Vote on Oregon’s Controversial Forced Opioid Tapering Expected This Week

Vote on Oregon’s Controversial Forced Opioid Tapering Expected This Week

On Thursday (March 14th), the Oregon Health Authority is going to vote on a proposal that just about everyone who treats chronic pain thinks is a bad idea.

Essentially, the proposal would force Oregon Medicaid patients off opioid medications without their consent.

This vote is happening despite intense criticism aimed at the agency from over 100 leaders in pain medicine, addiction and public health who raised their concern in a letter that was sent to the Oregon Health Authority. It said that the risks of involuntary tapering and the importance of facilitating access of medications to people who need them should be at the center of the debate.

Here is a National Pain Report story on the letter.

The experts also pointed out there aren’t data to support the premise that forced tapering of opioids works for patients and that, in fact, the practice itself is dangerous to patients.

The pain leaders said in their letter that Oregon’s proposal “is a large-scale experiment on medically, psychologically and economically vulnerable Oregonians at a moment when Oregon has already seen a significant reduction in opioid prescribing.”

As the former head of the Southern Pain Society, Dr. Geralyn Datz said this weekend in a tweet from the American Academy of Pain Medicine meeting in Denver:

“(We need) Psychological strategies for opioid tapering and patient centered care. Regarding the new trend of forced tapers: “These policies are written to the dose, not the person. (There is a) Dire need for tailoring to patients needs- preferences & careful patient selection.”

This forced taper policy would already have been adopted by the OHA had not a group of chronic pain patients—led by Amara Moon not rallied people in Oregon and pain leaders from around the country.

The New York Times reported recently that as opioid prescribing fell, pain patients suffered. The story revealed that doctors and insurers are using federal guidelines as cover to turn away patients, experts tell the C.D.C. and Congress.

The OHA is willing to pay for more alternative therapies for pain patients—like cognitive behavioral therapy, acupuncture and physical therapy- while they are being forced to “get off” opioids.

How they act this week will not only be important to the state of Oregon and its, but also may, according to chronic pain advocates, encourage other states to follow what they believe is a very bad example of public policy.

The meeting starts at 1:30 pm on Thursday.

Public listen-in only line: 1-888-204-5984, participant code 801373

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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Kelli Cantrell

What’s wrong with America. People in chronic pain or pain that will go away , need this. Where is the compassion. Dr and pharmaceutical companies began this. Prescribed for hang nails. Ha ha but you get it. We need to stand as one. Very sad we are treated so poorly

Margie, I had surgery in December. My dr.thought 15 immediate release pain pills was enough boy was he wrong. He said I could make an emergency visit if I needed more. I told him my Surgeon didn’t want me riding over 30 minutes at a time for 3 weeks and I live 2 hours away. He wrote a dated prescription for a week later. When my husband picked it up it was not an immediate release. I suffered a lot, please tell your give you 2 weeks worth of immediate release it will take everyone of them I promise you. After 2 weeks the regular meds do ok but they make you wait 8hours between doses and the medication don’t last that long for the pain you’re in. I took tylenol between doses but it didn’t help .Good luck and God bless

Sorry I’m blowing up national pain report. Just saw on oann news they had on there two different men who claimed that he started at 15 years old and he could go to the physician and get anything he wanted. I have to say BS. then he said got him hooked then he went to Mexican street drugs Fentanyl, second guy they didn’t elaborate on what got him started but also it was fentanyl finally we hear the word Fentanyl. Both these guys said they overdosed three times and was brought back to life with using Narcan. My comment for the government you can’t fix stupid. If something killed you once why tried it two more times !!! But what ticks me off is the drug addicts again are getting all the news coverage. I had to suffer for yrs w/o pain meds and finally got a doctor to do mri on back. Then taken seriously and I didn’t start with opiates I started with steroid shots but to be able to continue to work it was not enough and then I was put on opiates. I don’t have that now cuz of these jackasses addicts/ d e a threatening doctors. I believe the addicts say they got it from a physician but they don’t want to tell the truth and say they probably stole it or they bought fentanyl. But the addicts are saying the scenario of the times, they don’t realize they’re hurting legitimate chronic pain people. But they don’t care about themselves so they’re not going to care about anyone else. So you have the Dr.kolody lapping up every drop of their lies.

