keep trying to figure out how to get back to work. My family could really use the money. If these laws pass I will never even have a chance. Without them I can’t even get out of bed. Why are we treated like criminals.


Research has shown that people using opioids for pain are not cognitively impaired and this has been shown to be the case with driving skills specifically. This is a witch hunt! The people suggesting these policies are not basing them in n science. They are basing these policies on misguided assumptions and hearsay. The idea that using pain medications always impairs people is completely incorrect and has no basis in science. When are we going to get back to rationality and reason in this country? It makes me ashamed to be American and we are no longer the land of the free. We are the land of intrusion in not peoples’ personal lives and intrusion into peoples’ private medical concerns. Even China isn’t this intrusive and insane!

Alan Thurman

I want to thank Congress and the fda for their wisdom on pain killers. I used to take 180 5 mg Percocet. I used to make a living selling advertising and while I was on those dirty nasty pain killers I would umpire softball for the past 15 years. Now, since my doctor retired in 2017 I have not had any prescribed pain medication. I have gained 76 pounds. I have no job, I haven’t be able to clean my house, mow my yard, wash myself. I sit in a chair 15 to 20 hours a day. I sleep no more than three hours at a time. I have been to physical therapy 3 times( it helps sone days, most of the time it hurts other areas) u know they only work on one area at a time. So, if you have a fractured facet joint and a pinched nerve in your neck only one will be looked at at a time. I have had three cat scans so many Xrays, several emergency room visits ( tge last visit they gave me a medication that made my stomach bleed and. It’s says on the website do not give for acute pain, give two weeks prior to surgery(so that was a waste of time, money, and my stomach wall. I have gone to see chiropractors, acupuncture specials, massage therapy. I listen to healing frequencies and I watch yoga( I can’t move enough to try yoga it hurts to much. My ffuture looks Grimm. Lucky for me I have a tougher than nails super mom. 72 years young and moves like 50 year old. So thank you Congress and fda, your opioid policy is bankrupting Medicaid and Medicare it’s exactly the opposite of how to handle this situation. I can fix it. I can make everyone happy. U have to contact me and I will give you the answer. Otherwise just continue on, oh! I forgot to include radio frequency and steroid injections into the therapies I gave tried, none of those therapies work they are all 789% more expensive than opioids. I think someone e built a bunch of rehabs and they are looking for customers. This. Is horrible your policy has ruined my life, I was making 3 times the average income, thanks elections

Keith Tentler

I sympathize with you. I had a ER Dr tell me to “Walk it off” when I was brought in with a shattered upper tibia.

Lori vennell

HI,its against ada for them to do that.If u need opioids in order to work.


This board has been so helpful in helping me not to feel so isolated by the new stigma of being a pain patient. My problem started in 1993 when I broke my back in an automobile accident. I went 3 mos with nothing for pain thinking it would just get better, well it didn’t.
I started with an orthopedic dr who prescribed pain medication that made life tolerable and then my family physician took over my maintenance until 2004 when the dea started their crackdown. From there I was pushed into a pain clinic where I was made to feel like a drug addicted problem child with monthly drug test pill counts . I am not out looking for kicks but rather just a trying man seeking some quality of life.
I could go on for ever but I guess my point is I feel so sorry for parents who have lost a child to overdose, that being said some of the responsibility has to be shifted to parents being a tuned to their own. I have never given , sold nor abused my meds so why for those who choose to abuse drugs, why should I be policed and treated with disrespect?
If we don’t bond together and fight for our quality of life no one else will!!!