To: Dr. Andrew Kolodny & the PROP Board (Physicians For Responsible Prescribing), President
Chronic Pain Patients Are Not Addicts, Stop Already!
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I was recently made aware of your organization to curb drug addiction through responsible prescribing of opiates. But it left me with a few questions. Firstly, why you would need an organization to promote what is a physician's mandate in the first place? Aren't ALL physicians supposed to be responsible when prescribing all drugs? But more importantly to me is, I would like to ask you why is it, that there is so much help, research and attention given to drug addiction, and so little to chronic pain? Chronic pain patients far outnumber those of drug addicts. What is your responsibility to us, the patients, who are in daily unrelenting pain, but we have NOT become addicted. We have followed every rule, taken our drugs (what little we are allowed) exactly as prescribed, taken all the drug tests demanded of us. We have jumped through every hoop thrown at us. But still, we are the red headed step children of the medical field. Big bucks are thrown towards stopping drug abuse, but none to make safer drugs. Instead everyone in the medical community (doctors who do not dare prescribe any opiates fearing the DEA, the ERs, who turn patients away labeling them "frequent flyers", to the pharmacists, who interrogate us like criminals and ask questions that are none of their business) are all a part of this conspiracy of prejudice against the chronic pain patient.
And what about the fate of the chronic pain patient? Where is your responsibility to eleviate our pain? Not to remove it, because we know that can't be done. But to allow us the drugs to give us some quality of life? Isn't that what a doctor is supposed to do?
More and more drugs are being denied us, relabeled as dangerous, because of their potential for abuse, despite their ability to help.
Everyone screams, "you'll get addicted!". That simply isn't true. The people who become addicted out of the chronic pain patients is relatively small. Most of those are people with addictive personalities would become addicted to something regardless. If drugs were not available they would turn to alcohol. Most drug addicts started as recreational drug users, not pain patients. They take drugs to get high. Chronic pain patients take drugs to be out of pain and feel normal. We are constantly called liars, drug seeking and addicts. We are ridiculed and humiliated in doctors offices, emergency rooms, pharmacies. Doctors are firing patients in record numbers for little or no cause from fear. They don't even bother reading charts, where we have proven over and over that we are in true need, and are trustworthy. But still we are denied the drugs that would help us lead a more normal life, because we might get addicted! Well, let us! Shouldn't that be our choice? Our risk to take? What is the difference between dependent and addicted? Is not the diabetic "addicted" to insulin? You can argue anyone dependent on any drug is addicted to it. It's all how the medical field handles it. Becoming dependent to a drug that you will take the rest of your life is far preferable to having no life, because you are in too much pain to enjoy anything. Many chronic pain patients who choose to take their lives because the medical community has failed them. The Hippocratic Oath says "First do no harm". But harm by omission is still harm.
For us it is a case of guilty until proven innocent. And we have to prove our veracity that over and over.
We, the chronic pain community, are tired of this negligence, mistreatment and abandonment of care.
Why is this important?
This petition is started to preserve the rights of patient's in chronic and intractable pain to get prescribe the medications that they need, and to stop PROP from sabotaging our treatment and our rights.