Do proposed national guidelines on opioid prescriptions give enough consideration to chronic-pain patients?

Please read this article and participate in this month’s online opinion poll: Do proposed national guidelines on opioid prescriptions give enough consideration to chronic-pain patients?

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Comments (21)

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  1. Steven Zeitzew says:

    The Tampa VA has shown that many chronic pain patients can benefit from opioid cessation, improving comfort and function with their well studied intensive program.
    We do not need to deceive veterans with offers of unscientific alternative medicine treatments. There is not convincing evidence that there are benefits that justify the risks of the treatments, and the risks of referring patients to practitioners who will make other unscientific harmful recommendations.

    • Karen Hayek says:

      Many~but what of all the rest!! As a suffer of serious chronic pain, that would suffer such unimaginable pain were it not for my medications I would probably take my life than have to suffer so needlessly. I have never abused my pain medications. As a matter of fact, though increasing medication is part of the process, I have resisted this for an unheard of 8 years. I suffer a great deal of pain EVERY hour of every day, but all I ask is to be able to get out of bed every day and function as best Ican. I have tried over the years alternative treatments & they do nothing for me. I have had to pay a doctor co-pay EVERY MONTH FOR 10 years. Take off work & lose wages to pick up a paper prescription. Can not travel unless I can return every 30 days to a doctor’s appointment. Can not have a prescription called or faxed to my pharmacy. Have been treated like an addict by a pharmacist, and been treated by a pain management clinic whose only interest was to continue dangerous injections the offered no relief whose only interest was the money they were making. You were not even allowed to see the doctor after your first appointment unless the physicians assistant thought it was necessary. Was told by a member of medical staff it was run by administration staff NOT doctors. So, again I say that that study said ‘many’, what about the rest of us?? All I have gone through has not changed our nation’s opiate problem, I have read in the papervwhere sellers of prescription drugs were given a slap on the hand & NO jail time for their actions. So, should I and many others who have been put through even more than I have to suffer for THEIR actions. Just maybe we are not looking at the right way to handle this problem.

      • Jul713 says:

        I’m in a similar position, now at the San Diego VA. I too have experienced the Rx in exchange for injections that don’t work “mini mall of pain management” I called it, in TX, and been treated like an addict without cause. The SDVA has only ever treated my pain with various opioids, after 12yrs of being almost 100% bed-ridden, most recently, methadone. But rather than explaining to me the shift in VA policy regarding opiates, and going thru the CDCs new guidelines with me and fully evaluating me properly, listening to my concerns then working with me to come up with a new treatment plan, or determining that my regimen was already the best option, (in person) my doctor called me on the phone, ambushed me with accusations that were literally lies, tried to blame me & act like I’d done something wrong altho I never had. He passed me off to a pharmacist with the maturity level of a 12y/o whom I’ve never met, and who doesn’t know my medical history, and my doctor literally hung up on me when I asked him to explain to me his exact reasons for making me quit methadone & send them to me in writing. From there the two played pass the buck & bottom line, they gave me about a month to fully stop taking the meds, without any reason being given, other than being accused of being an addict without an actual conversation with my doctor to that effect, without a new plan or substitute, and when I tried to explain to my doctor that his decision would lead to my suicide, he told me that “making threats wasn’t going to help me get back on the meds”, but he had no response when I asked him, “and what do you want me to do when the pain gets so bad that I’m laying in bed, wallowing in my own filth, starving to death”? He had no answer, but that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

        According to the CDC, the only current acceptable alternative is BuTrans patch, and that is what the VA pharmacist planned on giving me, however, when I pointed out to him that I’m allergic to a component of it, and I have a disease that is specifically listed as being contraindicated, he just blew me off, left me with nothing, called me an addict, acted like my pain had nothing to do with why I need the med, despite never having abused it in any way.

        I’m now using my Medicare (100% disabled) to see a different doc, but even he wants me to do the same thing within 6mo or so, despite where I know it will leave me, although he’s at least responsible enough to get me a doctor who will Rx to me, tho I’m worried he won’t be able to find one now that these “guidelines” knock off everyone but terminal cancer patients. I suffer more pain than cancer patients, but neither of my TWO diseases is terminal, just incurable. BTW, all the things they now say about why BuTrans is better, they told me when they gave me Methadone. I believe it’s only a matter of time until they put BuTrans in the same category as everything else.

