Avatar universal

I believe there should be some sort of legal action

I've been a member of this site for a few years.  I've had my share of addiction battles with painkillers.  I've seen and read the hundreds of posts by others who have had to suffer like I have; some much worse than mine.  I think it's time we do something about the core of the problem by sending a message to these massive pharmaceutical companies who have pushed their products on good, but naive people knowing full well people like us would get "hooked."  I'm just trying to gauge how many people feel the same way?  How many people's lives have been ruined or suffered long-term side effects of these painkillers?  Enough is enough!  The tobacco industry, the asbestos industry and others have long tried to hide the long-term, debilitating and life-threatening effects of their products and have been exposed for their cover-ups!  Thoughts?
86 Responses
Avatar universal
I don't feel the way you do and I don't blame the drug or the maker. I took it. I knew what type of drug it was although I was very young. I took it as it was prescribed in the beginning. No one could have predicted the future and certainly the manufacturer was not aware of my situation.

You feel differently and that's okay. I just can't blame the pharmaceuticals. We know, or should, that certain drugs are addicting. We have the ability to participate in our own healthcare. We are able to research and ask questions and we can read the inserts that come with each RX.  

I know how bad addiction is but suing the drug company is not the answer, to me. We need the medicine. We need to kill pain. We need anesthesia. We need these meds in the modern world. Maybe we need to monitor ourselves better.

What message would you want to send and how?
Avatar universal
As someone with experience in these fields, there's not enough information out there about what these companies know/knew and what their intentions were/are.  It's a known fact that for decades, tobacco and asbestos manufacturers tried to cover up their knowledge of the medical effects of exposure.  People didn't sue the stores that sold them their cigarettes.  They sued the tobacco companies for their intentional cover-ups.   It's only a matter of time before people realize the same about pharmaceutical companies.   Were they responsible in distributing/selling their products?  Did they know people may become psychologically dependent on their products and intended to get them hooked?  Did people taking it know usage may cause them liver problems or even OD in some cases?   The only warnings I've ever seen was "don't use while driving, etc."  The asbestos industry is paying millions of dollars each year for lung cancer cases (which is most often caused by smoking).  

I know that when I began using, I did so thinking it would just relieve pain temporarily.  I didn't think for once I would become dependent on it.  While I agree with you that it does serve a purpose for some; for others, however, it just ruined their lives and had a tough time getting off.  How exactly do these companies advise people how to stop using once addicted?   Again, there are many research studies out there about the effects, but I would be hard pressed to find out these companies didn't know the effects and intentions and advised/warned about it properly.
sign me up...dang dr.s had no problem taking my monthly checks for yrs...
2083449 tn?1381354708
I have to agree with Vicki.  I can't blame anyone for my addiction, but me.  No one pushed me into abusing my pain meds. Actually, I was warned many times by my doctor. The pharmacy and insurance company kept close tabs on me. I was the one who gamed the system.  I knew full well what I was doing.  I thank goodness that these drugs do exist. I broke my leg a few months ago, and had to have reconstructive surgery. I would not have made it without pain medication. I just had to give up complete control of my meds to someone else, so that I would not abuse them again.  Just my own personal opinion.

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by sending a message to the Pharmaceutical companies. I think maybe the answer is more education to patients and doctors about the potential for abuse.

Avatar universal
People have known for ages that opiates are addicting as well as barbiturates and benzos and "sleeping pills" and "uppers" and on and on...Warnings are printed and included with each RX and that's a federal law.  

Have the drug companies informed the public? Yes. You can go into any book store and buy a drug reference book and you'll see all info clearly printed with warnings of possible addiction.   Every drug available in the US is listed in the PDR along with all side effects and addiction potential.

I just can't agree with you about placing fault. Back when you were a teenager there was as much info out there about drugs as there is now. Warnings have been all over the media forever.  The public is informed.

Now, there is one addicting drug that the public was misinformed about and I'm surprised there hasn't been more fallout over it. The information has been amended and the drug is now "controlled" but it was way over prescribed at one time.

I think the asbestos and cigarette industry has admitted their products are harmful and many lawsuits have been litigated with favorable results; not that I think they're even in the same category as medicine.

