Et tu, Guardian?

I’m surprised The Guardian published such a one-sided article. It’s like Kolodny from PFROP wrote it himself.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/mar/17/cdc-guidelines-against-prescribing-opioids

Under comments:

hang3xc fortetoo 2d ago

They have stopped paying for pain meds too. Everyone I know has had problems since the first of the year. My insurance company (BCBS) had been paying for my pain meds since I got hurt in 1992. Jan 1st 2016 they denied payment. My doctor called and gave them everything they wanted yet they still denied me. Again, this is something I have been stuck with for 24 years, but NOW it is a problem? … As it is, my monthly prescription, which cost $20-$30 per month NOW costs me $250…

When pain patients attack each other

I suppose it’s not easy to talk “to” people instead of “at” them, especially if you’re on opposite sides of an issue. I realize that my blog allows me to articulate my opinions in ways that I might not be able to if face-to-face with my opponents. However, I put more thought and effort into my writing than I do for verbal communication. In other words, I stand by all of the words and opinions expressed by me on this blog.

I’ve seen the drug war force many changes on the pain patient population in the past 30 years, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt such desperation in my fellow sufferers. Unfortunately, desperation has caused some patients to draw lines, like how many pain patients blame drug addicts for the opioid war. Like how the DEA and grieving family members of overdose victims blame the drugs.

My blog is mostly about my own opinions of living with chronic pain, although I also include the thoughts, feelings, and comments from other pain patients. Which brings me here…

https://painkills2.wordpress.com/2016/02/23/future-visit-to-serenity-mesa-addiction-clinic/

Sun, Mar 6, 2016 1:10 pm
Re: Blog posts about Jennifer Weiss-Burke
From: Jennifer Weiss-Burke (jenweiss24@msn.com)

Dear Johnna,

You are right I am not an expert in chronic pain and I’ve never claimed to be. My husband suffers from chronic pain and, like yourself, was dependent on painkillers for a number of years. They almost killed him and destroyed his life so he now seeks effective alternatives and non-opioid medications. So while I do not have direct experience with being a chronic pain patient, I know what my husband went through and continues to go through each and every day.

When you decide to visit Serenity Mesa, I will be happy to have someone other than myself guide you on a tour. You can call 877-3644 which is our main number. Anyone who answers can help schedule something.

I am a supporter of MAT and do not deny any of our residents access to these medicines that are proven to be effective for opiate addiction. In addition my son was on MAT so no I do not deny people access to effective and evidence based solutions, including medication.

We submitted our Medicaid application back in August and are waiting for it to be approved. We have contacted the state Medicaid office numerous times and have been told that all Medicaid applications are on hold because they are changing the application process. If you have any contacts in this area who can help me push the process through I would greatly appreciate it.

No, these are not paid positions. I am a community member of the prescription drug misuse and overdose prevention committee and there are two other community members who are chronic pain patients so your concerns are represented on this committee. The meetings are open to anyone so you are welcome to attend.

You have made a number of assumptions about me that are not true, posted quotes on your blog that I have not said and continue to try and devalue my advocacy efforts. But, the truth remains that young people are becoming addicted to pain killers at alarming rates throughout this country. Kids are dying. Kids are becoming heroin addicts when their supply of pills runs out. Those are the facts. I wish that was my opinion or my over exaggerated perception but sadly it’s not.

I feel for your pain and pray for your strength and perseverance to get through each and every day. I am sorry you are going through what you are going through and hope you somehow find peace. My heart goes out to you.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Weiss-Burke
Executive Director Healing Addiction in Our Community (HAC) & Serenity Mesa Youth Recovery Center
jenweissburke@serenitymesa.com
(505) 363-9684
http://www.serenitymesa.org
http://www.healingaddictionnm.org

Along with this reply from Mrs. Weiss-Burke, her significant other, David Burke (Dbkono@gmail.com), posted a comment to the above link (twice), which I have copied below in its entirety:

As a fellow chronic pain patient I completely agree that prescription pain medications should not be taken away from us! The last thing those suffering from chronic pain need is to suffer daily without remediation. I have been fighting since 2006 with an intense intestinal disease in which I have lost sections of my small intestine and suffer daily from villitrocious sections of my intestines that will never heal. Currently I am still on a variety of other medicines to take care of my condition but I have to live in constant pain everyday.

I, like you, was addicted to painkillers and they almost destroyed my life. I lost everything before I was finally able to detox off the opiates and am proud to say that I have been clean for over 5 years now. I have learned to live and deal with the pain and now advocate. along with my wife, for laws, funding, facilities and whatever else it takes to help stop this epidemic that results in needless opiate overdose deaths.

I have been reading your blog (more like uneducated personal attacks) and have come to one conclusion. You like me are nothing more than an addict. If you weren’t you wouldn’t be so crazed about losing your “drug” and would be more active in doing something about ensuring the laws being put into place protected your rights in being able to use them safely and ensuring that big pharma wasn’t continuing to get rich off of your addiction. If you were actually educated in the facts instead of spewing lies and mis quoting people you would also know that for the last five years we have been working hard with the department of health and many Senators and Representatives ensuring laws like SB 263 and SB 277 among many others protected the rights of chronic pain patients. If you don’t believe me, Call Senator Richard Martinez from Rio Arriba or Sen. Brandt from Sandavol County who is himself a chronic pain sufferer and advocate. Or how about Senator Cervantes. I can go on and on with all the support we have received from both sides of the aisle to show you that one of the biggest concerns from all involved was to ensure the protection of chronic pain patients. Believe me when I say this that your rights as a chronic pain patient are protected.

Unfortunately, your rights as an addict are much harder to protect. In NM there isn’t enough treatment beds for adults, teens, Men or women. When it’s time for you to get help what are you going to do? Where are you going to go? Who are you going to call? Sadly most people have no where to go or call. For the last five years we have been fighting to change that. HAC has been fighting for the youth of this state. Doing everything we can to ensure our young people have a place to go to get help. Wether they are rich, poor, middle class, coming out of jail, homeless or affluent homes. White, black, Hispanic, Native American, purple, or green. After all drugs or addiction don’t really discriminate do they? Have you ever seen anyone die from an overdose? Have you ever looked into the eyes of a 16 year old who is so gripped by opiates that his whole life is consumed by the drug? Have you ever looked into the eyes of a family that has had their lives turned upside down because they lost their son or daughter because of these drugs? Do you not care? Do you not have a heart? I don’t think you do. I think right now you are like every other addict I have ever met. All you care about at this point in your addiction is making sure you are able to get your next dose or “fix”. You are so blinded by your addiction that your lashing out at people who are actually trying to help you keep your precious drugs while trying to make sure others are protected from those same drugs.

My wife may not be an expert in chronic pain but she has never claimed to be. I, however am an expert in chronic pain. My wife has never claimed to be an expert in addiction but an advocate and one who constantly educates herself on addiction. I am an addict and I do the same. We do both however live it everyday. We live it through the eyes of the boys we care for. Through the death of her son. Through the everyday struggle of addiction in my own disease. Through the pain we see in the hundreds of phone calls and emails we receive from parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters and friends of people who have died or are struggling with this horrible addiction!

Do you even know the statistics? Do you even care about where our state falls nationally? Do you even care how many people die every year because of prescription pain pills?

I know if you truly wanted to you could advocate for your cause. It doesn’t take any thing more than picking up a phone or as you are always on your computer or outside taking pictures of planted trash outside your apartment. Just pick up your computer and write a letter to you legislator stating your concerns! Did you know they are required to respond to you? Did you know your elected officials in reality actually do care? All you have to do is try!