        This policy shift overreaches, and unduly adversely affects too many ppl with death as the consequence. How long until the CDC realizes that suicide because you can’t get help for chronic pain anymore isn’t the same as suicide due to emotional factors or addiction. There are patients like myself, who, when one carefully looks at the medical history, conditions, and the guidelines as written today, should still be allowed to be prescribed meds like methadone, but in my case I haven’t yet met a doctor willing to really sit down with me and go step-by step thru the guidelines as they apply to me, and then take that chance on being investigated by the DEA. This is UNAMERICAN! The DEA, with the help of the CDC, have intimidated doctors to the point that they are no longer allowed to use their own judgement without fear of being investigated. I cannot get what is warranted, and rightfully needed to sustain an acceptable level of quality of life. It seems like that “quality of life” factor isn’t even considered, and they claim that in 100% of cases, a “chronic pain program” is a full, lifelong substitute for pharmaceutical meds, yet I know of no statistics that back up this claim, and it can’t be true. I have participated in a 6mo long 8am-5pm program at the age of 16, and it helped then, but 5 car accidents, 2 diseases, & 30yrs later, it just isn’t going to be enough, even if I could make the trip to get there in the first place, which I can’t. In one of those car accidents, my abdominal aorta was dammaged, and even just a 5mph rear ended could KILL me in under 4 minutes. Do you think I want to drive 60mi 3X per week in heavy traffic to get to this “pain program”? The stress of going and coming would undermine the entire thing, and that’s only if I have “good days” that I can get in the car in the 1st place! Bring your program to my house, then I’ll try it, AGAIN! Bottom line, my Government is Killing me! And I’m a 100% service-connected disabled veteran, formerly with a Top Secret clearance!

        It’s the medical profession abandoning the patients who most need their help!

  2. Shelley J Schmidt says:

    I care for an extremely high number of veterans with chronic spinal stenosis whom are not surgical candidates or surgery will not help. Some of these patients have had surgery and now are worse with chronic pain that only chronic pain management with narcotics can help. They do not abuse their narcotics and being required to come to the clinic often for UDS is hard for them. Some of these patients live over 200 miles from this VA clinic. This not only is not cost effective for them but very hard on them as some have difficulity traveling these long distance with their chronic pain and it worsens their chronic pain.

    • William says:

      Absolutely! Please read the guidelines. Follow the money!!! Congress is now involved!!!! $$$$$$$. The VA is asking and getting more money. CONGRESS.
      When and if they take away more opioids for legitimate vets there will be an large increase of vets suicides and addictions.
      Remember when they took away Oxycodone from vets for break through pain (2 years ago)? The suicides increased and Heroin addiction rose??????
      It is an accepted practise to mix short term acting narcotic for breakthrough pain with a long term acting narcotic. The VA blamed it on the DEA????
      I BLAME IT ON OBAMA CARE: OBAMA IS AGAINST THE MILITARY AND WARS. Look how they have dramatically reduced the military. They need more money for illegal aliens.

      Where is COMMON SENSE?????

  3. Pam says:

    These guidelines are INHUMANE! As a LEGITIMATE chronic intractable pain sufferer of ten years, I did everything the medical community told me to do. I suffer from three herniated discs, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis of hips, spine amd knees, degenerative disc disease, severe stenosis, sciatica, neuropathy, pancreatitis, migraines and because of this hell I am being FORCED by the DEA and our government to EXIST in, this is not living, I suffer from anxiety and depression. I had two FAILED spinal fusions that left me with severe nerve damage, YEARS of physical therapy, massage, chiro, accupuncture, TENS, epidurals, trigger point injections, facet injections, nerve blocks, NSAIDS that ripped up my stomach, tried every non opiod medication and NOTHING helped to ease the pain, in fact, I endured more pain. Opiod therapy was my LAST RESORT. When I was on the correct dose i had a QUALITY OF LIFE! I was able to do simple things many take for granted, like a daily shower, cook a meal, doing laundry, lightly clean my home, family gatherings, sit at my sons basketball game and my daughters plays she directs, be in a car for more than ten minutes, walk my dog. I was on the SAME DOSE for eight years with success, never painfree, but the pain was at a tolerable level. The doctor I was with at the time, left the practice and what a nightmare I was thrown into. Trying to find a doctor to take over my care had me at my breaking point!! I was labeled as a pill seeking junkie, degraded, shamed, belittled and treated like a dam criminal! I finally found a neurologist to take over and my first visit my meds were cut back. It was extremely difficult to try and wait six hours, when for years I was taking the medication every four. I put myself on a schedule so that I took it four times a day, 6,10,2 and 6. I got thru the day for my kids and thats all that mattered. Then the muscle relaxer I took at might was stopped. I was lied to and told it wasn’t allowed with the pain medication. Then about a year ago my doctor of five years told me he has to cut every patients medication back. (I was lied to about that as well, as I know people who are patients and meds were not cut back) I have been in agony ever since. My health has greatly deteriorated, Ive lost alot of weight, I have no appetite, and I have no QUALITY OF LIFE! I’ve been trying to find another dr to take over, but have not been successful. My doctor continues to degrade me, tries to make me feel like something I AM NOT! These guidelines are INHUMANE and legitimate pain sufferers have no say what so ever! The CDChad the open comment for a month and there were thousands upon thousands of comments. They seem to have ignored the ones from chronic pain sufferers. Why is the CDC ot being held accountable for what they did!? They used FALSE date when recording the overdose deathrate, even admitted to it, doubling and tripling one persons death, labeling all heroin deaths as a prescription pill death, legitimate pain sufferers who took their lives due to inadequate pain relief labeled as a prescription pill death, didn’t matter if the person obtained the drugs from the streets as their deaths to were labeled a prescription pill death amd so on. Even in the December conference that took place in congress that included many anti opiod lobbyists, FDA, a lady who represented chronic pain sufferers and oh wait the CDC was a no show, just communicated via phone. When the chronic pain patient discussed these INHUMANE restrictions, the woman from the CDC pretty much blew her off and said she was late for a meeting. Our government is a disgrace! They have FAILED their war on drugs on the streets and target our physicians and LEGITIMATE pain sufferers, stripping us of our LIFE SAVING medications, FORCING us to endure severe pain, inflicting harm onto another human being, which is an act of torture and is against the law! We are innocent law abiding citizens who suffer from DEBILITATING CONDITIONS THERE IS NO CURE FOR, WHO FOLLOW THE RULES AND GET TREATED LIKE ADDICTS, JUNKIES, AND CRIMINALS. THE GOVERNMENT IS FORCING PAIN SUFFERERS TO TURN TO THE STREETS FOR RELIEF OR WORSE KILLING THEMSELVES DUE TO INADEQUATE PAIN RELIEF!!! WE ARE NEGLECTED, ABUSED, MISTREATED AND DISCRIMINATED AGAINST AND IT NEEDS TO STOP!