I spoke with my dentist today and she was telling me that she’s still recovering from a wreck that happened eight months ago caused by a drunk driver ramming into her car and she sit at a stop traffic light. There was no one stopping that person from buying all the alcohol they wanted and getting as drunk as possible and getting them behind the car though there’s laws but that person was able too freely go into a liquor store load up a cart and go get drunk as a skunk and then almost killing my dentist. Now my dentist will live with whiplash injury that’s causing her serious neck pain / back pain but guess what she won’t get any treatment with opiates. we wouldn’t want to get her addicted now would we. The drunk driver this is their second DUI. So how many times did she freely get to go to the liquor store and get drunk. Let’s not hinder the drunks a bit because buying alcohol is legal. She also told me about people that had surgery and said they were left to suffer after surgery. That she hopes that she does not have to face surgery as a last resort. Next wk is my surgery, i am scared of suffering.


We are supposed to be a free country. They have no right to take anyone’s right to a quality of life. It’s not like they are telling them no to illegal drugs. Medication is a tool for Dr and patient to help manage pain.


It’s unfair that someone judge how people comment. That’s what this website is for, is to speak one’s mind. Stating people are wrong and vicious just adds to the Insanity we’re going through. We are all in this together! We’re scared and were hurting. When this happens there are going to be comments that may offend another. When one is in severe pain one is usually not too happy and may say something not intended to hurt someone else, but may be construed this way. What next, take away our freedom of speech?! Instead of arguing with and judging one another we should be in this for each other as well as feel comfortable to comment anyway one sees fit without someone else being corrective and judgmental.

I remember what it’s called adrenal gland dysfunction when you suffer pain that’s been untreated you start losing adrenal gland function and you can develop Addison’s which in turn can kill the person. also have problems regulating blood pressure . Please forgive me, I am one of those people that have untreated pain and I do forget a lot. I did not fail drug test or urine test or pill count but because of the narcissistic doctor, I disagreed with him.

When I was going to pain management on my first visit while I was sitting in the waiting room filling out paperwork waiting with the rest of the patients , the receptionist answer the phone then ask the doctor, do you accept Medicaid patients and while she was still on the phone with the person inquiring, the doctor was laughing and said no what will I get paid a dollar. That should have been my warning sign there because I found it very disgusting. Number one if he felt that way he shouldn’t have said it openly in front of the full waiting room or while the receptionist was on the phone he should have just said no. His A-hole attitude should have been kept to himself. Unfortunately he was a total narcissist. I noticed on Google website he is noted as one of the top three pain management clinics in my town. I don’t know how that could be when there is so many bad ratings for him. Anyway I read undertreated and not treated pain mixer frontal cortex brain tissue shrink causing depression and anxiety as well as forgetfulness. There is also widespread body dysfunction. Basically the body starts to
deteriorate quicker and age faster. so we’re talking about more health issues then just suffering pain. It’s PTSD for the body.


The treatment (or lack of) for pain should not be politicized as one or two of the below commenters have done (WRONGLY and VICIOUSLY), however misdirected their posts might be. Those of us who seriously suffer from chronic, intractable pain must distance ourselves from such vile responses and rhetoric heretofore not seen in the National Pain Report comment section until now.

That said, I hold out hope for the chronic pain community of Oregonians who have emailed, written, telephoned, or otherwise contacted their state legislators about their plight. To attack Oregon’s most marginalized and vilified Medicaid patients is reprehensible and the state officials responsible for the “direct hit” legislation toward chronic pain patients receiving Medicaid should be held accountable, AS WELL AS the legislators who looked the other way.

We as Americans retain one of our most precious guarantees of our Constitutional rights, the right to vote. As often is the case with chronic pain patients, if you’re physically unable to vote on Election Day, make sure (way ahead of designated election time), you either vote absentee or whatever your State offers in the way of guaranteeing your ability to vote.

(Note: Just to be clear, I am not politicizing my comment by calling out a particular party or person. I have no idea the majority party in Oregon, or how they voted in their Capitol in their capital. I’m merely reminding Oregon voters, as well as all other chronic pain voters in the other 49 States, that we should be a unified voice when any State has legislative issues regarding pain. We need to be heard!)