You constantly assume things and you know what they say about people who assume things right? There is absolutely nothing and I mean nothing truthful about one thing in ANY of your blogs about my wife or our facility.. We continue to lobby UNPAID for more funding to complete the entire facility. We travel around the state speaking to everyone possible. Anyone who will listen about this epidemic. We will speak to judges, DRs, lawyers, dentists, students, teachers. ANYONE. Especially addicts like you because I don’t want to see you die of an accidental overdose. As a matter of fact I think you should get a prescription of Nalaxone and keep it on hand for anyone around you to know how to use just In case you overdose. Doctors in NM are now starting to co-prescribe Naloxone with an opiate script because the danger of death is so high. There are lots of good NA meetings located around NM. Remember the first step is admitting you have a problem😀 You may have chronic pain but being an addict and a chronic liar can be a far worse disease than the other disability😢

So there is no chance of you misrepresenting this post or me I will be posting my wife’s letter yours and mine on my Facebook page, Yahoo page and have saved a copy of it in my notes in case you decide to alter it in any way. You know being that your so honest and all.

Dear Mr. Burke:

Sometimes my honesty comes across in a negative way…

Well, if I’m being honest (about my obsession with honesty), perhaps I should say that it’s often seen in a negative light. I suppose that’s because the truth often hurts. But since my pain levels are always higher than the pain from honesty, I find the truth to be quite refreshing.

Obviously, this obsession doesn’t win me any popularity contests. But I think the lies we tell ourselves cause us more pain — like anxiety, depression, and digestive problems — than the truth.

So, I think the very last line of your comment pretty much sums up how much you know about me. Funny, if you really wanted to learn more about me, all you had to do was take the time to read some of my blog posts — not just the very small handful that are about your wife.

There’s an awful lot of information on my blog (over 6,500 posts), so I don’t expect you to be familiar with all the details of my chronic pain survivor story. I find it terribly ironic that you accuse me of making assumptions, when it’s you who has made a great number of assumptions about me. But that’s okay, because I don’t mind correcting you.

I think it’s very, very sad when pain patients attack each other. And one of the poison darts often thrown is to accuse another patient of being a drug addict — as if suffering from this additional medical condition is something to be ashamed of. Anyone who follows and reads my blog knows about the enormous amount of empathy I have for those who suffer from any kind of addiction, as well as the in-depth self-analyzing I’ve done on my own addictions.

Tell me, Mr. Burke, do you recognize your addictions?

https://painkills2.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/do-you-recognize-your-addictions/

For those pain patients who choose stoicism over drugs, I salute you. I can only warn you that untreated pain can very easily turn into chronic and intractable pain, increasing your daily pain levels, sometimes to the point of being unmanageable (even with drugs).

For those who choose to treat their pain with other drugs besides opioids, I wish you luck. But please don’t play the hypocrite, with the belief that some drugs are good, while others are bad. All drugs have side effects, and you can become addicted to antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and stimulants, just like opioids. In fact, some patients have more trouble detoxing from antidepressants than opioids, with longer-lasting effects. Have you read about brain zaps?

https://painkills2.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/lilly-chalks-up-a-win-for-cymbalta-in-first-u-s-trial-over-withdrawal-symptom-claims/

Mr. Burke, you claim to have been “clean” for five years. I suppose that means you haven’t taken any painkillers, as if these are the only drugs that can make one feel dirty while taking, and become clean when they cease taking them. (Heck, some people feel that way about gluten.) If your chosen treatments for pain are working for you, that’s great.

For the past 4 years, I haven’t taken any prescription drugs for chronic pain, even though I’ve had more than one opportunity to purchase them in the underground market. And while you think that I’m addicted to drugs — only interested in getting my next “fix” — the truth is that I was really addicted to doctors and the medical industry. Freeing myself from that addiction was both the hardest and best thing I’ve ever done.

So, there’s no way I can overdose, unless it’s on aspirin. But you’re so very kind to worry about me, Mr. Burke. But dude, there’s no way on Earth that you could ever shame me, although I’m sure you tried your best. Tell me, why did you think it was a good idea to assert that I plant trash outside of my apartment? I think that’s the silliest thing I’ve heard all year.

And no matter how many thinly-veiled innuendos you throw at me, you can’t make me feel bad about my blogging and art therapies — at least they’re free. And I’m sure we can agree that blogging and art therapies are not addicting (unlike the prescription drugs you’re currently taking).

The problem I have with you and your wife’s advocacy work is that it’s not helping pain patients. In fact, it’s harming them. (Isn’t New Mexico at the top of the list for drug abuse and overdoses, including alcohol? And if you check your statistics, you’ll find suicide on that list, too.)

I find it odd that you and your wife don’t understand the results of your actions, but then you both have a rather narrow focus on addiction. And until you read every email (posted on this blog) that I’ve written to government employees (and anyone else I thought might help), you have no business telling me to “try.”

Don’t get me wrong, your comments didn’t offend me. But your attitude — especially as a chronic pain patient — is offensive and harmful to millions of other patients. I think you know that. And I hope you also know how foolish you look, trying to judge me, based on your own misconceptions and the lies you tell yourself.

Dude, you’re not an “expert” on chronic pain. You’re only an expert on your version of adequate treatment options. You discriminate against certain drugs, just like your opinions about me discriminate against other pain patients. I’m not trying to change or open up your mind — no, I’m trying to inform millions of other pain patients what they’re up against in the opioid war.

It’s unfortunate that we’re on opposite sides of this war, Mr. Burke, but I prefer to be on the right side of history. The drug war is, and has been, a total failure (just like prohibition). The war against cannabis has been a disaster, too. The opioid war will also be a failure, but it could take decades — decades of increased suffering, depression, disability, alcoholism, homelessness, and suicides. Yes, and overdoses, too. All because of people like you and your wife. (And a shout out to Unum and the CDC.)

If I believed in shame, I would call that shameful. Hopefully, the patients treated at your addiction clinic are not shamed, as you have tried to shame me here.

https://painkills2.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/what-is-the-purpose-of-shame/

I’m Tired

http://www.painnewsnetwork.org/stories/2016/3/3/sherris-story-a-final-plea-for-help

“Several documents found inside the location underscored her pain, suffering and suicidal ideations,” reads the coroner’s report. “A check of the decedent’s laptop also contained a pictured document written by the decedent titled ‘Why I Killed Myself’ by Sherri Little.”

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ex-nyc-journalist-sarah-kershaw-planned-life-article-1.2545443

The former New York journalist who was found dead in her home in the Dominican Republic told friends that she planned to end her life, according to reports. Sarah Kershaw, 49, was found with a plastic bag tied over her head and pill bottles beside her…  The writer had been suffering from chronic pain due to occipital neuralgia…

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I can feel it

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flying away

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my will to live

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my will to stay

Honeysuckle Haven

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I dream of a future where pain patients come together and create their own pain clinic. The one pictured in my mind is called Honeysuckle Haven.

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Since it will be totally self-sufficient, health insurance will not be required for admittance.

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Honeysuckle Haven is not like the Mayo Clinic’s Pain Rehabilitation Center — housed in a building made of concrete and steel, with doctors and tests to monitor your every move — or any other pain programs that currently exist.

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And in my future, the drug war will be over, so the Haven will offer all available treatment options.

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It will be a sprawling commune, nestled in fields of honeysuckle and bluebonnets, with large trees standing guard nearby. (The land will be a gift from the federal government as reparation for its cruel torture of pain patients in the opioid war, and in memory of those who didn’t survive.)

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Each building will offer different treatments, like water therapy and massage. There will be a building for patients who want to fight their pain with vitamins, a farm for those who are currently choosing cannabis, and patches of land for garden therapy.

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There will be a building where all sound is cushioned, and another one where patients celebrate loud music. There will be a building for those who like to pray, and bakery therapy for those who like to eat.

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There will be grief counseling (and comedy therapy) for all.

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Patients will move at their own pace, not dictated by schedules and appointments with professionals.

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I also picture a building where the mastery of pain management is taught. Newly-defined experts will come from all over the world to share experiences and discuss the many different issues surrounding pain and the brain.

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Patients will come and go; some staying for a day or two, and some for the rest of their lives. But everyone will be treated equally at Honeysuckle Haven (where eviction is against the law).