  4. SD says:

    I havent seen any ‘push’ or ‘rush’ to help chronic pain patients get their treatment. All I have seen is everything about abusers and disorders. Most chronic pain patients are not abusers or have disorders. They use their pain medication, which was medically formulated ONLY for pain patients, not recreational use, responsibly. Yet they are treated not only suspiciously, but stigmatized,and discriminated against. This continual villainization of the medication AND the innocent pain patients who use them has had catastrophic effects on the physical, mental, and emotional health of pain patients. Most pain patients CANNOT get these medicines. Most pain patients are having their meds DENIED by their insurance. Most pain patients are already woefully undertreated. Most pain patients families are Devastated seeing their loved ones deteriorate and further experience this bias and discrimination. Almost ALL pain patients (that’s MILLIONS of people, folks) already tried the OTC counter route, along with physical therapy, TENS units etc, to little or no effect. To even further reduce their already minimal amounts of medication or to remove it altogether does nothing but harm legitimate pain patients and does nothing for those who abuse them anyway, who by the way, dont get their meds legally. Most pain patients who are suffering and living in fear that their already seriously diminished quality of life is in danger of further degrading, are astonished at the speed of movement to ‘do something’ about this so called ‘epidemic’ of prescription drug abuse…yet NOT A WORD on how badly it is affecting and continuing to negatively affect innocent, legitimate pain patients whose only ‘crime’ is to have chronic, incurable Pain and want relief. Seems like everyone gets help,sympathy, support, and government programs Except for the really ill…Think about this sad state of affairs the next time you point fingers and realize that we too were uninjured, foot loose and fancy free. Till ONE accident, ONE slip and fall and your life, the life you knew is forever GONE…that could be YOU…dont judge too harshly because one day someone will be discriminating against you..

  5. Anne Fuqua says:

    I have been on high dose opioid therapy for most of the past 16 years. My dose has been stable for many years, with the exception of July through the end of October 2015. I was forced to stop the medication that is essential to my independence and quality of my life because my doctor became too fearful to prescribe it, despite being a very responsible physician who is well respected in the medical community.

    This was the worst thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life. I’ve been through a lot so that really says something when I make a statement like that. I’m terrified of losing access to my medication again. I was not living I was only existing in Hell on Earth.

    This was not a matter of going through withdrawals. Despite a slow taper, my pain increased week by week as my ability to function independently plummeted. I have never slept so little in my life. At one point I was so sleep-deprived I believe I was actually starting to hallucinate. This horrible experience caused permanent damage to my body and benefited me in no way whatsoever. Severe spasms resulted in several new herniated discs for which I will bear the pain of for the rest of my life. I am not a surgical candidate. I’m so thankful to have medication again though asmost people in my situation have not regained access to treatment.

