The People's Perspective on Medicine

People in Pain Are in Misery Because of the War on Opioids

People in pain are being victimized by the war on opioids. A recent meeting at the FDA allowed chronic pain patients to speak their minds on the new opioid restrictions. Is anyone listening?
Close photo of prescription bottle for Oxycodone tablets and pills on wooden table for opioid epidemic illustration

Deaths from opioid overdoses have been surging. The CDC reports that fentanyl and its chemical cousins are increasingly responsible for the dramatic increase in casualties (CDC Health Alert Network, July 11, 2018).  Much of the fentanyl is counterfeit and is manufactured abroad. Headlines and soundbites on the evening news highlight the war on opioids but ignore the after-effects for people in pain.

Demonizing Opioids Injures People in Pain

There is a downside to demonizing opioid pain medicines. Many chronic pain patients have been denied access to drugs like hydrocodone and oxycodone.

That’s because of pressure from the CDC, the DEA and insurers to discourage prescribing or dispensing of opioids. Many well-intentioned experts believe that overprescribing pain medicines is behind opioid misuse and overdose deaths.

The message is that opioids should be used only for acute pain such as after a serious accident or surgical procedure. Health professionals are being told that prescribing these drugs won’t help patients in chronic pain. But most patients are not being offered alternatives.

The FDA Listens to Patients in Pain

The Food and Drug Administration held hearings this month and patients in chronic pain voiced their frustrations (FDA Meeting on July 9, 2018).  You can watch the videos of the:

Morning Session at this link

Afternoon Session at this link

The Other Opioid Crisis for People in Pain:

Many people in pain complained at the FDA meeting that the medications that helped them function previously are now being withheld, even if they took them precisely as prescribed.

One patient who testified at the FDA hearings was a disabled registered nurse with cervical scoliosis and ruptured disks that cause unremitting pain. She has been treated for a decade, going to the pain clinic each month and seeing her primary care physician every three months. Although she never was identified as a problem patient, she is now unable to access the pain medicine that allows her to function.

The Government Makes Opioid Access Challenging:

Many doctors have been intimidated by government restrictions on opioid prescriptions. The CDC has issued guidelines that discourage the prescribing of opioids for chronic pain patients (March 18, 2016).  Patients in severe pain may feel as if they are being treated like drug abusers or criminals because of this CDC recommendation to physicians:

“When prescribing opioids for chronic pain, clinicians should use urine drug testing before starting opioid therapy and consider urine drug testing at least annually to assess for prescribed medications as well as other controlled prescription drugs and illicit drugs.”

Medicare and Medicaid Dosage Restrictions:

Millions of pain patients could be impacted by a new proposal. The decision by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) not to cover opioids above a given dose next year is likely to make the problem worse for people in pain.

We have heard from hundreds of people in pain who are desperate as a result of these restrictions.

One person wrote:

“I have more than I can handle just typing right now. The pain meds don’t make it so I can walk. At times, I even try not to drink anything for fear that I might have to go to the bathroom.

“If the restrictions get even tighter, I won’t be able to tolerate it. I only tolerate it now so I don’t leave my golden retriever alone. He’s the reason I haven’t killed myself already.”

Another man wrote:

“I had back fusion surgery involving multiple vertebrae. It left me worse than before. I’ve been on [opioid] pain meds for five years, with a drug test every month, and I have never caused any problems.

“Now the doctors are cutting my meds so much that my quality of life is zero. It was bad enough before. I am considering suicide and I wonder if that is what they want.”

Erin in Reno Nevada shares this story:

“I have been looking for nearly a year now for a doctor to help me with my chronic pain. Because of the limitations that the DEA and now the state has put on doctors, the majority do not want to prescribe opioids.

“I moved from California to Nevada for retirement. I am having to drive to California to my doctor there to get my prescriptions because no doctor wants to prescribe what I need to control the chronic pain I live with 24/7.

“It’s horrible how the doctors and the DEA are treating patients in pain. We are just trying to live a normal life. We get our meds the right way. We do not abuse our medications but we are treated as if we are drug addicts. It is sooo unfair.”

Jeff is considering suicide:

“I’ve had 381 total surgeries. I’ve always done the right thing, whatever the doctor has told me. I have never taken more medicine than I was supposed to. Now they look at a computer and say we have to cut your meds since the computer says so.

“I use ice, constant getting into a tub of ice. It’s great for a few minutes. The only option I can come up with is to now drink enough alcohol and see if that helps. IF that won’t help then I’ll be looking face first down the end of a gun barrel. I can’t stand it and I’m not living in an ER any longer.