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Thanks for sharing my dream with me, and have a nice weekend. 🙂

Steroid Over-Prescribing

http://www.medpagetoday.com/Rheumatology/Arthritis/55586?xid=nl_mpt_DHE_2016-01-11&eun=g875301d0r

Almost half of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in the U.K. receive glucocorticoids from primary care physicians, and of those who are prescribed glucocorticoids, more than half receive more than 10 mg a day…

Glucocorticoids have been used for RA for more than 60 years, and are effective for easing the pain and swelling associated with the disease. However, these drugs are associated with many potentially serious adverse effects, and current guidelines recommend that they be used for the shortest possible time and at the lowest effective dose.

“In the general population, glucocorticoids account for 2.5% of all adverse drug reactions leading to hospital admission,” Black and colleagues observed…

The median cumulative time spent on glucocorticoids was 10 months, the authors noted. “This highlights that some patients are taking glucocorticoids for longer than recommended, placing them at increased risk of developing side effects,” they observed…

When Steroids Cause Psychosis published at The Rheumatologist in 2010

Corticosteroids are used to treat inflammatory manifestations of many rheumatologic conditions. Doses necessary to control disease are frequently high (e.g., 1 mg/kg or greater), and therapy may be maintained for prolonged periods of weeks to months. In this setting, one out of every two to three patients prescribed steroids may develop psychiatric symptoms including psychosis, mania, delirium, and depression. The most common symptoms reported with corticosteroid therapy are hypomania, mania, and psychosis…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steroid_dementia_syndrome

Glucocorticoid medications have been known to be associated with significant side effects involving behavior and mood, regardless of previous psychiatric or cognitive condition, since the early 1950s. But cognitive side effects of steroid medications involving memory and attention are not as widely publicized and may be misdiagnosed as separate conditions, such as attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) in children or early Alzheimer’s disease in elderly patients…

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3001922/

(2010) Steroids as pain relief adjuvants

Withdrawal symptoms from corticosteroids include pain, nausea or vomiting, weight loss, depression, fatigue, fever, dizziness, and rebound symptoms that are unmasked when there is loss of symptom control once the corticosteroid is removed…

Posted at the Facebook page for Opposition to Kentucky HB 1-Reform HB 217 aka “Pill Mill Bill”:

(17 hours ago) Harmed Patient:  It should also be noted that in KY it is not only chronic pain patients being denied care, but also acute pain. Urgent care centers are prescribing toxic steroids for short term injury pain.

http://erbclaw.com/updates/steroid-injection-overdose-causes-auto-immune-syndrome/index.html

Plaintiff, currently age 41, suffered from low back pain and was given the recommendation to go to a pain clinic for treatment per her primary care physician. Plaintiff presented to Defendant doctor at his advertised pain clinic in June of 2008. Defendant reviewed Plaintiff’s recently performed MRI scans, diagnosed her with scar tissue and arthritis, and indicated to her “I can fix this”. Defendant, who is not a trained radiologist, disagreed with the radiological interpretation that Plaintiff was suffering from a herniated disc, and instead believed she had scar tissue and an arthritic condition.

Defendant’s treatment regimen consisted of injecting plaintiff with corticosteroids, predominantly 40 mg Kenalog injections, at the L-4/L-5 disc space. Between June 2, 2008 and October 10, 2008, a time frame of only four months, Defendant performed 9 separate corticosteroid injection procedures upon Plaintiff…

After Plaintiff had undergone several of the injections, her toes went numb bilaterally. Defendant assured her this was not an issue and stated “Don’t worry about it”. One month later after additional steroid injections, her left thigh went numb from her knee to her hip. Following the October 10, 2008 injection, Plaintiff’s pain and numbness increased and she stopped seeing Defendant doctor. Plaintiff contacted the licensing board and was informed that Defendant had not been certified as a pain management specialist and according to the licensing board representative, Defendant was practicing outside his scope of practice.

Plaintiff was hospitalized for an infection following the second corticosteroid procedure and subsequently has developed high blood pressure requiring medication. Furthermore, she has been diagnosed with an auto immune process that was proximately caused by the massive overuse of steroid injections by Defendant doctor. Plaintiff has also had to undergo disc fusion surgery in her lumbar spine by a neurosurgeon to stabilize the area where Defendant injected her with massive doses of steroids…

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151026093658.htm

(10/26/2015) Common steroid does not reduce chronic pain after heart surgery

https://painkills2.wordpress.com/2015/06/13/2013-the-risks-of-epidural-and-transforaminal-steroid-injections-in-the-spine/

Dr. Jane Ballantyne of PFROP

Featured photo found at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/09/health/opioid-painkiller-prescriptions-pose-danger-without-oversight.html

http://www.vitals.com/doctors/Dr_Jane_Ballantyne/reviews

by Anonymous on Apr 5th, 2013
This doctor has very poor bedside manner. She had an intern review my history and records and didn’t even ask me why I was in her office for a consultatation. She merely entered the room, sat on the edge of the table and sneered at me, apparently at my choice of blouses which was an imitation of an expensive designer silk in less expensive polyester. She has published books and articles about her disdain for American doctors’ irresponsible use of opioid prescription drugs in the treatment of chronic pain and apparently is on the lookout for any patient that according to her isn’t “dying, or completely incapacitated”, the only valid reasons, in her opinion for prescribing these types of drugs. When she offered me no other solutions to help with my chronic pain and I wept at her decision to deny me a prescription for pain medication that my previous doctor has written for the past 4 months, she looked away. The only thing that came out of this visit was a referral to a psychiatrist on her staff and a suggestion that I try an antideppressant for sleep and pain. I had already told her assistant and I had repeated that I could not tolerate the side effects for these medications. I think that because of my British surname she expected a white person but was disgusted by my appearance when she entered the room (I am Native American), it seems hard for her to hide her disdain for others. It seems she has been pumped up so much by her staff and peers. I do have a valid reason for medication use, and have never abused it. I brought evidence of this, conclusive radiological reports and physician chart notes. Had she reviewed these, even for five minutes, she would have agreed.

—–

CDC’s Primary Care and Public Health Initiative
Balancing Pain Management and Prescription Opioid Abuse
October 24, 2012

Lieutenant Commander Christopher M. Jones, PharmD, MPH, serves as the acting team lead for the prescription drug overdose team in the Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention in CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control…  Prior to joining CDC, Chris completed a one-year detail to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, serving as the senior public health advisor where he co-lead the development of the administration’s prescription drug abuse prevention plan…

Our next presenter is Dr. Jane Ballantyne, who is a professor of anesthesiology and pain management at the University of Washington in Seattle…

—–

Ballantyne, JC. Opioid analgesia: perspectives on right use and utility. Pain Physician 2007

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17525783

Do you get the feeling that a few of Ms. Ballantyne’s patients were mean to her, and this is her revenge?

http://www.npr.org/2015/12/29/461409296/draft-of-cdcs-new-prescribing-guidelines-stirs-debate

BALLANTYNE:  If you give people opiates, they think you’re the best thing since sliced bread. They love you. They just worship the ground you walk on. The moment you suggest that you want to try and get them down on their dose or, worse still, say you can’t carry on prescribing – not that I do that myself; I never cut people off; I don’t think people should be cut off, but I do try and persuade them to come down on their dose – they are so awful. And you can see why people who are not seeped in this stuff – the young primary care physicians just don’t know what to make of it. They don’t want to be abused. They want to be loved like everybody else does. We go into medicine to try and help people. And when you get abused and, you know, insulted, you can see why it perpetuates itself.

I find it hard to believe that Ms. Ballantyne “never” cut a patient off. Maybe the reason is that she hardly ever prescribed any drugs that, in her opinion, patients needed to be cut off from. (Antidepressants for everyone!)

For 20 years, Dr. Ballantyne directed the Center for Pain Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston…

If you are a pain patient who was abandoned by Ms. Ballantyne, please email me at painkills2@aol.com. I would love to hear your story.

