What’s Good For the Addicted Should Also Apply to Chronic Pain

Patty Hajdu, the Minister of Health, sent a letter to her provincial colleagues concerned about the increasing deaths of people suffering from addictions and using a poisoned street drug supply. Clearly, the government strategy to deal with overdoses and deaths by severely limiting prescriptions for opiate medications to chronic pain patients and others has not worked. Of course, most of us knew it would not work because substance abuse is not fuelled by those getting prescribed for pain. The research is crystal clear. Health Canada’s policy of prohibition did nothing for the overdose problem but, instead, added suffering to the lives of pain patients, demonized both them and their medicines, and stigmatized them to the point where doctors have abandoned them altogether. It has also increased the death toll. Instead of one crisis with one population, they have created two.

The minister’s new strategy as expressed in a letter to her colleagues is to make prescription grade opioids available to those addicted to protect them from the dangers of street drugs. We applaud any strategy that will help to keep patients safe and alive. However, how about keeping pain patients safe and alive? Where is there an announcement and strategy for this?

It should be quite evident to Health Canada that they have failed in their attempts to deal with the ever increasing overdose deaths and that they have simultaneously harmed pain patients to incalculable measures. In light of all of the harm that has been done, we are calling upon them to:

  • Make a public apology to pain patients. Why? Because when you have promoted gross distortions of the truth, and caused so much destruction and suffering, it’s the right thing to do. Health Canada must position itself on the side of evidence, and intentionally identify the overdose crisis is not the result of medically managed pain patients.
  • Rescind the 2017 guideline. We know this was not based on evidence or facts. There is no one size fits all. All pain treatment decisions including medication should be between physician and patient.
  • Health Canada must demand that all 13 regulatory colleges provide an achievable plan to immediately restore medical care to legacy patients and provide adequate care to new patients. Regulatory colleges must redeem the fundamental principle that every patient be treated as the unique individual they are, with their own unique and individual needs.

It is time to move forward and make things right by allowing doctors to practice sound, evidence-based medicine.

5 thoughts on “What’s Good For the Addicted Should Also Apply to Chronic Pain

  1. I knew that pain patients were in trouble when my Tramecet prescription ran out and I was told it would not be refilled. My increase in pain was not addressed. I was told yo take Tylenol which was like sugar pills. I was humiliated by my doctor and his staff. I was treated like an addict, trying to get a fix. I stopped believing I would ever get any relief. I became dispondant and depressed, and, had little quality of life. I was put in Cymbalta. it did not help. I am having a laminectomy and diskectomy, tomorrow, and, I am terrified of what pain management I will need, and, if it will be prescribed. I am worried about quality of life if I don’t have some relief. Oh my! I tell myself that the government will act accordingly and right this wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am an “end stage” arthritic that’s had 17 trauma surgeries for back, abdominal, ankles and knees. At present I have no left knee and I’m waiting for a surgery date. The clinic my physician works from has a in house pharmacist that must interview and approve of ALL prescriptions from all the doctors. This pharmacist (?) is not a medical doctor and has made the past 4 or 5 years of my life a bloody living hell only allowing a fraction of pain medication prescribed by my doctor. Is this normal? I’ve been almost suicidal at time because of this stress.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is very strange and I suspect that the doctors have passed on their prescribing privileges to pharmacists. Have you discussed this with the doctor? If you have and the doctor refuses to budge, then I would call the medical college and the college of pharmacy. The surgery is being done in the hospital so I would also talk to the chief of surgery in the hospital. Good luck