    Still I get angry when I look outside and see my minivan, that I work so hard to get after 7 years of riding city buses, sitting idle as I am now unable to drive it. Twsting and turning to safely check the adjacent lane is now just too difficult mobility-wise and pain-wise. I will not drive unless I feel 100% confident and competent. The one thing I hated most about being in a wheelchair for the first seven years I was in a chair was relying on taxis and city buses. I do not live in a city with good mass transit and the loss of independence makes life much more difficult. When I was able to afford my van, it was the most wonderful thing in the world to have that independence and to be able to drive again. Sadly hysteria and government regulation stole that from me. Still I’m just thankful that I have medication that makes my life livable. This experience devastated me financially. I had finally found a job last summer that was perfectly suited to my educational background as a nurse. I was not able to accept the job there once I found out I was going to have to taper though.

    despite all this I am incredibly blessed. I’m one of the few patients I know that was able to find a new doctor. I have to travel all the way across the country to be treated literally. As you can imagine, the cost of traveling and paying out of pocket is extremely high. Also I am now forced to use Taxi again which is very expensive. I’m pretty much living on peanut butter and jelly. All thanks to the hysteria. The CDC guidelines make no effort to ensure that chronic pain patients like myself will not be forced into agony. This is particularly important for high dose patients like myself. Though the CDC is calling them guidelines, the VA has already been mandated to follow them and I fear state boards will follow suit as well as insurance companies. Right now I live my life in 30 day increments. When I fill my medication, I know I will have a life for the next 30 days. What lies beyond that is totally uncertain. No one knows exactly what is in their future. I wouldn’t complain and I would be thankful for the time that I had if this were a natural process of progression of my own condition. It’s not though. The government and “prescriber climate of fear” is forcing my condition to worsen. Government regulation should not be able to take away an innocent person’s entire quality of life.

  6. Vikki says:

    I am not a veteran. I am a chronic pain patient so I understand and fear what these guidelines will do to the treatment of chronic pain. The most important factors regarding chronic pain are not being discussed which are quality of life and discrimination of chroinic pain patients. Research tells us that roughly 3 to 5 percent of chronic pain patients abuse their meds out of the 100 million chronic pain patients in the US. So who are these guidelines targeting? Addicts who are obtaining their drugs legally. I’m almost certain dealers are not going to adhere to the guidelines. The problem is this, there are other drugs that are equally addictive and are not facing restrictions. With any type of prohibition type laws there are consequences. We will still the number of suicides of chronic pain patients soar and usage of illegal drugs skyrocket among the chronic pain patients as it will become a very lucretive market for dealers and the cartels. The CDC has proposed the guidelines, the FDA has endorsed them, but no plan is in place to deal with the fall out. I have four autoimmune disorders all of which cause chronic pain. All of them are not curable. I am very angry at the lack of empathy and total disregard of 100 million people who will be left with inadequate treatment!

  7. Donna Weyer Roberts says:

    How Much longer do we have to wait to be taken seriously? I know of a friend who is in tremendous pain, yet cannot find ANY Doctor who would prescribe her ANY pain medicine. We both have files, and files and files of proof of said pain and that should be enough to receive relief. I do, but she does not. Why is it that the news is full of reports about people overdosing yet I haven’t heard of many who have overdosed from taking pain medicine that was prescribed to themselves.

  8. Terri Lewis PhD says:

    Exactly who is it that we think we are talking about here? Many persons affected by the CDC’s guidelines have chronic pain because they have been dealing with injuries for a LONG TIME. They are not naive users – they have been subjected to every ‘fail first’ protocol available and many of these have created more harms. Opiates are not the drug of first choice, they are the drug of last choice after every other protocol has failed and nothing else has worked. Instead of working so hard to deny the use of opioid based interventions we should be working harder to identify approaches that work and algorithms that generate usable evidence and testable theory. More than 200 disease states are responsible for a variety of expressions of chronic pain. Medical harms generate 400,000 new irreparable injuries annually, many of which result in the onset of pain which converts to chronic pain. We can and must work harder and smarter – the denial of opioids is not representative of working hard and smarter. It is the lazy clinician’s approach and potentiates greater harms. How about if we insert a little bit of ethical behavior into the practice of care for these vulnerable people?

    • William G. says:

      Terri Lewis PhD
      You are absolutely right!! The CDC is attempting to limit primary physicians to give out opioids in the first steps of treatment.
      Like me, Opioids were the last choice after several therapies, medicines, procedures.
      I suffered from a fractured neck in Desert Storm (1991). The VA found it in 2013. June 21,2016 they have started reducing my meds without a recent examination.(2+ years)
      Hurt in 1991, several surgeries related to spinal cord injuries. I went on disability in 2000. The VA refused me into Healthcare bene’s until 2003.
      Started on Opioids in 2003.

