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Thousands or most likely millions of pain and illness patients have been affected by the push for opioid elimination. There are many difference scenarios that take place. In this section we post stories sent to us by patients and doctors who have been affected by the false narrative. Some of the following scenarios are included in this section of our website:

  • Patients who go to the streets out of desperation for pain relief
  • Pharmacy refuses to fill controlled substances
  • Dr. wrote OUD diagnosis or drug-seeking behavior in the EHR

Would you like us to post your story here? Please fill out our contact form.

We will remove all identifying information. If you'd like us to list your name as "anonymous" or with a pseudonym, please let us know. Media hardly ever discusses our side of this "crisis," and we deserve to have our stories told.

Debby - Medically abandoned due to DEA/Med Board targeting doctor

Kristen - Chronic pain patient, dismissed from doctor due to being suicidal

Gwendolyn S - CPP dismissed from doctor, considers suicide

Debby - Medically abandoned due to DEA/Med Board targeting doctor

Please help. The Alabama state board is pursuing every pain management doctor in the state. They removed my personal 25 year patient relationship with a PM overnight. They closed his office and all of the patients are struggling. We were told to go to the ER which is not an option as the ER is currently getting federal medics to assist with the pandemic. Additionally the ER put out an advisory telling pain patients to not come to the ER. The primary care doctors in this area will not take over any PM caseloads. I did find a physician and luckily I have two insurance policies. This group requires many levels of testing and epidurals as well as nerve blocks. I have been through all these things. Unfortunately I suffered a horrible nerve block that required a blood patch and that blood patch has since been replaced once. I agree current MRIs are necessary but not all insurance companies will continually update MRIs. Every time I receive an MRI the prognosis is worse. I do very well on opioid management. However the only doctor in Dothan Alabama now handling pain management is rapidly reducing patients overnight. There was no tapering or any attempt to stay within the CDC reduction of 10% a month. We are about to be in a crisis mode in the state of Alabama.

Something has to be done to ensure that valid pain patients get the prescriptions needed. Several patients have now died and I feel more or to follow. Many of them suffered high blood pressure due to immediate withdrawal. We keep hearing about these harm policies but yet there are not any clinics opening up to provide help. We need some direction and we need it rapidly. I called the state board and they have absolutely MO contingency plans in place when they shot a physicians office. I do not understand why this is not mandatory before they shutter an office. Why is there not more backlash against these boards? If the goal is to help the community and provide harm reduction, then why didn’t they not simply monitor that position through the investigation process and taper the patients down. This of course is all assuming that the state feels the current MME for that patient is out of bounds. Personally I do not believe the government needs to interfere with physicians but that is where we are. If the government is going to mandate prescription amounts and moreover the prescriptions an individual can obtain for an illness, maybe the government needs to put all the physicians on a state payroll. If we are going to state sponsored healthcare we might as well make the full jump so as not to leave patients stranded. This entire situation very much resembles a totalitarian government. It certainly does not resemble the home of the free.

Not to mention these states are more than happy to override prescriptions for Schedule I (cannabis) in order to profit. That appears to be a little self-serving. If anybody else chose to disregard federal law they would go to jail. I support medical cannabis but I do not support the state deciding what care of somebody should receive. Not only that but to turn around and support a schedule I seems contradictory. Is this really about reduction of harm or money. We all know insurance companies would greatly prefer the medical cannabis program instead of PM therapy. As a patient I’m getting very concerned that we have gone the wrong way in attempting to resolve what has been deemed as a crisis. I do not believe we ever had a prescription crisis. The crisis has always been regarding street overdoses and now of course fentanyl has entered the marketplace. The more PM doctors that have to close down the more overdoses we will see from pain patients forced to the street.

I hate to be that blunt but somebody needs to. Do not think for one minute that a pain patient is going to relinquish their life and no longer be able to get out of bed or enjoy seeing their grandchildren. That is simply not an option and they will look for medication to help them even be able to walk. Many of us trusted the surgeons that helped put us back together when we were broken. We also entrusted that the rest of our lives we would probably be in some sort of pain management therapy. Now that is being stripped away.

What are we supposed to do. Please send in the cavalry because we are way past catastrophe point. I am being told I will have to live with my pain. I am not doing 50% if what I was. My quality of life has plummeted. This is inhumane. This is not the United States of America. Please help me. Please.

Kristen - Chronic pain patient, dismissed from doctor due to being suicidal

I have stage 3 endometriosis and have been going to Pain Management for 2 years with no problems. I baker acted myself on Christmas Eve and now he wants to cut of my pain meds cold turkey. I baker acted myself because I’m in so much pain and I’ve lost everything to this disease. I see behavioral health and have been for over 10years.  He didn’t even sit down and talk to me!! He was screaming down the halls at me!! Doesn’t he realize that I’m so depressed from this disease. I don’t know what to do. Please help

