10/18/2014, Pill mill fallout: Legitimate patients have trouble getting pain meds


NAPLES, Fla. – LaVeeda Krumm walks her Lake Park neighborhood in Naples late at night because she can’t sleep. “I’m not a nice person,” the 60-year-old grandmother said. Live with chronic pain, without restful sleep, and nobody can stay nice, she said.

Krumm has gone weeks without oxycodone, the pain medication she has taken for 16 years for nerve damage in her back and from failed surgeries to fix it. She says she is barely hanging on…

The Florida Medical Association held a conference call last month with pharmaceutical wholesalers, pain physician associations, the DEA and the Florida Attorney General’s Office to talk about the hardships for chronic pain patients, said Dr. Jeffrey Zipper, president of the Florida Academy of Pain Medicine.

“We agreed to try and come up with solutions we can all live with together,” Zipper, a pain physician in Delray Beach, said. “We don’t have any specific recommendations yet but we all agreed we have to come up with a cohesive solution together. I don’t know how long it will take.”

(See my post entitled “Chronic pain waits for no one. Did you think it did?”)

He believes changes can be possible through the Florida Department of Health, which has oversight over both the medical and pharmacy boards, as opposed to legislative action.

The DEA is concerned about pain patients’ having access to their medications, according to DEA spokeswoman Mia Ro in Miami. “We have become the easy scapegoat,” Ro said. “Pharmacists should not be afraid of the DEA if they are practicing their good professional judgment and filling legitimate prescriptions.”

Look, we’re the DEA, if we say there’s no reason to be afraid, then don’t be afraid. Trust us.

Because she is permanently disabled and on Medicare, she found salvation through a mail order company which now delivers her prescription to her home. She knows other pain patients who aren’t on disability and can’t access the same solution. “I am lucky from what I can see,” Kennedy said.

The mail-order pharmacies are really starting to cash in on the drug war… How many are there, like 2 or 3?

Tina Schnitzlein was taking oxycodone and methadone for back problems and peripheral neuropathy — nerve damage — in her feet.

Without insurance, family members helped with her monthly pharmacy bill at a Golden Gate area pharmacy. Still, the pharmacist insisted her Naples doctor reduce her dosage every two months, Without notice, the pharmacist refused to fill her prescription until she got insurance. She got coverage this past year and it has worked so far and she’s getting her medicine.

“No questions asked,” she said. “Once I got insured, I was not fishy.”

Pharmacies have become the gatekeeper of the registry and it’s easier to refuse to fill prescriptions to avoid dealing with the registry, Mantz, the oncologist, said…

Krumm, the Lake Park resident, was seeing a Lee County doctor for years until he dropped her and told her she needs a local doctor and pharmacy. Her insurance arranged for mail-order delivery but that has ended. “I don’t sell my drugs. I went to the same doctor,” she said. “And I got the rugged pulled from under me.”

Krueger, with Collier Neurological, said pharmacists call his office and tell him to prescribe something else for some patients. He regards that as an infringement on his practice…

The consequences of ignoring pain

I began living and breathing gymnastics when I was about 11 years old (a late start for this sport) and competed for about 5 years. I’m proud of the fact that, after performing 8 different routines, I was once the state overall champion in my division, Class II. There’s a lot of things to love about the beautiful and powerful sport of gymnastics, but I don’t think the human body was made to take such punishment.

As an athlete, you are taught to ignore pain — not only does it get in the way of working out, it gets in the way of competing. The truth is, if you can’t learn to ignore pain, you can’t be a gymnast.

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t suffer from head pain, which I thought was just a headache. I mean, everybody suffers from headaches — I learned to ignore them.  And because I learned my childhood lessons so well, I ignored the headaches for years…

I remember working as a secretary at Price Waterhouse in Newport Beach when the pain began spiraling out of control. I remember coming in to work every day and the first thing I did was head for the first aid cabinet and the acetaminophen/aspirin. I took some home with me too, so that every day, I popped my free OTC analgesics.  And then it got to the point where I couldn’t take the pain anymore…

From the beginning of the headaches up to this point, I had waited about 7 years before I sought help for the pain. Of course, seeking help was just the very first step on a long and expensive journey.

