Pain patients suffer from efforts to reduce addiction

Chronic-pain patients suffer as agencies try to regulate addiction – by Wendy Sinclair – Jan 2019

I’m encouraged to see our side of the opioid story published in the mainstream media like this. We must expose more of the public to the nightmare experienced by pain patients, one they are only one accident or misfortune away from landing in themselves.

Opioid. For many, the word elicits images of addiction, but that’s only one side of the story.

This is our side, the one that’s no longer socially acceptable, that shatters bias and stigma. It’s the side of the story that I live — that of the chronic pain patient (CPP), not the addict.  

The vast majority of people who use prescription opioids never become addicted; they use their medication as prescribed. It facilitates their lives, and if it’s discontinued they will lose quality of life.

My mom worked at the United States Post Office, a job she loved. After a work injury and failed surgeries, she was left in pain, permanently disabled, and unable to function.

She tried every alternative, but nothing helped.

Finally, she started opioid medication and began living again — raising her grandchildren, maintaining her home and life. Then her primary doctor retired.

She was referred to a well-known Salem pain doctor who, despite 13 years of MRIs, other tests and records, insisted she either accept a diagnosis of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and receive Suboxone or be tapered completely off medication, and receive nothing for pain.

She did everything right, didn’t fail one drug urinalysis (UA), took medication as prescribed, but it didn’t matter.

This is probably the worst aspect of all these restrictive “anti-opioid policies”: they make it impossible for patients to “prove” their worthiness to receive appropriate opioids.

Previously employed and active pain patients become unemployed burdens, unable to care for themselves or others.

Today, a father is confined to his bed with untreated pain because his doctor was forced to taper him off analgesics.

A parent looks down at the deceased body of their child who chose to die rather than face another day in horrible pain.

Legislation, proposals and rules threaten this fate for every CPP. While opioids are not the answer for everyone, for some they’re a life saver.

Recently, there was a press release for the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program which began with a tragic account of addiction. The solution was to further restrict CPPs, instead of curbing addiction. This is a common tactic.

You’ve heard one person every three days dies of an opioid overdose in Oregon (not necessarily CPP). In those three days, over 15 times more people die of alcohol-related deaths.

Four years ago, a drunk driver permanently broke my body so now I’m a CPP, and yet he is free to drink as much as he chooses while I am in danger of losing my quality of life.

All in the name of fighting addiction.

Wendy Sinclair, who lives in Adair Village, is co-founder of the Oregon Pain Action Group and Oregon Legislative Coordinator for The Alliance for the Treatment of Intractable Pain. Reach her at wendyrsinclair@gmail.com.

7 thoughts on “Pain patients suffer from efforts to reduce addiction

  1. canarensis

    Wendy is one of our hardest fighters & advocates here in Oregon. It’s true that, despite the “3/week” claim of the health authorities,* far more people die of alcohol, cancer, diabetes, & hypertension. Opioid deaths, even if you pretend the inflated number is real, aren’t even in the top 11 CODs (https://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/2018/01/the_top_causes_of_death_in_ore.html) –data from the state & CDC.

    Ahhh…but that is totally irrelevant to the hysteria mongers & those of the Task Farce, who stand to gain financially, directly, from their own policies that they’re forcing on pain patients, in the teeth of massive public & professional condemnation. And STILL the supposed “civil rights” defenders in the state & the ACL-Useless steadfastly refuse to get involved.

    *which, in view of the way they count ODs, isn’t even true: there may be 3 overdoses per week, but that does NOT mean that there are three deaths. Every time someone dies with multiple opioids in their system (which is most of the time) –say, heroin, cocaine, & fentanyl– they count them as multiple ODs; in that example case, we get the fascinating idea that the person died three times. I’ve corresponded with health authorities, & they don’t even keep track of the actual # of people dying from opioids –they blatantly don’t care here about facts or accuracy. This ludicrous method of record keeping is also done by the CDC, so national facts are pure myth as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Zyp Czyk Post author

      This awful method of counting each drug as a separate overdose death is outrageous, but it took some digging for me to find the truth and we can’t expect the “common man” to spend their time researching this to find the truth that we did.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. canarensis

        You got that right. But it drives me utterly insane(er) that no so-called journalist hasn’t picked up this egregious aspect of the blatant lies. You’d think such blatant digital data dancing lies would be major expose fodder. I guess journalists have all become sheep too.

        Liked by 1 person

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  2. peter jasz

    Pain patients are NOT addicted, but perhaps ‘dependent’.
    Dependent on on effective pain solutions- often opiates.

    Pain patients not only find desperately needed pain/agony relief, but most/all opiates are very safe, well tolerated and can/have been used daily and continuously for decades in mt)any cases- for those so unfortunate to require it.

    Compared to all and any other pharmacologic alternatives, opiates are far safer, and have a near benign side-effect profile -compared to alternatives.

    Consider the BS ‘Gabapentin; this dangerous drug should be yanked from the shelves and minds of everyone. It’s deadly. Note the latest drugs found in OD deaths; hint, Gabapentin.
    It has earned its rightful place/distinction. The Go-To anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsant drugs
    including Celebrex, Gabapentin etc. are sheer/near useless -but make Pharma billions of dollars in profits.

    Pain Patients: Consider a ‘Pharmacogenetics’ analysis that can determine the most suitable drug/s for your condition and physiology. Takes all the guess-work out of what physician’s routinely prescribe cu’z they were told to. It’s really as simple and sad as that.
    Today, such a test is far more affordable than ever. In fact, it’s my understanding that such a test can be purchased in stores/some pharmacies as a over-the-counter test kit (under $100.).

    Pain patients must have a high degree of effective and consistent pain relief without having to worry about a poor combination/mix with other prescribed drugs.

    pj

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Zyp Czyk Post author

      Re: “Compared to all and any other pharmacologic alternatives, opiates are far safer, and have a near benign side-effect profile -compared to alternatives.”

      I’m glad you mentioned this because it’s something I am going to add to my comments on the HHS draft for pain management. I’m disappointed that so many doctors do not know this, even though they certainly should.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. canarensis

        My doc keeps yammering on about the “horrible side effects” of opioids, & suffers an instant deafness attack when I reply that I have NO side effects. I think some docs do know this but have decided to act as if the lie is the truth. Tho he does assert that every single one of my symptoms is caused by the opioids, even the ones that started decades before I took any opioids (neat trick!). Both on a societal & individual scale, reason & sanity no longer have any part in this national discussion, if they ever did.

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