Excellent Article re Pain & Doctors' Problems Prescribing Meds

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by JLH, Sep 23, 2005.

  1. JLH

    JLH New Member

    Prisoners of Pain
    by Barry Yeoman

    Why are millions of suffering Americans being denied the prescription drug relief they need?

    Deborah Hamalainen was feeling more and more agitated by the minute. Waiting to see her neurologist, she was silently rehearsing a confrontation that had been building for months. She planned to look the doctor directly in the eyes and demand that he treat the chronic pain that had invaded her life.

    In the two decades since doctors diagnosed her with multiple sclerosis, Hamalainen learned to tolerate numb extremities, tingling sensations, even the weakness that causes her left foot to drag. And it wasn't like her to be confrontational. "I'm much happier in denial," admits the soft-spoken 52-year-old sculptor.

    Some physicians fear that if they deliver humane pain care, they’ll face prosecution by the DEA.

    The symptoms she couldn't ignore, though, were the intense shooting pains that raced across her shoulder blades and down her limbs. By the time she arrived for this doctor's appointment, they were a 24-hour presence. Hamalainen barely slept anymore. Rolling over was an ordeal. When the Medford, New Jersey, resident awoke, stiff and exhausted, she braced her shoulders so they wouldn't move as she rose. Sometimes, her husband had to pull her upright from the bed.

    Every three months for three years, Hamalainen saw this neurologist. Each time, she mentioned the pain. Each time, the doctor deftly changed the subject. Each time, she left in pain.

    But this time would be different.

    Hamalainen waited quietly as nurses wandered in and out of the examination room, taking her vital signs. Finally, she lost it. "My pain is real," she said frantically to one of the nurses. "I need relief. Why does he keep refusing to talk to me about it? What do I have to do?"

    The nurse turned to her conspiratorially and lowered her voice. "I should not tell you this," she said. "But he doesn't want to treat your pain because the treatment that works is opioids, and he's afraid to prescribe them."

    With that conversation, Hamalainen joined legions of patients who are the victims of a troubling and all-too-common medical practice: the undertreatment of significant and debilitating pain. An estimated 75 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, according to the American Medical Association, and numerous studies have shown that patients often don't receive the medication that could provide relief. Undertreatment runs as high as 50 percent among advanced-stage cancer patients and 85 percent among older Americans living in long-term care facilities.

    Much of this suffering is preventable. Experts do know how to reduce pain safely. In particular, physicians now know that opioid analgesics—medicines such as morphine and oxycodone—provide relief for a wide spectrum of pain problems, with relatively few side effects when taken as prescribed. "We can't cure everybody who is in pain, but we can make almost everyone feel better," says Scott Fishman, chief of the division of pain medicine at the University of California, Davis, and president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine. "Becoming a prisoner of pain is not an inevitability."

    Additional Resources
    For more on pain-management issues, visit the website of the Pain Relief Network.

    The problem is that the most effective medications cause skittishness among many physicians. Poor medical-school training has left them unaware of the tools at their disposal and even the importance of treating pain. Many harbor the false impression that opioids frequently lead to addiction or unmanageable side effects, even when used correctly for a legitimate medical need.

    'Becoming a prisoner of pain is not an inevitability.'

    Worse, some physicians fear that if they deliver humane pain care, they'll face prosecution by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) or state medical boards. In recent years, a number of respected doctors have been investigated and even prosecuted after prescribing large amounts of opioids. The result, according to experts, is an environment that scares doctors away from practicing good medicine.

    "I've had prominent physicians call me up and say, 'I have patients doing well, taking opioids for otherwise treatable pain, but I'm going to stop writing prescriptions because I don't want the DEA coming into my office and putting handcuffs on me,' " says James Campbell, a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University. "Five years ago, we were actually doing a better job at handling pain patients. Now we've seen a backslide, and patients are definitely the victims. They're suffering."


    On his first day as a licensed physician, Russell Portenoy had a troubling experience that would influence the course of his career. At the New York City hospital where he was interning, a nurse summoned him to a room where a cancer patient was moaning with abdominal pain. Portenoy knew the woman would benefit from opioids, but he was new at doctoring, so he first phoned the resident in charge to clear his decision.

