Thank you for sharing this info. I live in California, and haven't yet had any difficulty in getting the pain meds I need for my conditions. I hope that your situation in Florida gets better, and I hope that this is not a nationwide trend.
***You are most welcome Susan. I am sorry to hear that you also live with chronic pain but I am glad to hear that you are not having difficulties getting proper treatment for your pain. I can't say for sure whether it is a nationwide trend or not, but I'm guessing it will be considering doctors are being attacked and arrested in many different states, not just Florida. What has bothered me the most about all this was finding out that some of the studies the FDA and DEA are using as proof for their statement that prescription drug abuse is an epidemic, are not very well done studies nor are they supported by the evidence.
Missy, I am sorry for how chronic pain management is handled. As a pharmacist, there are many that do drug trafficking and doctor shopping which is why these ridiculous laws have been established. I wish that the proper people could be repremanded instead of the people with legitimate pain.
Ohhhh I almost became a pharmacist Nataly! I worked in a retail pharmacy in MA for a while, then in the pharmacy in Children's Hospital in Boston. I LOVED that job so very much! I was accepted to the MA College Of Pharmacy and was supposed to start school that Sept. (1993), but in August I blew a disk in my back. Thanks to a bunch of errors from two doctors (my then PCP and the orthopedist he sent me to..such as not ordering any tests until I literally couldn't move my left leg at all and had lost bladder control) the herniation became a rupture, embedding pieces of the disk in my sciatic nerve root at L4-5, then the disk herniated again, hiding the rupture from the MRI. It was found during surgery to shave off the bulge (Laminectomy). I also had pelvic pain back then, but they were saying it was radiating from my lower back but now my doctors think it was my SI joints since they were not in great shape then either after delivering my daughter at just under 10 pounds with only 1 fontanel that was very small. Anyway, end result was disability and loss of school. My disabilities and injuries got worse over time, to where I am now; bad disks, nerve damage, broken pelvis etc. etc. (Though I do still think the 6 inch screw in my pelvis looks hilarious on x-rays LOL it was hilarious when a doctor saw my x-ray and said to me "I have smaller screws holding my roof on my house", we both laughed)
Anyway...I just wanted to say that I do understand why some of these rules are being put into effect, as a result of drug seekers, doctor shoppers, and addicts.
I agree with you, I too wish there was a way to reprimand the ones who are breaking the laws without punishing those of us who aren't, especially since the honest patients do outnumber the dishonest ones (depending on which report chronic pain sufferers number between 75 to 114 million). I remember how frustrated the pharmacists I worked with in retail would get when a controlled substance prescription came in because if they accidentally fill one that was not legal they can lose their license, their job, and be prosecuted. Maybe we should stop blaming the pharmacists and the doctors! Their jobs require them to do things based on what they are told. Neither can help it if a good liar comes to them, we (people) don't have the ability to read someone's mind and know they are lying. I never thought it was fair that a pharmacist can get in so much trouble (or even prosecuted) for filling a script if it turned out to be forged or altered and they didn't catch it. It is not always easy to catch and altered or forged script. I don't think its fair that a doctor can be prosecuted for writing a pain medication script to someone who turned out to have lied to obtain it. The doctor can only go by what the patient tells him/her. It just seems like we're punishing the wrong people, the doctors, pharmacists, and chronic pain patients.
Thanks again for your comment Nataly, sorry I rambled with such a long reply. :)
Below is general information, not directed at anyone specific. These are just thoughts that popped into my head while I was typing, so I included them.
I've been told that my medications will never be increased again and I'll just have to live with the higher levels of pain. I've been between a 6 and an 8 minimum every day for months now and it quickly goes to a 10 (where I fall and have passed out) if I stand for more than 3 to 5 minutes. This is different from how my pelvis and back were prior to April 2011. I have new symptoms and higher pain, but I was refused tests to find out what is going on from May 2011 until Jan. 2012 because they were afraid I am "Just making it up for more medication" (which I had not asked for more medication or a change in dose) despite the fact that in the 9 years I've seen this doctor I have never done anything wrong such as losing a script, getting my meds wet, calling for early refills, failing the urine test, etc. etc. (They've only been requiring urine testing for the past 4 years or so, same with contracts) This despite the fact that it took me 6 years of taking the same dose to reach a point where the dose finally had to be increased. Even my doctor was shocked when he realized how long it had been since my maintenance medication had been adjusted. I'm not seeking to be pain free, I just want to return to being below a 5 more often than not so I can function better. But that is now denied me because of other people's behavior/choices.
I have no problem with using just one pharmacy (Which I always did anyway because I know it is important to have all meds filled by same pharmacy to best catch possible interactions), doing a urine drug test (though I would appreciate if they used the lab result as deciding factor to end/stop treatment rather than the presumptive result which can often be wrong by giving a false positive). I have no problem with my doctor having access to my pharmacy records. But the idea that a law enforcement official can just access my medical record without a warrant or just cause, just because I'm a pain management patient, is not right. That he/she can just walk into my doctor's office and demand my record and my doctor has to give it to him. Taking my rights away is not the way to stop drug addiction. Honestly, I doubt we can stop drug addiction. People have been using things to get "high" for a very very long time, addiction is not new.
I think it is wrong that chronic pain patients are intimidated into submitting to procedures they do not want and that do not help them under the threat of losing what little pain control they do have. Other patients have a say in their treatment, but chronic pain patients often do not. Last week I underwent an epidural steroid injection, even though they do no good for me and I react to the steroids they use. Steroids are not a good thing in the long term anyway. They can erode/degenerate bone; seems like a bad thing to be injecting into a broken joint and areas of my spine that already have degenerative changes to the bones. When I tried to tell the doctor I didn't want the injection because they just don't help much at all, I was told if I refused then I would not receive any of my medications and would have to find another doctor because only addicts refuse treatment options. All these injections do is put me in a pain crisis for anywhere from 1 to 3 days (depends on where they injected me). What little pain relief they give me depends on where they injected as well, spinal facet joints do nothing, but the one into the SI joint helps a little for about a week, 2 weeks maximum.
My doctor has sought the guidance of an attorney to find out how to limit his risk of being investigated/arrested. The lawyer advised him to no longer accept any patient who pays cash for pain management, further he recommended that he stop accepting medicaid patients for pain management. Apparently the bias is that medicaid and cash paying patients are mostly addicts or people who sell the medications. As a result my daughter was dropped (after 5+ years with this doctor without any trouble at all) from the practice, as was my neighbor. Both of whom have legitimate reasons for needing pain management. So now the uninsured and low income medicaid patients are discriminated against and denied proper treatment because the doctor has to cover his butt not just for medical malpractice but from being unjustly prosecuted for drug offenses.
It's just nuts.