Anyway...if it weren't so late, others would chime in here. Maybe there are some bats around...Domino?
2083449 tn?1381354708
I know that every time I filled or refilled my various prescriptions I was given at least 3 pages of information about side effects, drug interactions, and the potential of abuse and addiction. I honestly can not say that I wasn't aware.  I liked the way they made me feel, and I was the one who did everything I could to get them, even lying. I still think maybe more education could help.
I'm sure others will weigh in with their opinions, and I will be interested in reading different points of view.
Avatar universal
The dea is in my pain clinic. Also came to my house wanting me to wear a wire to my drs.  But I agree. They get you addicted but want nothing to do with helping you get off.  People don't realize how fast they can get addicted.  I learned the hard way myself. Major surgery hospital over week continued them at home for a few days when to stop and bam addicted.
Avatar universal
After my surgery I was prescribed 5 oxycodone 15mgs a day. Yes I probably needed that much for the first few days but the dr should of cut my dose after a few days. If I knew then what I know now I would of cut myself down.   I never abused them but was dependent on them. They obviously stopped working because my tolerance and the dr offered to up me serval times and I refused.   Pain meds can be very useful but not as a dependent.  By the time I tried to stop and wanting to take them when I was in really bad pain it was too late.  Drs are over prescribing
9704730 tn?1405741284
Which drug are you talking about that is now being controlled?
Avatar universal
Hi there, i understand your frustration, i really do !!
If you feel the need to get some closure or feel the need to make people more aware, then i say, do what you have to do : )
Me personally, im fine with the fact i was prescribed Subutex, i was aware of the withdrawals, the dangers, the side effects, but i was told in 3 months after jumping, i would be ok. Well its actually taken me a lot longer than that. But still i accept this is what i had to do to get clean.
I dont believe companies deliberately mislead us, but i do believe the drugs are trial and error. I do believe they want to help us and as the only testing is done on lab rats, before given to humans, sometimes they do get it wrong.
If they were trying to deceive us, lab rats wouldnt be used for testing.
I do agree more doctors do need to take the symptoms and side effects of meds prescribed to their patients, more seriously and give much more acurate information
At the end of the day, im at peace with myself and my hell as a drug addict using heroin, is over.
I do thank Reckitt who made the Subs, everyday. Because i would not be clean today without his drug.
Please understand, i know where your coming from, but we are naive to ever think an opiate is ok to take everyday, without some sort of long term consequence.
In my opinion, take care : )
Avatar universal
what are you gonna sue them for. you did,nt have to take them .just like alcohol no one pours it down your throat. doctors are the ones who will prescribe and over prescribe I know in my town there were at least 3 doctore you could count on to give you just about anything I wanted. if theres a problem that's it in my opinion. and from what I understand that's the case all over the country. just my opinion!peace out!!!!!!!!
Avatar universal
I'm not sure if u was taking to me but its a pain clinic most patient are suboxone either from herion or opiates but I know the after the drs over prescribing opiates to patients.  They pulled records and from the pharmices. I live in a tristate area so the 3 states are linked so they know if u have insurance Pay then try to pay cash. The last time I was there I had to fill out papers with random questions like would I buy any drugs off the street do I abuse my rx do I take them orally ect. Then it ask what your pain level Is but did specify if I meant with my medications or without. So all these years I assumed it meant without which was apparently wrong. Know I toon a drug test everytime I went.  Recently I had 2 goverment agents come to my house wanting me to wear a wire to my drs. Saying I would get in trouble if I didn't because I filled 2 scripts in one month one from clinic Before my surgey which they told to stop Taken theirs and take the ones from surgeon after surgery. Which I asked them prior because I signed a wavior that wouldn't take an pain pills from another dr.  So after surgery he gave me a script of samething which my husband stopped on the way home from hospital to fill which I stayed in car I wasn't walking yet didnt think anything of it. Insurance wouldn't cover it since it was the samething so he paid cash  never crossed my mind. Stated taking them instead of what I had at home.  Months go by I stopped going to to clinic got off the pills then this just happened. They want me to go even tho I'm off them them they said I could give them script.  I called an attorney which he said since that I'm newly clean I shouldnt even be asked to be but in that situation. He advised me not to speak to them and have them call my attorney.  This is another reason I'm so stressed out.  I had a real reason to why I was taking them. I stopped on my own before I even knew about this   So obviously this dr was over prescribing to many patients
Avatar universal
