Untreated: The Healthcare Crisis-A Documentary


There are several people and organizations making Documentaries about pain patients getting “left behind” in all of the opioid hysteria right now.  A few that I’ve personally taken an interest in, are awesome. I feel that some Organizations, are trying to sway the chronic pain community into thinking that the physicians who are afraid to treat them now with any opioid therapy are correct in doing so.  There are those who promote techniques such as “grounding”, massage therapy, acupuncture and mindfulness as relief for life long chronic & painful illnesses.  There is a place for some of those things. If it is the patients choice, they could be added to other type of medicinal therapies, such as CBD oil, Medical cannabis, Kratom and/or Opioids.  But alone, these “alternative pain control therapies ” don’t help to control chronic &/or intractable pain permanently.  They also won’t help much when someone is living with high amounts of chronic pain from several illnesses on a daily basis. In my opinion, they won’t help someone who had been doing well on other medication therapies for many years and who suddenly got force tapered or stopped from something that gave them some semblance of a life, for over a decade in many cases.

But there is a new documentary coming out soon and it appears to be one of the best that I’ve seen. It looks very professional and it is in no way a “home video” or a “YouTube” video. It appears to be very well done and I really thought the message was and is clear.  Get the government out of the Doctor and patient exam rooms and relationships. Give the physicians back the power to decide along WITH their patients, what method is best suited for the control of their pain. Keep Hollywood, Andrew Kolodny and Dr. Phil out of our personal medical histories and give the chronic pain community back their lives. We are not expendable just because many are unable to work. Most of us worked for many years and paid into the Social Security program and had to have enough “points” from working, in order to receive the SSDI. So we are not “leaches” nor are we taking from our Government.  Most have been very dedicated to helping in society and being a part of every day life. Many chronic pain patients are former chefs, Interpreters, Secretaries and even teachers. Give us the benefit of the doubt and stop treating us like we are unworthy or expendable.

This documentary “Untreated: The Healthcare Crisis” is directed and produced by Time Thread Studios & their production crew, alongside Lauren DeLuca and Jayne Flanders. Lauren & Jayne are the original founders of CIAAG or “Chronic Illness Advocacy and Awareness Group”. They have a support group online and run a Nonprofit for chronically ill and disabled persons living with pain.  I have donated a small amount of $25.00 to this documentary because I believe in it. If you can contribute in any way, even $5.00 would help. If many people could donate even that amount, it would really help in getting this documentary out to the public.  What is stated in this documentary is true; “What we have is an epidemic of ignorance and fear and its ruining healthcare “.  The epidemic is not an “Opioid Epidemic” but one of instilling fear and panic to the non-pain community so they won’t truly understand.  Not until they or someone that they love is living with daily chronic pain and suffering due to the under treatment of pain today in the USA and Canada.

You’ll see in the movie’s trailer, that even the CEO of Reckitt Benckiser, Rakesh Kapoor has stated that “every major deal we’ve done actually, has created good value for share holders”. They are the makers of Suboxone, Bupenorphrine etc.  If you read a couple of my other articles (About Suboxone, Bupenorphrine & Naloxone and another Regarding Bupenorphrine- Suboxone and also Pain, Politics, Suboxone & Bupenorphrine ) regarding these drugs made for addiction, not pain; I believe that you will see a trail of money leading directly from them to this fake and manufactured Opioid “crisis”. “The goal is profits”, it says in the documentary’s trailer. It is without regard to the millions of chronic pain patients.  This movie will show how the Government is trying to control this “crisis” by limiting the supply of opioids for the pain community. It is stated that 319 medications have “no competition”.  The question arises “Is the FDA dragging their feet?” Also you will see that physicians are afraid to prescribe pain medications and we all know that is true. Then there is this statement, that “the intentional removal of effective pain medications”…. from people who live with daily chronic and high pain illnesses, “that is the definition of torture”.

The link to “Kickstarter.com” and the movie trailer is listed below. You’ll notice on the Kickstarter website that they have goals and various gifts for supporting this film.

Please check out this documentary and lets truly try to get this movie out to the public via Netflix and other venues. This documentary has our hearts and our souls in it. It is, in my opinion, a really effective trailer and the documentary, I believe, will even exceed our expectations.  “The pendulum has swung much too far in the wrong direction”, is another quote from “Untreated: The Pain Crisis” movie trailer. Please help by any donation that you can spare and/or by sharing the link below and/or this article to people in your own pain communities.

