When I was in Kindergarten, there was a kid, Ben, who was always getting into trouble. The teacher would always punish the whole class for his behavior. Finally, one day, we had been forced to put our heads down and turn out the lights, and I started crying.
“What’s wrong, Kristie?”
*sniff* “I didn’t do anything wrong.” *wipes eyes*
“…” *Shuffles feet*
She wasn’t sure what to do. Finally, she told me that I could put my head up. I looked around and wondered why no one else said anything. Were they okay with taking the blame for Ben’s horrible behavior? That certainly wasn’t fair of the teacher to punish us for Ben!
So, why are doctors punishing their patients for the behavior of drug addicts?
Well… Our current president called for a war on opioids. The CDC answered with guidelines for prescribing. The FBI took up the torch and decided to punish doctors for over-prescribing. Most doctors don’t over-prescribe, but they were very afraid to be labeled as such. So they started reducing their patients’ doses and not treating new pain at all. After exhausting all other options, patients demanded strong meds. Doctors told patients they’d have to go to a pain specialist for stronger meds. Pain specialists popped up everywhere as people in pain scrambled to find help.
In comes the media. The media jumped onto the bandwagon because it would make great headlines. They broadcasted made-up statistics and outright lies, and then another media organization picked it up and changed their lies to be even worse. On and on it went until people were, and are, worked up into a complete frenzy.
Not only are the ill-informed public in a frenzy, shaking their fists at doctors for treating pain (as they were called to do in the 90s and 00s. Remember the faces and the number scale? That was from guidelines for treating pain, and new in the 90s), but now people in pain are panicked because we are losing our right to live life. We’ll be stuck in bed and house-bound without strong pain medicine. It’s just downright CRUEL to deny us medical care.
Don’t Punish Pain!!
Don’t punish patients in severe pain because 15% of patients abuse their meds. The rest of us are responsible and never abuse them. We take them as prescribed, and have been for many years. It’s the only way we can function in society and not remain house- or bed-bound. Don’t punish me for having a spinal tumor, Arachnoiditis, Fibromyalgia, Interstitial Cystitis, PCOS, Endometriosis, Fibroids, Neuropathy, and Migraines. I did not choose to have this crappy body. Addicts choose to take too much of a drug. I choose to play by the rules.
Don’t Punish Pain!!