    "I have a patient here. She's 60 years old, she's got metastatic ovarian cancer, and she's in bad pain," Portenoy told his supervisor.

    "What do you want to do?" the resident asked.

    "Well, I thought we should give her some pain medicine."

    "What do you want to give her?"


    There was silence on the other end of the line. It was 1980: even physicians who endorsed opioids for terminally ill patients believed that morphine was too potent and too dangerous. Finally, the resident said, "Look, you're the doctor. You want to give her morphine, give her morphine." After further consultation, Portenoy wrote an order for a 3 mg injection, less than one third of what he would likely give her today. He never checked back to see if the medication worked.

    The patient was still on Portenoy's mind the following year when he decided to specialize in pain medicine. "I'd given somebody with severe cancer pain a dose that didn't have a prayer of providing any benefit," he says. "My hope is that there was such a profound placebo effect that she didn't scream the rest of the night."

    Portenoy joined a coterie of pioneers who encouraged their colleagues to become bolder in treating patients' suffering. They argued that pain is more than a symptom; it's a disease by itself that can trigger a cascade of other health problems—from a weakened immune system to obesity—if left untended.

    At Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where he launched his career as a researcher and pain physician, Portenoy initially concentrated on cancer pain. Eventually he discovered that opioid medicines—routinely prescribed in advanced-cancer cases—also worked for patients without terminal illnesses. They relieved the symptoms without fogging patients' brains or turning them into addicts. The only major ongoing side effect, constipation, was manageable with other drugs. But when Portenoy shared the news in a 1986 journal article, he received excoriating criticism from his colleagues.

    Slowly, time has proven Portenoy correct. In 1996 two leading professional groups declared opioids "an essential part of a pain-management plan." Five years later, the DEA and 21 health organizations agreed that opioids are often "the most effective way to treat pain and often the only treatment option that provides significant relief."

    Across the United States, hospitals are starting to take the issue seriously, creating programs specializing in pain management. Portenoy's own department, at New York City's Beth Israel Medical Center, has 14 physicians, a team of researchers, and training programs for doctors and others. Using opioids and other therapies, these programs have restored normalcy to many lives.

    "It's a miracle," says 55-year-old Michele Ferreri, a Staten Island, New York, woman who suffers from a painful nerve condition that appeared in the aftermath of shingles. Once unable to get out of bed because of her burning headaches, she started taking extended-release morphine and other medications after seeing Portenoy at Beth Israel. Now she lives an active life, taking her mother shopping, doing laundry, and attending social functions with her husband, a hospital CEO. "I can smile now," she says. "I can smile and greet people."


    Until recently, there was no legal incentive for doctors to take pain seriously. That's starting to change. In 2001 a California jury awarded $1.5 million to the family of a lung-cancer patient who lay undermedicated and dying in a hospital near San Francisco. (The award was later reduced in keeping with state law.) Two years later, the California Medical Board reprimanded a physician in a similar case involving a nursing home. These decisions "sound a resounding wake-up call to all health care providers that failure to treat pain attentively will result in accountability," says Kathryn Tucker, attorney for Compassion & Choices, which litigated the cases.

    But the wake-up call hasn't stirred everyone. Millions of Americans still don't receive the therapy they need. "The odds of your getting good pain management are, at best, 50-50," says UC Davis bioethicist Ben Rich.

    Studies bear Rich out. One survey of Oregon families, published in 2004, showed that almost half of terminally ill patients were in significant pain or distress during the last week of their lives. In a study of nursing homes in 11 states, Brown University researchers found that two thirds of the residents initially found to be in daily pain were still suffering two to six months later.

    But even when treatment is available, patients often reject it because of widely held misconceptions. Popular media play up addiction—be it on the TV series ER, where Noah Wyle portrayed a young physician addicted to prescription painkillers, or in tabloid newspapers, which devoted voluminous ink to Rush Limbaugh's struggle with pain pills in late 2003. Indeed, Limbaugh's alleged drug of choice, OxyContin (a form of oxycodone), has become popular among rural drug abusers, who chew the pills to destroy their time-release mechanism and get a heroinlike rush.