Click below, to see the trailer:

Untreated: The Healthcare Crisis Movie Trailer

Letter To Brandeis University


 The letter below was written by Richard “Red” Lawhern & signed by many Physicians, Pharmacists, Nurses and pain patients/Advocates (Including Me). It was sent approximately October 2017. Here’s a full article from the Pain News Network about it: https://www.painnewsnetwork.org/stories/2017/10/3/patient-advocates-call-on-brandeis-to-fire-kolodny and below is the letter in full, and which I signed:(my name is in bold print just here to share with you)….sadly, it didn’t do anything, but seemed to give Kolodny more resolve. We need to keep fighting this! We cannot give up. I’ve lost my LA/ER pain meds now and I’m not stopping the fight until my last breath. Here’s the letter in full:

To:  Ronald D. Liebowitz, President, Brandeis University [president@brandeis.edu]

       Nancy Winship, Chief Philanthropic Adviser to the President, Brandeis University 

winship@brandeis.edu  

       Constance Horgan, Founding Director, Brandeis University Institute for Behavioral Health,  [horgan@brandeis.edu]

        David Weil, Dean, The Heller School of Social Policy and Manageme  [davweil@brandeis.edu]

       Mark Allen Surchin, President, Brandeis Alumni Association msurchin@goodmans.ca

    To the Administration of Brandeis University,

I write as corresponding secretary of the Opioid Policy Correspondents List.  We are a group of medical professionals, healthcare writers, social media group moderators, knowledgeable chronic pain patients and family members.  This group of volunteers receives no funding from any source.

We call upon the Opioid Research Collaborative and Brandeis University to immediately reevaluate your relationship with Dr. Andrew Kolodny, MD and to consider termination of his relationship with Brandeis.  The basis of our request is as follows:

   1.  Many of us are patients dealing with medical disorders thatcause levels of intractable pain among the most severe known to medical practice.  Others are physicians and nurses who have treated such disorders, most of which are incurable at the present state of medical knowledge.  Several of us have published work on this area of public policy and are highly conversant with the practice standards issues involved.

   2.  For millions of Americans, prescription opioid analgesic medications are a central element of patient pain management plans.  Without compassionate care employing these analgesics, many tens (perhaps hundreds) of thousands of patients will lapse into agony and disability.  Some will very likely die. We have each been witness already to multiple unnecessary deaths reported in social media and in articles by medical professionals. 

   3.  Chronic pain patients are increasingly being denied access to these essential life supports — in large measure due to the actions and advocacy of Dr. Andrew Kolodny and like-minded others. 

   4.  Because of genetic polymorphism, many pain patients are “hyper metabolizers” or “poor metabolizers” of one or more opioid medications.  Opioids are broken down in their livers at much faster or slower rates than in average patients.  To manage their pain, many require much higher doses than the 90 Morphine Milligram Equivalent Daily Dose (MMEDD) threshold of risk that is asserted in the March 2016 CDC opioid prescription guidelines.  No provision is made in the guidelines for hundreds of thousands of such people.  Based on his published work, Dr. Kolodny seems to ignore that such people even exist, despite the well established body of science thatdetails their conditions.

   5.  Dr. Kolodny has been prominent in a National campaign to deny chronic pain patients even minimal management of their pain.  His actions are directed toward forcing draconian restrictions or outright withdrawal of this class of medications from medical practice. He calls for forced tapering of patients formerly prescribed opioids. Policy positions for which he advocates are leading to the deaths of hundreds of chronic pain patients by suicide or pain-related heart failure and medical collapse — also incontestable facts that Kolodny has publicly denied.

   6.  Dr. Kolodny was a central figure in panels that wrote the 2016 CDC opioid guidelines.  The resulting document is widely understood by medical professionals to be profoundly flawed and actively dangerous.  The guidelines incorporate gross errors, anti-opioid bias, cherry-picking of published findings to support a political agenda, and omission of pertinent research thatcontradicts guideline recommendations.  As a consequence of these distortions and of a related US DEA witch hunt against pain doctors, large numbers of physicians are leaving pain management and hundreds of thousands of patients are being deserted and abused across America.

   7.  Dr. Kolodny may also have failed to acknowledge financial and professional conflicts of interest incompatible with the work he was hired to perform at Brandeis. He helped to found and runPhysicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP), an anti-opioid lobbying group.  This organization has several times petitioned the FDA to restrict opioids (many aspects of PROP petitions have been outright rejected as unfounded).   He has also been Chief Medical Officer for Phoenix House, a chain of addiction treatment centers which has been challenged over deaths among those they have treated and released without follow-up or community support.   He has represented the interests of insurance industry groups that seek to deny coverage to chronic pain patients because of associated expenses. None of these affiliations is compatible with balanced or science-based positions on opioid policy.

   8. Some who have described Dr. Kolodny in public press have characterized him as “controversial”.  This designation is entirely too kind.  Among people in pain, he is one of the most polarizing and hated figures in medicine.  His public statements are widely rejected by those whom they directly affect.

   9.  Although Dr. Kolodny has a work history in public health and addiction psychiatry, he is neither qualified nor Board Certified in pain management — a closely related field that has been profoundly and negatively impacted by his assertions concerning public policy.  From his published articles and interviews, it is clear to many readers that he knows or cares little about chronic pain patients and their treatment.  A lot of what he thinks he knows about addiction is unsupported or contradicted by medical evidence and by the lived experience of many thousands of patients.    

