Monday, February 24, 2020

Comments by Johnna

Showing 13 of 13 comments.

  • Pain patients are being lulled into thinking that the PDMP databases are necessary, not only to fight the drug war, but to have access to their preferred medications. But these databases were created and are used by law enforcement, even though some are now run by states. What the PDMPs really amount to are a blacklist for pain patients. And do you think the DEA will stop at just blacklisting those who take opioids?

    “The latest change in the program will be implemented on Oct. 1, when Connecticut doctors will be required to check the database if prescribing more than a 72-hour supply of a drug listed on Schedule II through Schedule V of the federal controlled substance law. Those drugs include stimulants like amphetamines, anabolic steroids, opioids and other narcotics…”

  • Pain patients don’t have the right to refuse treatment anymore — many are being forced to try other treatments besides opioids or else their doctor will abandon them. Cut them off, usually without any tapering at all. Patient abandonment is rampant and should be against the law.

    When my pain doctor abandoned me, forcing me into a cold-turkey detox, I almost committed suicide. And living in constant, unrelieved pain keeps those thoughts in my mind, whether I like it or not. Animals aren’t forced to suffer like this, why are we? Because drug war. Because hypocrisy.

    We can’t do anything about hypocrisy — after all, it’s what the failed drug war was founded on — but we should be able to do something about discrimination. ACLU, where are you when we need you?

  • It was reckless and stupid of the government to take pain medications away from patients without having anything to replace them with. The DEA caused the heroin “epidemic,” and the CDC and FDA are just making it worse.

    But I think pain patients don’t understand that the government knew this would happen. Certain “experts” have admitted as much. The government knew desperate patients, including those suffering from pain and/or addiction, would go to the streets to use unregulated and often poisonous substitutes. They believe that the opioid war will save lives — in the future, not now. Less patients being offered opioids. Less doctors prescribing them. Less drug addicts. And if anyone in the government really understood addiction, then they would know that it doesn’t work this way.

    Denying medications to those who suffer from acute, chronic, or terminal pain amounts to torture. And anyone who believes that restricting the supply will decrease the demand needs to get their head examined.

    No More Drug War.

  • You’re assuming that I’m trying to minimize the negative side effects of taking benzos, which I’m not. But there are negative side effects with almost every drug, and some users will suffer effects that can be described as destructive. Just like pain patients who feel the need to denigrate those who suffer from addiction, patients who take benzos without any problems also tend to look down on those who experience destructive side effects when their own medications are being denied, placing blame where it doesn’t belong.

  • Mr. Lewis

    “Again, I have NOT ever used the term ‘addict’ to describe chronic pain patient…”

    Have I claimed otherwise? Who do you think has more power in the media, Dr. Kessler or you?

    “For many of these people it may be far to late for any alternative forms of treatment to be successful due to a host of reasons.”

    I love it when those who don’t suffer from chronic pain talk about alternative treatments, as if there were tons of them, and all covered by insurance. As if the majority of chronic pain patients haven’t already shelled out thousands of dollars for these “alternative” treatments, all of which have failed or caused more damage. As if alternative treatments had a better success rate than opioids. As if there was proof that alternative treatments work better than painkillers. The medical industry has been unable to conduct research on the long-term effects of opioid use in chronic pain patients, but they’ve also failed to show that any other treatment is superior.

    “There can be no dialogue here if you continue to distort my position (and others in this discussion) on these matters.”

    I don’t believe I’m distorting your position — after all, you’ve communicated your opinions here, just as I have. Let the reader decide what they want to believe.

    “However, I would suggest that for first time patients with chronic pain problems there are far better alternatives than use of opiates. I believe that these drugs, similar to some categories of psychiatric drugs, can lead to internal processes that create the basis for increased sensitivity to pain and increased potential for long term physical and psychological disability. Does any one else here believe this may be possible?”

    First-time patients? If you’re a patient with a label of “chronic pain,” you’re not a first-time patient. Your theory is interesting, and when you prove it, I’ll be happy to agree that it may be possible.

