You hear a lot about an “opioid crisis” going on, but this has a lot of misinformation and it is hurting chronic pain patients.
People are lead to believe that opioids in general are killing people and cutting back on prescribing them is the way forward. This is simply NOT true.
The fact is that nearly all deaths from opioids are from abusing them, and most are illegally obtained and they were not prescribed them at all, let alone for chronic pain.
Chronic pain patients that have severe pain that find opiates effective (to be clear some people do not get massive relief from opioids), usually do not abuse opioids and do not become addicted (dependent is a different thing).
In one study: “Signs of opioid addiction were reported in 0.27% of participants”.
Another study of 135,971 people in an emergency hospital that had overdosed from opioids showed that just 13% were chronic pain patients.
In a study in 2014, 75% of people who abused opioids had not been prescribed them.
The majority that abuse them also have other addiction tendencies such as alcohol and if they have been prescribed them, it is usually as they were prescribed for non-chronic pain.
Chronic pain patients are being directly affected by the opioid crisis which is really opioid hysteria, and they are being forced to taper off pain relief which was the only thing giving them massive pain relief.
Some people with chronic pain don’t have pain as bad as others as everyone is different and no pain is the same.
Some people find they can self manage or use other medications and live a happy life. Others have severe, excruciating pain that nothing else helps (myself included), and self managing without a strong painkiller is the most excruciating, unbearable punishment.
Those that have not experience severe chronic pain, will not know how horrific it is to live with pain, and pushing this opioid hysteria to chronic pain patients is inhumane.
The simple fact is the people that abuse opioids recreationally are not chronic pain patients and those that die from abusing it again are not chronic pain patients.
Patients are now living in fear they will be made to taper off the only thing that gives them even a bit of life, all because of scaremongering and lies.
The reports that claim x amount of people are abusing opioids fail to clarify that the vast majority were not prescribed these painkillers to start with!
On NHS & NICE websites you can find them saying lies and horrific advice to doctors such as:
- “It has become clear that opioids are not the safe and effective treatment for chronic non-cancer pain that was first thought.”
- “There is little evidence that they are helpful for long term pain”
- “Opioids should be discontinued if the person is still in pain despite using opioids, even if no other treatment is available.”
The last one is the scariest. This is from NICE who set the regulations and advice that doctors have to follow, saying that doctors should stop opioids if there is still pain? I have severe debilitating chronic pain, of course there will still be pain! I was screaming in pain in bed before the painkillers as the pain was so horrific that I couldn’t move and couldn’t get comfortable. I was bed-bound and in the worse pain imaginable.
Chronic pain sufferers don’t expect to be pain-free on any painkiller! Saying that painkillers should be stopped if you still have pain is utterly ridiculous. There is a reason so many chronic pain patients kill themselves worldwide after being taken off painkillers. It is not an addiction at all, it is because the pain can be so severe that life is not worth living with it.
For me before opioids, I would be in bed all day every day with the worst pain I have ever experienced. I could barely move and I will lay there all the time crying in pain unable to find relief, moving to try to find the least pain position but it was never there.
There was nothing that helped; non opioid medication didn’t do a thing but give me horrific side effects neither did exercise or stretching. Opioids let me be able to get up and although of course I still have pain, it is a lot less than it was.
I know one day they will stop being as effective or I will be forced to taper off (one doctor tried that by spouting lies as per a previous blog post), and I will be left back to that severe excruciating, unbearable pain that nothing helps.
I know personally cannabis worked better for me with no withdrawal or side effects also never killed anyone and is a safe plant, but the NHS won’t prescribe it for chronic pain meaning once I have to come off opioids I will be left with nothing and will be back to that unbearable pain again which is disgraceful when it is medically legal.
Just more proof that health care and governments don’t care about patients.
Chronic pain patients need care, not to be treated like an addict!