  10.  In our view and those of many people whom he has harmed, Dr. Kolodny makes no positive contribution to the work or reputation of Brandeis or its research centers.  To the contrary, we believe it is ethically and morally imperative that he be dismissed immediately from the University, before his presence further damages both your reputation and your financial endowments.  We urge you to engage staff in a due-diligence review of his published positions and advocacy, to verify the concerns we have offered above.  

You surely cannot align yourselves with someone who has made the following kinds of public statements:

“We lack evidence that opioids help chronic pain. Evidence is mounting that tapering improves pain and function.”   [From a Tweet by Dr. Kolodny addressing his statements in a CNN article at http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/17/health/chronic-pain-opioid-tapering-study/index.html ]

“When we talk about opioid pain medications, drugs like hydrocodone and oxycodone, we’re talking about drugs that are made from opium the same way that heroin is made from opium.  The effect that hydrocodone and oxycodone produce in the brain are indistinguishable from the effects that are produced by heroin.  [When] We talk about opioid pain medicines we are essentially talking about heroin pills…”  Summer 2017 issue of Heller Magazine

“Prescribing opioids for chronic pain is pennywise and pound foolish….” …”overprescribing of opioids is associated with sharp increases in the prevalence of opioid addiction, a chronic disease that is expensive to treat and strains the economy in many other ways. Some of these costs were nicely outlined in a recent New York Times article called “The Soaring Cost of the Opioid Economy.” 

“We’re just talking about the economic costs but we also have to consider human costs. By prescribing opioids to chronic pain patients, a treatment that’s unlikely to work and may even worsen pain, the medical community is undertreating pain and failing in its responsibility to ease suffering. And if the pain patient becomes opioid addicted, they’ll be left with a devastating chronic disease that may kill them. Of course, there’s also the collateral suffering experienced by friends and family members, especially when an opioid addicted individual dies from an overdose.” https://www.centerforhealthjournalism.org/2013/10/24/qa-andrew-kolodny-busting-pain-medicine-myths-0

 

“Outside of palliative care, dangerously high doses should be reduced even if patient refuses.  Where exactly is this done in a risky way?” wrote Andrew Kolodny, MD, Executive Director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP).  “I’m asking you to point to a specific clinic or health system that is forcing tapers in a risky fashion. Where is this happening?”   

https://www.painnewsnetwork.org/stories/2017/7/20/prop-founder-calls-for-forced-opioid-tapering

 

 

 

Among many published articles that contradict positions advocated by Dr. Kolodny are the following:

Neat, Plausible, and Generally Wrong: A Response to the CDC Recommendations for Chronic Opioid Use, by Stephen A. Martin, MD, EdM;  Ruth A. Potee, MD, DABAM; and  Andrew Lazris, MD.  https://medium.com/@stmartin/neat-plausible-and-generally-wrong-a-response-to-the-cdc-recommendations-for-chronic-opioid-use-5c9d9d319f71

Opioid Abuse in Chronic Pain — Misconceptions and Mitigation Strategies, Nora D. Volkow, MD, and A. Thomas McLellan, Ph.D.  N Engl J Med 2016; 374:1253-1263, March 31, 2016.

The MEDD myth: the impact of pseudoscience on pain research and prescribing-guideline development  Jeffrey Fudin, Jacqueline Pratt Cleary, and Michael E Schatman,  J Pain Res. 2016; 9: 153–156. Reprint at Medscape:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4809343/

An Opioid Quality Metric Based on Dose Alone? 80 Professionals Respond to NCQA  Stefan Kertesz, MD, MSc. Medium, March 22, 2017. https://medium.com/@StefanKertesz/an-opioid-quality-metric-based-on-dose-alone-80-professionals-respond-to-ncqa-6f9fbaa2338

Pain Wars, Suzanne Stewart, Opinion, National Pain Report, September 20, 2017,  http://nationalpainreport.com/the-pain-wars-8834381.html

Let’s Stop the Hysterical Rhetoric about the Opioid Crisis, Jeffrey A Singer, MD, Cato Institute, August 31, 2017. https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/lets-stop-hysterical-rhetoric-about-opioid-crisis

Even the most basic due diligence will find many more substantive contradictions to Dr. Kolodny’s public statements. 

This issue is not going to go away.  Brandeis needs to act promptly and decisively to preserve your academic reputation,lest you provide a forum for biased science or fraud.  We look forward to your confirmation that action is underway to separate Dr. Kolodny from your institution.  

Note:  you may also receive amplifying letters from others among our membership.  