I know there are some people, doctors included, who think it’s a good idea to ignore pain. When you’re young, it’s a lot easier to do. But there comes a point in time when the pain takes over, and refuses to be ignored. And when you finally admit you have a problem, that you’re unable to manage the pain on your own, who do you turn to for help?

In this current climate of criminalizing drugs and pain patients, what can a doctor do for your pain that you can’t do for yourself? But first, you have to admit you need help with the pain… suffering in silence is still suffering…

And if there’s some point to suffering, I haven’t found it yet.

Being a chronic pain patient is a full-time job


Coonhound says:  Generally I agree w/ BL. If someone can go back to work they don’t need and shouldn’t quality for SSDI. By filing, you aren’t saying your doctor said you SHOULDNT work, you are stating that you CANNOT work and they DO mean ANY job in the national economy.

Any job in the “national economy,” huh?  So, should we call Amazon’s staffing agency and say we have millions of chronic pain patients who have been denied disability but are ready to go to work in the closest Amazon warehouse?  How about a job where you’re on your feet all day, like a Walmart cashier?

BL says:  When someone is not able to work because of their disabilities, they are not able to work period. If they are able to go back to work because they can’t afford to wait for their hearing any longer, then they are able to work. SSDI & SSI is for those who cannot work period… If your pain is so severe that you can’t concentrate, but you play computer games, that is inconsistent. Claimants don’t realize that the same activity required to work are also required to do countless other every day things.

When women entered the workforce, they didn’t get jobs — they got second jobs.  As a “homemaker,” you don’t get a pay check, benefits, or paid time off.  You are at the mercy of your husband, who may or may not provide for your future.  Who knows, your husband may divorce you and have to provide for other wives and kids… but, I digress.

As a chronic pain patient, the majority of your time is spent managing and dealing with the constant pain — along with all the time (and money) it takes to initially and continually prove your pain and disability.  (Shout out to Unum.)

There’s also the time involved in keeping up on the latest research, along with what’s happening in the drug war.  There’s the time spent going from doctor to doctor and pharmacy to pharmacy (or dispensary).  There’s time spent planning your days, abandoning those plans when the pain takes over, and then rescheduling those plans.  There’s days of no sleep and time spent distracting yourself from suicidal thoughts.  There’s time spent recovering from your latest physical activity, and time spent crying where no one can see or hear you.

Yes, being a chronic pain patient is a full-time job — and just like being a homemaker, there are no benefits and no time off, along with very little pay (if you consider disability income as “pay”).

So, when I see a comment like this:

BL said:  When someone is not able to work because of their disabilities, they are not able to work period. If they are able to go back to work because they can’t afford to wait for their hearing any longer, then they are able to work

I get a little upset.  I cannot imagine how many pain patients there are in this country that have never had insurance — which is something you need to “prove” your disabled.  Without thousand-dollar tests and a history of expensive medical treatments, millions of pain patients are forced to work.  They are forced to work because they have to eat and they enjoy having a roof over their heads.

Only someone who has never been hungry or homeless (or close to it) could make such a blanket statement — disabled people “are not able to work period.”

BL said:  If your pain is so severe that you can’t concentrate, but you play computer games, that is inconsistent. Claimants don’t realize that the same activity required to work are also required to do countless other every day things.

Oh, please.  Computer games would qualify as a distraction from the pain, not proof that you’re able to hold down a 40-hour-a-week job.

And the same activity “required to work” is also the same activity required to live.  The disabled do not have to stop living just because they cannot work.

The every-day things that disabled people are able to accomplish without assistance should be applauded — not used to shame them into returning to work.

For a disabled, chronic pain patient, returning to work is like taking on another job — and it’s a ticket to an even earlier grave.  Come to think of it, maybe that wouldn’t be so bad… After all, it’s not illegal to kill yourself by working to death.

