Many with chronic illness denied prescriptions in fight against opioids – News – telegram.com – Worcester, MA – by Susan Spencer – Sept 2017
…prescribing actually started to decrease a few years ago, before the current monitoring program was mandated, when physicians realized there was a problem.
Pain should be addressed in a variety of ways, not just through medication, Dr. Dimitri and Ms. Steinberg agreed. But insurance often doesn’t cover nonmedical treatment such as physical therapy, acupuncture or meditation and relaxation training to the same extent as surgery and drugs.
“I think people with pain feel abandoned,” Ms. Steinberg said.
We don’t just “feel” abandoned, we *are* abandoned
“I would encourage them (physicians) to really partner with their patients and help them find options.”
When there are no accessible treatment options and no hope for pain relief from prescription narcotics forthcoming, some turn to heroin or other available drugs to relieve their suffering. Some consider suicide.
“If these patients cannot get the pills legally, you will be increasing dangerous street sales, or even suicide,” wrote a man from Ohio who signed Ms. Deluca’s petition.
“At most times, it makes one want to die,” added another Florida woman.
“People shouldn’t feel their only escape is to break the law or take their own life,” Ms. Deluca said. “You have to prove that you’re worth helping. It’s so wrong.”
Yet this is exactly how many pain patient feel when their opioids are cut back dramatically or no longer prescribed at all.
Insurance usually only pays for drugs or surgery and a handful of alternative medicine treatments, like acupuncture.
Surgery on a person with chronic pain paradoxically often causes new pain or more pain, not less.
This leaves drugs as the only affordable medical option for most pain patients. However, most non-opioid drugs that are usually prescribed off-label (in desperation) like anti-epileptics or antidepressants aren’t nearly as effective as opioids.
Plus, most non-opioid pain medications come with a long list of serious side effects, like dizziness, fatigue, dangerously high blood pressure, and trouble concentrating.
However, because there is less average risk for addiction (see Population Statistics do NOT Apply to Individuals), they have been declared preferable to opioids, regardless of what the individual’s risk factors for addiction may be.