All of the following have authorized their do-signatures here:

 

Richard A. Lawhern, Ph.D., Healthcare author and 20-year patient advocate
Corresponding Secretary, Opioid Policy Correspondents List

 

Dr. Forest Tennant, Editor Emeritus “Practical Pain Management”

 

Dr. Aimee Chagnon, MD

 

Dr. Steven R. Henson, MD

 

Dr. Mark Ibsen, MD

 

Steven Ariens, P.D., R.Ph. Owner/Operator “Pharmacist Steve Blog”

 

Thomas N. Dikel, Ph.D., Developmental Psychopathologist; Pediatric Neuropsychologist; Adult and Child Clinical Forensic Psychologist.

 

Jon Aumann, certified in Community Based Participatory Research and as Biomedical Research Investigator

 

Kristie Walters, RN, medically retired as a chronic pain patient

 

Jennifer Barnhouse, LPN, medically retired as a chronic pain patient

 

Julianna Hodgman, RN, Chronic Pain Patient

Michelle Wagner Talley MSRC, LPC, BCPC

 

Patricia Davidson, medically retired EMT, 12 year chronic pain patient

 

Duane Pool, Former Registered Nurse, Technical Writer, Social Media Consultant

 

Kristen Ogden, Co-founder Families for Intractable Pain Relief

 

Louis Ogden, chronic pain patient and advocate

 

Sherry Sherman, CRNP, MSN, BSN, CPC, CCS, CCA, CPPM, US Pain Ambassador,            NAPW 2014 Woman of the Year 

Tammi Hale, surviving spouse of a pain patient suicide

 

Angelika Byczkowski, chronic pain patient, advocate, writer, and blogger

 

Donna Corley, Co-director ASAP – Arachnoiditis Society for Awareness and Prevention  

 

Denise R. Molohon, LTCP, CLTC, chronic pain patient, patient advocate: ASAP, Arachnoiditis Society for Awareness & Prevention

 

Susan J Elliott, chronic pain patient

 

Duff Lambros, chronic pain patient stable on opioids over 20-years of treatment 

 

Suzanne Stewart, chronic pain patient, patient health advocate, CRPS Mentor, blogger & freelance writer (>30 articles in National Pain Report).

Mark J. Zobrowski, chronic pain patient and advocate

 

Spencer Dunstan: chronic pain patient and advocate

 

Sandie Hamilton, Community Care Coordinator, Hope Outreach Ministries

 

Timothy E. Mason, BA Chemistry, Research Chemist

 

Kevin Mooney, chronic pain patient

 

Michelle Ziemba, Writer and Editor, Chronic Pain Patient: Trigeminal Neuralgia (13.5 years),

 

Robert W. Schubring, BA, U.S. Co-Founder, GivePainAVoice

 

Gary Snook, chronic pain patient

 

Shirley Wallace, chronic pain patient

 

Sally Balsamo, chronic pain patient

 

Nancy Calahan, chronic fibromyalgia patient, prescribed Tramadol

 

Caryn Abrams, chronic pain patient

 

Sandy Hamilton, chronic pain patient

Lisa Hess, chronic pain patient

 

Steven Rock, chronic pain patient

 

Tootie Welker, MHS Rehabilitation Counseling

 

Randie Parker, chronic pain patient (diagnosed hyper-metabolizer)

Robert D. Rose, Moderator “Veterans and Americans for Equality in Healthcare” 

Lana Kirby, chronic pain advocate and activist 

Greg Downey, medically retired machinist and chronic pain patient

Shirley Wallace, chronic pain patient

Anne Fuqua, BSN, pain patient / patient advocate

Roberta Glick, chronic pain patient, social worker, advocate

Heidi Schlossberg, chronic pain patient

Christine Falk, chronic pain patient (fibromyalgia, sarcoidosis, rheumatoid arthritis, failed back surgery)

Audrey Liebl, owner of “Fibrom-L”, former EMT/firefighter, chronic pain patient and advocate since 1998

Christine Smith, B.A. Social Welfare, M.A. Rehabilitation Counseling, CVE, retired. disabled. chronic pain patient 

Kathy Kempken, chronic pain patient 14 years (trigeminal neuropathic craniofacial pain syndrome).  Fifteen years professional experience in safety, health and environmental affairs for The Boeing Company

 

Kimberly Miller, Director of Advocacy, KentuckianaFibromyalgia Support Group 

 

Stacey Milligan, chronic intractable pain patient 

Mary A Rooney, LCSW, chronic pain patient.