      Neck surgery in 2013 caused worse pain. Now in Power chair.
      It took me 8 years to get 50%.
      My 100% claim has been in process and appeals since 2011.
      I am a trained Engineer, 20 years of school, retired CAPT from OH Army National Guard, a very mentally able person.

      There will be a surge in Veteran deaths and addictions due to Congressional demands on VA. Its all about MONEY with Congress. Follow the money.
      VA Directors get Millions in Bonuses and VETS are getting worse care than we ever had!!!!
      We need to take our country back from idiots.

  9. Lynda Richardson says:

    The Question:”Do proposed national guidelines on opioid prescriptions give enough consideration to chronic-pain patients?” NO THEY DO NOT! The guidelines are not taking any consideration for the damage these guidelines will inflict on chronic pain patients. All the people making the guidelines were well aware of the negative effect it would have on the 100+ million and counting chronic pain patients in our country. I feel completely confident in saying so because of the way the CDC and all of those invited to make the guidelines were done in secret. Why in secret? You only do things in secret behind closed doors when you know you are doing something wrong or will hurt others or is illegal. When you deliberately leave out the very people your new guidelines will directly affect negatively it screams you are doing something wrong. Doing it for all the wrong reasons. The only reason the CDC even allowed people to comment on their new guidelines was because of the pressure for doing it secretly in the first place. Then the attack on chronic pain patients opioid medications in the media it took the light away from what the CDC was doing wrong. The media turned it all on opioid pain medications and chronic pain patients. The statistics are not clear. They are lumped together so any death with any mention of opioids is used to further that agenda. The shock value of the numbers has had a great chill effect. Opioid pain medications are now being considered the reason for all our drug problems in our country today. Comparing chronic pain patients taking opioid pain medications to Heroin addicts. Making it out like Opioids only cause addiction and are the cause of Heroin addiction. But everyone seems to forget Heroin addicts have been around, problems with many drugs long before opioids were ever given to chronic pain patients. Heroin addicts were a problem before pain patients were even acknowledged or treated with opioids for the treatment of their continued pain. When finally the medical field and public realized it wasn’t right to allow people in chronic intractable pain to suffer. Realizing pain could be relieved with opioids. No longer so many people would be left to suffer in agony in their homes or committing suicide as a means to relieve that pain if given opioids in a dose tailored to each individual just as is done with other medications. The days of people being left to suffer in such awful pain that suicide was considered the better choice over a life of unrelenting pain without any relief were over with the prescribing of opioid pain medications. Doctors and nurses were instructed on the importance of relieving a patients pain and suffering and the utilization of opioid pain medications began giving long over due pain relief to chronic pain patients. Opioid pain medications have given pain relief to people that have spent years of their lives in bed the ability to get out of bed, to take a shower, or just be able to move without the constant misery of pain. Opioids then now and until a new medication is developed to relieve pain as well as opioids is the only medication available to provide that kind of pain relief for millions of people. Today opioid pain medications are saving lives. Saving the lives of chronic intractable pain patients. But without opioid medications chronic pain patients will be left with no means to control their pain. Without the pain relief pain patients receive from opioid pain medications they are and will be forced back to a life of suffering. Forced back into their beds unable to leave their homes because of the return of their unrelenting pain. Pain they had been able to keep under control keep low enough low enough so they could cope and function more normally given a quality of life. Capable of things the average person never thinks about, but was a huge undertaking for a pain patient. Opioids for so many of the 100+ million Americans suffering in chronic pain often are the only medication available to give them pain relief. But with the constant comparisons of Heroin and drug addicts to chronic pain patients opioid pain medications being blamed for Americas drug problems. The CDC new guidelines that tend to be taken as a rule period not as a guide. Along with the negative reinforcement of the media. It’s causing the chronic pain patients of this country to suffer all over again being discriminated against out of fear and labeled without facts. Chronic pain patients prescribed what are now considered too high of doses when compared to the CDC guidelines are being taken off medications. Medications are being lowered by doctors and pain doctors feeling pressured to do so. The facts are there are no ceiling on doses. Opioid doses are raised up to the point each individual patients pain is relieved without any negative side effects. Because like with any medication for that matter there are many things that have to be considered when prescribing any dose of medicine. How long someone has been on it or other opioid meds etc.. Addiction will always be a problem the failure of the war on drugs has proved that. I feel the root of this problem is MONEY. Greed is what is driving the war on opioids. The bottom line is there’s a lot of money saved by the loss of access to these medications and on the flip side there’s a lot of money to be made by the loss. But between all those profits is the devastation of the chronic pain patient. We become the collateral damage. Those that were no longer suffering in pain now are. Those in the future in need of opioids for pain relief for acute or chronic pain will not be able to get it. The suicide rate will continue to rise as pain patients use suicide seeking pain relief that’s no longer being relieved by opioid pain meds. Then there will be those that turn to street drugs in search of pain relief no longer being relieved by their doctors also. So are chronic pain patients being effected by the CDC guidelines yes and in a way that will affect millions of American families in devastating ways. What will happen to the drug addicts? They will do what they have always done they will move on to another drug like they always have. The bottom line is how long will the chronic pain patients in America have to suffer and die before it is realized. How long will the torture, the discrimination, the labeling be inflicted on people suffering with the disease of chronic pain be allowed to go on. When will an alternative to opioids be found? One that works just as well? How can you demand the cutting back on the utilization of opioid pain medications of those living in chronic pain but not provide or offer any kind of alternative medications that work as well as opioids? What are a 100+ million people in pain supposed to do just suffer? Because suddenly it’s been decided we don’t want you to have access to opioid pain medications any more. Because a very small percentage will abuse them. Well if that’s the case there a lot more types of medications, alcohol, cigars,chewing tobacco,cigarettes, food and drinks that we are going to have to limit access too because ALL of those things listed are abused many even more then opioid pain medications and many more. Don’t make people already suffering suffer for the actions of others.