“People who have abused the medicine have made it terrible for the ones that need it. My life will have to end without any help.”

What About Cancer Patients?

Even cancer patients are not immune to the increasing restrictions:

“My father attempted suicide last week because the director of his pain clinic abruptly cut all his pain meds. He suffers irreversible chronic cancer pain!”

Not every person in chronic pain is considering suicide. But they all deserve compassionate treatment to alleviate their agony.

Read more stories at this link. Over 700 people have shared their experiences here.

Where are the Alternatives to Opioids?

Opioids have been used for more than 5,000 years. They are powerful analgesics. Until drug companies develop more effective and safer alternatives, decision makers need to recognize that people with intractable pain deserve relief. For some, that will require opioids.

Keeping illicit fentanyl and its derivatives out of the country might be a more productive way to control the opioid epidemic that is killing people.

Share your own story below in the comment section.

Rate this article
4.5- 15 ratings
About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
Tired of the ads on our website?

Now you can browse our website completely ad-free for just $5 / month. Stay up to date on breaking health news and support our work without the distraction of advertisements.

Browse our website ad-free
Join over 150,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

We're empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.

Showing 47 comments
Add your comment

So today they’re taking away the peoples opioid pain medication. What’s next? Most people on pain medicine have had their medications cut in half. Know if Ann’s or butts. What’s next cut heart medication in half. Cut diabetes medication in half. Why can the government play doctor. It’s wrong it’s totally wrong. But who’s going to stand up to the government. Maybe next week the doctor cut my blood pressure medicine in half. I work at a Hospital. Can you do an a lot of things to help the opioid crisis. One of them that really makes me angry. Yes well the pain pump.

When you get out of surgery usually go to your room With a Pain pump. Now this pain pump might have morphine or Dilaudid. This pain pump let’s patient control her pain medicine as needed. The patients are usually honest from 24 to 48 hours the new taken off of it and give the other medications by mouth. Well my hospital is giving the pharmacist the power to cut the pain pump from 36 hours to 24 hours. Remember Pharmacist not a doctor. Now did the hospital say this would help the opiate crisis. No they said it’s going to save them one million dollars. So is it about the opioid crisis or is it about money. I’m so mad I don’t know what else to say but goodbye

I am 54 yo. I have multiple debilitating and degenerative health condition that affect my spine, knees, hips…pretty much every from the waist down. I have neuropathy, a neurogenic bladder, and have lost most of the feeling in my saddle area. So sex is no longer a pleasurable experience. I lost my career, I’m unable to do most of the activities I love. It’s like my old life died and I had to start over.

I have used opioid pain medication around the clock for the past 8 1/2 years. These medications have taken the edge off my pain and given me an improved quality of life. I’ve grieved my old life and have found new ways to stay active; light exercise, Sewing and crafts, working in my greenhouse, spending quality time with my husband and adult children, and I was able to join an extension agency group. I hope to be a grandmother someday.

Well, last month my meds were cut. My dr is working on getting his patients down to 90 mme. I do not blame my dr. He is not happy about any of this either. He is trying to protect himself and his medical license. He’s contacted state and federal agencies and representatives expressing his concerns. And I’ll be honest, I feel like any dr who consistently speaks out about how opioid pain medications have helped their patients are often targeted. Look at what happened to Dr. Tennent.

My insurance is now requiring a prior authorization every 4-6 months to fill my pain medication. I fear they will quit paying for them. They already terminated their contract with my pain management dr and I have to pay out of pocket.

I’ve always taken meds as directed, never tested positive for any illicit or drugs that were not prescribed to me, I’ve tried all of the treatments I have access to to try to treat the pain. So far the only thing that works is opioid pain medication. I just want to have some quality of life. I have already lost so much and now I’m concerned I will lose what I have left.

I have a progressive demyelinating disease which causes excruciating nerve pain. My pain specialist cut my pain meds in half 3 years ago, and now he’s cutting them again. I’m 68 years old. I do not abuse my pain medicine, and it scares me that my pain medicine can be reduced again. My body tolerates the fentanyl patch, and I do not have the nausea associated with taking hydrocodone. When I go in for my urine test I’m scrutinized to see if I’m taking some kind of illicit drug on the side. It’s upsetting to go through this process but it’s the only way I can get my needed pain meds.