Theresa Boehm, chronic pain advocate

Rose Bigham, disabled chronic pain patient 

Elana Trefzer, chronic pain patient

Kena Gottier, RN, CMT-US Group Administrator, Chronic Pain Patient

Calvin Kramer, chronic pain patient

Richard L Martin,BSPharm, chronic pain advocate

David Becker, chronic pain advocate

Cathy Kean, chronic pain patient, writer, advocate

 

 

Down The Rabbit hole


alice1alice3

I want to inform the pain community about my situation because this is happening to many chronic pain patients. I’ve been a voice in the pain community and now I too, am going “down the rabbit hole”! Before I become possibly incapacitated; I want you to know what is happening. For those like Kolodny, who believe that we should “get beyond the pill bottle”; I say, unless or until you are in my shoes and live with my experiences, stop preaching silly things like “pain acceptance”, will help. It cannot help all of my pain conditions combined. Stop acting like you are better, mightier or stronger because you might feel better from “grounding” (which is in essence, touching the earth with your feet, being “one with the ground/nature”, to make your pain lessen or disappear). The bottom of my feet are covered with open sores due to the stage of CRPS that I live with. This has become insane, while there are individual cases in where opioids are the preferred treatment and they do continue to reduce our pain.

*A bit of history if you want it: I won’t start at the very beginning because that would be much too long. I will tell you that I’ve been on SSDI since 1999 and initially for PTSD (*they said that I was the “worst case of childhood trauma/abuse they’d seen in 36 years) and kidney failure. Then I was hit by a car that ran through a red light. One minute my husband & I were sipping lemonade at an art fair.  The next minute, (as we travelled through a green light to have dinner afterwards) he was really bruised & shaken and I was unconscious & strapped to a back board, on route to the hospital. That experience is a story for another day. The entire auto insurance bullying and fear mongering was another traumatic debacle. These experiences have continued, one after another; which brings me to today and this article. 

After our accident in 2002 and upon being discharged from the hospital; I was sent to doctor after doctor. I was also sent to TBI rehabilitation, PT/OT and also to Tri-County pain clinic in MI. I was totally new at all of this & it was my first experience with this type of physical pain. Although, I have had 2 C-sections and I’ve lived through childhood, ex-spousal & other abuse throughout my entire life. At the pain clinic, I received various epidural nerve blocks, trigger point, cortisone and other injections. I also saw a Pain Psychologist, did Biofeedback and did many other types of therapies. The Pain Psychologist wrote in his report, by the way, that I “do not fit the profile for an addictive personality.” He attached me to an EMG type of machine where he can “see” your pain spiking via a red line going upward. Mine went off the charts. This was prior to my diagnosis’ of: systemic CRPS, EDS-4/vascular (aka Polyneuropathy in Collagen Vascular Disease), R.A., Dysatuonomia/POTs, Gastroparesis, S.I.B.O., Chiari and more. At that time though, I was diagnosed after the auto accident with: many physical injuries and a TBI. I went through 8 surgeries, 2 screws in my left shoulder, metal in my jaw, 2 AFO’s, prisms in my glasses, 2 hearing aids, a dual chamber pacemaker and a hospital bed in my home. I have a walker, loft-strand crutches, wheelchair, motorized scooter, leg braces and also knee, neck, hand and shoulder type of braces.

After going through all of the “hoops” at the pain clinic, I was found not to be a candidate for an SCS (spinal cord stimulator) nor a pain pump (intrathecal). I was diagnosed with CVID or “Combined Immune Deficiency” disease. They informed me that I would be sent back to my primary dr. because they could not give me the medication that I needed. In 2005, they were already saying that they could not prescribe pain medications (which they felt I needed) because they had to “stay under the radar of the DEA”. I went back to my PCP and for the next 10 years he prescribed pain medications.  Until one day in December of 2014, I arrived at my PCP’s office and was told that it was his last day working there. I received no other information and I was terrified because I did not know where to go or what to do. Dr. Bullach MD; promised me that he would personally make a call to my former pain clinic and Dr. Dobritt, my former pain physician. He also promised me that my treatment would remain the same under his partner. I returned the next month to see his partner and was condescended to, teased, put down, and told that “all of the other dr’s patients were “drug addicts”, “drug seekers” and unworthy people seeking pain medications. He promised to see me for a couple of months because he had known me “to be a good person” since my children were small. But over the next 6 months I had to put up with derogatory remarks.

Dr Bullach never did call Dr Dobritt, nor did he send any of my updated records. I found that out when I went to see him myself again. I had been a model patient; and the way I was treated when I went back to see him was horrible. He would not take me back as his patient! He told me that’ “he couldn’t see me because I was part of “Dr Bullach’s mess”! I had no idea what he was talking about!

I sought out a pain physician and found one near my home. He told me that if I could take myself off of the medication that had been prescribed to me since 2005, that he would “accept me as his patient”.  I was very ill for about 11 days and for up to 6 months, I was not feeling well aside from the pain issues. But I got through it and would not ever want my worst enemy to go through that experience. I did it with my loving husband by my side because I was not addicted to it. My mind did not care at all, but my body was dependent. When that ordeal was over, I saw my current pain dr; the one I still see today. Things had been going well and I have had some semblance of a life. He had told me that I was a “complicated patient” and that I did not have to worry about my medication being stopped.