  10. Jennifer Bailey says:

    The idea that patients that are suffering with severe chronic pain can, in any way, benefit from cessation of opioid pain medication is absolutely ludicrous. There is plentiful evidence to show that chronic pain patients are NOT the ones who become addicted to opioids. In fact, only approximately 3% of all chronic pain patients ever become addicted to narcotic pain medication.

    As a sufferer of chronic pain and a former health care provider, I am appalled at the traction that these guidelines have gotten. For a physician to follow these with their chronic severe pain patients, they will have to break their physicians oath, as it WILL be directly causing harm to patients. I have a genetic, incurable connective tissue disease called Ehlers Danlos. The pain from this disorder has been classified by Dr. Forrest Tennant, one of this country’s leading pain research and treatment specialists, as worse than cancer pain, and one of the top 3-4 severe types of pain that exist.

    There is only one thing currently available that can offer me and patients like me any quality of life at all: strong opioid pain medications. Without them, we would have no quality of life whatsoever. Suicide levels would skyrocket, and the black market would be the only method of relief. This would cause street drug use and overdoses to skyrocket as well. Alternative treatments like massage, acupuncture, Reiki, physical therapy, Tai Chi, etc have all been mentioned as options to use instead of pain medication, but they do not work alone. Not only that, it isn’t even possible to get out of bed to go receive any of those alternative therapies without strong opioid pain medication.

    Right now, there are no other safe, long term options. NSAIDS are extremely harmful and potentially deadly long term, and medicines like gabapentin and Lyrica are only effective for neurogenic pain and they, too, are more dangerous than opioids. The fact is, opioids. WHEN USED AS PROPERLY PRESCRIBED, are a safe, effective and necessary part of life for all chronic severe pain sufferers until something else is discovered that works just as well and is available cost-effectively.

  11. PainWarriorWoman says:

    No, the guidelines do not give enough consideration to chronic pain patients. At this point, I’m over labels such as chronic pain patient. Every single 1 of these patients have a diagnosis, and many have multiple diagnoses. I think using chronic pain patient makes people feel less guilty about what these guidelines are going to do. Why does the cdc differentiate and say that they are not including cancer patients? Why can’t they say but we do mean those with multiple sclerosis, lupus, spinal stenosis, CRPS, rheumatoid arthritis, and the list goes on and on. Yes it would be a long list, but I think when they had to actually admit they are wanting, in essence, to take away the last bit of quality of life those people have, surely someone would say – wait, we are letting people with horrific pain to suffer.

    Are doctors so uneducated that the gov has to tell them what to prescribe? And the new diagnosis they’ve added – opioid use disorder – is just horrible. You can’t lump all these patients into one category, and they do realize that the vast, vast majority are not addicts at all, so they came up with a new diagnosis to use. I guess I have calcium channel blocker & beta blocker use disorder, because I’ve been on those for nearly 20 years. I should also be diagnosed with Levothyroxine use disorder, because I DEPEND on that med too, and have for 6 years now. Will those who take biologics for Auto Immune disorders be labeled too? Will diabetics be labeled as well? In today’s world, there are plenty of ways to tell if a person actually has the disease or injury and if they really are in pain, and there are more than enough ways to ensure those people are very responsible in using their meds and take only as directed.

    I cannot fathom why in the world people with diseases that take away quality of life are being punished – and they are. You can’t get away from that. I’d love to see money spent on CURING these many diseases, because I know far too many people, including myself who are sick and tired of what they must go through in order to get their meds. Sick and tired of having to arrange life around those doses, and sick and tired of all the hoops they are now forced to jump through to get their needed meds.

