Opioids: Chronic Pain Sufferers Seek a Voice

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Barby Ingle advocates for chronic pain patients in Nevada. Photo courtesy KLAS-TV.

The “opioid epidemic” has created a nightmare for many chronic pain patients. They are met with roadblocks at pharmacies— and that’s if they can even get a prescription.

Doctors in Nevada are fearful they will be targeted by law enforcement for running “pill mills.”

In “The Other Side of Opioids,” KLAS-TV takes a closer look at the numbers and discovers that many of the deaths attributed to opioids in Nevada involve illegal drugs like heroin.

That raises questions about many of the restrictions currently imposed as a result of the “opioid epidemic,” and law enforcement’s proper role in dealing with the crisis.

The one-hour special program interviewed a number of chronic pain patients who worried what a legal crackdown on opioids would mean to their lives.

“Opioid shouldn’t be taken off the table because of media hype and hysteria,” said Barbie Ingle, a pain patient advocate.

See also: “Criminalizing the Opioid Epidemic is No Way to Help Chronic Pain Sufferers.”

Vanessa Murphy is an investigative reporter for 8 News Now/KLAS-TV in Las Vegas, Nev., and a former John Jay/H.F. Guggenheim Justice reporting fellow. Her complete report is available here.

11 thoughts on “Opioids: Chronic Pain Sufferers Seek a Voice

  1. With four others (Dr Lynn Webster, Josh Bloom, Steven Ziegler and Barbie Ingle, I supported Vanessa’s 8 News Now/KLAS-TV colleague George Knapp in a four-hour segment on Coast to Coast AM Radio, November 24 2017. This reporting team is doing Peabody Award- level investigative work on “The Other Side of Opioids” . To hear the stories of patients being denied care and doctors hounded out of practice by the extra-judicial tactics of DEA “diversion investigators” simply google the hashtag #OurPain.

  2. Its a human injustice to deny pain meds to patients suffering. when a person has 14yrs of pain that is treated stable with pain meds,the person had no issues of misuse. Now,because drug dealers,organized crime,drug addicts and greedy pharma and greedy politicians thru lobbyists those patients cant get help. The patients aren’t in denial, they know they were quality of life-able,but now contemplate suicide numerous times a day. The hype that every pain patient is addicted is fake.The powers that be are unable to profit gobs of money treating pain,but have monetized it by industry investment in stupid devices and techniques and false positioning that every american is addicted to pain meds.

    [EDITOR’S NOTE: this comment has been edited and condensed for space.]

  3. As a chronic pain sufferer myself, the hysteria surrounding prescription opioids for people who need the pain killing effects is appalling. Many of the opioid drugs responsible for addiction are coming into the US illegally. As one article mentioned, overdose deaths attributed to opioids include heroin and illegally smuggled Vicodin family of drugs are being lumped together, causing the uninformed and ignorant to blame chronic pain sufferers. Under pain management programs supervised by medical personnel, such addiction is rare. Those who need the drugs to lead some semblance of a normal life and are being denied the medications by self righteous busybodies, end up suffering from severe depression, unbearable pain and unable to work and in time, suicide.

  4. I have been in pain management for ten years during which time I had a failed 3-level and a 7-level cervical fusion. Life is much changed since January 2017 after a Walgreens pharmacist refused to fill my prescription from my anesthesiologist/pain doc. Blue cross has denied my prior authorization demanding that I get tapered off what has been working. We are still waiting to be reimbursed $4,000. They lost the receipts we sent them. Every month it is some entity making it an ongoing struggle to get my medication. I have been called a liar and doctor shopper by my former primary care doc because he misread my pharmacy record—that’s happened with two docs. I don’t have a pcp anymore. I’ve had to pee with the door open. That’s just a sampling. Without a strong family, my consulting work and a fierce desire to have some quality of life, I wouldn’t have chosen to hang in there recently. I’m a 58-year old grandmother who has seriously wondered how hard it would be to get herion. Please help me and others. Some days are unbearable. I broke my jaw, not the law. Why am I treated like a criminal?

