To Dr. Joanna Katzman, University of New Mexico

Mon, Jun 8, 2015 2:31 am

From:  painkills2@aol

Re:  An alternative to suicide?

Dear Dr. Katzman:

I have suffered from intractable pain for 30 years. I moved from Texas to New Mexico for the Medical Cannabis Program, but after a year as a member, I could no longer afford the program. Because my case is so complex, I am writing to you in the hope that you can help me. Right now, I’m looking for an alternative for pain management other than suicide and a lawsuit for the right to die as a non-terminal patient.

My pain was treated with prescription medications for 10 years before I was abandoned by my doctor. Prior to moving to New Mexico, I suffered through a cold-turkey detox, and now, I no longer take any prescription medications. I have developed my own home treatment program, but without medical cannabis, it is no longer sufficient. In other words, I am in agony.

With Medicare, I may be able to afford treatment through a doctor. But as a long-term pain patient who’s tried just about everything (including surgery), and considering the escalation of the war against pain medications, my options for non-invasive treatment appear to be few and far between. In fact, I don’t think I have any options through the medical industry, especially since the treatments I suffered through before choosing drug therapy just increased my pain levels.

I’m sorry to use email for communicating with you, but I don’t have a phone. The move and a year in the Medical Cannabis Program has wiped me out financially. I couldn’t even afford to see a doctor to update my Long Term Disability insurance, and my benefits have since been terminated.

Since you’re the top pain management expert in New Mexico and the Director of Project ECHO, what do you think I should do?

Johnna Stahl

8 thoughts on “To Dr. Joanna Katzman, University of New Mexico

  1. Can I ask the source of your pain? I suffer pain, but not too chronic, although sometimes it takes the piss. I use codeine and cannabis, but the latter is proving too expensive

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have multiple sources of pain. If you’re interested, here is my medical summary. It needs to be updated to include Trigeminal Neuralgia.

      Here in the states, you need a prescription for codeine, which makes it more expensive. And medical cannabis programs are great, but none of it is covered by insurance. I used to pay a $10 copay for 180 hydrocodone per month, along with a bucket full of other prescription medications. I calculated the cost of medical cannabis to be about $1,800 per month here in New Mexico. But in other states, the quality is better and the price is cheaper. I’m hoping to move to Colorado, but it will take years for me to save up for that.


    • Nothing yet, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I receive no response at all. This is just the latest person in a very long list that I’ve reached out to for help. But thanks for the sentiment. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. An excellent letter. Shame you got such a fob-off response. It was all about her covering her back and applying recognised protocol. Be interesting to see if she re-responds with anything remotely helpful.

    I can’t believe the situation you’re in. I truly hope you can find a way out of it soon. X

    Liked by 1 person

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