Mary…sorry to hear about your abuse. This country is getting worse and worse. Did you call local news station or newspaper? Journalistic truth is our only hope.

Never thought we would actually have fascism under an authoritaian regime in this country that targets and abuses a specific economic or social group. Shame on usa.

Robin Heller

Those poor people who suffer everyday and HAVE A RIGHT to live pain free will now have to hit the streets for dope.
Leave the medicine to the doctors. Leave the patients and medicine alone. The chronic pain patients are not the issue. The doctors are not the issue. The medication is not the issue.
What have you government [edit] done?

Yes Terri we are in a world of pain but it just doesn’t sit well with me for you to always blame Trump. Why did you never mention Obama when he is the one that started our troubles. I for one think our Senators and Congressmen and woman that own the Rehab centers as well as lobbyists pushing medical marijuana are also too blame. So dear let’s take names and kick them out of office. regardless of political parties.


Some folks here do not understand this non opiate world is going to be the law of the land no mater how inhumane or insane if it passes. I pray not but will not be surprised if it does judging by the last meeting of this heartless group. Have you noticed mission creep over five years? How would this stop addicts? They simply become hookedon something else. Meanwhile, CPP LIVES DO NOT MATTER!

Rebecca A. Corvello

If you think that’s bad, take a look at what they’re doing to us here in Florida: the pain management doctors are force-tapering ALL patients off of opioids, to less than the “90 mEq morphine *required * by the FDA” (requirement that is NOT TRUE.) So regardless of what insurance you have, you’re getting force-tapered… Even those of us with chronic pain that have been on higher doses for years and have been *completely functional with well-controlled pain*. I told my doctor this week to be prepared when I have to quit my job and go on disability for their refusal to help me manage my pain and be a functional productive member of society (I’m a registered pharmacy technician - both for the state of Florida, and I have been nationally certified for almost a decade now.)

Janelle Dalstra

I am appalled at the insensitivity and lack of mercy from all these people who insist there’s no need for those who live with chronic debilitating pain, to be on Opioid pain medication! Just where are you coming from? Obviously from no education or personal experience! If you or any of your loved ones have never gone though anyone of these diseases that cause severe unrelenting neuropathic pain, then you shouldn’t be involved in making any comments. I’ve suffered for more than twenty years with six autoimmune diseases and narcotics were the only treatment that gave me any value of life. Are you willing to make this decision and then stand by and watch people commit suicide due to no relief Or be raped or killed trying to find it on the black market. Life isn’t worth living in severe pain and you will be the one to blame! You think your doing the right thing, your not! This drug problem isn’t about the treating pain clinic doctors and their patients! They shouldn’t be the ones that are suffering from it!

Mary Putman

I had a knee replacement in the hospital and they treated me like I was there just for pain meds. I was opioid tolerance in before and they did not increase my meds to accommodate the pain. The nurse could of helped me but they did not. The mentally of the people in the medical field . How dare they take away our right to be treated with opioids. So sorry to everyone of you dealing with the blind medical field. Outraged and hurting.

Terri James

Vicki, Obama may have started this but Trump COULD stop it if he wanted to; he is the president! Compared to his wall this is a small problem for him to fix and HE COULD do so if he wanted to, you can’t tell me he couldn’t. He has made more than one speech as to how he will not stop until he has the opioid crisis taken care of. If one president couldn’t fix the problems that the last one caused we would definitely be in a world of hurt my dear, in which might I add; we are!!!

Sheri Maguiretr4y

Yes I’m a chronic pain person. You guys are crazy.ive thought of suicide it since being cut I broke .yneck twice second d time at work.not my fault. Thanks there are some of us who use our pain meds as directed. Maybe I should get some heroin fentanyl do you know what it’s like? Do you know the depression and suicidal thoughts of withdrawal etc. I was clean ten years when I broke it my neck at work the second time.this is not the property way to go. I’ll take legal action against you if this is forced on me. Where are my civil rights no way this will solve our heroin epidemic and suicide. I’d be careful if I was you. A very concerned amwrican in pain.i don’t agree and while I contemate street drugs and suicide you’re passing a bill that violates me as an American. Godspeed oh I hope you don’t get hurt or a child etc. It’s not fun.

