The Pain Pill Addiction, The other side of addiction.
I am going to start this article by saying I use pain pills. Though people try to make people like me ashamed of it, I am not. That's because I need them, and even with them I suffer horrible pain.With them it makes my pain tolerable, I am never out of pain.In addition for my neuropathy I take a non narcotic pain medication, that works in conjunction with my pain medications, to decrease my pain as much as possible.
I read a lot of things here that really try to make people who need pain medication feel like "street drug" addicts. They aren't. They are people who really need them and do not abuse them. I have numerous extremely painful conditions that are well backed up and documented. I had multiple back surgeries, while it is true that most people get worse after having back surgery, I decided to roll the dice because the pain was so bad, I thought it couldn't get any worse . I was so very wrong. They accidently hit my siatic nerve, and that has no cure.Of course there are those that sell,give or take too many. Those are the abusers. We are not ALL abusers simply because we take pain medication.
Recently I developed Neuropathy in my feet and hands. This is so painful, I went without treatment for a month and had to commit myself because I was suicidal. Between my back and neuropathy I felt dying was better than the pain. I was eventually treated for it because the nurses saw my distress and cornered the doctor to get me a neurologist.
I was unable to get my neuropathy diagnosed because the doctors thought I had eaten my monthly supply of opiates I take for my back. I had twenty four doctor and emergency room visits to get help. I cried and pleaded for help. Everytime without even examining me, the doctor would walk in sit down and say "I can't or won't help you". Why? I am under a pain contract with my primary doctor and as I said they thought I was after pain medication. The pain medication I was taking already ,obviously was not helping. Sure. I had the pain pills,sure, I could have taken that "extra" pill to try to relieve the pain. I'm proud to say I never violated my pain contract.
What is a pain contract?
A pain contract is a Federal contract you make with your doctor that you won't abuse your pain medications and agree to be closely monitored,by:
You may only recieve your pain medication by your primary doctor, pain specialist, or in your doctors absence the assigning doctor that takes your doctors cases until their return.
You will not take more than your prescribed amount monthly/weekly.
You will not doctor shop: Trying to go to other doctors, emergency rooms in order to be prescribed more pain medications.
You will not ask or try to buy pain medication from anyone else or on the streets.
You agree to pain pill counts on a twenty four hour basis. Meaning you have twenty four hours to get to your doctor and have your pills counted to make sure you are not over taking them.
You agree to not sell, trade or give away your pain medications.
You agree to random urine tests, to test your levels of the pain medication you are prescribed.
You agree to random drug tests for street drugs also on a twenty four hour basis.
You agree to not use street drugs.We have a medical marijuana law state wise, the Federal government considers it a 'street drug". A doctor cannot prescribe you opiates if you are on it. the federal government can and will revoke your doctors right to practice medicine and their liscense will be revoked.
You agree to use other methods of trying to ease your pain in between doses of your pain medication.
You agree to keep your pain medications where no one else can get them.
As a patient these are YOUR RESPONSIBLITY!
Your doctor agrees to let you have your medications if all the above rules are followed.
Now, I hope having explained what a patient has to go through to get their pain medication, some of you understand that patients with chronic pain are closely monitored.That not just by your doctor but the Federal government as well.
Violating any one of the agreements you agreed to will result in your pain medications being taken away. People taking them are not likely to violate any one of these agreements. In the years I have been under contract, I have never failed anyone of these agreements.
You cannot obtain pain medications from your pharmacy without what is called s "hard copy"a hard copy is the actual physical original prescription. A pharmacy cannot prescribe them by merely calling your doctor and filling them. A pharmacist is bound by very strict rule regarding dispensing pain medications. A pharmacy will not and can't give them to you without their rules being met.
I know people who refuse to sign these agreements because they are abusing pain medications, or using "street drugs". Or their doctor has refused them pain medications, because saying for instance "my back hurts" and the doctor can't prove in documentation by running tests there is a condition needing the pain medications.
Another side of being a responsible patient is not giving them to people, it seems like LITERALLY EVERYONE I KNOW THINKS I AM A PHARMACY.I can barely meet people and as soon as they find out I have severe chronic conditions. Start begging me for my pain pills. "Because their doctor won't give them any."Chances are they haven't even tried. They will for hours, hint at me that something hurts so bad they can't stand it.I have had people yell at me and call me selfish, swearing at me for not helping them. I offer to take them to a doctor or emergency room. In some cases have even offered to pay for it. I get this as a pretty standard answer,"They won't give me any." These people won't even try. Anyone in that kind of pain,would seek help of some kind. They think I owe it to them to give them to them, merely because I have them. I even have had family beg or ask me, they no longer speak to me because I tell them no. I have had friends and family steal them. Sadly, I have found out having no friends at all is better than everytime they see me it's to see if I will give out my medications. I highly recommend locking up your pain medication. Even family and friends you would never think would take them,will. Also, there are caregivers and nurses that will steal them as well. So locking them in a lock box that only you have acess to is a very good idea.
I freely volunteered for pain management classes to learn other ways to cope, such as meditation, acupuncture,heat, and cold packs to name a few. I use a lot of the alternative coping mechanisms I learned in those classes. I highly recommend people take them. When I started my classes, the very first thing they said was,"Some of you are here because you have to be because your doctor has refused you your pain medications. We hope you apply yourself and try to learn.Some of you will sit here two hours three days a week, and not learn a thing. That is because you just want it noted you took the classes, in order for your doctor to prescribe pain medication to you again. If you are here for that reason, it is because you violated your agreement or are abusing the ones you have.""You are the ones that really need this help and we hope you walk away with something to help you. Then, there are those that are here because they are in so much pain,you are looking for other ways to cope as well. You are the people that will walk away with the most help we give you."I was shocked that almost three quarters of my classes openly admitted they HAD to be there.
The pain medication dispensing has gotten out of control, That is exactly why these contracts were created by the Federal Government. They were being over prescribed. I know a friend whose family member was a doctor and they sent patients in with no backround history, complaining of for instance back pain. This doctor took them at their word and freely passed out narcotics. The Federal government put her in prison for two years and stripped them of their liscense to practice. Sadly, all those years of schooling and student loans came to that. The Federal government is now watching now for abuse of over prescribing pain medications.
By writing this article I am not saying people and doctors aren't abusing them. Of course there are those who are. I have read numerous articles here more or less stating pain medications are bad. There is a need for them. I have been reading that everyone (in so many words) who is prescribed these medications are addicts and with the word "addicts" comes the negativity. I am trying to explain we all aren't "drug addicts" simply because we have to take pain medication.
I hope by writing this people understand , I am not saying all patients are abusing them. Some of us that are really in distress from pain, and cannot function without them. we honestly abide to the pain contracts because they know what their quality of life is without them. I felt someone should speak up for us "addicts" that follow the rules. I was denied even a diagnosis twenty four visits because the doctors "assumed" I was pill chasing. Sadly, that is the general thought process. I could have sued them for malpractice for every doctor including my own that refused to even examine me. Because, of their assumption I was pill chasing, I became suicidal. I have never ever failed a urine test, pill count, or done anything in my contract to violate it. Even with my pain medications I do endure some pain, I know they can only ease my pain,not cure it. I also returned to my doctor an entire bottle of oxycodone I had a bad reaction to. An addict would have never given them back and it should be noted I asked the doctor to dispose of them. You should never flush medications.I hope now people won't assume we are just "pill poppers". Not all of us are. Some of us are simply hurt or have painful diseases but are very responsible with our pain medications.
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