My mother in law is 74 and was active, taking care of herself, and getting physical therapy. Six months ago her doctor cut her medication in half that she had been safely taking, at the same level, for 20 years and may cut it completely. The doctor said she was afraid of the Texas Medical Board and DEA. The doctor also said that my mother would experience similar restrictions from any other doctor in East Texas. She is now in constant pain; she no longer is able to do her therapy and never leaves the house without assistance. A visiting nurse and therapy provider both called the Doctor and told her how bad things were, to no avail. She is being tortured by the CDC, Texas Medical Board and DEA. I am shocked that the medical community has not fought back on behalf of their patients. They are the only expert advocates they have.

Now doctors cower in the corner and allow their patients to suffer needlessly. If she complains, she’s an addict. If we complain, we are enablers. I pray somebody with influence reads this and many other stories and does something. I have called my congressman, senator and local officials. They seem to believe the salacious stories prevailing in the current news that pain medication is the root of all evil. Help, please someone help.

Cannabis, Not Opioids. No one dies from Cannabis.

THANKS for your recent column giving voice to many chronic pain sufferers! I understand the DEA and CDC concerns about opioid abuse and overdoses. However as you so aptly stated “demonizing these pain meds” (and the patients needing them) has been a terrible disservice. I am a 78 year old retired R.N. and Nursing instructor. After 45 years of service I am experiencing the results of all the wear and tear on my joints I.e. OA of knees, bursitis of hips, spinal OA and stenosis.

I eat a healthy diet, do water exercise 3 times a week, maintain normal weight, and volunteer many hours. One of these very pleasurable activities is with seniors who request medical information, interpretation of lab/X-ray results, and generally someone who listens and cares. Many have experienced what your article refers to as “complaining that meds that helped them function previously but are now being withheld, even if they took them precisely as prescribed.”

Thankfully I have a very good relationship with my internist and have not yet experienced this egregious behavior, but I wonder what will happen as the government agencies become more zealous! As active seniors, we still have much to contribute and enjoy IF we are enabled to do so without government interference between us and our physicians. Please continue to be the voice for chronic pain sufferers who just want to be comfortable in our “golden years.”
Virginia, retired R.N.

Sent from my iPhone

A big problem lies with our predominant, mainstream medical/scientific field researchers lack of empirical knowledge or useful guidance and treatment plan options on the human body and brain’s inner workings and an individual’s biological processing of drug addiction, drug tolerance, and drug withdrawal for general doctors to utilize. Medical “Specialists” of course may be aware of those things, but with how the healthcare system and insurance is ran and setup today- it is almost impossible to be treated or even seen by a “specialist” in an acceptable timeframe, if ever at all.

So our undereducated, overworked general doctors suddenly quit prescribing their (in-need, law-abiding) patients’ medication without any concern, nor advice or optional treatment, therefore subjecting their patients’ to the many dangers of withdrawal symptoms (some being even fatal)- which then may lead said patients’ to an early “natural” death, suicide, or to them taking to the streets or online to find their own alternative treatment. This usually ends up being an unregulated, unsafe, unhealthy or illegal alternative treatment- like heroin, fentanyl, meth, crack and/or excessive alcohol consumption- all lethal and usually fatal choices of alternative treatment. Which all could have been avoided by the right knowledge, care, and physical help/treatment from their Doctor.

So now we will just be seeing even more people overdosing/dying on heroin/fentanyl, and the suicide rate stats rise even higher than the high rate they are already at today. But no one of any real power seems to care…

This is absolutely heart-wrenching to hear. The US healthcare system is destroyed. Phd-less and usually daft health insurance agents get to decide our medical treatment (or rather non-treatment) today, not our doctor. Our doctors, PAs, and nurses are now technically owned by huge medical/hospital corporations (which in-turn are owned by one of those huge billionaire monopolized business conglomerates). These medical/hospital corporations’ CEOs, CFOs, and/or Board Chairmen are in decisive cohorts with and monetarily enslaved by those huge monopolizing business conglomerates, as well as that particular conglomerates’ choice health insurance corporations or “providers” existing today. And ALL of the aforementioned are indentured to the proven corruptible and politicized CDC & FDA & DEA- whom are all in bed together along side the ever negligent & corner-cutting “Big Pharma”- who is funded/invested in and “controlled” by the handful of deviant billionaire “powers that be” (a.k.a. the “ONES” with ALL THE MONEY are the ONLY ONES in position to and who truly create & control the agenda). You’ll even notice the few chain pharmacies in business today are also subjugated to or coerced by certain health insurance and pharmaceutical companies/brands.

