DEA AND THEIR CAMPAIGN AGAINST CHRONIC PAIN PATIENTS
By: Jacinto Rivera
Date: June 6, 2016
Two years ago the DEA, started a campaign against chronic pain patients when they choose to classified hydrocodone as a schedule II drug. This has placed thousand if not hundreds of thousands of patients like myself and doctors in a stage of alarm.
For chronic pain patients obtaining their prescriptions for their pain management has become a nightmare. In some cases, their current pain medications are been either lowered or even discontinue. In some cases, like mine, pharmacist treat you differently, judge you, looking you up and down, or even refused to fill your prescription with excuses such as, “its back order”,
“your doctor needs to provide you a new strength”, “these particular medications is not available at all” and refused to fill the prescription. Starting March 27, 2016, a new law became in effect, on which opioids drugs prescriptions were to be sent electronically to the pharmacist, which if you ask me it seems fair in order to control the abused of it or even stop the misuse of fraudulent paper prescriptions.
Some people believe that chronic pain and pain management it is only a mill for drug addicts to easily obtain their quick fix. In reality, unless you suffer from chronic pain, I suggest you restrain yourself from pointing fingers to those who indeed suffer from chronic pain and are required to have a form of pain management.
Some people believe that a person using a opioids medication become automatically a drug addict as a result. An opioids medication does not make a person an addict, a person choose to become an addict if they take their medications inappropriate and not as prescribed by their doctors.
Others believe that long-term opioids medications on patients do not work. Clearly those people who believe so should learn a little bit more about opioids medications and how they are either used or misused. People should understand the differences between an addict and dependency which are two different things. A person who uses opioids medication for recreational purposes can be considered a drug addict. A person who uses opioids medications to treat and find some level of pain reliever has a dependency, this person depends on opioids medication in order to obtain a form of pain reliever.
What is chronic pain?
Chronic pain is a very personal medical problems as a result of a health issue or an obtained injury that cannot be cured or treated properly as it cannot be measured by anyone other than the person suffering the issue. It is a condition that cannot be diagnosed by looking at someone, seen a photo, neither an MRI, CT SCAN or an X-RAY. Although some of this procedures can identify and diagnose a health issue, it CANNOT measure a level of pain on which an individual is. Although I have been able to know, that when I am in pain, my blood pressure is high. I have been asked few times while visiting my Doctor “are you currently in pain?” as the doctor follows by letting me know, “you blood pressure is high”.
What is an Opioid medication?
Opioids medications are substances that act on opioid receptors to produce morphine-like effects. Opioids are most often used medically to relieve pain.
Currently, some doctors are either discontinuing opioids medications or lowering their mg. Why this it is the wrong move? A person taking opioids medications does not become an addict if used as directed and properly prescribed by your doctor. Example: A patient could start a treatment of opioids medication at a low dosage and gradually have it increase for his benefits and pain management. If a person is using a 5mg and few years later that person does not obtain pain relieve, the doctor can them increase his or her dosage to 10mg, 15mg, 20mg, 25mg, 30mg etc. and continue the process for many years to come.
It is unethical and irresponsible for a doctor to lower a patient's medication from 15mg to 5mg as they know the medication will not have the same effect for that patient after many years of used of the 15mg strength.
Unfortunately, lowering the mg on opioids medication is a treatment use for drug addicts at certain drug rehabilitation centers, on which their treatment consist of lowering the dosages of opioids in order to help the addict to become less addicted to the drugs.
Why are doctors lowering or discontinuing prescribing opioids medication?
Because of the War on Drugs from the DEA and now a war against opioids medications, Doctors are becoming targets of the DEA. Doctors are afraid to be prosecuted with criminal charges and monetary fines for prescribing opioids medications to their patients.
In my personal opinion, I find some of these doctors to be cowards! Currently, I was forced to see a new young male doctor after my 6 years pain management doctor stop working at the facility. I was immediately advised by the new doctor, that if I wish to continue seen a doctor at that facility, I would have to give up my opioids medications. Currently, I am taking Lyrica 25mg after being lowered from 100mg after having suicidal thoughts and mental issues, such as hearing voices in my head, negative thoughts and mood swings. I am currently on 10mg opioids medications after my pharmacy of over 16 years of services requested that I should get a new dosage because 15mg was nowhere to be found within the New York Try State area. Nabumetone 500mg which was discontinued by my new doctor as it was hurting my stomach. I was advised, that my pain medication will be discontinued and Lyrica will be raised even though I explained the doctor of my suicidal thought and mood swings. I am currently suffering from anxiety and depression due to this issue, just while remembering how bad my mood swings were and my suicidal thoughts. I am currently waking up in the middle of the night screaming, shaking, panic, as I hear voices, whispers, loud bangs, and suffer from nightmares. Sometimes I don't sleep properly because I rather be awakened than experiencing my sciatica and the pain that is involved with it.