    In reality, for those using opioids as prescribed, the likelihood of addiction is extremely low, according to research. "It's really an unwarranted fear," says Christine Miaskowski, former president of the American Pain Society. Many patients do become physiologically dependent—meaning they'd go through withdrawal syndrome if they quit cold turkey—but this is a normal condition that can be managed by tapering down the dosage. It's not the same as addiction, which requires psychological dependence. Experts say patients with a history of drug abuse can safely use opioids too, as long as they are carefully monitored by their physicians to avoid a recurrence of their abusive behaviors.

    These reassurances don't convince everyone. "There is a just-say-no-to-drugs attitude in the United States," says Diane Meier, a geriatric and palliative-care specialist at New York City's Mount Sinai Medical Center. "Even my own family will say, 'I don't want to be doped up on those drugs.' "

    Patients aren't alone in their misinformation. Physicians, trained to suspect there's an abuser lurking behind every painkiller request—and, to be fair, there sometimes is—still confuse addiction with physical dependence. The facts don't dissuade them: although Ferreri has become functional on morphine, her family doctor still "talks to my husband all the time about the amount of medication I'm on, how dangerous it is. He really makes me feel that I'm a drug addict."

    Worse, some physicians simply don't understand the importance of treating pain at all. Miaskowski, a professor in the physiological nursing department at the University of California, San Francisco, recently completed a study of cancer patients. "We had one patient whose primary care physician told her, 'Don't take your pain medicine. Let the pain kill the cancer.' " Was this advice offered years before recent advances in pain management? No, she says. "This was 2001."


    There's another, more ominous reason some doctors don't treat pain aggressively: they don't want to end up like Arizona physician Jeri Hassman.

    Hassman, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist licensed in 1986, opened a solo practice in 1999 to focus on nonsurgical treatments for injured patients. Working with physical therapists and chiropractors, she developed a comprehensive program that includes massage, electrical stimulation, muscle injections, and even posture lessons. She also prescribed painkillers. "Medications are important," she says. "If you decrease pain, you get better compliance with exercise and other rehabilitation." Until 2002, she says, "I wasn't afraid of prescribing strong pain medicines alongside the available therapies."

    Then, in May of that year, federal agents stormed her Tucson office in full view of her patients. They spent eight hours questioning her staff, seizing patient files and appointment logs, and copying the hard drives off her computers. According to a government brief, the DEA had been contacted by pharmacists "concerned about the large amounts of narcotic drugs that were being prescribed for Dr. Hassman's patients, plus the frequency with which they were returning for refills." The druggists were also concerned that some medicines had fallen into the hands of nonpatients, the brief said. Hassman was arrested and charged with 320 counts of illegally distributing narcotics and 41 counts of health care fraud.

    Just before the case was scheduled for trial, federal prosecutors offered Hassman a plea agreement, allowing her to plead guilty to four counts of failing to report prescription abuse. Unwilling to risk a jury trial, Hassman accepted the offer. She was sentenced to two years' probation and agreed to surrender her DEA license to prescribe controlled substances.

    Hassman was relatively lucky. This April, Virginia pain specialist William Hurwitz was sentenced to 25 years in prison for drug trafficking after prescribing large doses of painkillers such as OxyContin, morphine, and methadone to his patients. One of his patients died after taking a very high dose of morphine. DEA officials likened Hurwitz to a heroin dealer. Others, though, testified that Hurwitz provided them with the only effective relief they had ever received for debilitating pain.

    Though the DEA wouldn't comment for this article, it has previously insisted that it only goes after bad apples. "Our focus is not on pain doctors. Our focus is on people who divert drugs," agency official Patricia Good said during a 2004 teleconference. But physician groups and patient advocates point to a growing list of respected pain doctors who have been prosecuted by the DEA and by state medical boards. They say that while the DEA has a legitimate interest in preventing the diversion of harmful drugs, the agency's adversarial zeal has grown in the past four or five years.