    I feel sorry for those who lost a loved one due to an overdose; but punishing others and leaving them to suffer will not bring their loved ones back; AND it will not stop more from committing suicide. People can take an overdose of insulin, blood pressure meds, and the list of meds goes on, and they will die. Should we take those meds away too? People get in horrible auto accidents and die, so should we take cars away? Stop blaming the pills! The people who say they were addicted after taking the first pill, I want to ask this – ‘then why didn’t you tell your doctor and stop taking them?’. Further, I don’t believe it. If this is the case, then we should stop sedating and putting people to sleep before surgery b/c they’ll wake up addicted. We should operate on people and then give them just tylenol for pain, because they might get addicted. The truth is that people who have real pain not only don’t get addicted after the 1st or 2839284233rd pill, they also don’t get a buzz. Should we go back to prohibition days, because there are still alcoholics who end up with cirrhosis and may end up driving and killing themselves or others? Did I hear a no, because you only drink responsibly? Well, sorry, but this way of thinking, once that horse is out of the barn, alcohol will be next on the list – because somebody died from alcohol poisoning and somebody else died of cirrhosis and then there was someone who wasn’t drinking but died from being in a wreck involving and intoxicated driver. It’s all THE SAME THING. We are always going to have people who eat too much, drink too much, gamble too much, and take drugs they don’t need. This is a mental disorder. If I saw someone in excruciating pain who refused to take medications (no matter what legal meds they were), then I would be suspicious of a mental illness, and that the person needs help. Moderate to severe chronic pain can do a lot of things to people, and depression is high on the list. Making someone suffer more than necessary is scary, causes anxiety, depression and more pain as a result.

    These guidelines are supposed to stop people from taking drugs illegally, and slow down the heroin epidemic. Why don’t we put the time and money into ensuring heroin is taken off the streets? That’s the way that would be stopped. But here’s the problem, people that have that mental illness will find something to take to get that high. Taking medication away from people who truly need them and don’t abuse them is not going to stop that other group AND THE GROUPS NEED TO BE SEPARATED. Bill Maher’s tweet after the Superbowl regarding the commercial for the medication that helps people with opioid induced constipation, said that loud and clear when he call them all junkies. There are ‘junkies’, although the proper term is addict, at least for right now. It’s a mental illness, so we shouldn’t be calling them names, and there are ways to treat those patient’s pain if they have it, while making sure they are not abusing opioids if they are the solution to their pain. They just need to be closely supervised. People who have successfully taken opioids for years and abide by the rules – especially those that have UDS’s that come back as they should each time, those who don’t try to refill too early, those who have good pill counts because they only take as directed AND they are going to a doctor who is not a pill mill doctor, but a pain specialist do not resemble addicts ‘or junkies as it was put’ in any way, shape or form. Maybe we need to spend less money on those people and focus on the ones who DO have a problem with these meds.

    If we had cures for all these illnesses and injuries that cause a life of chronic pain, we would all not be discussing this. We wouldn’t be suffering. And be sure to understand that the majority of patients don’t have all of their pain relieved, just some of it. For many, those meds mean they can dress themselves, take a shower by themselves, take care of their own toileting needs, perhaps even make a simple healthy meal that they so badly need, clean house, and even…. WORK! The number of people on disability is going to go way up if we allow guidelines – which will become the ‘LAW’ of the land, even though it might not be called that. The number of suicides will go up, the number of fatal (and non-fatal too) heart attacks will go up, there will be more with dementia, many, many more problems. People in pain do understand the risks to their kidneys, livers, etc. The thing that those without pain cannot seem to understand is that the risks of falls goes UP when those with certain diseases aren’t given pain relief, that many bad risks increase when people are left in horrendous pain.

    If 2 people have strep throat, the very same dose of the very same medicine might not work for both. One might need a smaller dose, where the next person needs a much stronger one. We can go through a long laundry list of diseases and medications, but the truth is, with any illness, people metabolize at different rates, feel pain at different rates and they are not robots! They each need individualized care, and yes – they need the smallest dose that is effective; no, they do not need more than what is effective. But please, let’s not leave people writing in pain and unable to live. Humans need to do more than exist.

  12. Freda says:

    Live one week in a chronic patient’s body and soon new research would be the only thing the Federal Government would fund. Pain is with every illness on the planet. Why can we not figure out what is best to cure any one of us? I’ll tell you why, nothing is being done to cure us. The drug companies do NOT want anyone cured, they can’t make money off of well patients. We need to stop poisoning our food is one thing. Stop corporate farming and ranching. Only organic food for everyone and do more to save the earth. And believe in Jesus Christ, he is the only way, the light.

