Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain LIFE Spring 2015, Issue 11 - Page 4
From the heart and desk of the Editor
Your Input is Needed
n a recent Washington Post article about increased problems for
veterans to get chronic pain care,
the VA said that one-half million
(500,000) veterans are managing
their pain with opioid medications.
Added to the 100 million American
adults suffering with chronic pain
reported in the 2011 Institute of
Medicine Report Relieving Pain in
America, that’s a staggering number--600,000, or one-third of the
U.S. population--with a life-altering
chronic pain condition. The IOM
Report did not include military,
children, incarcerated or those living in long-term care facilities.
wo sides of the coin of prescription opioid medications are: 1)
maintaining access for judicious use
for pain relief needed by millions of
patients; and 2) reducing prescription drug abuse, including addiction
and overdose deaths, of thousands
of people. On October 6, 2014, the
Drug Enforcement Administration
(DEA) moved hydrocodone drugs
(synthetic opioids) from Schedule
III to the more tightly restricted
Schedule II. The effect of those restrictions include: 30-day prescriptions filled from only hand-written
scripts received during a monthly
clinical visit with the prescribing
physician, a patient contract listing a single pharmacy for filling
the prescription, and submission to
random urine drug tests.
national shortage of opioid
pharmacy named in the contract
cannot fill the patient’s prescription due to shortage, it is now illegal for that patient to ask another
pharmacy to fill their prescription,
and the patient (or their representative) must personally return
to ask if the script can be filled.
Pharmacies won’t give that information on the phone. Meanwhile,
patients are losing control of their
pain, which affects every aspect of
their lives. Over time, unmanaged
chronic pain results in lost productivity, reduced quality of life, and
additional health problems.
he complex problem of the coin
cannot be solved easily. The
DEA states that their only interest
is restricting access to the medications to reduce abuse. No federal
agency is protecting the patients’
rights to pain relief. In meetings,
I’m asked to provide data to back
up my statements that millions of
chronic pain patients are seriously
suffering from unintended consequences from the hydrocodone
rescheduling and few reasonable
covered alternatives are provided
for pain control. Without that scientific data, the federal and state
agencies dismiss the advocates by
saying we have only anecdotal stories. Hospital emergency rooms
and coroners are legally required
to report when opioid medications
are detected in their work. But no
agency or institution is required
to report the suffering reported by
chronic pain patients.
or pain patient advocates to
positively influence policy to
improve access to pain care overall,
it is crucial that the personal suffering and experiences be quantified.
When there is legislation needing
patient support, we hope that you
will contact your legislators and let
them know of your concerns.
research survey is available now
to quantify the reschedule impact to patients. Your voice matters.
Please, help us help you. Take the
survey on page 2 and then tell everyone you know who may have used
hydrocodone medications within
the past year why it’s important for
them to fill out the survey, also.
Follow us on Facebook to connect
with more than 112,000 people in the
FM and chronic pain community.
4 Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain
Sp r i n g 2 0 1 5
Connect with Your Community