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Saturday, July 2, 2011

"Narcotics are bad for you so they should be banned."

I wrote a post a few days back about opiod contracts. Since then 2 things have come to my attention. Otherwise I would let the subject go (at least for a while.)

There is a new drug Abstral. It is a pain medication, an opiod. The prescribing information states it is fentynel based, a Schedule II opiod, the highest level. The instruictions state it has "as an abuse liability similar to other opioid analgesics. ABSTRAL can be abused in a manner similar to other opioid agonists, legal or illicit. Schedule II opioid substances which include morphine, oxycodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and methadone have the highest potential for abuse and risk of fatal overdose due to respiratory depression."

What makes it different from the other opiates? This one comes with a contract from the pharmacy, mandated by the government. In fact if you refuse to sign the release of information portion of the contract you will not be able to get the medication.

This is part of the FDA REMS (risk and management program). What makes it of concern to me is that now the consultation room has the government and the pharmacy in there along with you and the doctor. Since when was that room open to any and all comers at the behest of the government?

"Some people abuse pain meds, so you shouldn't have them." I was reminded of this mantra by one of our commenters here. (Please see her comment in the last blog. I am not my disease

I have seen this said in many posts and articles throughout the last few years. Sometimes it is said indirectly. Other times it is written outright: narcotics are bad for you, people abuse and misuse them, therefore they should be banned.

Invariably this is written by those who do not (thankfully) know chronic pain firsthand (or most probably even very severe acute pain.).

Insulin and steroids have been abused by athletes. Does this mean they should be banned altogether? Ask a patient with lupus, arthritis, asthma, MS, if steroids should no longer be available. Their answer would be the same as ours.

"I need the medication to help me cope with and live with my illness."

Guess what. So do we.


  1. I find this information very disturbing. I do not understand the need for the government and the pharmacies to get between us and our doctors. If our doctors trust us and know that we need the medication, why should our access to it be banned because some people abuse it?

    I am outraged that they are talking about changing the makeup of percocet to make it less potent. This is a medication that makes my life manageable and allows me to continue to be somewhat productive. Without it, I will be back on the couch, trying to explain my "laziness" to my family.

    I am with you in your fight. And I also would like to ask you if you would like to contribute a chapter to the book I am writing about chronic invisible illness patients. I love your blog and think you could contribute a very compelling story to the book.

    If you are interested, you can email me at or go to my blog, and look at the 6/29 and 6/30 entries for submission guidelines.

    Thanks and I hope to hear from you. And thank you for continuing to talk about this issue.


  2. Jackie writes:

    That was really cool for me that my comment on the "I am not my disease" blog was the inspiration for today's blog!

    And I checked the Kevin, MD site again and saw your replies. Good for you!


  3. Thanks Chelle, I appreciate the invitation and will go over there this morning.
    This is what is missing from the equation, you do not want us to be 'lazy, or worse disabled and getting help from the gov't? Then don;t make it so difficult for us to get the meds that allow us to be more 'able'.

  4. Jackie, Thanks for making me think of it. I wasn't sure if you would want me to use your name or quote from your comment directly so hope you don't mind that I just referenced it.
    I am so glad you mentioned that article from over there. You are a great warrior too!

  5. Just found your blog thank you for shining a light on what many of us go through. I have been suffering from a chronis nerve condition for 14 years my life has been turned upside down not just physically but mentally. I have learned along the way that YOU CANT overcome some things with will power. Thanks again..

  6. Hi Rosendo, I'm glad you did. I hope that you have been able to find a way to get some relief from your pain.
    (You also gave me an idea for a post.)