    For its part, the DEA notes that it arrests fewer than 100 doctors a year on drug-diversion charges—hardly a full-scale attack on the profession. The numbers hardly matter, though, because the arrests, and the publicity surrounding them, have created a chilling effect. "Every time a physician picks up a newspaper or hears an account of some physician who has been accused of inappropriately prescribing controlled substances, it reinforces the proposition bad things can happen to you when you attempt to manage patients' pain aggressively but appropriately," says bioethicist Ben Rich. "Doctors don't say, 'I'll be more judicious and that won't happen to me.' Their reaction is, 'I don't need this.' "


    It took Deborah Hamalainen another year, plus the encouragement of a friend, to find effective treatment for her pain. Early one morning, the two women took an 80-mile bus trip to New York City, then took a taxi downtown to Beth Israel Medical Center. There, Hamalainen met with pain specialist Russell Portenoy, who found her story credible. Portenoy explained to Hamalainen that he couldn't cure her multiple sclerosis, but he could control her symptoms. "The goal is to focus on the pain itself, to get you comfortable, and to help you function," he told her.

    After monitoring several medications for side effects, Portenoy and Hamalainen settled on fentanyl, a synthetic opioid delivered through an adhesive patch worn on her lower back. She uses oxycodone as a "rescue" drug when the fentanyl isn't effective.

    As Portenoy predicted, the medicine hasn't eliminated the source of Hamalainen's pain. In fact, the multiple sclerosis has progressed. She's been losing feeling in her hands and feet, dropping objects, and tripping. She relies on a pair of canes to get around. Still, with the pain under control, Hamalainen has been able to return to her art. She recently had a mixed-media exhibition at the gallery where she used to work. In one sculpture, she took old canes—including the ones her father used after he lost a leg to diabetes—and smashed them with an ax, then enclosed them in a clear plastic exhibition box.

    When the pain was at its worst, Hamalainen contemplated suicide. Now, with opioids to relieve the symptoms, Hamalainen can envision a productive artistic future. "Being able to be creative again has been thrilling," she says. "It's like having a new life."

    Barry Yeoman last wrote for AARP The Magazine about eminent domain ("Whose House Is It Anyway?" (May & June 2005).

  2. tonakay

    tonakay New Member

    I am so thankful for my pain/rehab doctor. My regular doctor wouldn't put me on anything stronger than darvocet. My pain medicine was originally prescribed for facet syndrome and I've been on it now for three years.

    It's a shame that we have all these medicines out there to control pain but the doctors have to be afraid to prescribe them. There is truly something wrong with this picture!
  3. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

  4. Bambi

    Bambi New Member

    many success stories though. Doctors are not mind readers, and the best of them will be confronted with patients who know how to work the system, know what to day, how to act and react in order to get strong medications they don't "need". I find them to some degree pathetic I suppose, but more I find them disgusting. Because of them people who are out here suffering with unrelenting severe pain go through Hades to find a doctor who is still willing to do what he took an oath to do.

    I had a dear sweet little neighbor here a few years ago. She married my
    next door neighbor, a confirmed bachelor of 35, who still clung to his mother and his beer, worked every day in spite of his alcoholism and I guess because of his age could get by
    with it.

    He was buying the house his
    grandmother had willed to his mother, but his mother sold him the house only on the terms that should he decide to sell she had first bid and could buy it back at the same price he paid for it. Not fair, but that was the kind of hold she had on him.

    He was a kind, good hearted guy and I hardly blamed him for his drinking as I think it was to keep from screaming
    out his frustration at being kept under the collective family thumb and tied to his mother's apron strings.

    So, he started dating this young woman in her late 20's and didn't protect himself well enough. Being a
    strict member of his church and with his mother being unable to protest under the circumstance, he married the "girl". She was pretty, Irish running in her veins gave her lush and beautiful black/brown hair and melting blue eyes. She had a little girl from a former marriage that had been short lived, a mirror image of her young mother.