    Let me try to answer the questions you seem so focused on:

    1) What percentage of chronic pain patients have also been given some type of psychiatric diagnosis along with various cocktails of psychiatric drugs?

    There is a small percentage of chronic pain patients who also suffer from psychiatric conditions, like bipolar and major depressive disorder, many of whom are being denied treatment with opioids.

    2) What role has the use of psychiatric drugs, with all their negative side and “main” effects (and the use of psychiatric labeling in these cases) had in the progression of the chronic nature of protracted pain disability?

    In the 1980s, patients were only given antidepressants to treat chronic pain. Lots and lots of antidepressants. My personal experience is that antidepressants did nothing for my pain, while some of them actually made me depressed.

    If you think that psychiatric drugs can cause pain conditions to linger or become protracted, then maybe you should do something about that. But if you think the medical industry is interested in this area of study, then I believe you’d be wrong.

    I wonder what role cancer treatment drugs have in causing chronic pain conditions. Then there’s surgery, which can both create and increase a pain condition. And let’s not forget about injections: the pain patients who were given infected injections are still waiting for their money from the lawsuit. That is, the ones who survived:

    From Wikipedia: “A New England Compounding Center meningitis outbreak which began in September 2012 sickened over 800 individuals and resulted in the death of 64.”

    3) Should the use of antidepressants in these cases be looked at as a causative factor in the high numbers of suicides?

    Antidepressants can cause suicide. That’s a fact. There’s even a black warning box on the label. And from the stories I’ve read from other patients, detox from antidepressants can be as bad as that from other drugs, including opioids.

    4) Should we call opioid dependency in some cases “iatrogenic dependency” as has been advocated for with benzodiazepine dependency?

    What should we call insulin dependency? Dependency on blood thinners or heart medications? No matter what you call it, I still believe that hyperalgesia is rare. And when I say rare, I mean a very small percentage of the tens of millions of patients who take opioids.

    5) Are a certain percentage of chronic pain patients victims of “iatrogenic opioid dependency” (that is, medically induced and damaging dependency encouraged by Big Pharma and poor medical practices) which initiates a cascade of unforeseen medical and psychological deterioration in these patients – all of which leads people into the clutches of Biological Psychiatry and their brain disease/drug based paradigm of “treatment?”

    Again, if you want the answer to this question, perhaps you should do something about it. And again, I’ll say that the medical industry is not interested in any research involving opioids, unless it proves these drugs are harmful. (Similar to cannabis studies.)

    While you’re so focused on the opioid war, your state has an even bigger crisis:

    BOSTON – More Massachusetts residents committed suicide in 2013 than died as a result of car crashes and homicides combined… “Similar to what has been happening in the whole of the U.S., the rate has been going up and the number has been going up,” said Alan Holmlund, director of the Massachusetts Suicide Prevention Program. “And similarly to the nation, the group that we’ve identified as driving the increases is the same: middle-aged white men in particular.”

  • LavenderSage: Thanks for letting me know that a DNR is usually ignored. I also fear the religious take-over of hospitals, but it’s not like there’s any help for pain patients at an emergency room or hospital anyway. I’ve been without a phone for years, so no one will be calling 911 from my home. And I’m guessing that as baby boomers age, more of them will agree with you and I about our right to die. May your life, however long it is, be filled with laughter, good food, and the people you care about. 🙂


    In a recent New York Times op/ed, Dr. David Kessler, the former head of the FDA, labelled chronic pain patients as addicts if they insist they need opioid painkillers like OxyContin to control debilitating pain.

    The piece was ostensibly about the failure of the medical profession to foresee the prescription opioid epidemic, but Mr. Kessler’s harshest words fell on patients.

    “Some patients will make heart-rending pleas that they cannot live without their opioids. But we have failed to see this for what it is, the signature of addiction: ‘I need it. I can’t get better or normal without it,’” he wrote.