And I’ll just point out that there are many disabled people who choose to commit suicide when faced with homelessness and no access to treatment — is that the solution?

1/8/2015, GW Pharma’s cannabis drug fails in cancer pain study, shares fall


LONDON (Reuters) – An experimental cannabis drug failed to alleviate pain in cancer patients as hoped in a clinical study, sending shares in its British maker GW Pharmaceuticals as much as 21 percent lower on Thursday.

GW, which is developing the drug Sativex for pain in collaboration with Japan’s Otsuka, said the first of three late-stage trials found no statistically significant difference between subjects using its product and those given a placebo.

The problem with Big Pharma’s cannabis products is the ratio of THC to CBDs — you can’t treat cancer pain without more THC.

Why People Kill People Over Satire


And then there’s the comedian Yakov Smirnoff, who emigrated to the U.S. For his Reagan-era stand-up act, Smirnoff crafted an exquisitely funny, haunting joke about those natural counterparts, tyranny and comedy.

“Many people are surprised to hear that we have comedians in Russia, but they are there,” he wrote. “They are dead, but they are there.”

Idaho police use 60 texts in 1 hour to help troubled woman


POST FALLS, Idaho (AP) — The distraught woman messaged police this week telling them she was going to hurt herself, but she refused to pick up her phone. So dispatchers with Post Falls police used text messages — about 60 or so over the next hour — to help the woman. Dispatchers… persuaded her to turn herself in to… police…

How can the police help this woman?  Will they pay for her to get help?

Police launched the new text-a-crime system in early 2013, and said at the time that they were looking for new ways to get information to solve crimes. They believe texting crime tips will catch on with young people and, hopefully, generate leads for police. The service may also benefit people who are hearing impaired… The department often goes days without receiving any text messages, Haug said. The text it received Wednesday night was the first high-priority text message it had gotten.

God bless Lebanese Walter White.

Facebook comments:

Robert Michael Pristupa said:  It’s official – life is nothing but a giant Quentin Tarrentino movie.

David Oke said:  it’s a funny world when we’re cheering on the drug lords

Manuel Fogg said:  There was a time in America where the National Slogan was, “Save America with Hemp!”

Lynn Baker said:  Of course he would fight ISIS, The people of ISIS are high on their god, not his drugs.

Dale Hash said:  Give me three lesbians with pool cues and I can take on the world! Oh…. you said Lebanese. Never mind.

Danny Shehayeb said:  I’m Lebanese and I approve of this message

Sam Jackson said:  If a drug lord is doing that he’s making the rest of us look bad

Mike Haas said:  When pot farmers and Hezbollah are against you, you’re fucked.

Krysztov Sweeney said:  Wait, so they make some of the world’s best hash, AND they kill the shit out of ISIS?

1/6/2015, Lebanon’s drug lords say they’re ready to join the fight against ISIS


In 2007, the government sent in the army to destroy cannabis plants in Bouday. That’s when Shamas and 50 other men took up arms to defend their crops…

It also means the Lebanese army and the hash growers are now confronting the same enemy, because ISIS has also been targeting marijuana crops in Syria. The group recently posted a video online of militants destroying shoulder-high stalks of bushy green cannabis plants near the city Aleppo.

“This is very popular in America and Europe,” one of the militants says, holding a handful of leaves…

In some places, the fight is already on. When militants attacked a village between Bouday and the Syrian border in October, hash farmers joined in to defend it.

“When we heard they were attacking Brital, I joined the other men going to defend the village,” says one man, who asked to be called Abbas. “Their goal is to put fear in the hearts of people. But for us, ISIS is nothing.”

Unlike Lebanon’s well-established militias, the hash growers aren’t aligned with a sect or political party. And Shamas says his fight is no longer just about protecting his hashish business. “We support every village in Lebanon,“ he says. “Christian, Sunni, Shia — whatever they are, we’ll defend them against these terrorists.”