Americans don’t care about pain patients

Almost 200,000 People Have Signed Petitions Asking Obama to Pardon the ‘Making a Murderer’ Subject

https://www.vice.com/read/almost-200000-people-have-signed-petitions-asking-obama-to-pardon-the-making-a-murderer-subject-vgtrn

As of this moment, there are 1,793 comments on the CDC’s website regarding the new regulations:

http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=CDC-2015-0112

A search for the word “suicide” brought back 239 results in the comment section:

http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketBrowser;rpp=25;po=0;s=suicide;dct=PS;D=CDC-2015-0112

The same search has 3 results in the CDC’s supporting documents:

http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketBrowser;rpp=25;po=0;s=suicide;dct=SR;D=CDC-2015-0112

First Do No Harm: The DEA targets Physicians who treat their patients pain.

8,829 People Have Sent 21,065 Letters and Emails

http://www.petition2congress.com/5202/first-do-no-harm-dea-targets-physicians-who-treat-their-patients/view/

(1 day ago) Kristin K. from Central Point, OR writes:

It’s a relief to see that people are starting to recognize the demoralizing, and downright appalling scrutiny so many are dealing with. And most are guilty of nothing more than suffering with chronic pain. Depressing, devastating, and most often debilitating, chronic pain.

For twenty years I’ve watched my dad suffer in pain. For the first ten years he was prescribed oxycontin, a very strong, long-acting narcotic, for a spinal cord injury. He hated the way it made him numb emotionally. So he decided, on his own to discontinue the pain meds, and sought out a new doctor, hoping to fond an alternative. After a horrible withdrawal period, that caused mini strokes, he continued pain med free for several weeks. He came to realize he needed the relief the pain meds provided more than once thought.

However, his previous attempt to go drug free had caused his new doctor to red flag him, making it near impossible to get help in the way of narcotic pain medication, despite numerous MRI’s, and x-rays of his extensive injuries. It took going to the local Methadone Clinic, and asking who was known to have the worst reputation when it came to prescribing painpills too easily. They gave me a name and i had dad in to see him the next week. I needed to be sure we were going to a doctor that hadn’t become so fearful of DEA scrutinizing, that he would compromise morhis oath as a doctor, or his morals as a human being. It’s been a battle to say the least. Dad is now on a pain pump, and making slow progress. But, there should have never been a day go by that he had to suffer like he did.

(4 days ago) Someone from Superior, WI writes:

In my area it’s next to impossible to receive opiods for pain relief, chronic and acute. Just in my circle of loved ones, I have seen the following:

A 45 year old woman who cannot get pain medication after major abdominal surgery because her primary care physician wasn’t the prescriber. It was the surgeon who prescribed it, so insurance won’t cover it, and the pharmacy refuses to let her pay in cash.

A 74 year old accused of being a drug seeker when she was brought to the ER with back pain. Turned out she had kidney stones and a UTI.

A 44 year old veteran denied pain meds for a severe, permanent knee injury that forced him into early retirement from the military.

A 21 year old male accused of faking groin and back pain to access narcotics, even though he turned down hydromorphone and asked for Toradol. He ended up needing surgery to remove several 10 mm size kidney stones.

A 42 year old female denied pain medication for multiple foot fractures after an accident.

A 43 year old woman told to increase her doses of naproxen after calling her dr to report renal and stomach side effects. She’s currently in the hospital after developing a GI bleed.

A 55 year old veteran accused of drug seeking when he was brought to the ER with head trauma after being robbed and beaten. Funny how the addict who did this to him is treated more compassionately than the guy he brutalized.

A 38 year old female denied pain meds while having shingles.

And these are just acute pain patients. This doesn’t mention those of us with chronic pain diseases that are denied pain relief. Those of us with chronic pancreatitis, rheumatoid arthritis, numerous back problems, severe osteoarthritis, stress fractures in the spine, neuropathy from diabetes and blood clots, fibromyalgia, CRPS..,,the list goes on. Not one of us can get help from our doctors. Every single one of us in my group have side effects from this lack of treatment. Many of us have uncontrolled high blood pressure from stress and pain, most of us have varying levels of PTSD and depression because of these accusations. One patient has started getting panic attacks every time they enter a medical facility.

Despite opiods being next to impossible to get here, heroin use has risen dramatically…

(2 days ago) Maureen S. from Clifton Park, NY writes:

Very well written! I am tired of being treated like a criminal by my doctor, I am tired of the friggin’ cashier at the pharmacy giving me the stink eye.

I am weary of thinking about suicide almost every day.

http://www.pharmaciststeve.com/?p=13163

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is hosting a public conference call on its controversial Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain Thursday, January 7, 2016, at 9:00 am ET.

The Last Resort

This is just one of the hundreds of tragic stories in the CDC comment section:

http://www.pharmaciststeve.com/?p=13140

http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=CDC-2015-0112-1530

I write this from the intensive care unit waiting room, a suicide letter on my lap. My beloved wife is currently an ICU patient due to under treated chronic pain.

10 years ago we had it all. 3 beautiful children, a lovely home in the suburbs. We were “the American Dream.” I had a job that allowed me to take on the household expenses solo so my wife could be a stay at home mom. In a moment it all shattered.

My wife was rear ended by a kid who was on his cell phone while driving. Her injuries, besides the regular bumps and bruises included a stress fracture in her back, a sprained neck and wrist and a concussion.

Doesn’t sound bad, does it? Except that for months, the pain increased almost daily. Physical therapy did not help. The trips to the chiropractor left her in tears afterwards from the pain. Almost a year after the accident, I came home from work and she was in bed still, in so much agony she couldn’t move.

A MRI shortly after this day showed multiple damage to the discs in her neck and back, the stress fracture not healed properly and severe spinal arthritis. It was then she was referred to pain management. Her PMP was amazing. She was treated with dignity and respect. She was put on anti inflammatory medicine, along with ER OxyContin and 10 mg oxycodone for breakthrough pain. With this my wife could almost go back to her “old life” as she called it. Yes, she had some bad days. But on good days she could do light housekeeping, a little bit of yoga, even work part time. She did every single thing the PMP asked of her. Not once did my wife break her pain contract. Several times her provider called her “an ideal patient.”

9 months ago he took early retirement. The new PMP has been the polar opposite. Immediately he cut her pain meds to less than half her previous doses (which never increased since she went on them), increased her anti inflammatory meds and put her on Neurontin (by now she’s started having severe sciatica). He said that “All his patients will be off opiates in a year unless they’re dying of cancer.” Several weeks later, her pain was increased dramatically, her behavior was erratic and she developed a GI bleed. She took up smoking cigarettes and stopped doing self breast exams because “If I get cancer he will at least treat my pain.” I truly believe that by now the Neurontin was affecting her behavior, as was her increased pain. Her PMP’s solution? He added Lyrica to her prescriptions, instructed her physical therapist to “challenge her” and told her to “Stop trying to make me your dealer.”

This lack of compassion, professionalism and accusations has destroyed what self esteem my beautiful wife had left. Up until recently she fought her pain with every step. She started eating healthier, she exercised as much as she could, she tried every legal option she could think of. Opiods are a last resort for her. The severe pain she faces every minute of the day (which has been made worse by the naproxen thanks to kidney disease and stomach ulcers), to be treated in such a derogatory manner, coupled with the Neurontin and Lyrica became too much.

The love of my life attempted suicide in a last ditch effort to stop her suffering. She will survive….today. However her blood pressure is incredibly high, as is her heart rate. Her kidney function is so poor she may need dialysis. She is requesting to be DNR. And even now, the doctors are refusing to give her pain medication.

Chronic pain does kill. It has destroyed the beautiful woman who I love so much. It has killed us financially. It has ruined my children’s lives. It has destroyed our faith in the medical profession.

Please, don’t let this happen to another family. Please allow doctors to treat all pain patients with what works for them, including the option of opiods.

I thank you for your time.

