Saturday, June 2, 2018

Comment Now to NIH Pain Management Best Practices or Forever Hold Our Peace

The comment period has been extended to June 15th.

PLEASE NOTE: Following is my voice. Your story is different from mine. To date there are only 1454 comments out of over 100 million Americans who live with chronic pain. I know there are  more who want to comment, because I hear from you, and now, they want to hear from all of us. 

Our stories put a face to the meaning of our plight to be treated with dignity and respect. We are more than statistics and it's time to show it. 

“Our lives begin to end 
the day we become silent 
about the things that matter.”

~Martin Luther King

When you are finished, you will receive a "Comment Tracking Number".

RE: Meeting of the Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force
Docket ID: HHS-OS-2018-0009 Agency: Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Those of us living with chronic pain deserve to have our pain treated, yet the illegal drug abuse epidemic is making it impossible to receive the care we need to survive. As an RN and lead author of five books on pain and integrative therapies, I am sickened when I read about another suicide by a fellow pain patient, one that resulted from the government "crackdown" on opioid prescribing. I am tired of hearing how physicians will no longer prescribe a drug they have been using for years because they are fearful of the DEA. I am a person aging with severe inoperable musculoskeletal disease and a lesion in my sacrum that causes such pain I cannot bear weight or sleep. When it flares, I get epidurals, but they are limited. Why does the government think they can judge me for needing an opioid? I have severe damage to my esophagus and stomach from NSAID overuse. My mother died from a heart attack caused by NSAIDS, yet we never hear about how unsafe they are with prolonged use. I tried the antidepressants, they did not help, and the side effects were intolerable. Lyrica® and Neurontin® disconnected me from reality. I am not alone in this, so why don’t we hear about that? I am elderly and I am angry that my primary doctor will no longer prescribe the small amount of opioids that work for me, that I can afford, and that allow me to participate in other practices I find helpful. Government overreach has led to this lunacy. Pain physicians require monthly visits, whether you need a new prescription or not. These practices are driving the cost of pain care to the moon. Making patients succumb to a pee test is demoralizing, and they aren't all accurate, resulting in the destruction of innocent lives, yet they are allowed, even encouraged, to add to the burden of escalating costs. What happened to watching for untoward behaviors and making appropriate referrals? Few patients expect total relief with opioids, but it should be their right to have their pain managed well enough to participate in integrative therapies like mindfulness, tai chi, physical therapy, etc. Education is needed, not prohibition. Addicts deserve to have the "right treatment", not therapy based on ability to pay. Money is being wasted on the war on drugs that could be used to develop outcome-based programs to help these people. Many of us live with debilitating conditions for which there is no cure and opioids are the treatment of last resort. Many of us do not have transportation to pain clinics or the ability to make co-payments. Please hear my voice. The crime here is allowing people in pain to be exploited by those who profit from our demise, and a false narrative driven by media hype.

In healing,

Celeste Cooper, RN / Author, Freelancer, Advocate

Think adversity?-See opportunity!

~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~

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