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Pain patients say they are victims of opioid degradation



PORTAGE, Ind. (AP) – When staring at a caricature portrait on her wall by her and her husband, Dawn Anderson began to cry.

It was not long before she could go on a Caribbean cruise, where that picture was drawn. Now Anderson is using wheelchair because she has two amputated legs, homebound.

Everything says her because of the opioid crisis.

"The picture that's up there, there were better times," she said, her face in her hands. "Since the reduction of pain medication it's just too painful."


Anderson, 52, used to take 90 milligrams of prolonged release morphine. But in the midst of an epidemic of overdose deaths from opioids, the doctor took her away.

She has a shorter, lower strength of medicine now. She says she can barely work.


She is not addict, she says. Why can not she get the medicine she needs?

"It's almost like me taking insulin away from a diabetic," she said. "Having a good, productive life and taking it away is like a shot in the intestine."

Chronic pain patients around the country are beginning to talk about how they feel they are unintended victims of opioid degradation.

These individuals are particularly disturbed by new federal and state guidelines for opioid deprivation, which, among other things, encourages doctors to reduce doses. This they say together with a breakdown of the federal authorities on opioid workers, has deterred many doctors from even writing prescription for analgesics at all.

"Legitimate patients with severe chronic pain are denied treatment because the pendulum is turning so far in the other direction," said Dr. Shaun Kondamuri, a pain relief specialist in Munster. He compared it with the demand for the hypocrisy, where no one could get a loan.

"Let's face it: There are doctors who probably feel so much for not prescribing ̵

1; from Indiana, from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from the general press. People feel they are punished for the wrongdoing of others."

Claudia Merandi, a former Rhode Island stenographer who now has disabilities due to Crohn's disease, founded the Do not Punish Pain movement after encountering chronic pain disrupted from opioids (Anderson will be a speaker at the upcoming Do not Punish Pain rally on September 18 in Valparaiso).

She says she can not find a primary care physician in her condition prescribing opioids; Many of these doctors now refer these patients to pain specialists to avoid the inconvenience, the review from federal law enforcement.

"It's a form of discrimination," said Merandi, 50. "It's not single-fitting-all. I'll always admit the opioid crisis, but the ban will only make things worse – it always does." [19659003] She pointed out that most of the overdose is caused by heroin and illegal fentanyl, not legally prescribed opioids. The numbers bear it. Of the 42,000 US opioid doses in 2016, 40 percent of prescription opioid involved CDC. (Local overdose death records submitted to The Times were not sufficiently detailed to accurately be analyzed for comparable figures for Northwest Indiana.)

Sally Peterson, from East Chicago, took a hydrocodon for back pain for about one and a half years. It helped her to go without pain.

Then the doctor told her that she would need to take regular drug tests, another federal recommendation. The copay for them was $ 160. She says she can not afford it.

But the 59-year-old, who is nurse due to physical and psychological problems, says she can handle now. She takes 16 ibuprofen per day. She walks with a hiker.

"For those people who really need (opioids), I think it's ridiculous," she said about the new guidelines. "What about our veterans? Our veterans can not get them. They defend our country, they lose their limbs and they can not get the medicine to help them?"

A chronic painkiller, a 50-year-old from South Haven, used to take three or four hydrocodons a day to work. He said he has severe back and back pain, from several years of work in the mill.

Then three years ago, his doctor took him off the drug. He could not find a pain clinic that would prescribe it. He tried alternative steroid injections, a drug for nervous use as he said made him suicide – but no one worked.

Then he went to a metadon clinic and lied to the staff and said he was addicted to opioids. Because he does not want his family, friends and work to know that he is on a drug to treat people with opioid dependence, he would only talk to The Times provided his name is not used.

"Do you know how bad I feel going into that place?" He said. "But I have to figure out how to go to work. I have children to raise, a house to pay, get a wife."

Another pain disease, a 53-year-old Portage woman in disability, would also only agree to an interview if her name was not given. She is also worried about her family and friends to find out her situation.