Chronic pain on YouTube

What does YouTube have to say about chronic pain? My search uncovered the following videos:

I found an interesting and informative talk by a Professor of Anesthesiology at the University of Michigan to actual pain patients (2013):

I think this doctor is trying to change the wording of how we talk about subjective pain, referring to conditions like fibromyalgia as “brain pain,” as opposed to peripheral pain. He’s saying that, yes, the pain is all in your head, but there’s a reason for that, and it’s not because you’re imagining it.

As a pain patient, that’s the message I got; but if you work for an insurance company, the only message you’d hear is that fibromyalgia pain isn’t really real. The pain is an amplification of reality — it’s only your perception of the pain that makes it severe, and your perception has now been deemed overactive. And even though your DNA is partly to blame, your sensitivity to pain is nothing that can really harm you or your body, so your treatment options are restricted and limited.

This doctor says opioids don’t work for brain pain problems, and that they won’t help any patient who’s suffering from a central pain “syndrome” (which he goes on to describe). As far as I can tell, anyone with the label of “chronic pain” is suffering from a central pain syndrome, even though he mostly uses fibromyalgia as an example (along with IBS and TMJ).

And if I’m not mistaken, this doctor believes that fibromyalgia is a case of hyperalgesia, just not always caused by opioids. But he also says that opioids are making chronic pain patients worse, actually causing fibromyalgia and central pain syndromes.

I’ll tell you what, this doctor is very convincing. If not for my own experiences, I might have believed him. But the real proof of whether hyperalgesia exists is in the discontinuance of the opioid therapy.

Now that I’m off all the pills, how come I’m not one of these alleged patients who got better? How many patients really do get better when opioids are terminated? If opioids are causing hyperalgesia in some patients, what about the other patients who don’t have that problem? From the stories I’ve read from pain patients, the only thing that happens when opioid treatment is withdrawn is more pain, so I’m not the only one.

While I found this talk interesting, my take away from the video was that anyone who suffers from chronic pain also suffers from a central pain syndrome — and that means pain medications are not for you.

How will your doctor tell you that he’s refusing to prescribe any more opioids? For this biased re-enactment, we’ll need an example of a pain patient who’s abusing his medications (the patient portrayed in the video has been monitored by the PDMP, which shows he’s received multiple prescriptions for Lortab from different doctors):

In real life, this patient would be behind bars after this visit, especially since he refused the doctor’s suggested treatment (Suboxone or bupe). And just to show you how inaccurate the portrayal of the pain patient is, this guy keeps asking for stronger pain medication — I don’t know any pain patient who would do that, knowing they would be risking whatever limited access they still have.

And I’ll just add that most of the stories I’ve read about patients forced to discontinue opioids involve doctors notifying patients by letter, or just abandoning them altogether by refusing to see or talk to them.

Here’s a sarcastic take on a patient’s first visit with pain management:

Under comments:

petmom ful 10 months ago
I signed the contract and did everything right. They still treated me like a criminal. I hated the whole thing. It was a terrible experience. The drugs made me sick, yet they pushed more and more on me. They would not listen to anything I said. The dr. told me I was a fail and had shut myself off from further treatment. I could not bear any more injections. PT made me so bad that I could not even get on the table after 7 weeks. I told him that would happen but he did not listen. He treated me like a degenerate and yelled at me. They would not even take the time to look at the PT report that had been faxed to them. I made my husband go into the room with me, so maybe they would treat me with a little more respect. I sat across the room so they could not grab my head and jack it right and left to check my range of motion. The drugs made me sick, angry, and upset, then they labeled me a nut. Every appt. I made was screwed up! They give you just enough meds to last to your next appt, then they screw up your appt. and you reschedule. Now you don’t have enough meds to last! Too bad! If you decide you can’t take it, and change doctors, you are now a dr. shopper. It is hopeless. No more pain management for me! I realize not everyone can do without it, but I am managing and I don’t plan on going back.

Finally, here’s our own Payne Hertz’s take on a pain patient’s ER adventure:

In The Background #2

New Year’s Day in the Q began covered by one huge cloud, but it’s now beginning to clear up, and I see a few balloons flying in the background of my awesome mountain. I’m listening to Lady Gaga… I’ve got black beans and rice on the stove and tortillas warming in the oven… In other words, Bud and I are having a good day. 🙂

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(Photos taken on New Year’s Eve.)

ER Horror Story

https://www.facebook.com/PatientsUnitedForDeaReform

‎Donald Moore‎
December 23 at 9:17pm ¡ Belfast, ME

I recently moved to Maine from Portland, Oregon… I have been in chronic, 24 hour a day pain for almost 15 years…

But the story I’d like to relate today happened to me last week at the St.Joseph Hospital in Bangor, Maine.

When I arrived in Maine about 3 months ago, I had about 6 weeks of pain medication remaining. I thought that, even under the worst conditions, I would be able to find a doctor to take over my treatment. I was mistaken. Because an outright “drug war” declared on Heroin and other forms of opioids declared by Governor LaPage, “opioidphobia” (not my word) has met, or surpassed Islamophobia in popularity. I waited six weeks for an appointment at a pain clinic, and after driving two hours and forking over nearly $400 of my own money, I was informed that it would be my only appointment there, as they had decided to close the practice. It’s a story that is repeating all over the United States: Doctors with hundreds of patients who come to them for the medications they need for legitimate medical conditions are closing down with little or no notice. Even as I sat waiting for my first and last appointment, three different people, coming for their monthly refills, were informed of the closure. One was in shock, one was angry and the third sat on the chair across from me and wept.

I called more pain management clinics. Several of them I spoke with were either not taking anymore patients, while several others made it very clear that they were no longer prescribing narcotic pain medications for chronic pain…PAIN CLINICS! …

So it was that I found myself forced to discontinue the regimen that had kept me a productive member of society for 15 years… As many of you know, the withdrawal symptoms were acute; I spent a better part of six weeks going form the couch to the bed to the chair to the bed in a losing battle to find some position, any position that would give me some relief from the pain. There wasn’t any.

Even though the withdrawal symptoms eventually eased, the pain didn’t. I now suffer from 8/10 to 10/10 pain that has no end. It is entirely life consuming. I can’t sleep, eat or stand long enough to shower. I’ve gone from a person who owned and operated a restaurant for 10 years, spent the last 4 years driving a cab 12 hours a day, and then drove, alone from Oregon to Maine, rented a house and moved myself in. Now I don’t go outside, can’t take care of myself, and literally stood at the bottom of the stairs and peed myself because the pain was so bad I couldn’t get to the top of the stairs.

Finally I could take no more and we drove the hour to St.Joseph Hospital in Bangor to go to the ER. In triage, I told the intake nurse that what I felt like I needed was an emergency neurosurgical consult and an MRI. My last neurosurgeon had instructed me that if I had new or worsening symptoms (the bottom of my left foot seems to have gone numb permanently, and clearly I am having some control problems with my bladder.) I told them I was scared. I told them I didn’t feel like my life was worth living this way and I felt like what I really needed was to be admitted to a hospital until a solution could be found.

I want to be very clear here: AT NO POINT DURING MY VISIT DID I EVER MENTION OR REQUEST ANY KIND OF PAIN MEDICATION, ESPECIALLY OPIOID PAIN MEDICATION. I know better…

For 7 hours, during which time I was not seen by a doctor, a physicians assistant, or a nurse practitioner. After 5 hours, and more repeated requests for a neuro consult and MRI, a nurse appeared and gave me two Tylenol, and two Ibuprofen. A man with 9/10 pain and multiple surgeries on my Lumbar spine was left to writhe on a 2-inch-thick foam pad on top of a hospital gurney, without so much as a interview, physical examination, or even a visit with an M.D…

Continuing to do my best to be “calm and compliant”, I asked again for a neuro consult, an MRI, or to be admitted. Dr. Matthew Duhl, M.D. informed me that I did not meet the criteria for a neruo consult or an emergent MRI. He went on to tell me that there was no way he was going to give me anything substantive for pain and that he believed that I was using a suicide threat “as a bargaining chip to get narcotics”

Hey, CDC, can you hear us now?

