Like PROP, the foundation’s main goal is to reduce opioid prescribing. It is named after Steve Rummler, a Minnesota pain patient who became addicted to opioid medication while being treated for a back injury.
After several attempts at addiction treatment, Rummler relapsed and died of a heroin overdose at the age of 43.
“He struggled with the pain for a long time,” said Judy Rummler, Steve’s mother and chief financial officer of the foundation. “He had what I think later was figured out to be some damage to the nervous system around his spinal cord because he had what he described as shooting electric shock-like sensations that would shoot up his back into his head and down his legs into his feet.”
Steve sought help from many doctors, but never received a treatable diagnosis. He started taking OxyContin for pain relief. “Once he was prescribed the opioids in 2005, then he didn’t care about getting answers anymore,” his mother said.
After Steve’s death in 2011, the Rummler family established the foundation with the goal of helping others who also struggle with chronic pain and addiction. It was PROP’s founder and chief executive, Andrew Kolodny, MD, who approached the foundation with the idea of joining forces…
“Basically as the fiscal sponsor we accept donations and we manage the funding. We don’t set any policy for him,” Judy Rummler told Pain News Network. “Obviously our missions are similar. We are very concerned about the overprescribing of opioids. Yet I know if my son were alive today he would probably be telling you what you hear from so many other pain patients; that he couldn’t live without them. But the problem was he died as a result of it.
“I know there are a lot of people who are going to be hurt by cutting back on the prescribing, but I just think a lot of them are addicted as my son was. Yet he would have been the first one to scream and yell about having his pills cutoff.”
The Rummler Foundation calls this tug-of-war between opioids and addiction “The Dilemma.” It advocates for wholesale change in the treatment of chronic pain, emphasizing “wellness rather than drugs” and the use of “a wide array of non-opioid options.”
Opioid medication should not be prescribed for chronic pain, according to Rummler…
Poor Steve. So desperate and in so much pain — but he had nowhere to turn for help. He was being treated for addiction, not chronic pain. His chronic pain was ignored, even though it was the constant pain that caused Steve to become addicted to pain relief in the first place.
(Let me just say that I’m not sure Steve was suffering from addiction, but that is what he was being treated for.)
I’m sure that most chronic pain patients understand Steve’s desperation. Personally, I’m beginning to think that desperation is my middle name.
It was his pain (environment) and his DNA that made Steve susceptible to addiction. (DNA, by the way, he got from his parents.) A part of his addiction was probably caused by low self-esteem due to the censure of his loved ones and the shame all drug addicts feel (also his environment). There’s no shame in suffering from cancer, but those who suffer from addiction and chronic pain are weak and morally corrupt — according to the anti-opioid lobby. According to the drug war.
I consider it hypocritical and ignorant when anyone claims there’s no evidence that opioids work for chronic pain. (I also find the medical industry’s use of the word “evidence” to always be suspect. After all, I’m not a mouse. And my intractable pain is as unique as my DNA.) You can’t tell me that opioids don’t work — I took them for 10 years. You can’t tell millions of chronic pain patients that opioids don’t work — they’ve taken them for years, too.
Denying reality has always been helpful when fighting on the side of the drug war. #DenyingReality #ItsAllAboutFear (#DonaldDrumpf)
To all you hypocrites: How much unbiased “evidence” exists that shows antidepressants or cortisone injections work for chronic pain? Denying adequate treatment for those in constant pain is the definition of torture. So, when someone advocates against the option of opioids to treat chronic pain, then that person is advocating for torture. (It seems there’s a high percentage of masochists within the 200 million people who don’t suffer from chronic pain in this country.)
Grief can motivate a person to do great things, but the reverse is also true. Rich, grieving parents, too blinded by their own pain to see anyone else’s. Like their grief is so raw and overwhelming that it destroys any empathy those people may have had for anyone else. Like their pain is more important than anything else. Like they’re more important than anyone else. (#TrumpSyndrome)
Let’s get this straight: Steve was not your average chronic pain patient. (To learn a little more about Steve’s story, click on the link below.) But, Steve is an example of the suffering that pain patients, who also suffer from drug addiction, go through. If you have a history of drug addiction, no one believes you’re in pain. And I know many chronic pain patients can understand what it feels like when no one believes you.