CHRONIC PAIN SUFFERERS UNITE!
The CDC states that there are "44 people dying each day in the US from an overdose of opioids". Does this figure include terminal patients, hospice patients, or those with incurable illnesses who choose assisted suicide because they cannot stand the pain any longer? What percentage of the overdoses involve street drugs such as heroin, which is never prescribed and over which physicians have no control vs physician prescribed opioids? I have read the new CDC guidelines which discourages opioid use for patients with chronic non-cancer pain, regardless of how low-risk the patient may be for overdose, or how long the patient has been stable on their opioid regimen. The statement "opioids are ineffective for chronic pain". Opioid pain medications are the "gold" standard for treating most severe pain and erecting excessive barriers between innocent pain patients and the opioid medication they may need is not humane or ethical.
Chronic pain takes away our quality of life. It totally and absolutely interferes with every aspect of being a human being; activities, thoughts, relationships, family and a persons spirit. Unless you've lived with chronic excruciating pain everyday you should not be trying to take our pain medications away or make policy for those of us who do suffer from chronic pain.
By the time people are prescribed opioid pain medications to treat their chronic pain, they have tried everything else in the book (i.e. epidural injections, NSAIDs, chiropractic's, massage therapy, homeopathic treatments, etc.) and the only thing that relieves or reduces their pain to a tolerable level is opioid pain medications. Chronic pain patients do not take their pain medications to "get high" but to reduce or relieve their pain so they can have some quality of life.
The DEA, CDC, state and federal government want to take our pain medications away from chronic pain patients which is now impacting cancer patients and hospice patients deserving end-of-life care. Would it be right to restrict or take away insulin from a diabetic, heart medications away from people with heart problems or cancer chemotherapy or radiation treatments away from people with cancer? No, this would cause an outrage with the public but most of the people who do not suffer from chronic pain do not understand what chronic pain patients go through on a daily basis.
Depending on which side of the coin you are on will depend on your opinion of chronic pain sufferers and the use of opioid pain medication. It is very sad and tragic when you hear stories of young people who accidently overdose and kill themselves by taking opioid pain medications. It saddens us every time we hear these stories and breaks our hearts especially if these are young children or young adults with their full life ahead of them. All chronic pain sufferers agree that this is a problem.
However, there is another side to the chronic pain story that has not been told. There are millions of people who suffer from chronic pain daily and their medical records prove they have legitimate medical problems causing their chronic pain that they need treatment with opioid pain medications. These patients in pain deserve compassionate care just like any other patient physicians treat and should never be stigmatized as "drug seekers" or "addicts". Making certain prescription drugs less accessible does not stop prescription drug misuse, abuse, diversion, overdose and death. In fact, making these drugs less accessible causes people with legitimate medical problems to turn to illegal drugs such as heroin or heroin laced with fentanyl. Chronic pain patients should be treated by chronic pain physicians so they can be properly monitored with drug tests, pill counts and signing a pain contract.
The DEA, CDC, state and federal government has stated there is an epidemic due to overdoses from opioid medications. According to the CDC website in 2014, there was a total of 2,626,418 deaths for all causes in the US. Of which there were almost 19,000 deaths involving prescription opioids which accounts for .723% of the deaths associated with prescription opioids. How can .723% be considered an epidemic?This is an increase from approximately 16,000 deaths in 2013. A significant portion of the increase in deaths was due to deaths involving synthetic opioids (other than methadone) which includes fentanyl. According to the CDC, pharmaceutical fentanyl is a synthetic opioid pain reliever that is 50 to 100 time more potent than morphine. Heroin and fentanyl is where the majority of the overdoses occur, not from chronic pain patients who take their pain medications as prescribed.