At this point, there are 486 comments on the CDC’s new opioid guidelines. And while I didn’t read every single one, I think it’s extremely important for the voices of pain patients to be heard — which is why I copied and pasted some of the comments (mostly excerpts) here on my blog. Now these comments can be found by a simple Google search, instead of being buried on the CDC website (for however long).

I think it’s also important for patients to know which doctors agree with the CDC (you know, so you can avoid them). (See comments under “Doctor” heading.)

Just like I want my story to be read, other pain patients want the same thing, so please take a little time to read a few of these comments. You can find my story here:

https://painkills2.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/medical-cannabis/

In my overall review of the comments, I’d say that 95% of them are from patients and are against the CDC.  I also noticed that there were a significant number of comments from patients with CPRS, EDS, Arachnoiditis, Interstitial Cystitis, and Fibromyalgia.

I’d also like to mention the defensiveness and fear within all the comments from patients. Many comments include lengthy descriptions of medical conditions, along with adamant protestations of innocence for abusing medications, such as:

“I take my medication exactly as my dr has prescribed it.”

“BUT, I DO NOT ABUSE MY PAIN MEDICATION AND I’M NOT A ADDICT”!!!

I hate to break it to pain patients, but I don’t think that matters to the CDC. See, in this agency’s view, almost EVERY non-cancer pain patient on opioids is taking too high of a dosage. In fact, the CDC believes chronic pain patients shouldn’t be taking opioids at all, so it doesn’t matter if you’re taking your medications as prescribed.

I also noticed that too many commenters posted under “Anonymous,” obviously afraid to use their real names.

Lastly, I noticed that many pain patients are rooting for doctors, saying these decisions are between doctors and patients. Until your doctor abandons you, I suppose you might still have faith in him or her… Yeah, good luck with that.

Because if you believe that the medical industry is on the side of pain patients, I’m afraid you’re in for a rude awakening. If you believe your current doctor will never abandon you, I don’t see how you’ll be prepared for the eventuality. And as a pain patient, if you have to find another doctor for any reason, you’ll be up shit creek (right next to suicide alley).

In fact, many doctors are taking advantage of the opioid war by taking advantage of pain patients — overcharging and other abuses (including sexual abuse) against patients are not reported, but believe me, the medical industry is rife with abuse against patients. Ya’ll be careful out there…

PAIN PATIENTS:

Comment from Anonymous

It is very frustrating to have my orthopedic Dr. be with a group that has passed a policy to not give out pain meds after a certain number of months post surgery, then sends me to a pain clinic who won’t prescribe narcotics either…

Comment from Emily Valtreaux

Why are your “professional panels” made up of people that will greatly benefit by throwing us all in detox I wonder? Why do you cry “hyperalgesia” (apparently the new fear mongerer word favorite) even when an individual is still in pain, just to the point that is tolerable? …

Comment from S S

Announcing this with no notice and over the holiday season keeps the PATIENTS (the citizens who need these medicines) from having any input on the topic…

Comment from Jaymie Reed

One of the biggest problems we face is that the very people who are suffering are the ones that need to speak out but won’t because of fear of reprisal from the DEA. They won’t sign petitions or comment on public forums such as this, because they are afraid that they won’t even be able to fight to get the pain medication they need that it will simply be taken from them completely… The number of heroin deaths are increasing and it isn’t because the chronic pain patient who is being treated for their pain. It is because of the chronic pain patient that is no longer receiving treatment for their pain. They turn to the streets and buy a drug they have no idea how to use and end up overdosing…

Comment from Rebecca

In Colorado they had me try medical marijuana and that also helped but I had to move back to West Virginia and the medical marijuana is not legal here so I haven’t had any real relief in over a year. I need help…

Comment from John Bocchicchio

A colleague of mine who had a similar condition and had been battling out the pain management paradox, I.e. You are treated like a drug seaker until further proven. He dealt with the suspicions, urine tests, and intense scrutiny as he was fighting for his life with the pain that sought to kill him. Unfortunately, the pain won. Faced with disability battles, and struggles obtaining relief from chronic pain that is constantly screaming at you to give up, he took his own life in 2009 rather face another day of pain and frustration. I don’t want to end up being like my colleague…

Comment from Shelley Anderson

Do you know what it’s like to feel split open from the waist down, have red ants dumped on you, and be eaten alive from the inside out…. YEAH… THAT’S HOW I FEEL EVERY SINGLE DAY… and yet – the answer I get from our local clinic is…just go to the ER to get some pain relief. REALLY? For Gods sake – I DESERVE TO LIVE A SOMEWHAT NORMAL LIFE…I feel like a begging junkie every single month when I have to pick up my “piece of paper”….how gross to live like this. It’s just so damn frustrating. Today…I’d be better off dead. What a sad and pathetic way to try and get my point across. So so so sad. No one should have to live like this. No one.

Comment from Kevin Howerton

I have a degree in neuroscience… Likewise “they aren’t terminal” seems like a very poor argument for denying someone treatment that has the potential to drastically improve their quality of life. I’d rather a short and painful life to a long and painful one.

Some of the more “serious” arguments seem to revolve around the idea that opiate use increases exponentially. “Opiates require an infinite increase to quench an ever increasing tolerance”. You’d be surprised but this idea is preposterous. You have a finite number of receptor sites in your brain; your head occupies a finite amount of space … how could you expect an infinite amount of tolerance. Tolerance does increase with chronic opiate use though it is far from infinite. Having to titrate up a patient to a useful therapeutic dose as their treatment and disease progresses is not something physicians have to uniquely do with opiates … rather this is the nature of all drugs…

Comment from Dana Spencer

I will never get better. I will only get worse.

Comment from Anonymous

SHAME ON YOU

Comment from Anonymous

I just notice the comment I submitted 12/20 was not listed. In fact, comments between 12/19-20 were missing. [This was not the only mention of disappearing comments.]

Comment from Lori Mahloch

I am appalled that the CDC thinks that the only people who deserve to be treated humanely are people with Cancer. I have Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, This rates the HIGHEST on the McGill pain scale for pain. Yet I am unable to get treatment by physicians because of CDC guidelines. Walking into a doctors office for a first visit and the first words out of a doctors mouth should NOT be we don’t give pills here. Because of the audacity of the CDC many doctors will not see, nor treat anyone who has a chronic pain disease. I have not been able to see a doctor for a year because of these guidelines. I have lost friends to suicide , due to not being able to get pain meds for their pain…

Comment from Rebecca Scarbrough

Do you think regulations that label sick people as drug addicts or dealers helps with the personal anxiety and depression that almost always accompanies chronic pain? Why add to this? I wonder how many lives were lost when a pharmacist stare and judgement was the final straw. Have you ever thought of that? …

Comment from George Gregorich

I no longer respect or trust doctors…

Comment from Rhonda Barth

You all should be ashamed! My husband is 100% service connected disabled Veterans who is being made to suffer in agony now because you have made it to where the VA is taking away his pain medication. He is now bedridden and has no quality of life, he does not want to be here anymore…

Comment from Theresa Schramm

After 32 years of dealing with temporomandibular joint pain and dysfunction, I had both of my jaw joints replaced and all of my remaining natural teeth pulled earlier this year. The TMJ dysfunction has improved, and is still improving as I slowly get used to dentures, but the headaches and myofascial pain have not. The surgeon was very clear in warning me up front that the pain might not improve with this surgery, and he was right. It seems that the 32 years I spent trying to find ways to treat this has left me with incurable scar tissue all around my jaw joints on both sides. This scar tissue affects every move I make with my face, from simple carrying on a conversation all the way up to eating. My mouth will never open as wide as it should, nor will it move from side to side. I experience pain on a daily basis, sometimes in my jaw joint areas and more often all over my head. It hurts to talk on the phone for more than 15 minutes. Singing causes such pain I have almost completely given it up…

