It’s a trickle at present, but the conversation around chronic pain between doctors and patients is no longer one way only.
Over the past few months, the constant messaging suggesting chronic pain patients are dying in dramatically increasing numbers because of opioid overdoses has been questioned.
Understand, the messaging was indeed clever. Chronic pain patients weren’t directly and specifically named, but the messaging caused listeners and readers to believe it was pain patients whose lives were being shattered, or even ended, due to opioids.
Then a few of us in media began to ask questions, and immediately the anti-opioid medication messaging began to falter. Patients suffering hideously from non-stop pain willingly spoke about the horrific conditions of their lives.
They voluntarily shared longtime doctors who had prescribed opioid medication which made their lives at least livable were under pressure to cut dosages dramatically, with the objective to end prescribing altogether.
There is pressure from supervisory medical bodies and governments. Ontario ended coverage of opioids on January 1, 2017, and now the elderly on fixed incomes, battling constant vicious pain, are required to pay for their not inexpensive medications out of pocket.
I interviewed the Federal Minister of Health at her request. Dr. Jane Philpott was ineffective in making the case against opioids for pain patients. In fact, she repeatedly told me my questions were “fantastic” and “excellent.” The only reason I asked the questions is because they reflected the need for relief from pain that can destroy quality of life.
Last weekend, Dr. Lynn Webster of Salt Lake City, Utah, past president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine and co-producer of The Painful Truth documentary revealed the anti-opioid medication crusade was undertaken by U.S. insurance companies, which were finding opioid prescriptions expensive to cover.
Today I’ll be speaking with Dr. Stephen Nadeau, a scientist and neurologist with over 30 years in a U.S. tertiary care centre treating patients non-malignant pain. Dr. Nadeau heard my interview with the health minister and chronic pain patients, and will share his own views on the subject.
Back with me today as well is Dawn Rae Downton, a national journalist and chronic pain patient who has a euthanasia plan in place in the event her opioid medication is arbitrarily stopped. Downton recently wrote a Globe and Mail column about her Fentanyl use.
Marvin Ross, who writes on health matters for Huffington Post Canada, has been challenging politicians and their anti-opioid agenda for some time.
If you’re a chronic pain patient, doctor or even a politician who cares about the crushing weight of never-ending massive pain, listen today and then speak out.
Living pain-free is a human right. Pain patients should not be reduced to pleading for help and meeting arrogance and indifference as a reply.