Healthcare today has completely turned into a cash grubbing scam propped up on seedy Wall Street now- in our big greedy DEAD-END OLIGOPOLY ECONOMY. Fits perfectly into our country’s obvious (but fortunately currently floundering) Oligarchy.

And THAT is the whole truth and the obvious MAJOR problem at the root of the matter.

I am in the same boat that you all are in. How do we fight this? What organization can we work with to be heard? How would be lawmakers feel is ALL pain relievers were banned? I will not be able to work if they take my medication away. I do not have social security so I am not eligible for even disability.

How will I support myself? I made a promise not commit suicide until my mother passes away, but if we are both in pain it might be a murder/suicide. I am tried of people passing judgement on me because I take morphine. Lots of animals that I could have helped will suffer from my absence.

I’ve written before about all the restrictions,and removals of our opioids that the government agencies feel will stop the opioid abuse and deaths. I’ve had to fill out new forms for my doctor,my state, counting of pills, urine tests, threats of my prescription being stopped or cut to levels that will leave me in constant pain.

I have degenerative hip disease,back,and can no longer walk since I no longer have a hip socket or ball. The pain can be excruciating
as like a hip fracture,and my back is also in constant pain because of no pelvic stability. No one wants to do surgery, plus I am prone to infections that also scares surgeons away.

I have told them to do it whether I die or not, I don’t want to live like this not to mention working for 40 years and now my Medicare wants to tell me that I don’t need my meds, it costs to much but I paid for then and I pay for it now.

And the government thinks they are capable of making decisions for my health care when they don’t know a thing about me. I don’t tell people what to do and I would never want the responsibility of the potential problems I would cause someone because of my ignorance and stupidity . Just leave me and my brothers and sisters medical problems between us and our doctors, and find something else to waste our tax dollars on.

I am so mad , hurt , and frustrated that we are treated this way . I never asked to become disabled and in one night my life changed just by getting out of bed.

So, according to the statistics I read, 60,000 people died in the US in 2016 from overdosing on medications. That same year 220,000 people died due to mistakes made by hospitals and doctors. The latter statistic rate will no doubt go up due to suicide by the people that no longer can stand to live in their broken bodies without any relief from their pain.

For the doctors that are so narrow minded that all pain medications are either good or bad, black or white, etc., I hope that you or one of your loved ones never have to suffer like we do. Although, if you experienced first hand how pain can affect family, work (if you’re still able to) and all other aspects of your life, perhaps you would be more able to see the whole accurate picture and not what you see from sitting behind your computer and listening to only half of what is told to you.

Cannabis is the answer. Pain goes away, and no one dies from it. North Carolina Needs This.

I receive my pain medication, Tramadol, for chronic pain I have been living with since 1980, at a pain management clinic. I sign a contract stating I will not obtain pain meds anywhere else, I am given urine tests twice a year, and can fill a prescription for only one month’s supply at a time.

This is why we have specialized clinics for the MANAGEMENT of pain, which I live with ebery day. I would be unable to live independently, drive or help others if I could not manage the pain. I do not get “high” as my body needs the medication for the pain. The people getting”high” and abusing the drugs are either taking too much, or probably don’t need it at all. CHRONIC pain does not go away. In fact when you have a progressive disease as I do, it only gets worse over tbe years.

Legitimate pain management clinics are not the problem. It’s doctors who continue to give meds for acute pain. If the pain continues reger your patients to pain specialists! I’m horrified to think my insurer could be trying to stop pain management clinics to take patients with known chronic conditions off necessary meds. God help me if that happens to me!

I am so glad I live in New Zealand where doctors are realists although the same thing did happen in the 1970’s when opioids were very hard to obtain. Today this is not the case and long may it continue that way as it is totally unnecessary for anyone to suffer acute pain. With right wing politics prevailing in America I feel intense sympathy for those in this position but am not surprised at the knee-jerk reaction

I have some of the same issues as already stated. I’m 70 years old with fibromyalgia back problems resulting in two surgeries bad arthritis and so on. I can no longer tolerate NSAIDS due to stomach issues. I’m using long-acting acetaminophen and Tramadol but now the drug store and my insurance are doing everything they can to make me quit the Tramadol. WHY???

Like the others who have written I never took more than was prescribed always followed the doctors’ recommendations and now I am being treated like an addict. I just want to be able to function some of the time. Is that asking too much?

I have had 2 back surgeries ,a knee, an elbow, a bifemoral bypass and a quadruple bypass. This is not all but all I will list. I am 69 years old and retired. I have been taking hydrocodone for years for pain. The dosage has never increased. My doctors say exercise is one of the best things I can do for my health. I am an avid golfer but without my pain meds I can not play.