I really understand, the meaning of a doctor wanting to protect their jobs. However, doctors need to also understand, that they did not attend a university to obtained a training to charge hundreds of dollars for a patient's visit, just to say hi. Doctors should understand that they obtained a training to help, cure and make sure of the well-being of their patients. It is my believe that Doctors should gather and explain the DEA and our government, that it is them who obtained their Doctoral training and not the DEA. That the DEA shouldn't interfere with medical practices and become between their patients. Doctors should tell the DEA, that if there is an issue on the streets, the DEA should do their job, rather than trying to cut corners in order to ease their way out of a situation. Our doctors need to become advocates for this matter in order to protect the interest and wellbeing of their patients.
There have been cases on which the VA doctors already started to stop prescribing the medication to injured veterans.
About my pain:
My name is Jacinto Rivera, currently 41 years old who in 2004 was involved in a car accident while on my way to work. My car was dragged and crushed into a utility poll. I work for nearly 4 years on pain while my body continue to deteriorate to the point of nearly falling while getting out of my chair.
After the events, I began to worry and choose to find a specialist to let me know what was wrong with me. Why do I have such pain? and why my body can’t support me no longer? I was asked to meet the spinal surgeon personally, while I hear him say, “WOW”. He immediately asked me how long have you been in pain? I let him know, nearly 4 years after my car accident. I was advised, I had a broken disc! We spend months trying to find a pain management program that could help, me but after several needles within my spine it was pointless.
A discogram was schedule, to find out the exact location of my problem, and immediately a surgery was schedule.
After the surgery, and nearly 6 months learning how to walk again with a metal piece holding my two half upper and lower body, I just find out even though I didn't end up in a wheelchair the surgery wasn't 100% successful. I was advised by one of my doctors, that I am the rare case of that small percent of people probably 1%, that does not find any relieve after a surgery or even obtain more issues as a result.
No only I continue to suffer from chronic back pain, but now also sciatica pain, weakness of my legs when in pain, and the biggest and more painful neck and shoulders problems one can have. Imagine waking up one day, to find out you cannot move your neck to either way because it is locked, that your shoulders continue to grow a hump that hurts just by doing the slight massage to it. Definitely, something you would only which on your worst enemy.
The constant lack of proper balance, makes me fall in my shower, in which I hurt my knee, and my hands around March 19, 2016. Calling it a fall is a joke, I flew out of my shower and nearly broke my neck unless I used my hands to prevent my face from hitting the wall. Now no only I have to suffer from my previous pain, but it is difficult for me to get to bed, getting up from a bed, and getting up a chair using my hands, well you can imagine.
My treatments consist of Lyrica 25mg, opioid medications currently lowered to 10mg. From time to time I do acupuncture, however, the cost of the treatments can be between $80 to $150 per treatments. Sadly acupuncture is not considered or seen by the US health department as a form of medical treatment and insurances do not pay for. As well, not every accupuncturist is trained well enough to properly assist you on finding some relieve. No physical therapy as it only inflicts pain that can place me in bed for 3 days to a week. However, I do my home exercises as far as I can go. You would ask yourself, how bad can his pain be? Well, imagine yourself ironing a shirt using an ironing board, and slightly bending forward to get that wrinkle out of it, to find out your back snap and pain started. Or trying to get those dishes off the sink, on which you find within about a minute, “they will stay here for a week or so”.
Laundry is done once a month if not longer, as I do not enjoy the pain as a result of it, sadly I am not rich to have a maid do it for me.
I take small walks, as it becomes unbearable the pain after few minutes. Once pains start if pushed to the limits weakness of my legs starts, with sensitivity to my feet, which results on my knees giving up and slightly bending. As a result, I have become over 20 pounds overweight. You may thing that's not a lot, but for someone who used to be 175lbs and now is over is 200lbs it is a lot. And can you imagine how I feel when I am walking and suddenly while I am making a turn, I feel a sharp knife feeling stabbing on my legs and back that which you were dead. It is the kind of pain, that makes your life flash in front of you, giving you all the options, from seen yourself in a wheelchair, or asking that God, to take you away and sent you back with a new body free of pain. These are only some of my limitations and pain issues.
Sadly, we live in a society on which people who don't understand or know what chronic pain is love to judge and deliver nonsense statements. Chronic pain is nothing like your everyday pain, such as light headaches, or even toothache. These types of pains are manageable, either with a Tylenol or with a visit to the dentist. Chronic pain is the kind of pain, that requires proper pain management for a long period of time, or even for the rest of someone's life.