    The first day I saw her she was mowing the front yard next door and I
    told my husband, after we'd greeted her and gone inside the house, "she's
    pregnant!". My husband, like most men, didn't see past her pretty face and said I was being catty or something to that effect. I knew better.

    Within a few weeks she and I were fast friends and she was beginning to
    "show". Her husband's mother had been on her "case" the whole time, accusing her of "taking my son's virginity" and a variety of other stupid remarks aimed at frustrating and angering her to the point she would want to leave..but she hung in there.

    While her pregnancy grew as well as her belly, she and her sister set in
    and redid the whole house. She alone
    painted the whole of the outside of the house and much of the inside. Then her sister started coming around
    and helped her paint and prim (not prime) the adorable nursery for the
    coming baby. She got rid of the drapes and old out of style furniture
    his grandmother had left in the house
    and replaced it with pretty, not terribly expensive but well made furniture and dishes and things to make the home "theirs" and not
    "grandmother's house" any longer.

    Her husband continued to drink his beer and smile from the sidelines as she made him the first real "home" he'd had. She made heart shaped cakes with "I Love You" written on top, left him little love notes in his lunch box, did everything she could think of to please someone who was already in love with someone else, Budwiser. My heart ached for this girl/woman whose first marriage had ended when her "love of her life" had cheated on her and left with the apple of HIS eye.

    It was during this time that she got
    a gynecologist who was in my estimation an "idiot". She suffered from migraine headaches often, and would have to go into a darkened room
    and rest while the auras and head splitting pain drove her deeper into her pillow. Nothing eased it until it would run it's course and finally leave.

    This "doctor" prescribed her Tylenol 3 one day for her migraines and for the first time she had relief sooner
    and more completely. It was a god send to her, but at the same time I was worried about her taking the medication while so very pregnant.

    When she'd have these migraines she'd call me and I'd come running from next door, prepare her bed, put her in it, give her her medication and close the light and the door. Then I'd watch her daughter until the pain
    had passed. It became a more and more
    frequent thing once the Tylenol 3 was
    prescribed, and the "doctor" definintely prescribed it in large amounts and freely whenever she called and asked for a refill.

    Once she was out and asked ME to call and request a refill for her. I didn't WANT to call and yet she WAS suffering and she WAS my friend, so I
    went against my better opinion and did. Had I not, she would have anyway, so I wasn't really doing anything much to enable her on one hand..on the other my calling as well as being always available to run and
    watch her daughter while she laid in
    bed, WAS totally being an enabler I now realize.

    Anyway, I called and he said he would call in the prescription right away. I DID work up the nerve to ask him and none too politely "What do you feel about prescribing all this medication for her in her condition?" He said "WHAT condition?" I replied "She is EIGHT MONTHS PREGNANT! How good can that be for the baby OR her?". At that point he got angry and said HE was her doctor and said that "a mother in pain was much worse for the baby than a mother NOT IN pain!" and hung up on me.

    Well, the baby boy was eventually born, had all his toes and fingers, progressed normally and appeared to be going to be every bit as intelligent and utterly adorable as his older sister. So..of course she was even more convinced that the medication was not a hinderance to her pregnancy or her baby.

    When a few months later she again popped up pregnant things were worse
    medication wise. She was still taking it and in every increasing amounts. She at that point switched to her brother in law who was a D.O. and who
    was against prescribing so much Tylenol 3, but it WAS his brother's wife and she'd been on these doses for so long already, he just continued to prescribe to her. All through this second pregnancy she threw back the pills and headed for bed on a daily basis. I should have pulled out on her, but by now I could clearly see she was not only addicted
    but was also an undiagnosed bipolar.

    The drug was not only potentially going to hurt her baby but was causing her to have psychotic episodes where she was sure an intruder was in the attic or someone
    had been peeking in the window when
    her husband worked the night shifts.
    Many times I sat with her as she called the police and they came and
    crawled around in her attic or searched the neighborhood for the "prowler".