I take 1 pill before I play. This is the only time I take these meds. I have had to change doctors once to get these meds already. My doctor just told me the State of Miss has put more restrictions on these meds and he will not be able to prescribe these. I am going to try to find another doctor who will help me.

I can not understand how people without medical training can control this. I am not afraid of dying. I am afraid of not being able to live while I am still alive. I know there are a lot of people much worse than I am. I pray the people who control this will come to their senses and go after the dealers and abusers instead of the law abiding tax payers who need these pain relievers to live as good a life as possible. I feel this is another overreach of the government in an area they know nothing about.

The reason the President and people who want to ban opioids feel they are winning is because they do not hear your voices. Speak out publically and to the newspapers and do a bit of demonstrating.

If the Government must protect us from ourselves, they could save more lives by banning the automobile. A friend who also has severe back pain 24/7 gets relief from CBD pills (hemp extract) legally purchased at a cost of almost $2 a pill.

Our representatives need to read the Constitution to learn the purpose and duties of the Government. Does not say people (probably mostly seniors) must live in constant pain.

I am a trained hospice volunteer. I was taught that 90% of the pain of cancer and other terminal illnesses can be relieved via palliative care, and less severe pain can be relieved adequately. People have been terrified of horrible pain near end of life for generations. It’s been so nice to be able to help reassure patients and families there will not be unbearable suffering. WHAT NOW?! WHAT’S BEING DONE FOR THESE HOSPICE PATIENTS???! … Dr. Mengele reigns again, apparently.

We are facing this same issue in Florida because Gov. Scott has limited opioids to 3 or 7 days. That doesn’t do much for us, hubby and I. Hubby has significant pain after back surgery and no surgical Rx for arthritis of the thoracic spine involving a deformed costovertebral joint. He has kidney disease at CKD IIII AND he has a Pacemaker/AICD.

These two problems rule out NSAIDs as well as a TENS unit. There is nothing left for him but opioids since all the other narcotics we used to use years ago like Talwin (pentazocine) which is now available as Talwin Nx as it containes naloxone to prevent ODs and Stadol (a nasal spray) which is an opoid Antagonist are available but not used since Big Pharma pushed Hydrocodone and Oxycodone.

I am an RN (since 1971). I know how to administer most all drugs and I know about the rate of suicide in our country. We are going to see a major uptick in suicide, not from drugs but from guns. I am afraid to leave my hubby alone for fear he will try it. I say to anyone who has made up their mind to kill themselves to please mail a note to the local paper explaining why and then doing the deed in a public place to bring attention to this side effect of the do-gooders out there who think they are helping in the drug war.

As Jerry Clower said about his friend and the lynx up in a tree toghter: Shoot up her amongst us. One has got to have relief!

Wish the feds would lighten up on marijuana so we could get some research on its pain reducing capability.

It’s bad enough living in constant pain. Now we are being completely cut off or severely limited to the only drugs that make our lives tolerable. No alternatives besides injections that don’t work for me. It’s insanity to cut off compliant patients who have done absolutely nothing wrong. Punishing seniors in pain with no other options is criminal. Why is there not anyone fighting to right this horrible injustice??

I, too, have chronic back pain. At age eighty nine, under the guidance of MD’s, I hve tried many treatments from surgery to Tylenol. This list includes Hydrocodone, which will provide several hours of relief. Some time back I required four to five tabs per day, now I am down to one or two. This is not nearly the same degree of relief, nd I try lotions, hot packs, etc.
I have used Hydrocodone responsibly, under the guidance of a physician who is the original prescriber, by the way. I suppose that those of us who have used these important pain reducers will be the victims whose only way to find relief will be suicide or obtaining it from an illegal source. This will only make the abuse problem worse and the misery expand to many more people who are just trying to do their best with a terrible pain condition.

I was so afraid this was going to happen with the new restrictions on opioids. I don’t have chronic pain myself, but when my mother was dying of lymphoma back in the 70s, she was getting good relief from opioid pain killers. Then her doctors, in all their wisdom, decided to deprive her of them because they thought she might become addicted. Yes, that’s right, they deprived a terminally ill cancer patient the pain relief she needed because they thought she might become an addict. I remember her screams of pain to this day. I still feel so much outrage about this; I wish I could go back in time and sue those doctors into bankruptcy. I hope reason will prevail and people with chronic pain will be able to get the pain relief they need to allow them to function day to day.