  3. I am also a chronic pain patient who was put through the hurdles by the college in Alberta.I was reduced in less than 3 months by 78%.My life changed and I’ve never been able to get it back.
    I’m sorry the meds worked well for me for near 30 years but years before when they changed from oxycontin to oxyneo that really when my problems started.The new one did not work so my dose increased from a amount to almost double.It was too high but did work for many years until the witch hunt started with the college going after all pain patients.
    I was talking to a doctor just today & was told why the new Oxyneo didn’t work & I was not alone.For years I thought it was just me but was relieved to find that out I must say.
    Oxycontin was changed to Oxyneo so the people that abused drugs could no longer abuse oxycontin in its new form.
    But why do us the pain patients have to always be put on the back burner for our needs?
    Do we not count as much as drugs abusers?
    I was forced to go to a pain clinic that put me on suboxone.I was told if doesnt work I can go back on opiods.
    More lies or not telling us the whole honest facts
    I was told by the pain doctor that my meds were destroyed already.They were not. I dealt with same pharmacy for many years & they knew the truth I have terrible pain but the medicine that was prescribed did work & I had a pretty darn great life for over 30 years.
    The suboxone did not work at all for over 30 days I never knew how bad my pain really was until that point.
    I fought with the college here in Alberta well not myself but my wife & my daughter did after & was raised by the pain Drs.by 100 micrograms of fentanyl so I now got 200 instead of 100.It helped sure but still really I have lost my life.
    I cannot hardly leave my home as because of pain.Not fun let me tell you.I only 61 I was 59 when this all happened.
    The weather has turned colder in the last few days here, I now hurt so much more with now having more pain in my shoulders as well, knees but never had pain in my shoulders until I was reduced,in fact I now have much more pain then prior in fact I got so depressed inside my head I tried to take my own life.I so sorry now it didn’t work.
    So many doctors that were here to help pain patients have either lost their licence or quit pain treatment & went into another field.
    Seems the rights of chronic pain patients do not matter to the overseers like the College of Physicians nor our government care either
    I do not have that choice yet the drug seekers still get help or free drugs to feed their addictions.
    I feel so bad for these people but only wish I could get help.
    Seems the pain patients are still ignored.But why do we not receive the right to have our pain controlled?
    It’s certainly been proven the whole deal starting with the CDC in the USA that Canada followed was not real data & why are we not allowed to receive treatment that works?
    Statistics prove that addicts do not get their fix from Pain patients or from their doctor. I’d sure like to know how pain patients could be treated like the addicts & have the right to be prescribed per person not just a maximum amount of 90 mgs.
    Pain is not a one fit treatment, everyone has their own metabolism, their own reason for hurting.
    I just wish & pray that pain patients needs were met so their time here was not in agony.I just have no clue what I am going to do with snow removal this year as it hurts so badly in my shoulders when I try to lift my arms now with colder weather setting in.
    Its terrible when chronic pain patients have to hate their short time on this earth when treatments are available that perhaps doesn’t fix the problem but sure makes a difference on us to be able to do a little.
    Last year I had to stop helping my wife cut the lawn with a riding mower as it causes too much pain & then I’m left feeling guilty.
    Our government doesn’t care enough about us to allow Doctors to do what they are trained to do. Its pretty bad when there’s a third party in the examination room, which is the government and their restrictions. Sure seems our problems do not matter
    I only wish I had used a gun & got the job looked after, I did not as I did not want to leave my family with that image.I so love my wife & kids but I sure understand why suicides in chronic pain sufferers has increased as I am living it hour by hour day by day.
    I was not totally cut off like so many. My heart goes out to these people.It’s so wrong to do to us in agony.I never went to the streets thought about it lots but takes once of getting something that could even make things worse.
    They started this witch hunt, the information was wrong. Why not allow us to be put in control of our pain with our doctors if we are lucky enough to have any doctors left that will help us!
    It is still hard to believe this could happen in our society & has not been reversed.
    I am just so thankful for so many people like Barry Ulmer and Red Lawhern that fights so very hard for us as I never thought this could or would happen to me!
    The worst is it takes the fight out of us, its a sad tribute to our forward thinking government and top notch healthcare system that I have considered (too often) that its just easier to go where there is NO return.


  4. Why are junkies treated better than people with a chronic pain condition.?¿??
    I’ve had to go to a clinic that is a dispenser to junkies & I can’t get a prescription for chronic pain. WHY WHY. Somebody explain please


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