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Veterans right to pain relief?

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broncovet

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I came across this article, which does not mention Veterans.  However, it appears to apply to everyone.  

Common sense suggests that your doctor's refusal to give you a prescription for needed pain meds forcing people "onto the street" (heroine, cocaine, or other uncontrolled drugs) is a bad idea.  Im sure you have heard of many Fentanyl deaths, sometimes from people trying street drugs "one" time.  

Often street drugs are laced with fentanyl, an exceptionally powerful drug, where a small amount can be fatal.  While Im no expert on street drugs (I have never used them), I do know its an incredible problem in my town, and many other towns.  In my town there have been hundreds of fentanyl deaths (often classed as overdose).  This information is from a fireman friend, who goes on EMT runs, at least some of the time which is drug overdose related.  And, let me make it clear:  IM NOT A DRUG ABUSER and IM not addicted to drugs or alcohol.  But, often Im treated as if I am, even tho there is no evidence of it.  

A few years ago, my VA doctor sent bottles of 90 Vicodin per month, without me even asking.  While I used those conservatively, only when needed, those are long gone after around 10 years or so.  

I think Veterans with pain, of all people, should have access to pain relief drugs, "altho" in limited amounts.  It just does not seem available at my VA, altho there is a pain clinic, I have never been referred to them, "even tho" I have had a total knee replacement.  I think anyone who has had a TKR would agree that knee replacements are painful before, during, and after surgery.  

Most of the time, I dont have pain.  This is good.  But, when I do, access to pain meds at the VA is pretty much impossible for me.  It would take months and months..first, I would have to see my prime care doc.  (About a month).  Then, a referral to pain clinic.  Another month.  

Finally, if you made it through that, you would still have to wait for meds by mail, and probably get only one prescription that is non renewable.  Its no wonder there is a street drug problem, a good part of this is VA's fault for going to extremes to limit access to strong pain relievers.  Not everyone in pain is a drug seeker!  But if you ask, you are labeled a drug seeker, and that goes in your records and no other VA doc will prescibe them.  

Im not a drug abuser, and, frankly feel offended Im treated as one.  I have never ever been in drug treatment, because I have never needed it. 

I do think I should be able to take an occasional Vicodin, however, when I do have severe pain.  

My wife has migraines.  I know they are real.  She used to go to the pain clinic.  They prescribed 30 Vicodin per month.  One day, my wife goes back to the pain clinic appointment, and the said there was no detectable level of vicodin in her blood.  She replied that, of course, she has not had a migraine for at least a week.  So, they naturally assumed she was selling vicodin (she was not!) and kicked her out of the pain clinic, because she did "NOT" have vicodin in her system.  They expected her to take ONE vicodin each day...that was actually too much.  She only took them when she had a migraine.  A migraine can last for 2 to 3 days, or she could be free of them for 2 weeks.  

So, she has zero access to strong pain releif,  "because" she did not have a migraine for 2 weeks, and did not take pills needlessly.  Im not the only one to feel this way.   She does not have migrines daily, and they seem to want to compel her to take them every day, necessary or not.  Now that seems to be a road to addiction if you ask me!  

https://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1741-7015-8-8#:~:text=According to international human rights,violation of the obligation to

Edited by broncovet
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  • Content Curator/HadIt.com Elder

About 10 years ago, my VAMC has a "Patient's Bill of Rights" framed and mounted in one of the main corridors. It read about like what I was able to find here: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2013/2/14/1187054/-Attention-Veterans-Read-it-Your-VA-Patient-bill-of-rights, and specifically this part:

Quote

You have the right to have your pain assessed and to receive treatment to manage your pain. You and your treatment team will develop a pain management plan together. You are expected to help the treatment team by telling them if you have pain and if the treatment is working.

However, after the DEA changed the narcotic policy around the same time, the framed patient bill of rights simply disappeared for a while, but came back with watered down content which omitted this specific part about the right to receive pain treatment. Since then, the VA doesn't give out meds which work the first time around.

 

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I believe the pendulum has swung to far too the other side with hospitals and clinic prescribing almost zero narcotics. Hundreds of thousands of people are in tremendous pain because there's this narrative (and I believe it's asinine) that people on narcotics are deemed to be inevitable drug addicts. I'm not addicted to narcotics, I'm addicted to not wanting to be in pain. Are there addicts? Yes. Do they need to be restricted? Absolutely. But to assume that I'm an inevitable drug addict if I'm prescribed more than 3 oxy is a ridiculous and heinous assumption.

What's worse, being addicted to narcotics or blowing your brains out because of the pain? Being addicted to narcotics or seeking the street drugs? There needs to be a medium, it needs to be discovered and implemented, and that means doctors and nurses need to start paying attention to the needs of the patient. There has to be honest and forthright assessments happening.

Now I'm not a doctor or a nurse, and I'm not on narcotics. But I do know that I have several close friends who are on the verge of trying to find something from the news kids on the block to manage their pain, because of this shift in the medical community's attitude towards narcotics. It seems in order to save a few, they left behind a whole bunch. Just my experience, just my opinion, which could very well be wrong.

Semper Fi,

Sgt. Wilky

Edited for spelling and grammar.

Edited by Sgt. Wilky
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Sgt.

 When I first started using the VA for pain management they were handing out dope like candy.  I got oxycodone and morphine which was really too much for me.  The morphine was awful since it turned my bowels into concrete.  Now they attempt to cut down my small dose of oxycodone every time I see them.  They go from one extreme to another. 

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On 4/4/2023 at 5:29 PM, john999 said:

Sgt.

 When I first started using the VA for pain management they were handing out dope like candy.  I got oxycodone and morphine which was really too much for me.  The morphine was awful since it turned my bowels into concrete.  Now they attempt to cut down my small dose of oxycodone every time I see them.  They go from one extreme to another. 

I understand, and I'm not for being reckless with narcotics. But as I stated, I believe the pendulum has swung too far the other way. In a more recent and anecdotal way, my surgeon gave me fifty oxycontin pills for my disc replacement surgery. I've used two in a week. But there are some docs who won't prescribe it all. My Walgreens pharmacist made a point to tell my wife that that was a lot of oxy...So, I suppose it does depend on the docs too.

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Sgt.

 

                 I agree. It depends on the patient and the doctor.  The pendulum has swinged the other way from handing them out like candy to being so stingy that vets and others suffer needlessly.  It is easy to get hooked on pills if you have chronic pain like I do.  VA comes up with alternative treatments but nothing works like narcotics to treat pain.  It is too bad because if you use narcotics you have to increase the dose over time and doctors won't do that often.  If you take the same dose more than a few weeks you will need more to get the same relief.

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I personally believe the Va has taken this protocol way overboard. As it is not just opioids but all controlled substances. The Va used to hand that stuff out like candy. I think with the past bad press from suicide by overdose to the opioid pandemic that has only tightened the hold on the controlled substances. 

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