I am a patient at a Pain Management Clinic. I am stigmatized. I am made to feel like a drug abuser for needing relief from my chronic pain. I pay out of pocket for random drug screening, and I am fine with it. It is part of the process. My medication can be counted at any time. The medication has a DEA number with my street address. My prescriptions can only be picked up by me in person or by one representative since I can’t drive. My representative’s information is on file with the pain clinic which can be accessed by the DEA. We live in Arkansas. The laws are very strict about prescribing pain medications to the point general practitioners usually will not prescribe them at all. Urgent Care centers have signs up stating people will not receive pain medication. Our state STILL has a huge opioid abuse problem.
National and Local Media headlines scream, “Opioid Crisis!”
Senators and the President demand action!
Mourning parents of overdosed children cry out to the government, “Just do something!”
Here’s some reality for everyone: By making it even harder for me, a law abiding pain patient, to get my prescriptions, no one is making a difference.
The children who overdosed didn’t take a legal prescription. If one looks at the actual statistics, fentanyl-laced opioids are often involved in drug overdoses.
How is any of this my fault? Why should I suffer? Why should ANY pain patient suffer?
I sat in the waiting room today at the pain clinic and looked around at the other patients. I am 42-years old. There wasn’t anyone in that waiting room who looked younger than 50. It’s usually a rather quiet place. We’re all in pain. If it’s shots/procedure day, we sometimes discuss our screwed up discs, joints, hips, etc. I’ve met people from all walks of life who come there because of wrecks, diseases like me, or accidents.
My pain doctor is NOT a pill pusher. He is only prescribing me the least amount of pain medication I need. He has taught me bed physical therapy exercises to help me manage my pain in other ways. My pain doctor also prescribed a rollator with the hopes of getting me more mobile because that will help with pain. He goes above and beyond what a pain doctor has to do.
Pain management clinics and pain doctors are taking a beating in the media. We patients are as well. I’ve even heard a few QUACK doctors say “just deal with your pain with medication” on TV. Those doctors have obviously never dealt with a TWO MONTH long migraine or Degenerative Disk Disease or bursitis or fibromyalgia or arthritis.
On Instagram, I’ve been offered snake oils more times than I can count. I’m not interested. If something works for a person, more power to them. Been there. Done that. Wasted my money. Won’t do it again.
So, I will continue to go see my well educated, compassionate doctor while the media keeps bemoaning how the world is coming to an end because of opioids. They seem to forget something very important in all of this: it’s opioid ABUSE that is the problem.
I can name several other legal products that are abused every single day of the week.