For several days prior to these appointments, I became very apprehensive, nervous and had many of the PTSD symptoms recurring monthly. Then his attitude towards me changed from a mutual respect to him being the “Wizard with a magic wand” and Me being a peasant “needing his magic”. Thats the only metaphor I can come up with. It was bazaar. I had a routine urine drug screen test in April 2018 and he knew before I left his office that something was not “right” with it, but he failed to inform me prior to leaving. At my next appointment he informed me that I had had a positive urine test and so he sent it into a lab for more testing. It came back as a “false positive” because of the migraine medication that HE KNEW WAS PRESCRIBED to me for many years. I take very little, but he knew it was in my records; he knows that I take it.  In the end, we got stuck with a $265.00 bill for testing that I did not agree to pay for. We got stuck with this large bill for something that I did not do and would never have done. It was his mistake, not mine that he forgot the medications that I am taking and that it can show up as something else, as he explained later.

He has had an “edge” to his treatment of me since that date. I am literally ill prior to each monthly appointment. Nothing changes in 30 days anyways? Why in the world do we need to go so often? This is ridiculous.  Just as a person with diplopia or myopia needs glasses; just as a diabetic needs insulin and a depressed person needs anti-depressants; I am a chronic intractable pain patient and I need pain medications.  I’ve never done anything wrong as far as I always pick up my meds on time, I’m never late for my appointments and I’ve never been a “no-show”. But I showed up on July 9th, 2018; and was suddenly without explanation, cut down to 75% of my LA/ER pain medication. He was going to stop it abruptly that day, but I did not get hysterical. I reasoned with him, adult to adult. I reminded him of my prior heart attack, the CVA (stroke) and my complicated medical history with multiple co-morbidities. He agreed reluctantly to taper me a bit. He informed me that he was doing this to get me “psychologically ready” and that next month I would get zero.  I’m not “Psychologically addicted” so that made no sense at all, but I went with it for my own comfort and safety.  He went on to tell me that suddenly the patch is  now “only for cancer patients”, which he does not treat. He also told me that I was “not heavy enough” for the patch and “I was probably only really getting 30% of the medication”. I did not say a word as I was prescribed down from 100 mcg per hour, every 48 hours (due to hyper metabolizing), to 75 mcg every 72 hours. So not only 25% less medication, but now being stretched out a full 24 hours longer each patch. The first few days were difficult as I had a few withdrawal symptoms. But the rest of the month, I’ve had increased pain, exacerbation of my CRPS, and fatigue. Also, every 3rd day I was in bed, very ill. We all know that for especially those of us who hyper-metabolize (due to the types of pain illnesses that we have), the patch never works on the 3rd day!

I have a loving, supportive husband and my support “team” online which consists of a few people who have been there for me throughout this ordeal. I had websites, stories and ideas sent, all in an effort to help me reason with my pain dr. On 8-10-18, I showed up well prepared.  I had with me, the 2013 FDA’s response to Andrew Kolodny, when he wanted Fentanyl labelling changed for non-cancer pain. They told him this, in their 2013 letter (Docket No. FDA-2012-P-0818):  “It is FDA’s view that a patient without cancer, like a patient with cancer, may suffer from chronic pain, and PROP has not provided scientific support for why labeling should recommend different treatment for such patients.  In addition, FDA knows of no physiological or pharmacological basis upon which to differentiate the treatment of chronic pain in a cancer setting or patient from the treatment of chronic pain in the absence of cancer, and comments to the Petition docket reflect similar concerns.  FDA therefore declines to make a distinction between cancer and non-cancer chronic pain in opioid labeling”. My dr responded that “this was not about Fentanyl” and that I am educated and should be able to find out about this?

Next, I brought to his attention, a letter that I received a copy of, from a good friend of mine on LinkedIn. He had written to the CDC and asked about the horrific state of affairs within the chronic pain community. We covered his name and I showed this to my dr as well. This letter, which is directly from the CDC and dated 4-8-18, states these things:

  • chronic pain patients deserve safe and effective pain management
  • physicians should continue to use their clinical judgment and base their treatment on what they know about their patients. That includes the use of opioids if they are determined to be the best course of treatment. The Guideline does not support involuntary tapering.
  • Obtaining patient buy-in before tapering is critical to successful dose reduction.
  • The Guideline is not a rule, regulation , or law.
  • The Guideline is not intended to deny access to opioid pain medication as an option for. pain management.
  • The Guideline is a set of voluntary recommendations intended to guide primary care providers as they work in consultation with their patients to address chronic pain.
  • The Guidelines are not intended to take away physician discretion and decision-making.
  • Specifically, the Guideline includes a recommendation to taper or reduce dosage only when patient harm outweighs patient benefit of opioid therapy.