Part 2: my point about my first comment is as examples transgender people said they were assigned the wrong sex at Birth. That’s fine with me. But they are saying in their mind they feel they have been assigned the wrong sex and chronic pain people are saying that they are in pain even when all the alternative treatments have failed but are saying the opiates help relieve pain and are willing to switch off opiates to a different proven pain treatment if it works. Both cases have people saying that they have a issue and neither case can be proven by doctors that this isn’t true by the individual’s body feelings or beliefs but intractable pain people have MRIs that say they are in pain. If brain scans can show a person is in pain but can’t prove a transgender person should be a different sex than what they are by MRI of the brain. But the insurance is choosing to pay for gender reassignment regardless of proof that it will not harm the individual in the future. Because powers-that-be are saying that opiates could possibly addict someone in the future. But 50 million intractable pain people are being punished over the 2 million that are addicts. The numbers do not make sense that the powers that be or more concerned over transgender rights and the two million addicts. Sorry transgender trying to make a point , where are intractable pain people’s rights? I’m just using examples not being a hater.

I am not a hater but when insurance companies are willing to pay for gender reasignment which cost a small Fortune but not pay for opiate pills to alleviate pain. I don’t understand insurance. Is it whats popular move at the time & pain people are not popular ? Oregon is going to have high suicide rate. Oregon are haters. God help us all. My heart goes out to medicaid pain people.

Terri James, get real this is no fault of Trump. Obama started the alphabet agencies on this in 2012 I think. It just took all of them time to get ramped up in full force. Also Terri I for one want that wall. Yes I would like to be out of pain instead of having to be mostly in bed, but I won’t blame the wrong person for the start on the hellish cut back of my meds. All this talk of of suicide that I read from comments is ridiculous. I refuse to ever consider suicide even when I am flat on my back screaming with pain. God Bless everyone and may the real experts win for CCP.


I live on the east coast so I don’t know much about your state? I do know that this is unbelievably scary to me. What are they thinking? Maybe someone can fill me in on the mindset of the people who may do this in spite of being warned against it?
About Kratom, sorry I can’t see the post to get the correct spelling, but I did a bit of research and I was discouraged by what I learned. Nothing would make me happier than to get off opioids so I am interested but I’m afraid that it’s not always safe?


Why has nobody in Oregon stepped up to have mass protests every week ???they r gonna ruin it for the rest of the states THANKS FOR DOING NOTHING . Every person in that state should be outraged!!!ridiculous. They’d rather whine on Facebook then step up and fight this!!!unreal.

Diana Foster

I have been a 21 year pain patient and it blows my mind that someone’s going to make a decision for my pain control that is never read my chart of what my body is racked with. Obviously none of them have ever had chronic pain it should be left in the hands of the physician to work individually with the patient on the amount of pain medication they have according to what their body is wracked with. It should never be put in the hands of public who not only are not paying patients but don’t have concept of what it is to live 24/7 with pnb on which are almost able to handle. A lot of people are talking about going to street drugs or taking their lives as a Christian neither one of them are my options but one of them does look tempting if this pain can’t be controlled, I’m just on my knees before the Lord and what’s going to happen with all of this but think very carefully before you vote against or for something that will further Hinder or quality of daily life as pain patients.


What law grants Oregon the power to ban specific, maistream medical treatments?

Where is it stated that a Oregon has the authority to deny medication, that is federally regulated and scheduled, to it’s citizens?

How do they plan to implement these new rules? Will prescribers be arrested and prosecuted? Patients? Pharmacists? If so, will they be granted due process and provided with lawyers?

Additionally, opiod prescribing is currently down 40% in 6 years. What is this law intended to accomplish?

This doesn’t sound thought through at all, nor legal. Oregon residents please gather together and sue your government. They are violating your rights.

Please reach out to the rest of the country and crowd source your funding for a law suit. We are all watching and we will help. Until that day comes, we are praying for you.