I was all over the place    Knowing I took a drug test every vist ^*   Started taking them^*   Put in the that situation ^*.  Obviously I didn't proof read that post.   So know its costing me $500 an hour for the attorney which he said more then likely that we will have meeting with the dea an board of pharmacy  which could take up to 4hrs.   And bring a copy of my medical records.     I'm assuming I'm not the only one the approached about this but it's scary and stressful. Especially when my surgeon was the one who sent me to him.   But the dea is cracking down and i know he's not the only dr that the dea is watching.  Never spent a dollar on my pills but yet it's going to cost a ton of money  when I honestly believe I didn't do anything wrong. Even turned down having my scripted up
1926359 tn?1331588139
I have to agree with Vicki and Sonrissa- I was warned many times and given the info about ALL the drugs I was on (with the exception of Tramadol- thank god I didn't stay on that long enough to become dependent or addicted)
We can point fingers all we want, but ultimately it is us that choose to use and abuse.  It was hard for me personally, because I started on the opiate train after being diagnosed with some pretty serious illnesses that absolutely DEVASTATED me.  I took whatever the doctors prescribed because I so desperately wanted to feel better, and to get my life back.  A few years into my illnesses I learned that I had to be my own advocate and do my own research.  I even went to nursing school to help educate myself.  I'm not just talking about opiates or benzos but also about steroids, immunosuppressants, hormones, etc.  I learned the hard way to do a lot of research and ask a lot of questions and if something didn't feel right, to get a second opinion.
That being said.
I don't think opiates should be prescribed for chronic pain.  I think doctors should educate themselves better on the long term ramifications of these drugs they so easily prescribe.
But I still don't blame them.  They have a very sick and scared young woman (me) come into their office in absolute shambles....not being able to get out of bed, or pee, or breathe without pain.  They can't cure me so they give me something to deal with the pain.  They don't know that it will end up spiralling into what it does.  But I was warned.  More than once.
In a perfect world we would all have holistic medicine practiced where Eastern and Western medicine work together with therapy, counselling, dieticians, massage therapists, physiotherapists etc.  To look at the patient as a whole and not just treat their symptoms.
But we don't live in a perfect world, so it is up to US to seek that for ourselves.  To educate ourselves before we put ANY drug in our body.  And to always seek natural alternatives before turning to the big guns.
Personally, opiates have saved me many times.  They are saving me now as I am going through a terrible medical crisis and waiting for surgery.  I would not be able to function AT ALL without them.  But I know their danger, their pitfalls, their limits- and I know mine.
I learned this by taking responsibility for MY life and MY body and MY choices.  I learned this by living a life of recovery, not as a victim, but as the empowered individual who knows what her choices are.
This is all we can do.
Avatar universal
I agree. Same with me,  I was so s scared to be in pain which I'm sure most people are. But yes they shouldn't be prescribed for chronic pain. Doesn't do any good. Your body gets so used to them your tolerance builds up so you need more for them to work.   If you are able to take them very you are absolutely at your worst pain then great  they will work for you. But in my case in never wanted to reach my worst pain but I did anyways because they stopped working lol   But I do feel the drs are very well aware of the affects of long term use. That's when they had out suboxone which is only meant to be a very short term medication but yet drs will perscribe them for months even years.   I'm sure everyone is aware that narcotics are addicting but I never thought I would get addicted to them that quick.   My drs wouldn't help me get off the oxycodone they was actually against it. I knew prior that I would always have pain for the rest of my life but they wasn't willing to help control it. For example sending me to physical therapy after my surgeries. I'm walking hunched over. He wants to operate again  I want to try therapy first.  No not all drs are "bad" and all about the Money but if you was getting 3grand everytime I came into your office. I would want me to come back every month too
Avatar universal
vicki, which drug are you referring to that should've been initially controlled?  Wow, didn't expect so many responses.  Interesting to see different people's perspectives on this issue.  Someone raised the issue of alcohol and that "no one shoved it down your throat."  Fair point.  But, honestly, 7 years ago I didn't even KNOW WHAT Oxycodone or Hydrocodone was!!  I was prescribed for pain I was experiencing -- I slowly became hooked.  Sure the medication came with pages of how to use, but if you actually look at it carefully today (which I didn't back then), it doesn't really get into psychological dependence.  So even if I were new to the drug and would read that part, my reaction would be "okay, so I won't get psychologically addicted, whatever that means."  Point is - there's no way to know what that means before, during and even after using until you detox and quit for good.