  5. My wife of twenty years has suffered with chronic back(spinal)pain and periferal nephropathy for the past twenty seven years. She has tried multiple treatments, surgeries, alternative treatments and nothing has provided relief. Oxicodone is the only medication that has provided even a minimal level of relief.
    I know first hand the debilitating effect that this perpetual pain is having on her. The pain causes depression which exacerbates the pain which increases the depression and it’s a vicious cycle. Her doctor recently informed her that he could no longer treat her and that she would have to look elsewhere to get her prescription for oxycodone. Over the past several weeks she has been scrambling to find another doctor who could help, to no avail. This is an absolute nightmare for her. The stress / fear of not having access to the one thing that can provide her a MINIMUM of relief is driving her pain and depression through the roof. She / we are desperate to find anyone, group or agency that can get her the help and relief she needs to survive. SHE IS NOT AN ADDICT!!!!

  6. I believe that in time the federal government will include exceptions, allowing physicians treating long term pain sufferers with legitimate, chronic pain to continue receiving appropriate medications without fear of reprisal. There are many individuals receiving opioid medications without confirmation of chronic conditions and I believe that this will be the main focal point as the public demands fair treatment for legitimate cases.

  7. Narcotics are not medications rather a way for pharmaceutical companies legal many making tools. It doesn’t give relief to chronic except being creating pain in itself. we Americans are are the same as human as any other but we are consuming the world’s garbage. We are destroying our family and community.

    • Live in my shoes for a day, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. I took Advil for my pain for 15 years until I didnt have a digestive system any more. So for the last 5 years Narco I have OK pain relief and Im still alive. Now they are being reduced and back to Advil and all the side effects are coming back. Stomach pain, IBS, barrets esophagus, numbness, enlarged veins causing more pain,. very frequent urination. You have no clue.

  8. A youth court judge is calling my pain management doctor a drug dealer. The judge took my kids said i neglected them by taking the medicine prescribed. Wants me to stop taking my pain medicine an go to drug treatment or he going to take me parental rights away. My pain management doctor kicked me out of the pain management program. He said because of my behavior. I kept asking for the doctor to wright a letter explaining my medical conditions an why I was prescribed the medicine. What do i do ? Its Crazy. If anyone can tell me what to do. Please call 6013347590

  9. I wonder if the final agenda will end up offering disabled chronic pain patients death which would truly be sad and a stain on this country that God will judge harshly, the reason I thought of this was that one particularly bad day I had I called a suicide hotline and instead of encouragement the lady at prevention hotline asked me if I wanted help to die, I hung up but after that experience it’s not hard for me to believe that death panels aren’t far off. I have been in debilitating pain so badly that I wished for death to end it but now I get a small dose of extended release of morphine 2 times a day and it gets me up and functioning and I can’t imagine going back to the horrific pain,

    I don’t know what the answer is except write or call your state senators as I did because I felt like I was being treated badly at pharmacy. ahey claim we have an opiod overdose crisis but imo I think sadly that there will be no comparison to the so called overdose crisis if chronic pain sufferers have their medication taken away, there will be a suicide crisis then and sadly it won’t be people who just want to get high and overdose on street drugs but it will be responsible people who follow doctor’s orders and take their medication correctly.
    [this comments has been condensed for space]

  10. look at stats from the VA has cut most off often without tapering down. and has a too high suicide rate. and sadly it might not be the heads but the bureaucracy more dead vets no longer cost the system or trouble. hope its not true but its suspect. DEA and other outside lobbying has caused the FDA to recall. darvon products often the first rx pain drug used, while a small percent had heart problems recalled and FDA directed DR to the opioids, then recently DEA got tramadol sleeping pills and several other drugs reclassified. i lost my DR over this due to draconian Fl rules.
    and now although i had the same bone defect see dr regularly and same dose since 2010 i now can only get 30 day and written script and cannot renew until 2 days before the 30 days. Tramadol no euphoric and small addictive effect. DEA wanted more power to espand its failures

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