opinion | ‘The whole body is shaking’: Why Americans with chronic pain are dying

She said: “The whole body is shaking and jerking continuously 24/7.

Ms. Fuqua said she has contacted dozens of doctors trying to seek care. She also calls the CDC’s Opioid Rapid Response Program‌, which is meant to help when pain clinics are closed or large numbers of opioid patients lose their doctors for any reason. “They almost thought I was unsuitable, even ridiculous, for calling them,” she said. Program management admits it has difficulty finding doctors to help such patients and is in the preliminary stages of reviewing proposals to learn Why are they rejected?

‌‌Patient advocates say the answer is simple: Doctors who agree to take on a significant number of chronic pain patients requiring opioids fear law enforcement scrutiny . Doctors who have a lot of high-dose patients will immediately stand out in prescription tracking databases, even if they’re pain specialists.

So what can be done to help people with intractable pain that only responds to opioids? First, the surgeon needs to send another letter to healthcare professionals, like Dr. Vivek Murthy did when he announced the publication of the 2016 CDC guidelines on opioid prescribing. The new letter must inform providers of the 2022 update, and this time, strongly warns against involuntary dose cuts for existing patients as a way to reduce the risk of overdose. The original guidance warrants this high level of national attention and it leaves those in pain vulnerable – certainly an update aimed at improving their treatment would deserve equal publicity.

Second, the US attorney general needs to send a similar letter to the DEA and its prosecutors, instructing them to stop pursuing a doctor just because they prescribed high-dose opioids or a potential combination of drugs. risk. If there is no other indication of criminal intent, this is a matter of medical judgment and possible negligence, not one that should be handled by federal law enforcement. And when agents find doctors who are actually dealing drugs, they and agencies like the CDC need to make sure that there are no disruptions to the care of pain or addiction patients. before bankruptcy doctor.

Patients abandoned in the pain of withdrawal and without treatment have a increased risk of overdose death nearly 300 percent, and their risk of suicide also increased significantly High. If thousands of them hadn’t been cut out in the first place, the huge street market for fentanyl that currently exists could have been reduced to a supply of rocket fuel. Increasing a patient’s risk of drug overdose death and suicide to minimize these harms is both cruel and pointless.

To permanently solve this problem, Congress needs to pass legislation to provide a safe haven for patients with intractable pain and their doctors. People like Ms. Fuqua, who have clear, well-documented opioid needs, don’t need to live as if every time they get a successful prescription it’s a “go on execution.” , as she said.

America has an addiction problem that is not the fault of those who suffer. Denying them access to needed medication doesn’t help anyone. At least one man and his wife have death by suicide after the clinic that Ms. Fuqua attended closed.


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