Dear Mr. President,
My name is Suzanne Stewart and I urgently need your attention please, Mr. President. I’m writing on behalf of 100 million Chronic Pain patients. There are many Americans who live with daily chronic pain illnesses and we need your help. The CDC, DEA and “Big Brother” Pharma companies are trying to “hurt” the American chronic pain community. We need you and Tom Price, HHS, to help us keep the pain medications that we need in order to have some semblance of life with somewhat controlled pain. We seem to be losing our medications because we are being “lumped together” with Heroin addicts. Every time a celebrity dies from an overdose, they blame it on the Opioids and not the misuse and abuse of pain medications along with recreational street drugs. Physicians shouldn’t be afraid to prescribe Opioid pain medications to their chronic pain patients due to repercussions from government agencies. Physicians are leaving in droves because of the propaganda surrounding an “Opioid epidemic”.
Mr. President, we are not addicts, nor are we “addicted” to our medications. We only take them for pain relief. If you ask true chronic pain patients, we’ll tell you that we hate taking these medications and wish we did not depend on them. This is the key word, sir, “dependent”! We are not addicted to our medications, we do not get cravings nor do we get “high” from them. An addict seeks out their drugs at any cost and looks forward to taking them because of the “high” they feel. As pain patients who take our medications responsibly, we get some kind of relief from the daily chronic pain that we live with. Imagine the normal daily routines such as showering, brushing your teeth and getting dressed. These routines raise our pain and we are so fatigued afterwards, that often we cannot schedule anything else that day! We are “dependent” yes, but NOT “addicted” to our medications. We need the Physician / patient relationship to choose what is necessary and best for our pain control.
The P.R.O.P. Dr.’s and others like them, who are against the use of Opioids, are just misinformed. While other groups wish to make money off of us because they own addiction treatment centers. They can get rich from chronic pain patients who are treated as “addicts”. Many chronic pain patients are feeling hopeless, while our Dr’s are afraid and leaving in droves. They aren’t able to prescribe Opioids anymore for their established patients living daily with horrific chronic pain conditions.
Mr. President, please help the American chronic pain community? We are fearful that the life that we have known with a little bit of pain control for many years, is going to be (or is being) stolen from us? People are being told that they will have to go to their Dr or pharmacy every 3-5 days in order to get a prescription for pain medications. Nobody would ask a Diabetic or a heart patient to do that! People are being taken off of their Opioid pain medication abruptly, during one visit to the Dr’s office. Often it’s a Dr. that they’ve gone to for years and where they are established patients. This is happening to the pain community because of misinformation and fear!
I am an Ambassador for the U.S. Pain Foundation, sir; and I’m a patient health advocate. I do public speaking, write for the National Pain Report, Health Magazine, and I am a patient leader for WEGO Health. I am disabled and depending on the day, I use a wheelchair, walker, motorized scooter or a cane. My pain is much lessened due to the medication that I take. I have been living with several high chronic pain illnesses, including systemic CRPS, since 2002. I’ve tried several medications and different treatment modalities. I also have an Immune deficiency illness that prevents me from being a candidate for a Spinal cord stimulator or an Intrathecal pain pump. I don’t think anyone should be FORCED to have an invasive surgery; when a pill with little side effects could help them. Do you know that NSAID’s cause 16,500 deaths in the USA annually? That is only counting the patients with Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis. If deaths from the gastrointestinal toxic effects from NSAIDs were added separately, then it’d be the 15th most common cause of death in the U.S.! Mr. President, I am imploring you to help me and the 100 million other chronic pain patients in the USA, who are diligent and who take the medications responsibly. Please help us to be allowed to continue our pain medication regiment. These proposed strict rules will only turn chronic pain patients to the streets and then many more will die from getting the wrong kind of pain medications mixed with “who knows what”? The good pain patients who are left with no other choice; I feel, will be desperate.
I’m begging you sir, please read my letter and please talk to me if you’d like. I’ll do anything to help my fellow pain warriors and myself. We need your help to make others understand that we are “chronic pain patients” and not “addicts”! We don’t crave the medications. We don’t get any kind of “high”. But Opioids do give us some relief from our daily chronic pain. We are just real people with diagnosed high pain illnesses. Please have Mr. Price to talk to pain patients like me and listen to the U.S. Pain Foundation’s ideas. I/we understand that something needs to be done. If they make medications that cannot be crushed, melted or changed; that would help to keep the drug addicts from melting, chewing or altering the medications in order to get high. But please see the difference between pain patients and drug addicts. Help us, the true chronic pain patients, to not lose our medications that give us some semblance of a life with our families.
Ambassador, MI- U.S. Pain Foundation
Author/Blogger, Patient Mentor RSDSA
Patient Leader WEGO Health
CC: Tom Price, Health and Human Services
200 Independence Ave SW,
Washington, DC. 20201