  13. Deirdre Carr says:

    I was in a car accident 4 years ago. A drunk driver turned into the car that I was a passenger in without any warning. From that accident I have spent the last 4 years of my life in pain. I have herniated disks in my neck and lower back. I get extremely painful headaches and I also have neuropathy throughout my legs that make walking and doing anything for long periods of time very painful. The quality of my life is so diminished from this one accident. I have been on opioids to manage my pain for the past 4 years. I have taken my medication as prescribed to me and I have never had a problem with them. The medication has made it so that I can function and walk and have somewhat of a life. Oh yes I became disabled due to the issues that I have dealing with the aftermath of this accident. I am not an addict, I do not go and involve myself in criminal activities due to being on pain meds. All I am trying to do is live my life as a good citizen. If the CDC and the government take away my pain medication I will not be able to function at all. I will be homebound and a bigger burden on the healthcare system. I would like to understand what the plan is to treat chronic pain, perhaps the government and the CDC will be able to make the health insurance companies open their minds to alternative treatments such as acupuncture and medical marijuana. It seems as if the CDC and the government wants to get rid of the only treatment that works with no replacement treatment to replace it. This will be detrimental to everyone who suffers from chronic pain issues. I do not know what I would do if the only treatment that works for me right now was taken away. I do not wish anyone to have to live with chronic pain though I think that if everyone was to spend one hour in the pain that chronic pain patients experience would then realize what the pain does to oneself. I do not believe that the government should be involved in my medical care, that should be handled between my doctor and myself. I do understand the problem with addicts and that there are warning signs that the doctor should know. If the patient is not exhibiting these signs and is following the treatment plan then the patient should not have to worry about their medication being taken away from them. It scares me that this could happen to me and now I am contemplating getting surgery done which will or will not work. But the CDC is forcing my hand so to speak. All I want is to have a good quality of life and I believe that is what the constitution of America states.

  14. Kim power says:

    As a chronic pain or and a medical professional, who can’t work, I feel many guidelines are not giving doctors any credit for knowing their patients. I have had 44 yrs of problems, from a childhood accident…so I have tried every shot, pt, surgery and medication for my problem prior to taking narcotics. But since I’m not terminal I shouldn’t take a certain amount of pain Med. I think my doc knows me and is smart enough to prescribe what he thinks is appropriate for me. Things can’t be so black and white. Everyone must be treated for their problem as an individual. Other medications for other diseases don’t make these blanket statements and then withhold those meds that will improve quality of life. There will always be addiction and people who abuse the system but why should pain patients suffer for their illness? That has nothing to do with me. All the other social problems need to be put aside and look at chronic pain patients and what we need to live some sort of reduced pain life. I think I deserve that without prejudice.


    This all needs to be regrouped. The patients that have chronic pain should have a different set of rules. The doctors are qualified to make decisions, that’s why they go to school so long. They have our test results, blood work and visual determination.Our doctors knows us, knows how we are when having another bad day.
    There will always be drugs addicts, don’t punish chronic pain patients, I AM A PATIENT NOT A ADDICT

  16. Alta Hanlon says:

    Through adequate pain control, many pain patients are able to contribute to society. Many doctors are now afraid to prescribe the meds these people need, and we are losing many of these people to suicide….what a shame! What a shame that anyone in this country of ours should have to go to the drug dealers for relief, thereby risking their life? In reality, this is what is happening….FIX IT!

  17. Charles Malinowski says:

    The CDC Opioids Guidelines doesn’t save people, it kills them.

    This will be my first short post. I have a much longer one I need to edit.
    I was reading the above posts and the length of the comments and compared them to the length of my comment, and let me just cut to the chase here:
    The CDC in it’s misguided efforts to control opiate use and reduce deaths by opiate overdoses are literally killing us, the chronic pain sufferers.
    The CDC is condemning us to a death of screaming agony, and for many a death of suicide due to the opiate restrictions that are being imposed.
    The CDC is scaring doctors away from treating their patients the way their patients need to be treated.
    My doctor just cut me off dead from my oral opiates simply because he didn’t want to risk his license, even though his license is not really at risk because my treatment protocol falls within the current CDC guidelines.
    Now he is forcing me to go cold turkey through opiate withdrawals from a daily dosage of a 40 milligram morphine equivalent, that was about half of what the CDC guideline is.
    I get to spend my Christmas holidays going through severe opiate withdrawals because my doctor is a coward who doesn’t have the moral courage to do what is necessary to protect his long-term chronic pain patient.
    I’m not talking about a primary care physician, I am talking about a pain management specialist who is specially trained to manage pain and hasn’t the courage to do it.

    My pain management doctor says he won’t risk his license, but he will, and is, literally risking my life.

    The CDC isn’t saving people, the CDC is killing people.

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