It’s not just chronic pain patients who are affected. They are also withholding opioids in hospitals pre and post surgery. It’s an abomination. Why are many being punished for the behavior of others?

Had been on oxycodone and fentanyl patches for several years due to many surgeries, but especially back surgery with no results, osteoarthritis, degenerative bone disease, and chronic pain disorder. Never abused my meds and had urine tests twice a year or more often. Was told by doctor no more pain meds. Stopped cold turkey. Pain clinics in my area have all been closed. Quality of life is zero. Unable to do normal housework, cook, or other normal activities. Pain has become intolerable. I am sorry there are people who have an addictive personality but why punish those who need the drugs. Was treated as a drug addict by doctor and insurance company even being prescribed Narcan.

I have 3 herniated discs at the base of my that go into my pelvis. I have been taking Tramadol (Ultram) for several years as a prescription drug. I have never abused the drug. It makes my life a little easier daily. The dosage I was taking was 100 mg morning and at bedtime. It never eliminated the pain completely. It made the pain tolerable.

Now the only way I can get it is to make a 75 mile round trip to my pain doctor to get a prescription that is 1/2 of what I was taking. I am 76 years old and the older I get the worse the pain gets.

I am taking 2 650 mg Tylenol twice a day and gambling I don’t blow out my liver. The Tylenol barely covers the pain. I understand that tramadol really is not classed as an opioid but yet but some knothead decided to class it as an opioid. I can’t find anything that will substitute for tramadol that will work as well as tramadol

I am an oncology RN. Let doctors treat their patients the way they see fit. Legislators and political wonks who do not actively practice medicine, especially those disciplines involving chronic pain, such as oncology, rheumatology, and neurology, have no business interfering just so they can tell the public that they did something. Go after criminals, not vulnerable patients.

I am beginning to believe the authorities are hoping chronic pain patients do commit suicide.The medical dollars they think they will save is worth it to them Of course they will never voice this out loud. What other reason are they causing so much pain and misery in people that need their medicine and are NOT abusing it.

Taking medicine from law abiding people in pain won’t stop illegal street drug use. So what other reason do they have. I cannot find one, so i conclude the death of these many patients are their end goal. Isn’t practicing medicine without a license against the law? If yes why can non licensed people keep doing it without being sued?

I am a 74 year old woman suffering miserably from severe, widespread peripheral neuropathy. The only medication that really helped was Darvocet N-100, which was taken off of the market, I think due to concerns about effects on the heart. I assume it helped due to the anti-inflammatory component.

Currently, I am on an opioid, pain patches, pain gel, plus steroids-which help with some of the pain, but not all. My doctor asked me if I ever thought about death. I didn’t have the courage to tell him I think about it every day. I have a husband who is extremely ill, unable to care for himself and 2 very much beloved dogs. There is no one to take over for me. I cannot bear the thought of leaving them defenseless, so I don’t act on this. I don’t really want to die; what I want is to live…

I already had a bad back,then 7 yrs ago I was in wreck leaving me disable and last 2 yrs home bound. i started out with tylenol 3 -4,then hydrocodone with 15 mg ( lowest mg)morphine. i am never pain free. Just makes it tolerable. Some days, I can’t even dress myself and have help putting on shoes.

At best reading news on computer I might can sit 2 hr total per day. I have had a heart attacked and my dr doesnt want me taking nsaids or steroids. I use ice packs, tens unit, chiropractor no longer helps. I could have my morphine up to 30 mg but I have been putting that off as last resort.

At 64, poor health, if lower my pain med then I am left with one option.i have had about 50 drug test that shows I am taking my med and right amount. I don’t think the government can measure my pain, nor really can the dr except how I tell her what level.

Let’s take away everyone’s car because some people drive drunk!

This “opioid crisis” is being fought on the backs of those of us in chronic pain. I have two doctors who say exactly the same thing: “I’m afraid I’ll lose my license.” I’ve been with both of them for years. I’m very poor, and I don’t have the money to go out and search for new docs who will stand up for me, if indeed there are any out there.

How horrible this is, the innocent are suffering again for the stupidity of the guilty. PUNISH THE GUILTY, DEA, not the innocent! What a dictatorship–it is totally wrong and bass-akward.

My wife is dealing with chronic pain from auto accident 20 plus years ago. Right now still able to get medicine with out much difficulty. Ohio legalized medical marijuana last year. Hoping she will be able to try it for pain control and reduce or get off opioid based med.

