New rules on narcotic painkillers cause grief for veterans and VA

http://www.pharmaciststeve.com/?p=9279

But after the DEA regulations were put in place, he was unable to get an appointment to see his doctor for nearly five months, [Craig] Schroeder said. He stayed in bed at his home in North Carolina much of that time…

His wife, Stephanie Schroeder, said getting him a VA appointment turned into a part-time job and her “main mission in life.” While part of the problem was a shortage of doctors, she said she also noticed that VA had become hostile toward patients who asked for painkillers.

“Suddenly, the VA treats people on pain meds like the new lepers,” she said. “It feels like they told us for years to take these drugs, didn’t offer us any other ideas and now we’re suddenly demonized, second-class citizens.”

The agency recently set up a Choice Card program for veterans, which would allow those facing long wait lists or who live more than 40 miles away from a VA hospital to use private clinic visits. Veterans say the initiative is complicated and confusing. VA officials acknowledged this month that veterans have been using this program at a lower rate than anticipated…

As part of a $21.7 million initiative with the National Institutes of Health, VA is looking for therapies that could substitute for opioids…

Yeah, perhaps the NIH and the VA should have started this initiative BEFORE the DEA began its war on pain patients.

But Andrew Kolodny, president of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, called the new DEA rules “the single most important change that could happen. The best way to treat any disease, whether it’s Ebola or opioid addiction, is to stop creating more people with the disease.

This is “the single most important change that could happen” — for doctors who treat addiction ($$$$$). And the best way to stop chronic pain is to aggressively treat acute and severe pain before it becomes chronic and intractable.  It’s called prevention, although Kolodny appears unfamiliar with that term.  Perhaps because he knows nothing about pain management. After all, if you successfully prevent addiction, Kolodny (and Jennifer Weiss) would be out of work.

But no, the DEA, PFROP, and the medical industry would prefer to see people suffer.  When in fact, they’re just creating more pain patients, drug addicts, and patients on disability. And when all this untreated pain turns into chronic pain, what then?  Massages and acupuncture for everyone?

The disease is the drug war.  Let’s stop creating more people who suffer from this disease.

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