Comment from George Gregorich

I can’t wait for the day when I watch the news and see you people being arrested for crimes against humanity. You are just as bad as chronic pain , you don’t know when to quit…

Comment from Richard Osband

Opiates (of one form or another) have been the sovereign analgesics for centuries. The CDC’s efforts to essentially criminalize them when no other really effective alternative to their use exists is simply sadistic. While there are many ways to treat addiction there are no other ways to treat intractable pain. The proposed guidelines seem to make pain management a matter of morality rather than of proper clinical practice…

Comment from Anonymous

I have lived with Severe pain since I was 14 years old. There is no doubt what the cause is behind the pain. I have had 13 brain surgeries since then and 4 spine surgeries. If I did not have access to my daily dose of Morphine, and Hydrocodone I would not be able to get out of bed because of Hydrocephalus, and a spine disorder called Arachnoiditis. Please stop the madness surrounding to restrict access to much needed life-improving medications. Doctors have all said to me, I may not have cancer but its clear from my vital signs, my labwork and scan results I am living in constant severe pain, and need to be treated adequately before it kills me. It’s proven that chronic pain can put a strain on your heart and other vital signs if not treated appropriately patients can die prematurely.I am fearful that the government wants to do is kill off all chronic pain patients rather than helping us have a better quality of life. The pain we are in isn’t psychological.

Comment from Paul Clay

I work in emergency medicine and critical care. Here’s what happened to opiod abusers. They couldn’t get prescription pills easily enough so the abuser went to heroin,which resulted in more overdose deaths in a few months more than i had seen in my 20 yrs. . If your goal was to kill off the abuser and make it more difficult for true needs patients then congratulations you have succeeded…

Comment from barbara williams

I was nave in thinking that when people are in pain that going to a pain clinic would fix everything. Going to the pain clinic did nothing. Tramadol took a bit of the edge off, but ganglion blocks, injections, trial l with spinal chord stimulator did nothing. We then tried alternative methods of chiropractor care acupuncture, calmare scrambler, ozone injections, dry needling and biofeedback to the tune of $10,000…

Comment from Arianne Grand-Gassaway

Relief from pain should not be a crime…

Comment from Angela Farthing

I am a victim of the 2012 Fungal Meningitis outbreak. I was injected with a contaminated vial of methylprednisone acetate to treat sciatic pain. Shortly thereafter I was diagnosed with fungal meningitis, suffered a stroke, a brain aneurysm, an intradural abscess, and ultimately adhesive arachnoidits. The arachnoiditis left me in horrific pain, pain that literally made me wish I never survived the meningitis (which I almost didn’t). When I initially told my doctors about the pain that left me crying on the floor, my plea for pain relief began…  I now take Low Dose Naltrexone and am completely opioid and synthetic opioid free…

https://edsinfo.wordpress.com/2015/12/22/one-pitfall-of-chronic-oral-low-dose-naltrexone/

DOCTORS:

Comment from Stephen Pew, Ph.D.

My own Mother ended her own life by starving herself because her chronic pain was mismanaged and the doctor would not allow her IV morphine to be administered even in the hospital because “she might get addicted”… I myself ended up in the emergency room with a kidney stone. I was shuffled around for over two hours in terrible pain because the ER was hesitant to administer care for pain. After an hour I was finally given an IV for pain and it was explained to me by the doctor that new regulations limited their ability to treat efficiently. No follow up opioid medication for pain was allowed…

Comment from Elayne Baumgart, Ph.D.

It would be one thing to remove opiates if you had something with which to replace them. Something that would effectively manage pain. But, you don’t…

Comment from Kathryn Rosenberg

I am a Family Physician with 33 years experience in the field. I began to see a pain specialist for back pain about 3 years ago mainly to prevent any questions about my use of opiates. Since then I have started Lyrica and ymbalta for pain control. I have found Tylenol to be of little use… I simply do not see how I could go on living if opiates were not available to me.

Comment from Paul McCurry

As an anesthesiologist, pain physician and addictionologist [made-up term], I applaud the CDC’s efforts to assist in curbing the current opioid addiction epidemic our country is experiencing… All of these adverse consequences are due to continued prescribing of drugs that have NO LONG TERM PROVEN EFFICACY…

Comment from Nathan Hitzeman

These recommendations look reasonable… As a primary care doc losing the war on chronic pain, I applaud the CDC for coming up with these guidelines!

Comment from Blaise Vitale

I am a family physician who regularly sees that chronic narcotics are simply ineffective for chronic pain. I know there are a lot of people who are addicted who think their lives will be ruined by stopping narcotics, but they simply can’t see how the narcotics are harming them. These guidelines may not go far enough to discourage opioids for chronic non-cancer pain. In particular, any patient who has any history of addiction to substances like tobacco or alcohol should never be prescribed these medications chronically. [This is what discrimination looks like.]

Comment from Adrian Bartoli

As a physician specializing in chronic pain management for the past 20 years, double board certified in Anesthesiology and Pain Management, involved in clinical research and the pharmaceutical industry, I strongly and unequivocally SUPPORT the CDC recommended guidelines for restrictions on opioid prescriptions…

Comment from Dr. Edwin Cabassa, DNP, FNP, BC

Unfortunately, there is a significant abuse for opiods in all socio-economic communities. Doctors and Nurse practioners are a major source for those seeking illegal use of such asnd ssimilar substances. My experience is such I will not prescribe opioids unless there is a definitive diagnosis indicating its use. From my panel of patients, I’ve been able to isolate my patients to just 3 who require opiods…

Comment from Maryn Sloane

As an MD board certified in addiction medicine with a sub specialty in the hopefully growing field of effectively treating opiate dependent chronic pain pts… [Someone is seeing lots of dollar signs…]

2. ANYONE on an opiate >30 days will develop opioid induced hyperalgesia… [Liar, liar, pants on fire.]

Opiates ARE NOT INDICATED EVER for neuropathic pain. They WORSEN IT. [Maybe in some patients, but not all.]

Man up docs! – JUST SAY NO!

it takes the simple writing of a prescription to create a substance dependent patient… [Speak for yourself, not everyone else.]

Chronic opiate users should be registered

detoxes should be offered for any pt on opiates for >1y

SUBOXONE MUST BE STANDARD OF CARE

Comment from Richard Webb, MD, Addiction Psychiatry

The use of opiates should be used with extreme caution in anyone with a personal or family history of addiction. [How many Americans don’t have a personal or family history of addiction?]

Comment from Maxwell Stepanuk

I am an orthopedic surgeon and the abuse of opioids is appalling… The problem, as I see it, is with the GPs. [Doctors turning against each other?]

Comment from Barry Saver

As a family physician who has spent my career working in the health care… I would say I have seen some patients genuinely helped by chronic opioid therapy for pain – but far more harm, including addiction, overdose, and diversion… Based on conversations with colleagues, at least 99% would happily accept a time limitation for how long they could prescribe opioids to an individual patient (with exceptions for oncology and palliative care)…

Too bad there aren’t many doctors who commented that still believe in medical science. (Still think doctors are on your side?)

Maybe you’re wondering if I made a comment? No, and I’m not sure I will. However, considering I am currently without bud and in a really bad mood, I might just change my mind. And since I don’t see a rule about how many comments one person can make, I’m sure I could wrangle some fun out of the experience. 🙂

Note:  Comments are due by January 13, 2016.

Are Antibiotics Making People Larger?

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/12/obesity-antibiotics-microbiome/421344/

But the idea that a person can essentially contract obesity because of a change in gut microbes is at once exciting and unnerving—because exposure to microbe-altering drugs in day-to-day life has become almost inevitable. This month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration quietly released a report that said over the past year, antibiotics sold annually for use in food animals increased to 33,860,000 pounds.

