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Daveiscray83 karma

First and foremost, we need to understand that there are two opioid epidemics going on- there are those who are haunted by the grip of opioids, and others who are suffering from opioid inadequacies (for legitimate reasons). As far as the healthcare industry goes, laws have now been put in place to ensure patients receive the absolute minimal amount of pain medication, regardless of their disease or condition. Imagine two patients walking into the ER, one with a migraine, the other with a bullet wound, both receiving two Tylenol and then being sent home. That is the best analogy I can provide as far as the current state of opioid administration goes for genuine pain patients.

Opioids aren’t prescribed by GPs, they are prescribed by specialists, who nonetheless are now unable to prescribe adequate amounts of pain medications, as they will have their practice audited and ultimately shut down if they do. Think about that- doctors cannot even treat patients as they see fit. They can’t provide medications as they see fit. It’s a trickle-down problem. There are a vast array of diseases and conditions which can cause chronic pain, and yet a blanket approach to pain management is being employed. As you touched on, this only leads desperate pain patients to turn to black markets on the streets, and before you know it they are heroin addicts looking for their next hit simply to manage withdrawals.

The best thing we can do is to start treating the problem, not the symptoms. There are millions of people who are suffering from chronic pain, but silently. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t just stop because you’re in chronic pain. If I could offer one message, it would be this- people do not understand the level of despair that comes along with 24/7, around-the-clock, severe chronic pain unless you are there. Opioids aren’t perfect and they have their risks, but they also save lives. People like myself don’t ask for the hand we are dealt. We are simply trying to live normal lives. Instead of implementing blanket restrictions, we need to treat each case as its own and manage pain accordingly. There are better solutions to prevent abuse than simply denying medication for patients who are suffering through no fault of their own.

Understanding this fundamental mindset is the first step in stimulating change and the best form of advocacy we have right now.

Daveiscray58 karma

Thanks for sharing. I read your post. Unfortunately, many patients live in higher amounts of pain than a 3-5 pain score. I am at a 9 or 10 most of the time, and I'm way lower on the pain score than millions of others. There are brutal diseases out there that cause brutal amounts of chronic pain, far far worse than what I've encountered. From people who's skin falls off to those who's bones break at the slightest touch, screaming into a pillow simply doesn't cut it.

Daveiscray55 karma

There is. TEDx talks are independently organized. TED talks are usually reserved for people with crazy accomplishments, like Bill Gates.

Daveiscray52 karma

Opioids screw up all of your bodily systems, badly. The constipation can actually be brutal for a lot of people. Luckily, my doctor led me on to polyethylene glycol (PEG) aka Miralax. Total game changer. For me, my body is used enough to the medications that I don't have the issue anymore.

Daveiscray44 karma

Totally. Tolerance is really difficult to battle and unfortunately is the root of the opioid epidemic. The worst thing to do is to continually increase doses. With that being said, doctors are learning. Opioid rotation, polypharmacy (aka using other medications that 'boost' opioid effectiveness), and titrating off opioids to take breaks when needed are the best tools we have, and that is what I have used.