Someone else mentioned that their doctor prescribed and made a good point that maybe doctors don't even know.  If that's the case - and I actually agree that most prescribing doctors have NO CLUE the kinds of problems it can cause -- don't you think that's an indication of a disconnect between company and doctor (ultimate prescriber to end user)???

Sure, everyone knows the dangers of opiates and there've been books/articles written about it in the past.  If you're on line to go on a roller-coaster at a park, you know what you're getting yourself into.  But at least you know there's an end in sight.  Painkillers are very similar -- you may or may not know what you're getting yourself into -- and for MANY, there is no end in sight.
7163794 tn?1457366813
I have mixed feelings on this topic because I went looking for something to get off of opiates with the least amount of pain possible and I found it in the suboxone. The medicine did exactly what it said it would do, it was a miracle. But why did the.Dr keep me on it as long as she did? I did NOT know how much harder it would be to get off of but is that my fault for not doing my own research or the drs for not telling me ahead of time or the pharmaceutical companies for putting that in the small print? I think er ALL play a role in our own addictions but I had it in my head that the Dr must know what she's doing.....she's a Dr, right? I don't know....
Avatar universal
Good point!  Suboxone is these companies' answer to dependence to opiates.  Problem with suboxone is you're replacing one addiction with another.  That's how they keep you coming and using their products...
480448 tn?1426948538
While I sympathize with how you feel and respect your opinion, I agree with vicki.

For starters, opioid pain medications are very much beneficial and needed in the medical community.  There has been such a HUGE issue of prescription medication abuse, and I think that the authorities have done a pretty good job of trying to address it.  It's not an easy problem with easy answers, especially because the tighter regulations often affect the people who NEED the medication that aren't abusing it.

There is no shortage of information about the warnings and considerations of these medications.  Every Rx in this country is required to come with an educational monograph.  The onus lies with the patient to do their homework and to consider all of the risks and benefits of a medication (ANY medication, or medical treatment for that matter).

Some docs could do a better job educating their patients, absolutely, but overall, I don't see that it makes sense to point fingers at the pharmaceutical companies.  Opiate medications aren't being marketed like other medications are (ie antidepressants), and bottom line, if they were used as they were intended, they serve their purpose.
480448 tn?1426948538
As for Suboxone, that's a tougher subject.  In the world of Rx medicines, Sub is essentially a baby.  The one good thing is, the pharm companies, along with the practitioners have learned a lot more about it.  There is definitely a lot more responsibility than there was initially after Sub was released to the market.  While of course it's still profit based (as are most pharmaceutical products), the "bad" sub doctors are falling by the wayside, with more responsible practitioners managing Sub in a much more practical way.  There's still a long way to go....but it's definitely improving.
Avatar universal
T, you keep mentioning suboxone, it is a miracle drug.i had a fantastic doctor, I am also a hardcore addict and for hardcore addicts suboxone is a life saver. some will be on it the rest of their life, I had a counselor that was that way. I cut down from 16mg to 8 and then 2mg and some days I actually would forget to take it .that is amazing to me. I know moderate users should not be on for no more than  2 weeks to a month. but I still cant blame the drug manufactuers for any fault whatsoever. just my opinion.peace out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Avatar universal
I am a bit between the two opinions I see here. I don't blame anyone for my addiction, but I do believe the companies and doctors who prescribe liberally and with little accountability should have to do the same. I agree that I have to own my addiction and the consequences and there should be more consequences for those who abuse the legal system. I am fairly educated on FDA practice and how agricultural as well as pharmacuetical companies bypassed many of those safety regulations. Suboxone is the most vivid, no experimentation was ever performed for long term use, it was not intended for that purpose originally,  but they have been experimenting on the public. GMO rice was not passed by the FDA, yet Monsanto strains are being found all around the world and Monsanta is having no consequences. The head of the FDA is the former CEO of Monsanto, that in itself should be illegal, talk about special interests. Anyway, all that should be dealt with and many laws and law makers are trying to create more accountability, but those large industries dominate with power and money. There have been some improvements over the last 5-10 years, yet the Pharm Industry still makes more and more profit each year. Medicine should be about the people, not business. If you come up with a way to fight this corruption and injustice, I will join the battle. My doctor was an addict and handed out pills like candy. His life fell apart, his family left him, he is now dying. Not one time did he get caught for falsifying death records, calling an OD death by natural causes. I have many examples, but only poor people seem to care. Anyway, I accept my shortcomings and would like to see big business have to do the same. I don't think we can change the system from within. The only solution I have figured out is education. If enough of us are educated and get the real info out there, then we can help the public make it's own decisions. It's like Walmart, they refused to sell organics for a long time, the demand was so great, they started to realize the people have spoken by their actions, they shop somewhere else. That's when Walmart started to carry organics. I think drugs are the same. Research of alternative medicine and biochemical therapy started to take hold in the 50's. There is a lot of info available, but it is hidden. I have come across many blocked web sites discussing agriculture and pharmaceuticals, they are way more connected than people realize. Food and Drug Administration, FDA. Some pages I have found would be blocked the next day. These are the types of censorship you were talking about the Tobacco and asbestos companies attempted. It is not a conspiracy theory, they really are trying to keep us ignorant. My info also comes from doctors and police, probation officers and therapists I know. It is no longer a secret, the corporations and government and in business together, giving money making ventures less regulations and accountability. A law suit wont do it, look into lawsuites against Monsanto and Bayer, they all settle out of court or get thrown out. I would love to here your ideas. I wouldn't be surprised if this post gets erased, though I doubt it. I just sound like a radical, which is easy to blow off.
4204073 tn?1361831476
I would love to see these Doctors have to take these pain meds as a trial for a bit, enough to become dependant, then come off them cold turkey myself and experience withdrawal.  Perhaps they would have a better understanding of what addicts go through.  I know that would never happen, but I can dream.  
2083449 tn?1381354708
Great post, Weaver.  I think there will always be doctors who cross the somewhat blurred line, and are in it for the money.  I have also seen it go the other way. There was a story on the local news here a couple of months ago. An 85 year old woman had fallen and broken her hip. Her doctor refused to prescribe opiate pain meds. Gave her Ibuprofen instead. The poor husband was practically begging for his wife who was in severe pain. The restrictions have become so tight that some doctors won't prescribe no matter what.  The news story was about prescription pill abuse and fraud.

