Mississippi has enacted a new law which forces patients to get drug tested before their physician is allowed to write a new prescription for their monthly narcotic pain management.
Let me tell you what’s wrong with this law. I know the “opioid crisis” has been talked about a lot & it has destroyed lives. I understand that some people become addicted to pain medication & they take more and more in order to feel high or to just get pain relief. Drug use & abuse is a tale as old as time. There was a freaking opioid crisis in the days of Edgar Allan Poe!
But do not punish those of us who suffer from chronic pain, who depend on medication to make them feel better. Yes I realize I used the word “depend”. And I can see how that would imply that I am drug dependent. Well guess what… Some people ARE drug dependent, and that is perfectly fine! Diabetics depend on prescription drugs to live. Cancer patients depend on drugs. I depend on drugs because I suffer from high blood pressure & hypothyroidism. So yes, I’m drug dependent. But I also suffer from chronic pain that i have undergone extensive therapy for.
Nothing helps. That is why I must take pain medicine to alleviate my suffering. I have severe nerve pain & arthritis. My pain management routine is not just about narcotics. I also take Neurontin & ibuprofen 800, by prescription. But this isn’t quite enough to make me comfortable. I have to take Tramadol on top of it to alleviate that extra back pain that just won’t go away. And no, it doesn’t ever go away completely, but Tramadol allows me to be able to lie in bed comfortably so I can sleep. It allows me to take a shower because it suppresses some of that excruciating back pain I experience. It allows me to be able to get up & do limited activities with my children.
I do not take Tramadol to get high. It doesn’t even affect me in that way. Honestly I would love to have a med that is a little stronger & could better help with my pain. But I will settle for Tramadol as long as my doctor is willing to give it. I do not complain!
That is why this new law is so detrimental to chronic pain sufferers, who are dependent on pain relieving narcotics. I don’t deny that people over indulge in these medications, but the simple fact is that I don’t. I take mine as prescribed, & I have done so every single day, every single month, every single year. So why am I now forced to go to the clinic & pay for a drug test every single month?! Who is paying for this expense? Me? Gee, thanks. Because I guess it’s my fault that I need these meds. Chronic pain sufferers have trouble getting out of the house. Hell, we have trouble just getting out of bed! And now we must fight through that pain when we run out of medication, drag ourselves to the clinic, and take a drug test. Every. Single. Month.
That is absolutely ridiculous! Do not punish chronically ill patients for the habits of others. That is not our fault, nor is it our problem. If a doctor suspects a patient is abusing his medication, then I’m fairly positive that the obvious signs will be there. That patient will run out of his med early, for instance. That patient will continually ask for something stronger. I think a doctor should be able to confront a patient about suspected drug use & should be able to require a drug test on the spot before writing out a new script. I would gladly submit one to my doctor, if he ever questioned me. But to require this every month is downright excessive & ridiculous. I’ve been a trusted patient for years. The signs would be there if I were abusing my medicine.
Don’t punish chronically ill patients for the behavior of others. They are struggling with enough, without the added expense of a drug test & the hassle of mobility and transportation to get to the clinic and take it.
And if the opioid crisis is so bad that we’ve come to this, perhaps it’s time to consider other options, such as medical marijuana, to treat chronic pain. Also, insurance policies could always be improved so that they will cover more treatment options, surgeries, & services for the chronically ill. Most of the reasons people like me suffer from chronic pain lies solely with the medical community & insurance companies. Lack of medical coverage, lack of care, & lack of competent physicians is mostly to blame.