Pain Management Contracts
– To receive opioids from a pain management clinic, you are required to sign away your personal rights and privacy in extremely restrictive and coerced contracts.
How would you feel if you entered a doctor’s office with distressing pain, only to be treated like a lying drug addict, presented with a completely one-sided legal contract, and be expected to sign away important personal rights just to get a medication you need?
Perhaps you just can’t understand just what it feels like to read such a contract when you are a person 100% dependent on opioids to live somewhat decently. It is demeaning, infuriating, and even scary to be treated like an addict without any provocation.
I have done nothing to deserve this treatment. I have no history of abuse at all, so why should I have to sign such a contract for my medication?
The contract is a direct accusation that any patient will behave dishonestly and immorally in order to get more opioids than they really need. It’s like being called a liar and a cheat right to my face.
These 5 to 10-page contracts are designed to give a pain doctor full control over a patient’s medication. They allow screening for all drugs at all times and set forth pages of conditions for a patient to receive their medication.
The slightest infraction of the rules or any deviance at all (which is detected during constant screening) allows the doctor to immediately stop opioid therapy, refuse further treatment, and report the patient to the authorities.
The contracts are 100% one-sided. There is no concern that stopping a patient’s opioids abruptly could send a person into terrible withdrawals while they try to find another provider.
However, finding another doctor to prescribe opioids may now be impossible because the contract-break will be added to the patient’s record, warning that this is a “drug seeker” or “addict” so that no other doctors will prescribe them medication either.
These contracts give pain doctors almost complete control over how much pain a patient must tolerate from day to day, not just now, but also reaching far into the future.
With a single stroke of the pen, a negative notation from a single doctor (or nurse, or other healthcare provider) can prevent a patient from getting opioids from any other doctor.
Fear, anger, suspicion
Considering the risk of triggering these draconian measures for what could be a clerical or laboratory error, it’s no surprise that patients are wary of these contracts.
The first reaction is anger: anger at being essentially accused of being an out-of-control addict that needs these tight controls.
Then comes suspicion because the contract is so one-sided. With its detailed list of prohibitions, it seems the doctor is very reluctant to treat at all and is just looking for ways to terminate opioid therapy.
You don’t get treated like a drug addict for any other prescribed medication. This blatant discrimination is extremely painful to those of us dependent on medication. I would feel no differently if the contract were for the antidepressants I also depend on.
These pain contracts can do irreparable harm to the relationship between patient and doctor. The contracts express such an utter lack of trust and such a low opinion of the patient that I would never be as comfortable and open with that doctor afterward. The exception is when a doctor is forced by their management to make you sign a contract, as mine was.
By demanding we agree to these contracts, doctors are immediately setting up an adversary relationship and putting themselves in the position of being our parole officers.
If there was some logical reason for a doctor to present me with this contract I might feel differently, but I have been using opioids for over 20 years and have never had a problem, so this is just a total insult.
I find it similar to being asked to sign a prenup before the wedding, which, in my mind, nullifies the trust necessary for a good marriage. This may be somewhat justified in cases where there’s a gross discrepancy in value… and right there is the problem.
The contracts, both pre-nup and for opioids are putting one party in complete power over their value, but at least pre-nups provide some protection for both sides.
I will always be forced to live under the care of a doctor, and this contract tells me right away that it’s not going to be a good relationship.
I know you’re probably wondering: if I didn’t do anything wrong, why would I mind being monitored? But this is like asking why you would mind me putting a camera in your living room if you’re not doing anything wrong.
Such intense monitoring is a gross intrusion without provocation. Even the police need a warrant to invade your privacy like this.
I’m being asked to sign over my rights to privacy in ways that are completely unrelated to my care, which is for pain, not addiction.