That’s a 22 percent increase since five years prior (which was the first time the amount was even measured). Usage also increased in 2014 alone, despite several prominent food producers and restaurants like Whole Foods and Chipotle swearing off antibiotic-raised animal products. Most of those antibiotics are “medically important,” meaning they are used in humans to treat diseases. But a majority of antibiotics are not absorbed by the animal, just excreted. So even those that are not medically important manage to find their ways into soil and water as they become part of the 18 gallons of manure that every cow produces every day.

Antibiotics in manure that seep into soil have been detected in carrots, lettuce, and green onions. Some antibiotics remain active for months after passing through the animal and are detectable in rivers miles from their use; a study of a river in Colorado found several antibiotics everywhere except for “a pristine site in the mountains before the river had encountered urban or agricultural landscapes.” Antibiotic overuse turned the Hudson River into a breeding ground for drug-resistant bacteria…

In 2014, Martin Blaser and colleagues at New York University found that steady exposure of mice to penicillin early in life predisposed them to become obese…

The doctors note that using antibiotics to grow meat results in deadly “superbugs” that now sicken more than two million Americans every year and kill 23,000

In a video segment at the museum, there’s a bit where Stanford microbiologist Justin Sonnenburg says that with every dose of antibiotics you take, you do damage to the microbiome. It recovers, but it never recovers to the place that it was before…

The difference in how the abuse of antibiotics and opioids are treated by the CDC is very clearly discrimination (not only against the drugs, but against the patients who use them):

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/12/11/deaths-from-heroin-overdoses-surged-in-2014/

The 10,574 heroin deaths and the 18,893 deaths from prescription opioids were two big contributors to a sharp increase in fatal drug overdoses last year…

Frieden said the data, which was published this week, may change after CDC has a chance to review them and parse out cases of people who died with both heroin and prescription drugs in their systems. But even if some individuals were counted twice, he said, “It’s clear that the opiate epidemic from 2013 to 2014 got worse, not better.” …

http://www.vox.com/2015/10/1/9433099/opioid-painkiller-heroin-epidemic

As Sabet acknowledged, the government knew this was a possibility — but the feds still thought it was worth cutting off the supply of painkillers to prevent doctors and pharmacists from creating even more generations of painkiller addicts…

I can’t be sure, but I think this is the first time I’ve seen the government acknowledge that they knew the tragic results of the opioid war before they decided who deserves treatment and who deserves to suffer (and die).

The desire to treat pain led to a devastating epidemic…

That’s what the federal government and the anti-drug advocates want everyone to believe, but I don’t think that’s true.  They want to demonize the treatment of pain, especially with certain drugs, and the only way to do that is to say treating pain has lead to this abuse “epidemic” — that treating pain with opioids always leads to addiction. Otherwise, not treating pain would be seen as the torture that it is.

So, now the government thinks that if they refuse to treat pain, less people will end up as drug addicts. I don’t know if that’s naive or just plain ignorant. Yes, no doubt the opioid war will stop a very small percentage of people from becoming addicted — but just to certain opioids, not any other drugs. Drug addiction is not only about opioids and heroin, and if these drugs were somehow removed from all markets, drug addiction would still exist.

In fact, when you remove the safer drugs from legal markets, the underground market just creates more dangerous drugs. And although I can’t be sure of this, I believe the underground market will always be smarter than all the law enforcement trying to eradicate it.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/12/21/florida-pill-mill-crackdown-also-may-have-reduced-heroin-deaths-researchers-find/

Under comments:

Don Sharp
12/21/2015 3:58 PM MST
The headline and the text of the article are at complete odds.

The headline makes it out as if cracking down on prescription pain pills “curbed” (and in “lessened”) heroin deaths.

The text of the article make it clear that is not the case, since heroin deaths “surged”.

Is the author a complete moron… or is the editor a complete moron… cause apparently one or both of them think that “curbed” and “surged” are the same word.

Barton1216
12/21/2015 5:13 PM MST
Besides all this nonsense, you might want to note that it has become damn near unheard-of to get a prescription for even tramadol in Florida. Most doctors have simply stopped treating pain with anything other than NSAIDs. And that doesn’t even consider the instances we’ve had of cancer patients having to go to multiple pharmacies to find ONE willing to dispense their pain meds. The “war on drugs” is one of the least humane wars there is, and no one appears motivated to stop it.

timtiminhouston
6:40 AM MST
What this article fails to mention is that the same day we had to dump my uncle Manuel Edgin at a Harris County Hospital called LBJ there were several cars doing the same thing we were doing: dumping elderly people.

If you are an elderly person the recent changes to end of life pain management mean you will be far worse off than any generation in the last century. Now when it is time for you to die, you will have an actual reason to cry. And the only possible relief, thanks to the DEA, is death.

May you lay in the bed you made, and may you leave the world the way my uncle Manuel Edgin left: kicking, screaming, and wishing for death. This is the death you have created for us all…I curse every drug warrior to suffer this fate they wish upon us.

My family could no longer get his prescriptions of hydrocodone or morphine filled, so even though he had two types of cancer and had yellow puss coming out of every pore in his body, we could not treat his pain. We had to dump him on Harris County tax payers to save him.

Thinking of you, Manuel Edgin

0DSC09287 (3)

Say goodbye to codeine

http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pediatrics/GeneralPediatrics/55159?xid=nl_mpt_DHE_2015-12-11&eun=g875301d0r

Members of the Pulmonary-Allergy Drugs (PADC) and Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committees voted 28-1 in favor of expanding the contraindication for codeine to include any pain management for children. More specifically, nearly three-quarters of panelists favored a contraindication for individuals under 18-years-old; others recommended a lower threshold…

A patient representative from Mount Pleasant, Mich., Dawn Nelson, PhD, urged the committee to reconsider broad restrictions on codeine use, noting that codeine alternatives such as morphine were too difficult to access. A better alternative, she said, would be limiting the contraindication language to children younger than 6. “A physician will not prescribe you with morphine if they’re not familiar with you.” Nelson added that her child would not have gotten any pain relief from her sickle-cell anemia without codeine…

http://www.raps.org/Regulatory-Focus/News/2015/03/16/21731/EU-Committee-Wants-Additional-Restrictions-on-Codeine-Use-in-Children/

These recommendations follow a 2012-2013 review, which recommended codeine only be given to children under 12 as a last resort after less dangerous painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. PRAC’s new recommendations are more restrictive than before, and if adopted, would completely restrict codeine use in children under 12…

I Didn’t Know I Was Having Seizures

http://michellemasonrocks.blogspot.com/2015/08/i-didnt-know-i-was-having-seizures.html

I’m 41 years old, and for over 20 years, every doctor has told me there was nothing wrong with me, all my labs were fine (I have had SO MANY medical tests!), and labeled me a hypochondriac. My family labeled me a hypochondriac and lazy. I’ve lost count of the number of coworkers and associates who assumed I was a closet alcoholic or junkie (especially when they saw me walk into walls, trip, twitch, stop to think to remember my name or what day it was).

I do not share these labels out of anger or self-shame. I share them for the same reason I wrote this blog- maybe it will resonate with you. Maybe you have been called lazy, a dreamer, clumsy and will read the other symptoms and have an ah-ha moment.

Having epilepsy is a little scary, I admit. You know what’s worse? Having it and NOT KNOWING that you are having seizures. Not knowing really messed with my head, on a daily basis.

The depression, feelings of impending doom, paranoia, delusions, and thoughts of suicide that come with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (TLE) can be *managed* when you know WHY they are happening. I am amazed that I am still alive after decades of crippling depression and the severe, almost daily, thoughts of suicide. Add in the lost jobs, lost friends, and never knowing what the hell was going on with my body, well let’s just say I had more than one very close call with the exit option. (see previous post, Staying Alive)

And that’s really why I wrote this very intimate glimpse into my life and my body. Undiagnosed epileptics are at an extremely high risk for suicide, and much of that is from the not knowing. If this post saves one life, it would mean the world to me, and I would bare my soul a hundred times over to save them.