Dana Wirth

If the state of Oregon allows this insanity to continue , it will will only add to the supposed “Opioid Crisis” as chronic pain paitents become colatteral damage in this draconian and unsupported move to forcefully remove these patients from needed medication.My experience with chronic pain started when I was first diagnosed with breast cancerwhen I developed intercostal pain several months after surgery due to nerve and muscle damage and needed low dose opioids and muscle relaxers to be able to continue to carry on with my life and work. Several years later the cancer returned requiring a full mastectomy. The intercostal pain increased to full severe Post Mastecomy Pain Syndrome affecting my entire torso, which required additional medications and the increase of my opioids. For 17 years I have used these medications without a problem and rely on them to keep my pain at a level so I still had some small qualityof life. Now I have severe DDD with disc fraactures, protrusions, nerve impingements, etc. and am awaiting surgery.
My pain can be unbearable and brings me to teaes at times but I have never abused my meds or used sreeet dregs but my doctors have reduced them till they are not enough and I am always left in pain. How does that make sense? My case is mild comparred to many others, some who have been driven to take their own lives because their lives were intollerable. The problem is not prescription opioids but designer street drugs like fentanyl, meth, cocaine, and herion . Don’t punish pain patients. The CDC based their recommendations on falsified information. Make them and other organizations come clean anf tell the truth then put CARE back into HEALTHCARE.

Thomas Kidd

Insanity is the problem here. And population control??

Pamela L Townsend

By the way, this is Gov Browns way of increasing her income by not having to shell out money for a needy population . Great way to makeup up deficient on the back of Medicaid patients. I see a class action lawsuit brewing!!!!

Pamela L Townsend

Salem Clinic already put out notice in Oct. 2018 that they were doing forced tapering, how Medicad patients. This has already started…..

The state is just doing what the Umpqua Health Alliance already proved could be done back in the summer of 2013. They act as the CCO for the Oregon Health Plan in Douglas County. They forcefully took all OHP patients off opioids back then without giving them any other alternatives. They later realized they needed to provide them something else, so they added a few visits for chiropractic, acupuncture, and such. Despite what many of these state and federally funded Community Health Center clinics say, that they don’t treat chronic pain, they actually do. But different “rules” apply. If you have severe pain from chronic low back pain due to degenerative disc disease or arthritis, you CAN get medications IF you have GOOD commercial insurance. IF you have OHP, then you get NO opioids. Not treatment based on your medical conditions, your insurance is what’s being treated all to the benefit of their bottom-line. Despite three years of the CDC Guidelines being in effect, you wouldn’t know that these clinics really cared, as their pain agreements haven’t changed, don’t always get done with all patients, and drug testing is only used a way to throw patients out of the clinics. I have seen some of these local doctors failing to drug test their “pet” patients for years, while others get drug tested at almost every visit. Some of the providers rely solely on the point-of-care office tests that are known to make mistakes, but they sometimes refuse to run the recommended confirmation laboratory tests that the manufacturers and major pain organizations advise. If they don’t want YOU to get your pain medications, they will find a way to DENY you pain medications. I have heard patients say that some of these providers just look at them and say “You don’t look like a drug addict” when making comments about their medications. Talk about biased discriminatory treatments. All done on taxpayer money too.

M Billeaudeaux

I saw a report from the Washington Post on CNN this morning where a group of journalists researched why this so-called “epidemic” or “crisis” is so bad right now. The increase in accidental overdoses starting to drastically increase in 2008. After they studied possible causes they found this is when the introduction of Fentynal from China was beginning to be prescribed more frequently, then they noticed the increase traveled from state to state. I believe that this is such a strong factor in trying to help with this problem without hurting chronic pain patients. Seems no one else has specifically studied this sudden jump in deaths at that time and why. It was mostly due to mostly synthetically manufactured opioids is what I understood. This may be the beginning of getting answers and help to those addicts.

Theresa Negrete

If this passes in Oregon, I will believe that this is an attack on the some of the most vulnerable people in our Country, the sick and mostly elderly. Could this possibly be part of a depopulation plan? Or, is this just the Psychopaths running the Country getting a kick out of watching and knowing CPP’s patients are suffering. Is there now little compassion and empathy in our top officials? What the heck is the truth behind all the misinformation that prevails in this Country today, including the lies that fueled the Opioid Crisis? My [edit] sifter is usually pretty sharp! Now a days, there’s to much [edit] (overt and covert lies and deception ) to sift through. This Country is buried in [edit] right now and boy does it STINK!


