If you visit the Emergency rooms in Michigan, you see and feel many horror stories. I don’t visit the ER and have not since 2007, when I was diagnosed with CRPS. I had chronic pain even before that, from several chronic pain issues and illnesses stemming from a car accident and other reasons. But the last time that I went, I was treated like a pariah because I was taking pain medication. They never asked me about all of the different therapies and non-Opioid medications that I’ve tried. They don’t know all that I’ve been through. They also don’t even ask me if I’ve ever been addicted to anything in my life. The answer would be “NO”. I’ve never smoked anything and I don’t even drink “once in awhile” socially, not ever! Yet, the Dr.’s and nurses treat people that take small amounts of pain meds as if we are someone to be scorned. The amount has gone down but it’s not ever going up. It works for me and for about 25% of the chronic pain population. Only 1% of legitimate chronic pain patients ever become addicted to pain medications given to them by a pain management physician. For some people this is what works after numerous other medications and therapies have failed.
I want to share with you just an overview of something I read in a Detroit Newspaper article yesterday (Link to Detroit news article . This is what is happening in Michigan in 2017. I’m praying for change and I’m going to advocate to help the legitimate chronic pain patients. I have already written to and gotten a response from the other letter that I wrote to the White House and Governor Chris Christie. All that I got in return was a fancy form letter from “The White House”. I can’t give up. I refuse to give up hope, without hope, we have nothing left. We must not give up and we need to keep hope alive.
This is just the summary of what actually happened to a family in Michigan. I read in our Detroit, MI newspaper recently, and it is just a summary: “Over on a gurney, a woman screams out writhing from pain. A Dr. stands idly by, just watching a monitor. He stood away from her as she was doubled up in pain, screaming about pain in her abdomen. Her husband walked in and saw this and he new about his wife’s chronic pain condition(s), but had never seen anything like this from her. The Dr. was expressionless, as if she was not even in the room and as though she was a non-feeling “thing”, a non-being person with feelings and a soul”. Imagine if it was his wife, his mother or child? Would he still feel the same?
So moving on, …”as the husband approached this so called “Dr.”, the physician was startled and reached out his hand to introduce himself. He said to the husband, “yes she’s “complaining” about pain. He said “we will “try” to address it. Next, he said something horrifying, but not new to our American chronic pain communities. He said “addicts often come to the emergency room looking for opioids”. The woman’s husband knew about her medical condition and he knew enough to realize that something must’ve gone terribly wrong after the nerve block procedure she’d had done earlier that day, while he was at work. They’d been to Cleveland and Mayo clinics and even to the U of MI hospital. This poor woman had gone through numerous medical procedures and attempted over 40 medications. They finally had found a regimen that worked to relieve enough of her pain so that she had some semblance of a life now and then. The only effective regimen was very complicated but it included Opioids”. The way she was treated just recently, in 2017 is barbaric to say the least.
This is happening not only here in Michigan, but all over the USA. Just today, 9-17-17, I read an article that was sent to me through my email. The article written by Julie Mack in “MLive”, discusses many statistics about Michigan deaths from “overdose of Opioids, including Heroin”. Opioids for legitimate and suffering chronic pain patients and Heroin, should not even be compared in the same sentence; let alone included together in the same article showing numbers of deaths. The article even states that “these numbers are based on death certificates and list only deaths that specify “Opioid and/or heroin” as a factor”. I want people to see the difference here. Legitimate chronic pain patients who’ve been doing well, taking opioids, after trying many other methods to relieve their pain; are not even in the same same category as heroin addicts. Unfortunately, from the death certificate, they just lump everyone into one category and that’s hurting the pain patients. We are suffering due to the ignorance of certain Government officials and the paralyzing fear that has been put into our legitimate and caring Pain management physicians.
In Michigan, a bill was recently introduced into the House of Rep. This HB 4601 would put absolute limits on the dosages that chronic pain patients may receive. The patient’s medical history, illness(es) or lack of any proof of abuse or addiction are suddenly irrelevant. The Government would be mandating that “no doctor may prescribe opioids to a chronic pain patient exceeding 100 morphine milligram equivalents per day.” No matter what! Oh my goodness, everyone’s bodies are different and dosages can affect people differently. If this bill goes into law, legitimate pain patients will be bedridden and writhing in pain. Please help us and learn about this side of HB 4601. Our Michigan Government needs to step in now, to help other government leaders and those in Washington D.C., to understand this huge gap between pain patients and drug addicts. There are two distinct groups included in HB 4601, but we are being “lumped together” as one.
In Oakland County Michigan, the Board of Commissioners has taken a stand against this historically old proposal. They unanimously passed a resolution stating that HB 4601 “infringes on a doctor’s ability to care for patients by substituting the Legislature’s opinion for the opinion of individual medical professionals.” The board also advocated a balanced method “that specifically targets addiction and abuse while protecting the rights of patients for whom these prescriptions are medically necessary”. Please help the chronic pain community. We are human beings and we deserve our rights and our lives protected by the state of Michigan and the USA government as well. Please don’t take the rights of our educated physicians away from the decision making process. Educate them more in the area of chronic pain management, but the doctor patient relationship should still stand. Our Senators, Governors and even our President, need to be educated in this area. They need to understand the differences between addiction and dependency; along with the difference between drug addicts versus legitimate chronic pain patients.
I implore you to help stop this in Michigan and everywhere. I understand that balance is hard, but we need to think of the real people that HB 4601 affects. Slashing dosages of opioid pain medications or taking it completely away from people that it has been effectively helping is cruel and abusive. This is America! What is happening to us when the government steps in and takes away a doctors right to treat his patient effectively? If we can focus more on the people, we would start tailoring laws to address societal harm and avoid legislative dragnets that sound good in headlines but bring danger and harm to too many citizens. We need to do better for the legitimate chronic pain patients for whom all other methods have failed.
We ARE here, we ARE in the room. Please join me in helping to make the government and elected official listen to our plea!
Excerpts taken from DetroitNews.com
9-12-17 “Opioids Treat Real Pain; Don’t Limit Drs”