Email to HuffPost on behalf of pain patients

Fri, Apr 24, 2015 12:06 am


Re:  The DEA’s war against those who suffer from chronic pain

Dear Huffington Post reporters:

I really appreciate your coverage of drug abuse and addiction, which has spurred at least one state to reverse course and provide some support for those who suffer from these illnesses.

But I don’t understand why the Huffington Post is not covering the war against pain patients and their doctors by the DEA, State Medical Boards, pharmacies, insurance companies, and anti-drug advocacy groups. Like the stories of pain patients unable to find a doctor to treat them, as well as prescribe any drugs to help relieve their suffering (except antidepressants, of course). Like stories of signs in doctor’s offices that say, “We don’t treat chronic pain patients.” Like the stories of pain patients being abandoned by their doctors and forced into the underground drug market to manage their constant pain. Like the story of a veteran in New Mexico who was denied renewal in the Medical Cannabis Program, and weeks later, committed suicide.

As a 30-year intractable pain patient, I’ve lived and breathed the drug war, but I’ve never seen it do this much damage. Pain patients have faced a lot of discrimination throughout the last three decades, and being labeled a drug addict and criminal just because you suffer from chronic pain is nothing new. But now even doctors and the medical industry refuse to support pain patients, while the media just inflames the public with stories of drug overdoses and deaths caused by opioids. Calling 16,000 deaths an epidemic, when millions upon millions of pain patients take these drugs without any problem, allowing them to participate in their own lives.

So I’m writing because I hope the Huffington Post, as a major news organization, will do something to help us. Don’t worry, I don’t expect a response — if I can’t get one from government agencies like the Medical Board and Department of Health in my state, I surely don’t expect to receive one from the Huffington Post. But I had to try, because maybe, just maybe, the right media coverage will save the life of one chronic pain patient. Maybe if pain patients see this coverage, they will begin to have hope. If our stories can be told, then maybe it will stop a pain patient from giving up and committing suicide.

Thanks for reading this email.

Johnna Stahl
Albuquerque, New Mexico

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