I agree about education.  I always wonder, if I knew then what I know now..... If I had experienced withdrawals, and emotional dependency, would things have been different? Probably not, but I will never know.
Avatar universal
I doubt more knowledge would have changed my path, but my grandmother, mother, aunts and uncles would have never gotten addicted with more info. They trusted the doctors and paid the price. I mean, tons of doctors will say subs have no withdrawal and you can't get addicted to opiates if taken as prescribed. This is wrong information given by an authority figure. How do so many pills hit the street, after all? I took pills for almost 10 years and only had a script for sub at the end. A local doctor switched a friend from 40mgs of hydro to 30mgs of methadone and didn't even mention it to the patient. I was happy to have a new source. He had to sell the methadone and buy norco, if he wanted pain relief that didn't make him so high he couldn't function. He gets to the pharmacy and gets the wrong med. when they called the doctor, he said he thinks it will work better for long term pain. Well, he was so high the first day, he fell off his porch and couldn't walk. I think it has to do with the area one is in. Every sub doctor has been busted around here, accept the newest one, my old doctor is remorseful for giving out so many addictive meds, he is on his death bed full of regret. The doc I got my subs from was arrested a couple months after I finished my subs. He mostly gave opiates to drug addicts, nobody asked questions when one dies. Then the lady who needs them can't get them, an 80 yr old OD would raise eye brows. I'm sure I sound jaded, I just have had bad luck with medicine. My dad was given morphine from age 1-12 for polio and was cut off and thrown in the street with no help or explanation of detox, he never sobered up to this day, he was 1 year old, not his choice. Personally, I have more stories of doctors being corrupt than being genuinely out to help. That is my bias and resentment. I am working on that. When they built a down town plaza to honor my old dug dealing doctor, I about had a heart attack. I suppose if I had expensive insurance or tons of cash I may find a good doctor, but I know many dead poor people who had to take whatever doctor they could afford. I'm sure it's due to my experience and location. I would love to believe most folks in medicine are healers, not business operators. One bad apple spoils the bunch, so maybe I am witnessing the exception, not the rule. When I found a doctor who really cared, I found out she has no knowledge Of nutrition. She said nutrition was an elective, only one available, and not required. That is a shortcoming of the medical schools. She truly cares, but she was not truly educated about the body. That is unbelievable to me. An why don't the nutritional clinical studies get pushed to doctors, especially the ones that have proven effective for over 50 years. I think this issue is so big, nobody knows the whole story. Last year Dr, Phiefer's clinic on biochemical research lost it's funding. I am hoping Dr Walsh will pick up the research. Evidence based therapy is being implemented in talk therapy, but ignored on a nutritional and holistic approach to healing people's chemistry. We keep going with trial and error, when evidence shows better ways. I'd like to see serial numbers on each pill,  so we can trace it back to the prescribing doctor. Find enough on the street, correct the problem. They do that with sun strips now, but Oxy is a free for all. The rules and research don't line up, let's hope somebody with power starts to care enough to confront this. Fact is, it would be financial, social and political suicide to go against the system in place. I think it will get worse before it gets better. So we better keep our heads clear, if we actually want to make a difference.
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