    Well, she gave birth to another boy,
    also healthy, alert and now we know
    quite intelligent as well as as beautiful as all her children. The difference is she is no longer married to our previous next door neighbor. He is sober and is doing an
    excellent job of raising his two sons
    while her mother is raising her granddaughter.

    Some time after we moved I guess things got worse and worse. My friend was arrested for stealing a pad from
    her brother in law's office and for
    writing out her own script and trying
    to have it filled. She was given a sentence of going into a treatment program here that believes in putting people like her into cold turkey removal of the drugs, a certain amount of mental therapy, rest and then releasing them. Her time there was immediately followed by a divorce
    as her husband's mother convinced her husband that she wasn't worth trying to help and support in her effort to
    clean up her life and try to find out
    what had driven her to feel she needed to sedate herself in the first

    I thought part of it was a marriage that was for the most part one sided,
    one that she had put her all into only to be shoved aside on his trips to the refrigerator for another beer
    as well as devoid of intimacy in the
    truest sense of the word due to his
    growing impotency from the alcohol. Oh she had managed to seduce the two
    children out of him, but that was more or less just sheer effort on her

    So one day I was talking to my sister
    in law who lived on the other side of
    the couple, we had been on one side
    and my sister in law on the other. The story she told me was a truly sad
    and for me nearly impossible to stand.

    It seems my friend had gotten a job as a waitress at one of the more upscale restaurants in the well to do
    area of town where she was spotted by
    a conventioneer who owned an "upscale, above board and on the level" escort service. He played on her desperate need to be told she was
    pretty, well speaking and "classy" enough for his high end clientele. He offered her a job paying a huge salary wherein she would escort these
    men to Las Vegas as their "good luck
    lady" for the evening. She was flown
    over in their personal jets and was
    back home in her own bed before morning of the next day.

    This gave her the money and opportunity (offered by her "dates")
    to obtain stronger and more heavy duty drugs. Eventually it was heroin.
    It was smoked, and she had long black
    cigarette holders with diamonds encrusted tips that made it all seem so much less what it was, to her I guess.

    Of course eventually she couldn't handle the situation and dove from her "escort" job to turning tricks on
    the streets of the City I now live in
    for just enough to keep herself supplied. Heroin is one of the most
    available and cheapest drugs now, and
    one that many parents don't realize is a favorite amoung young people because OF it's availability and cost.

    The rest is history. She was found dead of an over dose. Just short of her 31st birthday, laying out on the
    street like so much garbage, cars whizzing past and only some old wino
    who finally took notice and called the police ended her sad trip of many

    She left three innocent children, the oldest was only 6 by then, but I have
    to wonder what she saw and knew in her short little life will be able to
    be erased so that she will not wake up with the same sort of feelings her
    mother had. I still know in my heat that had my friend had the right kind of therapist, support from her family
    and husband and received the diagnosis of her bipolar disorder and
    medication to control it..this never would have happened. I could think that if I hadn't been so enabling of her for the time I was involved that I might have "talked some sense into
    her" but I know I couldn't have. She needed professional help, the first doctor AND the second should have been relieved of their licenses, the
    "hospital" that treated her addiction
    but didn't, should have caught her real problem. We all could have maybe
    done some little thing, but we didn't.

    I know it's people like her that makes it so hard for those of us with severe chronic pain to get the medications that they KNOW will arrest our severe pain. And I get very very angry at people like that and I give them very little leeway. I know what MY life was or rather wasn't before I got proper pain control, and I know what so many are
    going through who are still unable to
    get it. I know what doctors are facing every time they write a prescription for one of us, the risks
    they are taking and the dedication to
    their patients welfare that drives them to take that risk.

    I'll never be very sorry for the addicts who cheat, lie or steal to get the medications they do NOT need to treat their addiction..I will find
    them disgusting, uncaring, selfish and deserving of going to jail for what they are doing to the rest of us. But when I try to get mad at my little friend, I see her up on the ladder painting the house, or pushing
    back her curly hair and smiling in pride when she would show me the cakes she made her husband or the new
    curtains and bedspread she just bought for her first bedroom in her first "home". I KNOW how hard she tried to make that home, I KNOW how
    hard she tried to be a good wife, I KNOW how loving, kind and caring she
    was to her husband, to me and to her
    children. So with HER I can't get angry, it's too hard between the tears I cry every time I think of her. Bambi
  5. JLH

    JLH New Member

    What a powerful story, Bambi.

