March 26, 2012

Sufferers of chronic pain and the government’s war on OxyContin - Health -

Sufferers of chronic pain and the government’s war on OxyContin - Health -
I don't have much time so I won't write much.
I have been talking a lot about the Oxy Contin-Oxy NEO controversy here in Canada, and the way it came across.
No coverage was given to people legitimately using Oxy Contin, and what the policy changes means for them.
This article starts off with the statement: “Chronic pain is even worse to live with than lung, cardiac or liver disease. Bad chronic pain is connected with the worst quality of life. People don’t realize that it is a disease on its own, not just a symptom.”
It could not be truer.
I am in a strangle hold with my doctor, where he is afraid giving me any more pain relief will be doing harm. There's another form of harm, and that is doing nothing.
I would rather live a shorter life but be able to LIVE than live a long life like this. I am already having issues with my health that are not going anywhere, my liver, my large intestine is diseased with either crohn's or Colitis, and they can't even do a test to check because of other issues, where I am not digesting properly
On top of that, I am getting more and more migraines, nausea, and general pain.
My hands swell almost every day to the point of not being able to hold a pencil, I get headaches that if I ignore them and keep typing, turn into migraines almost all the time now, and yet, my mind is awake, active, and begging me to challange it.
\Do you know what torture that is.
Relationships are non existant, and can I blame anyone for not wanting to go through this with me?
It's not easy to sit there and waste away, not able to do much at all, and not allowed to drive, not able to work...I was always going to escape this hellish town, and now I am reliant on it. This is killing me. I want to be able to use my days as many as I have left, to live, and take what may come when it finally beats me. This is no life.
Anyway, sorry, it's just that's how bad things are when you're sick with this. then there's the judgment from others.
This article addresses a few things about  pain in general, and the coverage of the oxy conflict is getting some light other than just focusing on the addiction part of it
I hope you can read this, and send it to others, and raise awareness for this horrible illness.
thank you

