I was at my pain doc's yesterday. While I was there I looked at the pain opiod therapy policy paper given to many patients. Theirs was titled as policy. I have seen them elsewhere titled as contract.
I understand all the problems related to pain medication, especially now that prescription drug abuse is allegedly at an all time high.
I hate that it, along with the "war on drugs", is being taken out on pain patients.
My meds are at the lowest level of narcotic. I have been lucky in that my doctors have always understood my request to try more potent meds. Invariably they do not help and I just go back to what I have been taking for years. I have never been asked to sign a contract about how I will take and use these meds.
When I read these policies and contracts, even though I have never been asked to sign one, my blood boils.
If I had diabetes or another disorder that required a daily drug I am not seen as a potential abuser and poseur. In fact, now that I think of it, diabetes is a perfect example.
One of the contract promises I have seen reads "I will make my month supply of medication last for the full 30 (31) days. If I use up the drug before the 30 days I will not be able to get more until the beginning of the next 30 (31) day period."
Pain patients can have better and worse days. If a worse day they may need to take an extra pill or two but if they do, then they will not have enough to cover one or two more days until the end of the month period.
A diabetic may eat sugary foods, be under stress or for other reasons their insulin need goes up. To my knowledge they are not told, 'well, tough'. They get the extra medication to make up for the time or two they had to use extra. Why are we treated differently?
"I promise I will not use illegal drugs while taking the medication prescribed by the pain clinic." That should be pro forma for any docs office. After all, every physician should want their patients to promise not to use 'recreational' drugs.
The worst of all, as far as I am concerned, is the extracted agreement to random drug and urine testing.
Because I have pain I have to sign a paper that says I promise not to be a felon. No other specialty requires this. No other specialty treats us as guilty until and unless proven innocent. No other specialty treats us as less than what we are - patients, in need of help, not judgement and implicit name calling.