16 years ago I was struck by a car while riding my bicycle. An artery dissected and I was consussed and have a Traumatic Brain Injury. I try every treatment offered by the medical establishment and nothing has diminished the pain other than opiods. Even the opiods do not relieve the pain, but they do provide me the ability to function and some days enjoy life. The specific type of opiod I take must be changed periodically because they lose effectiveness, so i rotate amoung morphine, oxycodone, and fentynal as each has a slightly different way of acting. That way I can keep the dosage low enough to avoid the harshest side effects (well most of the time).

I agree that there needs to be guidelines for prescribing opiods, especially for children, but the rules need to consider the impact on the quality of life of the people who depend on them to dampen the pain allowing them to live.

I’d like to see the natural health community step up and offer assistance to those in pain and distress. The alternate forms of pain relief may just be the key to better control of cronic “hurt” rather than jerking away prescribed opioids and dealing with” withdrawal” symptions. Our medical death list will increase if continued (along with crime) when mature people become so obsessed with ending it all, and hunting illegal drugs to find relief. That’s what is happening now.
The natural health community needs a wake-up call of strength in numbers to open up new ways and means of being of “service” to those in distress, especially those in dire circumstances regarding life long pain killers.

I don’t know if this may be related to the crisis, but I’m a psychotherapist, and I have been receiving what appear to be illicit phone messages with a recording asking if I am “still in pain” and asking me to call an 800 number for “possible benefits you may qualify for.” I’ve reported the number to the Do Not Call, and they are looking into it. I had received these several times a day, different voices, for about a week. I encourage others to not return such a call.

WHY does this country want the government involved in any aspect of health care? Ultimately this kind of thing happens. We already have laws relating to illegal use. Way too much is being done without common sense or adequate information, instead based on conjecture and opinion.

As always, we are being “squeezed” by over government. I realize that drugs are a continuing problem, but then, drugs have always been a problem. People DO HAVE REAL PAIN, and these many individuals should NOT be punished because our government suddenly decides that it isn’t politically correct for a doctor to prescribe pain meds for those people who can’t control chronic pain any other way! Now, we are being denied pain meds without any workable alternatives! Shame on governmental regulation. This is a doctor/ patient issue, and government should take a back seat. Also, surprise! People who abuse drugs will always find a drug to abuse, which makes it totally unfair to those who use their drugs as directed!!

I have two herniated discs in my back which cause severe sciatica. I hold myself to less than 2 oxycodone tablets per week – on days where I think I am going to scream from discomfort. However, Walmart decided to limited my prescription for 30 tablets every 6 months to allow me only 7 of the tablets. I have changed my prescription to another pharmacy. If Walmart truly is concerned about peoples’ health, why don’t they put a limit on all the alcohol they sell to people! Alcohol serves no good purpose, ruins the health of the drinker and also puts complete strangers in danger. Walmart is hypocritical.

I have a great deal of empathy for those suffering from intractable pain, and who are unable to receive a prescription for pain medications, in particular, opioids, from their Clinicians. It’s a sad commentary when our government denies access to legitimate pain medications to patients who are not simply taking drugs for recreation. Clinicians have been told not to write script for Opioids or they could potentially loose their licenses, and big pharma has not yet created an alternative for Opioids.

People in my region are stating they have “Opioid Fatigue,” in that there is no treatment for those who wish to continue taking drugs, although taxpayers are responsible for millions of dollars of short-term treatment that simply doesn’t work. I recently read that the new drug crisis is a resurgence of Methamphetamine in our region of the country.

If you are interested in learning more about the Opioid Crisis in America, a class at is available that will explain all details of addiction and recovery. It is free, you can earn a certificate that must be paid for, audit the class, or receive University credit. It’s a beginning class, and I urge all who have family, friends, or are addicted themselves, to take this class.

I say shame on the government for creating a no-win situation for those people who are in misery, and can’t get relief that works for them. Do not tell your Clinician you think about committing suicide – you’ll end up in counseling that doesn’t relieve pain.

The comments I read about being suicidal because of untreated pain hits very close to home. My best friend who was a chronic pain patient was terrified of the CDC’s guidelines/rules affecting his pain meds. He shot himself one dark, painful, lonely night.
He’s gone forever. The guidelines are being deemed as rules/laws to be followed by Doctors or the DEA gets involved. As a chronic pain patient I’ve been put through many changes with this “So called War On Opioids”. I’m guessing heroine addicts aren’t having any trouble getting their medicine as the opioid prohibition has caused a massive influx of fentanyl laced heroine. Peru had the worst drug problem imaginable and got it under control by helping, not hurting people. Way to go U.S. government. “Just Say No” didn’t work, neither will your misguided war on Chronic pain patients.