Gwendolyn S - CPP dismissed from doctor, considers suicide

 I have had Fibromyalgia and Herniated Discs and Osteoarthritis and Sciatic Pain since the 90’s and I am 59, will be 60 in May.  Went to Drill Mills until 2010 and had too many Injections to count over the years.  My elderly Family Doc took pity on me and started Rx me Opana because Pain Clinic was making pain worse with bad injections.  After 10 years on High Dose 40mg Opana 3x equivalent of 360 morphine he passed away at 84.  Had to go to a Pain Clinic and they took me immediately down to 20mg morphine aka 2 pills 10mg twice a day.  After 4 months of this insane torture and because I didn’t want a Pain Pump installed in my body, they called me for a Pill Count on Christmas Eve at 4:00PM and gave me one hour to get to an office that was over an hour away from the satellite office I had been going to near my home.  I had only been to this office once and I didn’t drive myself because I can’t drive for an hour anywhere.  My first appointment was August and my last appointment was 5 days before they got rid of me and it included a Urine Test.  They got rid of me after 4 months because they could make more money than they could with me.  It’s that simple.  They wanted my appointment slot for someone who would take shots and a pump.  Because the dose was so tiny it didn’t touch my pain and because they got rid of me like that I have given up on ever having a life again.  I have never ever taken more than I was prescribed and my Doc trusted me so much that he wrote me 3 Rx at a time because he knew I put them in a safe, along with my meds.  Now the Drill Mill Torture Clinic has marred my decades of properly taking my meds, in one fell swoop and my life is over.  If I didn’t have a teenager that needs me right now I would off myself.  And with the recent $7 Million Settlement for Suicide because of denial of pain meds I am definitely considering it, my kid would be so much better off.  My life was stolen on Christmas Eve 2019 and now I am the Living Dead anyway.  I have nothing to loose and my kid has everything to gain.  Thanks again for fighting for Chronic Pain Patients. 

Brenda - Insurance denied her opioid prescriptions

Brenda - Insurance denied opioid prescriptions

Brenda (mid-50’s female) – I’ve been a chronic pain patient since 2008, and I have been on Social Security Disability since that time as well.  Prior to that I was a National Sales Director for a non-profit organization which was a job I loved.  In addition to being disabled myself, my husband has been disabled since 2019 from a genetic disease which has been found in only three families in the world.  He’s suffered over 30 strokes, and has cognitive dementia as well physical problems.  I’ve had to become his guardian, conservator and caretaker which has certainly been no easy undertaking for me.

Similar to many chronic pain patients, I have multiple disabling conditions, including failed back syndrome, double crush syndrome (severely entrapped nerves down my left leg due to nerve damage), left hamstring sciatic nerve entrapment, and endometriosis attached to my ilioinguinal and iliohypogastric nerves (ouch!).  I’ve had 17 surgeries since 2008 to deal with these conditions as well as osteoarthritis damage in my left ankle and left shoulder, and I have another surgery scheduled for next summer.  I need to have more surgery on my left leg to prevent permanent nerve damage, but it needs to be treated by a peripheral nerve surgeon and there are only about 40 in the world.  I’ve had 3 surgeries done by a peripheral nerve surgeon in Washington, D.C., but now that my husband is also disabled and I incur high legal bills to deal with his guardianship/conservatorship, I have no money to pay for the travel and no one to watch my husband while I would have those surgeries. 

I have been very fortunate to have an amazing pain management doctor since 2008 which I’ve learned is a rare blessing as most patients cannot get proper medical care for pain management.  To treat chronic pain patients effectively, there is a lot of trial and error and often the best relief and improvement in function and quality of life often come from more than one pain-relieving method.  For me, I’ve tried many different therapies and the ones that are most effective for me are opioid pain medications and an implanted spinal cord stimulator.  I suffer from horrible left-leg sciatica and low back pain, and cannot sit for more than 15 minutes.  My recliner is my best friend.

In December, 2017 I received a letter from my pharmacy insurance at the time, CVS Caremark, stating that they were overwriting my doctor’s prescription for opioid pain medications and force-tapering me against my will effective January, 2018.  Force tapering and abruptly cutting chronic pain patients off opioid pain medications has been proven to be very harmful, and has lead in many cases to patient suicides and suicidal ideation.  The FDA and subsequently the CDC were forced to issue alerts in the spring of 2019 that this practice could cause great harm, but the wheels had already been set into motion and patients are regularly being cut off opioid pain medications as well as being force-tapered abruptly against their will even today.  I had better pain control and function while on my opioid dose prior to 2018.

I’m on Medicare and there are only two Part D pharmacy insurance companies in my state that will cover the opioid pain medications I’m taking.  I got a notice a couple years ago from Aetna (my pharmacy insurance since 2019) that one of the opioid medications would be changing from a tier III to a tier IV, and this would have resulted in the medication going from $40 per month to about $160 per month.  Thankfully I found out that you can request a tier exception, and my pharmacy insurance allowed that.

If I were to be cut off opioid pain medications or force tapered any further I wouldn’t be able to care for my husband at home anymore, and he would have to be sent to a long-term care facility which would cause him to go downhill mentally and physically.  Opioid pain medications allow me to have some sort of life, and I can manage some of the light-duty household chores as well as bill paying.  They have also allowed me to enjoy time with my kids and grandchildren.  I only take my medications as prescribed, and I have never abused or sold any of them.