Where do I go to to add my name to the vote ? I am also a CCP since 2004, was cut off recently due to Dr. changing her practice… Not! The feds have made millions in Florida have to go cold turkey. I was on an opiate until we found that methadone was the best for me. Same dose and about for 10 years. I never needed an increase the entire time, that worked. Period. I have to hold my tongue about those who have OD’d & the suicides because the direction on how to take your medications cannot be any more dumbed down.


“The OHA is willing to pay for more alternative therapies for pain patients—like cognitive behavioral therapy, acupuncture and physical therapy–”

Yes, & by a remarkable coincidence, the members of the Chronic Pain Task Farce are nearly all practitioners of those disciplines…so they stand to directly benefit financially, hugely, by their own forced policy. How ’bout that. Monstrous cruelty & self-serving money grubbing in one neat package.

These people are going to go down in history alongside the perpetrators of the Tuskegee experiment, the forced sterilization of handicapped & Black Americans, and other vile acts of infamy. I just grieve that many of us forced into needless suffering & death won’t still be around to see them judged.


I was prescribed methadone 15 years ago for chronic pain. I don’t live in Oregon and I’m not on medicaid but I have been force tapered over the past year period due to new prescribing laws. I have been tapered to less than half what I took for 15 years. It has been hell at times. Long story short I found out about Kratom, a natural substance made from dried leaves of a tree In Indonesia. It has freed me from the DEA controlled nightmare. I have voluntarily quit methadone altogether. There is nothing that helps with methadone withdrawal. Except Kratom. I just wanted to put this out there for others to research. It is a miracle herb and heals the mind. It controls my pain as well as methadone ever did. IMO it is a gift from God here now, to aid the good law abiding ppl being left behind due to the opiate crisis. Good luck and God bless.

Donna Corley

This new trend of treating chronic intractable pain patients with “alternative therapies for pain patients—like cognitive behavioral therapy, acupuncture and physical therapy”, will not work for many patients who suffer with neurological disorders and spinal cord diseases, such as MS, fibromyalgia, Adhesive Arachnoiditis, RSD/CRPS, and Tarlov Cyst Disease.
Accupuncture is only temporary and doesn’t last long from what I’ve heard from patients who’s tried it. The pain is back mostly by the time they leave the office after the treatment.. Not only that, insurance will not pay for alot of alternative therapies.
Physical therapy can/does make patients much worse who suffer with these diseases. There is NO one size fits all for any patient.
With these diseases, especially those affecting the spinal cord has to have unique treatment specifically designed for each patient. What works for one may not work for another.. Apparently OHA doesn’t understand that these therapies will not work for certain patients and has the potential of causing more harm!

Terri James

This is insanely barbaric on so many levels! Psychiatric therapy does not work. I’ve been asked to go a few times and did. I’d rather have a colonoscopy! My psychiatrist is the Good Lord above and the feel-good handbooks they make you buy are full of baloney! The Holy Bible is my hand book to life and how to live it! Secondly just what on Earth are they going to say to you to tell you to do when your body wakes up throbbing like a flipping toothache? Physical therapy is to help injuries to return to normal. What about cancer, back pain due to degenerative and bulging discs, EDS, the list is endless as to what physical therapy won’t touch. Acupuncture? It cost a small fortune for I had a friend that had it done at least a dozen times for her cancer pain, didn’t do a thing except empty her pocket book. I don’t see how one state can do so much harm to those who are misfortunate on so many levels due to no fault of their own unless our government is behind it. Trump needs to get his head out of that stinking idea of a wall and check on his own people, yes even those that are not rich and powerful like he is. He mimics Hitler and allows many other powerful figures to do the same. He’s putting his people through a world of hell. Perhaps that’s where he’ll end up along with several others from doing this to innocent sick people. I pray to God that Oregon does not pass this. Our world’s going to hell in a handbag and quickly at that!



Pamela Lee

This is wrong on so many levels. Forced tapering will cause an increase in suicides. There will be a group action lawsuit guarenteed.

Sara Nolan

It’s kind of crazy. They’ll pay for your assisted suicide. So there’s that.

ruththella white

Its already passed. My doctor is no longer accepting medicaid patients for any type of chronic pain treatment modality. As of January 31, 2019, Oregon Medicaid has completely abandoned all pain treatments for Medicaid patients including cancer and palliative care patients.