The medical industry created this problem while making billions off of it, and they will do anything to avoid having to admit that.

Look, I’ve always taken my medication responsibly. I don’t drink alcohol, or use illicits but this is no way to live, in chronic pain! It’s time for the FDA and CDC to see and recognize that NOT EVERYONE abuses their pain medication, and it is really and truly the ones who need it that DON’T abuse it. I cannot afford medical “marijuana”. And if I do pay out the 300.00 for it, what if it doesn’t work for me? Where does that leave me? I am treated like a common crimminal because I take pain medication, and I’m only allowed 3 per day. 5 years ago I was allowed 12 per day (which I never took) but now, max of 3 per day. As some have mentioned, being in pain constantly doesn’t exactly “inspire” you to wake up tomorrow. I have children, and it’s hard for me to ALWAYS say “no” I can not do that, or “no”, I do not feel well, or “no” mom can’t move today.

WHERE are the rights for those in chronic pain? We need help. If opioids are being eliminated then insurance companies need to cover MORE/ other options for us: maybe more physical therapy, more alternative methods (I’ve tried most of them, though, and receive little relief). It’s not my fault I’m in chronic pain everyday. WE have RIGHTS too, don’t we? My current Pain Mgmt. Physician says to me, “Have you seen the list of drugs you’ve been on?” Yeah, I have and I’ve tried many to help. Nothing but opioids relieve my pain without making me super sick, unfortunately. Doesn’t that “list” indicate just how hard I’ve been struggling to find relief? Fine, make me come in more often for observation. Make me pee in a jar EVERY week, heck everyday. But don’t restrict my ONLY souce of relief to an absolutely unreasonable amount.

We are being judged unfairly and put into a bracket of injustice and discrimination. People are dying from Heroin. How about focusing more on that issue? Send people who start on the so called “gateway” opioids for temporary pain relief (say after surgery or whatever) to a Drug Addiction Facility immediately after their dose/course of short term Opioids is complete, to make sure they are not still using or starting up on Heroin. Leave the chronic pain patients ALONE now. We are using opioids because we NEED to get up everyday without crying in pain!

This all is INSANE. Why do the STATE GOVERNMENTS decide what happens to patients. Who are these people? They want to stop illegal opiod use by JUNKIES by taking it away from those who really need it? I am crippled by RA. I have such severe osteoporosis that not 1 vertebra is intact. I don’t want to lie on my back 24/7 to lessen pain to a bearable level. I want to do some things (take a shower, dress, take care of myself, get my groceries, take little walks to have some life quality). I am 74. Why has the GOVERNMENT the power to determine to let chronic pain sufferers should suffer more because of illegal druguse. How about doing something about the junkies. I do everything alternative to lessen pain. It IS CRIMINAL ACTION AGAINST HUMAN RIGHTS to take the actions of illegal drug users out on seriously suffering patients
It’s like I am a drug addict when going to the pharmacy. They treat me, 74, like dirt and then they take a week to fill the prescription. I have looked in all directions. No, I will not kill myself. But I will not submit to simply lying there unable to move. THE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS WHO ARE TAKING ILLEGAL DRUG ADDICTION OUT ON PATIENTS ARE CRIMINALS.

If I am ever denied needed arthritis opioid pain meds by the state of MN, I will be happy to blow my brains out in front of the state capital building just to show what pain does to a person. Hope they have fun cleaning up the blood.

Obviously those making decisions about prescribing opioids for chronic pain have neither experienced that type of pain nor helped care for someone dear to them in chronic pain. In most cases the pain is eased by opioids but not obliterated The suicide rate in this country is already at a high level. Do we really want to leave people with no options for relief of chronic pain other than to end the pain permanently? As a registered nurse I would much rather see someone able to perform activities of daily living with the help of pain medications than to leave him/her in desperation unable to see any alternative but taking his/her own life.

My husband and I have both have had access to hydrocodone for years. I have had 2 replacements, and have arthritis throughout my body. He has arthritis and curvature of the spine. We take 1 pill when we cannot get relief from over the counter medicines … and, then we can recover for that time frame. We are very upset that when our filled prescriptions run out, that we will not be allowed to have another prescription for hydrocondone filled. I am 67 and he will be 74 this year. We have been very responsible in taking our medications, and feel betrayed by the system.

* Be nice, and don't over share. View comment policy^