She has degenerative damage to her entire body from a car accident she was for 21 years. For years she took morphine and hydrocodon to relieve the pain. 19659003] Then, with the opioid crisis, its primary care physician stopped prescribing analgesics. She said pain clinics would "not touch" her because of the high doses of drugs she was wearing.

So she turned to alternative means, some legal, some not: holistic drugs, muscle relaxants, analgesic pills she buys the street, marijuana.

She can not even go to the back of her farm anymore, even with a stick. She sometimes uses two. She is looking at getting a wheelchair.

"It deprives you of the will to live, too," she said.

"I think abuse is a sad thing, but it's not the answer to remove medicine from patients with chronic pain. It's not the answer just to wipe it away from everyone. What they've done is just so wrong . "

A pair of pain patients considered their misconduct on Dr. Andrew Kolodny, Chief Executive Officer of Responsible Opioid Prescription Doctor. They say that he wrote in essence the 2016 CDC guidelines to limit opioids to get people on the suboxon, as they say he has an economic stake in.

He says these are conspiracy theories – another is his own Drug Rehabs – Started by pain pills decision makers to discredit their work.

"The framing of this question is not correct," he said. "The advocacy and public health problem that aims to promote more cautious prescription is not to restrict access to stopping addicts. The efforts … will provide better results for people suffering from pain."

Chronic opiouse can lead to decreased function and increased sensitivity to pain, he said. And because opioids are so physically addictive, patients can not actually get relief from their underlying pain but from the symptoms of withdrawal.

He also argued that doctors do not prescribe opioids because they are afraid of federal authorities – he calls this another myth – but because they try to fix a problem with their own creation. The Public Health Organization generally acknowledges that the opioid epidemic was caused by the over-prescribing of analgesics that began in the late 1990s when pharmaceutical companies insured they were not addictive.

"Medical society agrees with making a terrible mistake that led to a public health crisis," Kolodny said.

Dr. Rajive Adlaka, medical director of pain control specialists in Schererville, said that a "happy medium" can be found if doctors only prescribe opioids for people who really need them, always considering alternative forms like physical therapy first. He said opioid patients should be screened carefully – on India's INSPECT prescription control system, with regular drug tests.

"I have always been very sincere that we try to avoid these medications," he said.

The Indiana State adopted a law restricting the opioid treatment for the first time to seven days. The state since Jim Merritt, an Indian republican, one of the authors' authors, said the law gives doctors the freedom to use their medical assessment. He said opioid prescriptions are down 10 percent year over year in Indiana, which he called a victory.

While recognizing that physicians are more afraid of writing opioid recipes today, he does not anticipate a legislative reaction. He said he thinks things must "play themselves".

"I do not see how we would come back with an incentive for doctors to prescribe pains," he said.

When describing her situation On the last day of her home in Portage, Dawn Anderson appeared in her wheelchair and rested her arms on a leather chair. Hunching over is the only place that gives her pain relief, she says.

Her back pain comes from a botched operation, she says. She lost both legs under her knee due to diabetic complications. She has kidney problems. Her right eye was an accident in a retina, from diabetes.

She says that the higher dose of morphine – it was 75 percent stronger – she could come around, play with her grandchildren, go on vacation.

Now she says, she can not walk up or down stairs. The bones on her stumps injured, so she can not wear prostheses. She can not drive – it's too bad to get in and out of the car. Her garden has been taken over by weeds.

Then she sits most in her wheelchair or lies on the couch. She watches a lot of tv. As she spoke, a divorced couple spoke of "Dr. Phil" on the subdued TV.

She had a Carnival Cruise T-shirt. She said the crossroads still call her and ask when she returns. She has palms on her drapes.

She says she has written to the president, her senators, her congressperson, even Dr. Phil to complain about the treatment of pain patients. All she got was a boiler from her congressman.

"It's almost like a helpless feeling: quality of life," she said. "If it were not for my family, I would look for a Dr. Kevorkian type. You just feel helpless."

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Source: The Times (Northwest Indiana), https: // bit. ly / 2zAH3iF

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Information from: The Times, http://www.nwitimes.com

This is an Indiana Exchange story shared by The Times


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