My grandmother suffered from multiple sclerosis (MS) and when I was six years old (approximately 1973) she put a bag over her head and ended her life as she couldn’t take the pain anymore.  Untreated pain and undertreated pain have caused major patient psychiatric issues for a very long time, predating opioid pain medication therapy. 

Lauren - Denied post-op pain meds, force tapered, OUD and drug seeking behavior put in EHR

Lauren - Denied post-op pain meds, force tapered, OUD and drug seeking behavior put in EHR

My story covers being denied post operative pain control AND force taper of my already low dose chronic opioid therapy.
I’ve had 6 abdominal surgeries since I was 13 years old. I’m now I’m my late twenties. I have never had trouble getting post operative pain control until my most recent procedure which was a laparoscopic total hysterectomy and endometriosis excision, with robotic assist. In total the procedure took around 5 hours due to extensive endometriosis and scar tissue from all the previous surgeries. 
I had started on a relatively low dose of opioids about 6 months before my most recent surgery due to the severity of my pain. It was at that time I signed a pain medication contract with my primary care provider. It’s also important to note that at that point in time, I was unable to swallow pills so I was on all liquid medications. My PCP explained to me before my surgery that I needed to get my first post op medication prescription from the surgeon, and when I needed more to call my PCP and they would send in what I needed. 
So I had my surgery. When I first woke up in recovery, they said they were going to bring me my pain meds and something for the nausea I told them I was experiencing. Rather than bringing IV medications, they brought me topical nausea meds, the kind you rub between your wrists, and a pill. 
I told them that I was not able to swallow pills. In a frustrated tone, the nurse told me it was 5mg oxycodone. I repeated that I could not swallow pills, I needed liquid. The nurse continued to try to coax me to just take the pill, even when I begged for her to just call the surgeon to get updated medication orders. Instead, she proceeded to literally shove the pill down my throat. It triggered my gag reflex so I immediately vomited all over the bed and myself. 
The nurses got me a fresh gown and changed the sheets on the bed by rolling me all over the bed, which was extremely painful immediately after abdominal surgery. I kept asking for pain medication since I couldn’t keep down the pill. After about an hour in recovery I was moved to my room on the floor. I asked the floor nurse for pain medication and something else for nausea, and told her that I can’t swallow pills. She brought me liquid nausea meds, and another 5mg oxycodone pill.
When I reminded her I couldn’t take pills, she said that’s all the doctor had ordered and that the hospital had a new policy that they can’t give IV pain medication. She left and I didn’t see her again for many hours. I kept vomiting but the nurse never came into my room. I only saw the tech. My husband and my mother both had tracked down the nurse at separate times to ask her to get the doctor to change the orders. 
By this point it was around 12 hours since I had woken up from surgery, and I was in agony. Finally my husband decided to call the doctor himself. The doctor said he was never contacted and that he would absolutely go ahead and change the orders to liquid form immediately. I waited another hour and still hadn’t seen the nurse so my mom went and got the new nurse since it was after shift change. She came in with liquid oxycodone for me. It barely touched the pain, but they refused to give me anything else, even Tylenol. 
When I was discharged the next morning, they had sent a prescription to my regular pharmacy for the same liquid oxycodone I had received only twice during my stay in the hospital. My pharmacy called as soon as they received the prescription to tell me they didn’t have any in stock and were unable to order it. I told the doctor who was discharging me and he said I would have to call around to different pharmacies myself to find out where I could get it. I tried calling but most pharmacies said they could not tell me if they had a narcotic in stock until they received the prescription for it, which the doctor would not send. 
So I ended up going home on the same dose of liquid Norco that I had already been on for the last 6 months. I was able to get in contact with my PCP and she was able to find a pharmacy in the next town over that had the medication in liquid. Then I was finally able to heal from surgery.
Now that was 2 years ago, and I’ve still been in the same pain I was in before surgery. Several doctors have told me it’s likely from scar tissue from my 6 surgeries, and possibly returned endometriosis. I cannot find a doctor willing to do anything to try to find the root cause of the pain. I’m still on Norco like before surgery, only my PCP has reduced me from 7.5mg 4x per day, to 5mg 3x per day even though my pain is not controlled at all anymore on the lower dose. It has impacted my entire life. I had to leave the job I loved, I had started my own business even, but I cannot do any work on that anymore either. I’m almost completely bed bound most days because the pain is so bad. But so many doctors won’t take my pain seriously because of my age. They say I’m “too young to be in this much pain.” I’ve been labeled a drug seeker and Opioid Use Disorder has been put in my chart, even tho I’ve never failed a UA or drug count, or asked for an increase in dosage other than asking to go back to my original dose of 7.5mg instead of 5mg. 

I’m nearing the end of my rope and I don’t know what to do to get some help. I feel like my PCP won’t change my dosage back to normal out of fear of the DEA and the health group she works for. There are very few pain management clinics near where I live and all the ones that are here are not accepting new patients. The CDC and DEA need to stop practicing outside their scope. Stop practicing medicine without a license.

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