Living with Pain: Washington State’s Opioid Law Goes Too Far

In my column this week in the American News Report I write about the human fall out for patient’s who are prescribed opioid medicines for pain. I report on Bert, a man in his late 30s who suffers from pain from Multiple Sclerosis and how he was abandoned by his GP when the new restrictive law and regulations took effect this last January.

About left0089

Columnist at American News Report. Pain care activist. Poet, memoirist.
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6 Responses to Living with Pain: Washington State’s Opioid Law Goes Too Far

  1. Ken says:

    Mark, I just read your article on Washington’s new pain med law. While I do agree with many of your points, I have to tell you as someone who was put on opioid pain meds for chronic pain. It really messed up my life. I never became “addicted” but when I had to get off them because of complications, I was in and out of the ER 14 times in 3 weeks with all the typical withdrawal symptoms and then some. These are certainly dangerous drugs and I’ve found in my case that most doctors would rather prescribe and get you out of their office than take the time to truly help you. Now I know I may have a skewed look on this as I go to a veterans hospital. Nonetheless, I do think doctors need to have stricter rules on this. I also believe that patients need to be better educated about the effects of opioids and withdrawals before they are put on them. The doctors all told me they were totally safe….LOL…you should see my medical records now, and yes, I only took them as prescribed; no abuse here. As a final note, I would like to add that, when someone like myself has to, or chooses to come off them, there is little to no help out there. My choices were, go it alone and end up in the hospital with the doctors giving you more drugs and sending you home, go to a hospital detox center (where they lock you up and deny you your rights) or spend tens of thousands of dollars to go to a private detox center. These are very dangerous drugs and their prescribing should be monitored very closely as should the health of the patients taking them.

  2. Angelo says:

    in patient that’s been on a wanitig list for “proper” pain management for as long as I can remember.I am familiar with the problem.I live in British Columbia,Canada.Where a witch hunt in the 80’s took the licenses of most,if not all,doctors that dared to take pain on.It is now impossible to find a family doctor that will prescribe even minimal amounts of opiates.I have a specialist and have had to go to a methadone clinic to get an amount of morphine that works for a small portion of the day.I have to take methadone as well,as those are the rules.The methadone is an agonist and decreases the effect of the morphine.In a mis-guided attempt to prevent a few people from abusing drugs.A whole province has to do without proper pain management.What you describe is only the beginning.That picking off of single doctors will only satisfy the DEA for a time.They will probably go after all doctors prescribing opiates eventually.Like the government did here.

  3. Rose says:

    My personal and porsesfional experience has shown me that the only ethical, workable, and effective way to treat substance use disorders is determined by what’s best suited to each individual case and the likelihood of its incorporation. The more diverse the options are, the better the outcomes will be. We must meet the client where THEY are at and move from there; not from some pretentious ideal. It’s absurd and childish to expect a hijacked brain to act contrary to the trajectory determined by metabolic inertia. The only responsibility the individual has is to them self and those who they interact with. The implied accountability each relationship presents is defined only to the degree it does not obstruct or harm anyone else’s freedom of choice; including what foods or substances one chooses to consume. The common denominator our citizenship is determined by is the implied social contract we have with each other. The social contract is defined only by its primary purpose, e.g. I expect a certain level of performance when you drive your car and you expect the same from me. Trying to control secondary, conditional elements like what others eat, drink, inhale or supposite RECTALLY is a distortion of the primary purpose. Any truth which is not self-evident is corrupted by the ego with its opinions and desire to control others. If I choose to, or choose not to utilize medication-assisted treatment, whether it be buprenorphine or methadone, is MY choice and nobody else’s.

  4. Anjlena says:

    I have worked in htaleh care for over forty years and my partner is an RN on a med/surg unit. We often discuss pain management and find the biggest barrier is an accurate understanding of pain, its subjective nature and the many faces of pain: physical, social, psychological, spiritual, and others. Health care professionals need training in understanding pain itself. The doctor prescribes opiates, the psychiatrist antidepressants, the friend tells you get another partner, and the pastor encourages prayer. Understanding pain means understanding its many faces rather than the dogmatic one sided approach that so often is practiced. Those who lack accurate empathy tend to be abusive in their relationships.

  5. Ruben says:

    I am very glad to see this topic arise. My brother died 3 years ago from a heiorn overdose. He was given pain medication for a work related injury and when his health care provider discontinued the medication, he turned to street drugs for pain relief. I think the balanced approach to drug control would be beneficial. Does anyone know if there are going to be any efforts in America to adopt any of these strategies?

  6. Parada says:

    What also makes me angry about their drug abuse is that they stole drugs from someone who polbabry needed them to cope without suffering. Opiods cannot be replaced when they are stolen. If this is the case, they should also have some kind of criminal charge for the harm they caused the person(s) they stole from.

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