    Thanks for sharing it with us. You put a lot of effort into typing all that for us, and I appreciate it. It definitely gives a person a lot to think about.

    My condolences on your loss of a friend.

  6. ilovecats94

    ilovecats94 New Member

    Thanks for the info, Janet. Dr. Hurwitz was always in our news and I sort of felt sorry for him. A lot of his patients did have chronic pain.

    It was just this May that I got Lortabs, 120 a month, 5 refills. I am refilling them every month and going to save them. I really don't know if I'll ever get anymore of them. I won't even ask the doc until I'm out of them, which will be a year or more.

    Janet, I also have the pain of diabetic neuropathy in my feet. The med I usually take 1 a day and it helps my back and my feet.

    Bambi, I'm sorry about your friend and what happened to her. I thought the story you wrote was really life changing. I hope more people will read these posts.

  7. rosemarie

    rosemarie Member

    I didn't think much of pain pills when I was young and had head ahces and my doctor would call in some Tyelonyel#3 and I would take it and all would be fine but as time went on it did takemore to ease the pain I was in .

    And one day I came home from work and I was met at the door my one of my girls who told me that family member {I don't like saying who this is so I will just tell you without saying who she is}. This family member came over and asked the girls where I was and could she use the restroom. I came home later in the day and noticed that my supply of T3's less than before I left. I asked the girls what happened and I was told that some one had come over and asked to go to the bathroom. But they never saw anyone take any pain pills.

    AS time has gone on this family member has come to me and asked me to let her have a pain p ill and she would repay me in a few days after she saw her doctor , most of the time I stuck to my guns and told her get your own and don't ask me but some time after listening to her bawal and whine for hours I would relent and give her a pill and she would just chew it right up and then ask for some water to wash it down, I told her that I was not the doctor and she needed to get her own paim mendds and not ask my for them. STill there would be days after I had been to the pain doctor and had filled my Rx's and I would leave and come home to find that I was missing 10 -12 pills out of thirty , since i had been at work I would call the pharmacy and ask them to poease check to see if there had been a mistake with my meds , not telling them that I was short , I would just saay that I was checking to see that I had the right amount of pain pills.

    This went on for years till I started to lock up my pain pills and then keep the keep with me and hide the makeup bag that had all the meds in it. And I noticed that my pills werew always there and not missing any more. But then my daughters had her wisdom teeth out and she went in to get the liquid Lortab and some of the bottle was misssing and I asked her who had been to see her adn she would tell me that this family member had been there, I was starting to worry aboaut her and knowing that someday she would OD and when the EMT'st would come and ask her what she had taken and where she got it she would tell them from me. So I out right told her I will not EVER AGAIN LET YOU HAVE ANY OF MY PAIN PILLS, I am not respondsible for your life and what you take adn You are not worth going to jail for because you took my meds and lied about it and said I gave them to you.

    I thought that it had stopped till another child had to have surgery and was given liquid phenergan with codine and was given two 8 oz bottles of this medicatation and this family member came over and was talking to my child and she asked my child to check and see if she had some thing that she needed and when my child looked out of her door she saw this family member take the bottle with the least amount of paim inds in it. I went to her house right away and talked to her and you could see the bottle in her p ocket and she was holding on to the bottle so tight. And then she told me that why would she take my pain meds when she had her own. I know that she had the pain meds but I c ould not fight with her and my mom and the persons husband that she would not take anything from me.

    So I let it go knowing that she had taken over the years apain pills ,xanax, and what ever else she could get her hands on. I finally did confront her and told her that from now on all doors would be locked and windows and the place the meds were kept adn they would be under lock and key. It made her very angry with me.

