I found this article that was just released today....
Physicians say that while good intentions may have been behind a new state law mandating tougher controls on prescribing opiates to chronic-pain patients, the rules may harm the people the law was meant to protect.
The Legislature passed the law earlier this year after statistics indicated that more middle-aged Washington residents died while taking prescription painkillers than from traffic accidents.
But The Seattle Times reports that writing rules to control what happens between doctors and patients is turning out to be difficult.
The law requires doctors and other prescribers to keep detailed screening, history and treatment-plan records for most pain patients. A prescriber whose patient reaches a certain dosage level must consult a pain specialist.
A doctor who fails to comply could lose his or her license to practice medicine.
Patient advocates, doctors and others see the rules as micro-meddling aimed at the wrong target. They say drug abusers are the problem, not chronic-pain patients.
Some worry the rules will result in doctors, wary of patients becoming addicted, will withhold pain drugs even from suffering, dying people.
"We're going to go back to a period where noncancer pain is vastly undertreated. It will happen," says Dr. Paul Brown, a rheumatologist and a past president of the Washington Academy of Pain Management, a professional group.
Caregivers say many chronic-pain patients already have trouble finding doctors.
"What happens to these patients? Where do they go?" asks Dionetta Hudzinski, a Yakima nurse consultant for pain and palliative care. "Most of them are saying to me, "I'd rather die — give me a gun.'"
Dr. Charles Chabal, a pain specialist and the academy's incoming president, says he thinks the law is well-intentioned, but translating the law to practice will be complicated.
"The devil's in the details in this law," he said. "How do you protect some of these vulnerable people in access to care?"
Dr. Gary Franklin, medical director for the state's Department of Labor & Industries, said some workers who have received pain medication for back injuries have died from overdoses a few years later.
"There are people dying out there, and we've got to do something about it," Franklin said. "There's a public-health problem, and we need to find a solution to it."
The governing boards for physicians, dentists, podiatrists, osteopaths and nurses must adopt rules by June 30. The rules won't apply to patients with cancer, acute injury or surgery, or who are in end-of-life care.
I have several other articles that say basically the same thing but from different states. it is amazing that the Doctor's were not included in making these new laws as they are the ones besides us that it effects.
I would like to hear your thoughts and opinions:)
The recent rush by multiple states to enact even more narcotic regulations will not have it's desired effect. Abusers will still find a way to abuse....and chronic pain patients will find it increasingly more difficult to obtain compassionate and proper pain management.
I'm tired of being viewed by the general public as a substance abuser....someone who simply has a low tolerance for pain.... someone who is a weak minded, pill popping, drug seeking addict!!
We need to make our voices heard even ever and where ever possible.
So glad you mentioned "someone who simply has a low tolerance for pain." I know some people in my life think that must be the case with me. The truth is I have quite a high pain threshold. (Interestingly, dumb, little pain annoys me and I'll complain ... a paper cut, for example.) But real pain I can tolerate.
When I first switched to a new orthopedic after years of seeing a really bad one, she took new x-rays and came in and said, "I don't even know how to begin to help you. I've never seen anything like this." She referred me to a hand specialist, my now hand surgeon. He did his own exam, x-rays, CT scan and MRI. He said he never saw anything so bad in someone my age. That it was like looking at someone in their 90s that had long-term, severe arthritis. He actually said, "Whatever you need or want for pain control, tell me, and I'll give it to you until we can get you in for surgery."
I don't "show" my pain much, but there are times it's obvious because of how limited I am with things.
And I also agree with you in that the general public tends to look at chronic pain patients as a substance abuser. It angers me. People are so ignorant and uninformed but I don't think they realize how damaging their comments can be.
I would never wish my pain issues on anyone else, though once in a while I think, "If only you could walk in my shoes for an hour or a day (doubtful) you understand a little better.
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