In the end, none of the information that I presented, made any difference to my pain dr.. He just kept repeating “the guidelines, the guidelines, the guidelines”. He told me that in all reality, I was not worth saving, because if I look at his waiting room, he has all of those other people to serve, who also live with pain. If he helps me, he risks losing his practice and then he would not be able to help all of them. He informed me that “everyone is looking at him the same way” and they are also “pleading with him” for their medications.  I told him that he’s told me that I am “different” and that I am a “very complicated case with multiple co-morbidities”.  I told him that I researched Michigan Law and that there are no changes in the care or plans for chronic pain, only acute pain. None of this mattered because he just looked at me, after I showed him the letter from my G.I. dr.. A letter written by him on my behalf, states that “Suzanne has been stable while she received the fentanyl patch”. It goes on to say that I have “RSD and severe Gastroparesis and this could “exacerbate the illness of a patient who was difficult to stabilize” due to Q-T prolongation, her allergies and intolerance for oral medications”. He said that “he strongly recommends that my pain management not be altered unless there is a strong medical reason.”

My pain dr looked at me and said “This is bullshit! His license is not any better than mine! If he wants you to have the fentanyl patch then let him prescribe it for you. You’re also welcome to find another dr and get a 2nd opinion. I won’t be upset if you do that, although Im not kicking you out or anything.” He repeated that “the CDC guidelines are specific for fentanyl” and there was no way in hell I was ever getting that from him ever again, an neither is anyone else; no matter what! He pretty much told me if there was an exception, I would be it, but there are no exceptions. He repeated to me that I am educated, and have access to the internet. If I do my research, I will know that what he’s saying is true. I have done a ton of research and I know that what he’s saying is not true. He is violating his Hippocratic oath “to do no harm”. Many other physicians are also doing this instead of defending the fragile people who need them during this opioid hysteria

About suboxone, buprenorphine and naloxone


The current Opioid Hysteria was started several years ago with a rippling effect and has become worse over time. A company that has much to gain from this hysteria around opioids is called Reckitt Benckiser. According to this article in “The Daily Beast” from 10-05-16 : https://www.thedailybeast.com/suboxone-creators-shocking-scheme-to-profit-off-of-heroin-addicts , the company was about to lose their patent and came up with a “fake opioid hysteria”.  According to this article, “Reckitt Benckiser sought to exploit the nationwide hysteria over the increasing use of opioids to line its own pockets by blocking competition….”.

The drug Suboxone has a Generic name of buprenorphine and naloxone (oral/sublingual). If you visit https://www.drugs.com/suboxone.html you will notice that Bupenorphine is  also considered an “opioid medication, sometimes called a narcotic”.  Naloxone “blocks the effects of opioid medications”. Naloxone also blocks any pain relief or feelings of well-being, according to this article. The drug, “Suboxone is used to treat narcotic (opiate) addiction”. Suboxone is not to be used for any kind of pain relief or as a pain relieving medication. What I don’t understand are the warnings on Suboxone and these medications associated with it in generic form. The same warning is used on the label as is used for many opioids. The warnings state that if you used Suboxone, Bupenorphrine  and/or Naloxone it may be “habit-forming” and can cause addiction, overdose or even death. The company Reckitt Benckiser is trying to get rid of all other opioids so that they can profit off of having a monopoly on their own medications. They claim that all chronic pain patients are suffering from “opioid use disorder” or addiction, in other items that I have read.  Other warnings on the labels of these 3 drugs, state that  some other medications, if taken simultaneously with Suboxone, Bupenorphrine and/or Naloxone, can cause a serious medical crisis called “Serotonin syndrome”. They state that you should be warned and inform your Dr. If you take any herbal supplements, depression medications (*or if. You have any mental illness), Parkinson’s disease, migraines, serious infections or any medication that helps stop nausea/vomiting. The label states that these medications can cause “life threatening withdrawal symptoms”. Some of the side effects are: weak/shallow breathing, confusion, weakness, blurred vision, slurred speech, liver problems, low cortisol levels (nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite etc).  One of the most interesting side effects listed are “opioid withdrawal symptoms” (shivering, increased sweating, runny nose, watery eyes, muscle pain and diarrhea). Tell me again, why this medicine is “better” for chronic pain patients to take than long acting or really any opioids? How are these side effects and warnings any better? Also, as long as a chronic pain patient has been doing well on long term opioid therapy, why switch to something that could be potentially harmful or cause them death? Also, women or men who are still thinking about having or starting a family, do you know that Suboxone can cause infertility (*this article states that long term opioid use can also cause infertility?).  Many other medications will affect Suboxone, such as Benzodiazephines, other narcotic medications & cough medicine. It states that Suboxone is used to treat drug/opioid addiction. It does not say that it is for chronic pain in any way, shape or form.