  • Let me introduce you to reality, Mr. Lewis. After 30 years of constant pain and being treated like a drug addict and a criminal, I’ve had enough. I’ve been talking to an attorney who handles right-to-die cases and I’m hoping she will take me on as a client who is not terminal. But I’m not going to rely on the law and the government to give me rights which I should already have, including how to treat my pain or how to die. That would be short-sighted and stupid, and I haven’t survived for the last 30 torturous years by being either.

    I think the medical industry should expand palliative treatment to include a suicide clinic on every corner, just like drug stores and places to buy alcohol and cigarettes. Because the reality is that no one wants to be tortured by unrelieved pain, which is what you’re advocating for.

    But as pain patients have learned, we can’t rely on opinions, experts, doctors, or the government to help us. We’re all learning how to help ourselves. Unfortunately, many are choosing suicide as their last option for pain relief. And some are choosing to find their pain relief in the underground market and are poisoned as a result of this desperation.

    This is my reality, Mr. Lewis. I’m in so much unrelieved pain that life isn’t worth living. And do you think I’m the only one? This is what you’re advocating for, sir, nothing else.

  • Thanks for your response, Jana. And Happy Nurses Appreciation Week, late but still important. 🙂

    Millions of pain patients have stories of how opioids have helped them carry on with their lives despite constant pain. I took pills for 10 years, and during that time, my pain levels were fairly stable (although I’m not sure I appreciated it at the time). After a forced cold-turkey detox, I switched a bucket of pills for medical cannabis. I won’t go into how difficult it is to find and afford quality medical cannabis, but I will say that my pain levels are no longer stable. And I now have pain storms that I didn’t experience when I was taking pills.

    Pain patients don’t take medications to get better — medication is a treatment not a cure — they take them to survive. This is about quality of life, and I’m happy to hear that you’ve found what you need to LIVE again. I know how much courage and strength that takes, on a daily basis. Good for you. 🙂

  • Not everyone is convinced that “opioid induced hyperalgesia” exists, but even if it does, it’s rare.

    “Are you going to argue that some of us are also promoting hysteria around benzos too, and that this will deny ‘millions of anxiety suffers’ their needed ‘medicines’?”

    Actually, yes, I am. While opioids get major media coverage, there are plenty of stories on the internet about doctors refusing to prescribe (and pharmacists refusing to fill) both anti-anxiety and ADHD medications. Along with the fact that if pain patients are taking opioids, they are often refused medication to treat anxiety, a common comorbid condition.

    “Of course certain pain suffers (especially those with cancer etc.) should not be denied these drugs or stigmatized. But these people are a minority, and up until now opiate drugs have been more than readily available in thousands of profitable pain clinics and with doctors who have a guaranteed number of returning patients on a regular basis. Even with all the recent publicity there is little evidence prescriptions have declined.”

    Methinks you don’t live in the real world, or else you get all of your information from the media, instead of directly from pain patients. Every pain patient knows that their stories are not being told in the media. In fact, both cancer and terminal patients are being denied opioids. And if you can show me proof that cancer pain is different than any other type of chronic pain, then maybe you’d have a minute argument for discriminating against chronic pain patients and their therapeutic use of opioids.

    What has been overblown is the description of the opioid war as an “epidemic” of drug addiction. Tell me, if more people die from suicide than from opioid-related causes, which is the epidemic? If tens of millions of people suffer from chronic pain and only thousands suffer from addiction, why not use perspective and call this “epidemic” what it is — just an extension of the failed drug war?

    “If you are trying to advocate for people with chronic pain issues you have done them a great disservice with these sort of arguments.”

    I’m curious, do you suffer from intractable pain, Richard? Because as a 30-year intractable pain survivor, I think you don’t know what you’re talking about. Your arguments are old and have no depth. I wonder, is your ignorance purposeful or unintentional? I’m also wondering, do you usually communicate in such a flamboyant fashion? Omnipotent, major epidemic, epic proportions? When language doesn’t match the facts, I’d call that overblown.

    The great harm being caused to millions of people is the drug war. Even those who suffer from addiction will benefit from the end of the worst crime perpetrated against the American people in this nation’s 240-year history.