    NOw it is a few years later and she and her husband are taking meds like they are candy and chewing ones that should not be chewed and drinking alochol too. And theire children come home to find them passed out on the floor and dinner buring on the stove and it is scary and they wanat to leave and not come home. I am so afarid that some thing will happen and they will overdose and end up passing away or hurting there kids. I don't know what to do. I have contatcted the proper people but since they have been checked out before and act nromal and the kids don't have marks on them I look dumb and they get away with it.

    IF you take pain pills keep them locked up and keep them away from all people. LOck up your meds, hide them after they are locked up and make sure that you change where you hide them each day. I am so worried that something will happen to my family and it will hurt the kids adn the rest of the family and i don't know how to make them aware of how dumb they are by chewing the pain pills and adding alochol with them.

    Make sure that you know and count your pain pills at the pharmacy or watch the pharmist count them. They can make mistakes , I was staying with my mom at a hospital in another city when it came time to hvae my oxicontin filled so I had my daughter sign for it and I had her bring it to me and I filled it and that night I counted the pills and I was 20 pills short and I thought no this can't be I must have miscounted and I recounted and I was still 20 pills short. I went to the pharmacy and very hesitenly asked the pharmisist if he would check it out and see If I was given the right amount of pills and with in 10 minutes the pharmist called me up and told me that he had gone through the booksthat held all the prescriptions done that day and sure enough they ahd miscounted. When the person who was filling the pills looked at the miligrams instead of the amount of pills. So they gave recounted the pills and i was given the 20 missing pills.

    I learned mylesson , in keeping my pills in view and all times and didnot thin about it and yet now things are different and I don't ever want to be respondsible for someone taking too many pain pills because I left mine out where they could find them, and that includes my grandkids. I want to be happy and heaalthy, I have real reasons for taking pain medicatations but I have a bit respondsibility for keeping track of where I put them and what I do with them . So make sure that all your pain meds are locked up and kept out of reach of family , friends, baby sitters anyone who may think that it would make them feel better and even if they have a real reason for the pain they are in. They can do what I do SEE the doctor and ask him for the pain meds I take. I know that I have all my meds and I know where they are atall times and that they are in a locked box and I am the onlyone who has the key to the box. Maybe I am being over protective with the meds but I would hate for someone to like my grandkids to take a pill thinking it was candy and end up OD'ed.

    Make sure that you are respondsible for all your medicatations and that you take them the way that they are prescribed too. I want to have everyone in my home happy and healthy and safe. And I have had to work hard to get my doctor to trust me enough to prescribe me pain pills. I have several reasons for taking my pain pills like degenerative disc diease, spineal stenonsis, arthritis in my knees and wrist, and countless surgeries and I al so have fibromyaligia and CMP too so I want my doctor to trust me in all things and that what tell him is true and that I am on the right meds all the time.

    I know that i am talking about a different subject that being able to get pain meds but when you do get them you have the respondsible for the pain pills I am taking. I want to be honset and respondsible for the medicatataions that I had am taking them and that my doctor knows me and knows what I amtaking and why. So make sure that you know what you take and when you take them. Make sure that your meds are kept in a safe place and locked up too.
  8. Bambi

    Bambi New Member

    right. Noone should be told you take
    medication, you should keep it hidden and protected and never ever give it to anyone else for ANY reason. It's very very important to be cautious and careful!
  9. KelB

    KelB New Member

    I'm in the UK and had a dreadful experience when one of my Grandads died of stomach cancer. The doctors kept saying "We can control the pain", but when we asked "So why aren't you?", their reply was "The pain isn't bad enough yet".

    My Granded was terminally ill, so there was no chance of addiction but they still wouldn't give him opiates. He was a strong man who'd not had a day off work sick in his life. But even when he was screaming with pain, it still wasn't "bad enough" to qualify for effective pain relief.

    He was eventually referred to a Macmillan Cancer Unit and hospice where he was finally treated properly, but that was six months after he was given six months to live. We had to fight tooth and nail to make his GP or Oncologist refer him. My family have never recovered from having to watch this wonderful man reduced to such desperation.

    The culture of fear that has grown up in the medical profession around prescribing strong painkillers, is heartbreaking.

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