Don’t let anyone tell you that buprenorphine is “different from suboxone” because from my research it is just a generic form of that drug. It is an opioid but has not yet been approved for use with chronic pain. Dr’s are required to take an 8 hour class in order to prescribe these drugs to patients. They are supposed to be prescribed for addiction and/or substance use disorder. The latter is what our friend, Andrew Kolodny has labeled all chronic pain patients who use opioid therapy, as having. When I looked up the classes online, that physicians, nurse practitioners etc. are required to take in order to prescribe the drug “buprenorphine”; it states this is a  medication for addiction and opioid use disorder. Physicians must apply for a waiver to prescribe bupreorpnine to their patients with opioid use disorders.

I noticed an article last week that was discussing suboxone, that it is only approved for addiction. The active ingredient in this drug is Called buprenorphine, which is known as an “opioid partial agonist”. This just means that it interacts with the same receptors in the brain, as heroin and oxycodone. The difference they explain, is that people don’t get a “high” or “cravings” for buprenorphine. But then why can’t chronic pain patients who have been doing well on opioid therapy for several or many years be left to the opioid medications that they may have been doing well on for many years? Patients who have been on a steady dose of opioids for possibly multiple chronic pain conditions, do not get cravings or high either? Why introduce these chronically ill people to something new, something else that will cause them new and or worse bad reactions/side effects?  I found in this article (www.crchealth.com/addiction/heroin-addiction-treatment/heroin-detox/buprenorphine-suboxone-vs/) that suboxone  contains buprenorphrine and naloxone. The naloxone keeps people from abusing the drug. It is an opiate antagonist. But why would anyone give these meds to chronic pain patients who do not use the opioids for any other reason than to have some semblance of a life with lesser pain levels? It states right in this last article above, that “If you take suboxone as directed…..the buprenorphrine will travel to the brain and you will feel relief from withdrawal symptoms. Chronic pain patients should not have to go through withdrawal symptoms. This is what I’m trying to get through to persons who are “pushing” these drugs on the chronic pain population now.

In this article called “The truth about suboxone” (www.thefix.com/content/stigma-maintenance-treatment9216), Maia Szalavitz discusses maintenance therapy for addiction with suboxone, Methadone or Naltrexone. She explains something that I’ve known to be true about opioids as well. If they are taken in irregular time and dosage then you will get a high. But if you take them in a regular reliable schedule and dosage, then “getting high is visually impossible”. Next, I read an article about different people who had been given the “bupenorphrine isn’t suboxone” speech. They were told that it would help them with withdrawals etc. But guess what? The person who told his story first, in this article, stated that withdrawals from the buprenorphrine were much worse than anything he had expected, encountered or had been told. I read his story here: (https://www.medhelp.org/posts/Addiction-Substance-Abuse/Suboxone-Good–Bad–and-Ugly-Truth—168-days-off-SUB/show/1502381) . I have been researching these drugs.  In my humble opinion as a non-medical personnel, who has been through hell and back; trying different pain treatments and medications over the past 15 years; that I would not ever take suboxone, or buprenorphrine even if my life depended on it! I finally found something that worked to lessen the chronic pain due to several chronic pain illnesses; I agreed to take it after being pressured “to trust them”(doctors). But now only to have it taken away 15 years later because of some crazy opioid hysteria going on so that “he who shall not be named” can become more rich and have a monopoly on suboxone, bupenorphrine etc. by “getting rid of all opioids”.

We live in America and we should be free to have choices as to what medications we want to take, knowing the risks and benefits. Just as we have freedom of speech, freedom to bear arms and now even freedom to have gender neutral restrooms! We deserve the right to have freedom to choose with our own personal physicians who are trained in pain management etc; the right to take the best medications for our own personal situations. The government needs to step away and stop trying to politicize this opioid hysteria. Stop trying to demonize the organizations that support our freedoms of treatment options! This has turned into a deadly nightmare for many of us and now myself included.

***P.S.

I also want to inform you that each time I tried to look up or research “buprenorphrine” it came up as “suboxone”. Buprenorphrine is a generic form of suboxone. In addition, naloxone is the ingredient that immediately makes you go through withdrawals if you do take another opioid/narcotic while taking suboxone. Hmmm….suppose you were in a car accident, maybe like the one that started all of your chronic pain in the first place? Suppose the EMT’s or an ER Doctor gave you an opioid to help with burn trauma or gunshot trauma wounds or horrible car accident trauma? You would be really “in trouble” would you not? Anyways, just another informative message from me to you. I hope this helps someone. Sending Love and low pain your way.

*************************************

This is where I got some of this information:

1. https://www..com/suboxone-creators-shocking-scheme-to-profit-off-of-heroin-addicts

2. https://www.drugs.com/suboxone.html

Articles that Explain The Bad effects of suboxone, bupenorphrine etc.

1.  Why Suboxone Treatment Can Be Harmful

2. The Suboxone Conspiracy

3. the ugly truth about suboxone withdrawals

*****Several of the articles used in this blog post were provided to me by my colleague & friend, Jonelle Elgaway *** please visit her website at: CAW Nation