March 7, 2012

"We need a War on Pain a lot more than we need a War on Drugs."-Andre Picard

Hey there. In Canada, we recently had all Oxy Contin production completely halted, and pulled off of shelves. That took effect early this month. I am a part of a few different Chronic Pain sights, and they have been very informative; I also watched the news coverage and articles to see how they covered it. The coverage up to today has been very poorly done. It was neither balanced, nor informative. CTV only discussed the angle of addicts, and others went a little further to talk about the effect on the addicts in detail such as the alarming rate at which this has been put into place does not give any time to make available safe detox centers.
When it does get replaced, Ontario has decided it will no longer cover it under benefits***. So what of the patients depending on it for legitimate reasons, as well as the concern over new regulations that will force patients to wait a minimum of three weeks to be approved for use of it. Doctors will now have to request the drug three weeks in advance. Which is fine if that is before you take your first pill, but by introducing Oxy-Neo they are forcing doctors to apply as if it were the first time being prescribed. What about the patients living in AGONY and now they have to contend with withdrawal, as well as elevated pain levels, and not to mention withdrawal can stress out the heart.
Not to mention those that are being prescribed Oxy will not only have to pay out of pocket, but they also may be prescribed an alternate medication, like Dilauded (one of the most commonly dispensed Opiate, as well as highly addictive, and more potent). The Oxy Neo will only be prescribed to the patients needing to transition for a year. This allows doctors to get them off the drug, or do their application. The chance of it being approved, however, is incredibly low. The doctor will first have to prove that ALL other options have been tried, and have failed.**
In the article, one of the pain-doctors I went to actually, was interviewed and commented on how CARP (Dr. Mailis is the residential neurological pain expert) has found "no evidence that any preparations or plans have been make to help abusers or addicts, or even help people with prescriptions that have been cut off by their doctors"*
It should not be that the victims of this war on prescription drug abuse the only ones that suffer are the people living in pain every day of their lives. Many doctors over prescribe medication. I have experienced that, but I also experienced the opposite- Doctors being too concerned to bother because of the regulations.
*The article written by the Toronto Star brought up a very good quote by Ann Marlow (How to Stop Time-a classic about heroin). "Opiate addiction only became a social problem when it became a social solution: When it addressed widespread longing and needs". Let's face it, much of the chronic pain that they treat is invisible, and if an illness exceeds the normal parameters of an injury or illness, then they are overwhelmed. Some decide they wanted to use their patient as a guinea pig, and others just say they can't do anything. Even many doctors that add pain specialist under their areas of expertise are not truly pain specialists. Often, they've merely taken a course, or so. Those that are specialists however, earned their title. But it's hard to locate the real ones amidst others who treat it on the side. That's another aspect that is not addressed: Most doctors out there are unaware of how to ween their patients properly, and there are not enough addiction site offering assistance** .
On the topic of addict related trauma: The biggest concern is the aboriginal communities. There is concern about areas that are considered high addiction levels. The aboriginal communities may be hit the hardest in terms of its addicts. It is surmised that one way or another there will be an epidemic in the higher addiction level communities due to this brazen move by the Ontario government. There are a few possibilities; this includes rise in crime rates, more drug trafficking across the border, turn to another, more potent drug, an extremely high amount of people needing help and monitoring as they go through withdrawal (which can stress your heart enough to induce a heart attack), and a rash of deaths related to this.
In the Article from CARP, they had sourced Claudette Chase, a medical director for the Sioux Lookout First Nation's health authority and a member of the Nishnawbe Aski Nations prescription drug abuse task force
*. She stated that a *third of the aboriginal pop^n in her area of Northwestern Ontario is addicted to prescription opioids. In some communities, it's 75%. Of thousands that need treatment...less than 10% are getting help.*."
The Globe and Mail recently wrote an article about this new move, and argued that the war on drugs should not end up victimizing pain patients-The title of this blog is a quote from him.
He addresses all of the parties of people that will be effected by this new move, spending a lot of time talking of Chronic Pain patients worries. So far, most articles only address the addiction issue.
He addresses in his article, 2 reasons why this public policy change is surrounded by so much controversy.
i)There will be a ripple effect created by this decision to remove OxyContin and tighten regulations that could have many "unintended consequences"***
ii)That however well intentioned this move, "it ignores the harsh reality that chronic pain and addictions are sprawlling societal problems that extend far beyond access--legitimate or otherwise--to a single drug"
According to Picard, "there are fewer than 100 "detoxification" beds for those suffering withdrawal in Canada. The wait [time] for treatment stretch to six months and beyond. There are treatment programs that offer methadone and suboxone(similar to methadone), but those are in short supply"
This is unacceptable. If you're going to launch a war on drug abuse, why must they punish the legitimate pain patients who rely on it to survive. Choosing to make a move like this, they must also take on the responsibility of the consequences. The whole idea to pull this rather than marketing it, is to try and "Saaave the peeeeople" but in reality they are endangering those very lives by not offering the resources needed to make a safe transition.
Oxy Codone is very close to Heroin (hence the nick name of Hill billy Heroin) But the few molecules of difference is the difference between the side effects. That is why many who choose to get high will choose to use the drug by dissolving it, or chewing. The abuse of this drug has been linked to higher crime ratings** By not improving safe facilities with people trained who can help (not only the addicts, but also those pain patients caught in the crossfire).
Please take the time to sign the Canadian Pain Coalition's petition for better care for us pain patients, we deeply need it. It is primarily about allowing the resources to be out there more; it has no link to insurance company competition or asking for charity, it is solely about improving care, for example, by adding courses for doctors to inform them of what to do if a patient of theirs is a sufferer.
This Canadian Pain Summit is happening on April 24th in Ottawa, Please check this web site out for more information and links to petitions connected to this to the Canadian gov't, and I will post the link for the American Pain Awareness petition.
To conclude I will leave some numbers to get a better understanding. I think I mentioned them earlier. These are numbers from the CARP site:
Ontario’s methadone caseload in December, 2010: 29,332 patients, 296 physicians, 105 offices
Ontario’s methadone caseload in December, 2011: 35,228 patients, 340 physicians, 120 offices
9,000 - Estimated number of aboriginals in northwestern Ontario addicted to OxyContin
5 - Estimated percentage of those receiving treatment
33 - Estimated percentage of Northwestern Ontario’s First Nations population addicted to OxyContin
75 - Estimated percentage of OxyContin-addicted residents in some of Northwestern Ontario’s hardest-hit communities.

This information was provided by
Health Canada, Ontario Health Ministry, Nishnawbe Aski Nation ***
This is obviously an issue close to my heart, and I thank you for taking the time to read this, and if you sign the petition, a sincerest thank you (the US one will be added in a couple days...have to re-loacate it.)
I do have some...good news I suppose that gives reason to keep trying to fins a way to manage this. I have been applying a concoction of different medical ingredients such as Gabapentin, but it is incredibly painful to apply, so it's been causing more harm than good, but I agreed to give it three weeks, so I kept up with the applications. Yesterday, an area of my foot which has had numbness in the surface, and a slight constant pain like walking on a nail but deeeep beneath the skin. Anyway, the other day, I felt this intense itch that was just below the surface- that kind of itch that it is too painful to scratch, but not scratching actually causes muscle tension and pain, so you have to find a way to calm the sensation down either with ice, or water, or anything else that might work. After the itch calmed down, there was an intense pain in that area, but closer to the surface was a tingling. This is a sign that maybe there is hope that with the right treatment, things could at least improve a little.
:) Thanks


-This one here addresses OXY CONTIN vs OXY NEO and what the differences are, and the concerns for those forced to rely on these new ones.