Amid a rising toll of opioid overdoses, recommendations discouraging their use to treat pain seem to make sense. Yet the devil is in the details: how recommendations play out in real life can harm the very patients they purport to protect. A new proposal from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to enforce hard limits on opioid dosing is a dangerous case in point.

There’s no doubt that we needed to curtail the opioid supply. The decade of 2001-2011 saw a pattern of increasing prescriptions for these drugs, often without attention to risks of overdose or addiction. Some patients developed addictions to them; estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention range from 0.7 percent to 6 percent. Worse, opioid pills became ubiquitous in communities across the country, spread through sale, theft, and sharing with others, notably with young adults.

The prescribing tide has turned: Private and governmental data show that the number of prescriptions for opioids has been falling since 2012. Reassuringly, federal surveys show that misuse of pain relievers bottomed out in 2014-15.

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Nevertheless, the CDC produced a guideline in 2016 that recommended shorter durations for opioid prescriptions and the use of non-drug treatments for pain. It also suggested keeping opioid doses lower than the equivalent of 90 milligrams of morphine. As the guideline acknowledged, its recommendations reflected weak scientific evidence. Problematically, it was silent on how to care for patients already receiving doses higher than the 90 milligram threshold.

To its credit, the guideline endorsed treating patients as individuals, not numbers. A CDC official wrote to one patient that the guideline “is not a rule, regulation, or law. … It is not intended to take away physician discretion or decision-making.”

Unfortunately, these mitigating features were undermined by intemperate publicity that vilified opioids for pain. Opioids for pain “are just as addictive is heroin,” proclaimed CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden. Such statements buttress a fantasy that the tragedy of opioid overdoses and deaths will be solved in doctors’ offices, primarily by upending the care of 5 to 8 million Americans who receive opioids for pain, even when most individuals with opioid addiction did not start as pain patients.

The progression of the guidelines from “voluntary” to “enforceable” has culminated in a draft policy from CMS. It would block all prescriptions above the CDC threshold of 90 milligrams unless complex bureaucratic barriers are surmounted. Many pharmacy plans are already enforcing this approach. Under that plan, many patients suffering with chronic pain would lose access to the medicines they are currently taking, all in the name of reversing a tide of death increasingly defined by non-prescribed opioids such as heroin and fentanyl.

The logic of doing this is untested. There have been no prospective clinical studies to show that discontinuing opioids for currently stable pain patients helps those patients or anyone else. While doing so could help some, it will destabilize others and likely promote the use of heroin or other drugs. In effect, pain patients currently taking opioids long-term have become involuntary participants in an experiment, with their lives at stake.

Turning the voluntary guidelines into strict policy is unfortunate for three reasons.

First, it reflects a myopic misunderstanding of addiction’s causes, one at odds with a landmark report issued by the US surgeon general in November 2016. While the supply of drugs matters, whether people develop addiction to opioids reflects diverse factors including age, biology, and whether their lives include opportunities for rewarding activities like work and family or lacks those opportunities. Restricting prescriptions through aggressive regulation invites the outcomes seen in Prohibition, 90 years ago. To be fair to Prohibition, cirrhosis deaths did decline. But echoing that era’s gangsters and moonshine, we now face a galloping criminal trade in drugs of greater potency and lethality. Overdoses have skyrocketed, mostly from heroin and illicit fentanyl. In a Massachusetts review of overdoses, just 8 percent of those who had overdosed had received opioid prescriptions in the prior month.

Second, we have alternatives to bureaucratic controls. These include promoting and paying for treatments that de-emphasize pills. Important work by the Department of Veterans Affairs shows how to identify patients with elevated risk for harm from opioids and how to mitigate the risks.

Third and most troubling is the increasingly inhumane treatment of patients with chronic pain. Fearing investigation or sanction, physicians caring for patients on long-term opioids face a dire choice: to involuntarily terminate prescriptions for patients who are otherwise stable, or to carry on as embattled, unprotected professionals, subject to bureaucratic muscle and public shaming from every direction.

In this context, we cannot be surprised by a flurry of reports, in the press, social media, and the medical literature describing pain patients entering acute withdrawal, losing function, committing suicide, or dying in jail. The CMS policy, if adopted, will accelerate this trend.

Many of our colleagues in addiction medicine tell us they are alarmed by the widespread mistreatment of pain patients. We receive anecdotes every week from physicians and pharmacists, most of them expert in addictions, describing pain patients who have involuntarily lost access to their pain medications and as a result have been reduced from working to bedridden adults, or who have become suicidal.

This loss of access occurs several ways. A pharmacy benefit program may refuse to cover the prescription because it has already enacted the changes that CMS is proposing to make mandatory. A physician may feel threatened by employers or regulators, and believes his or her professional survival depends on reducing opioid doses — involuntarily and without the patient’s consent — to thresholds that the CDC itself described as voluntary and not mandatory. Or state regulators have imposed such burdensome requirements that no physician in a given region can sustain prescriptions for their patients. Such patients are then “orphaned,” compelled to seek treatment from other physicians across the country.

Given the expertise in addiction among these physicians, it should be particularly worrisome that they believe the present pill-control campaign has gone too far. And yet, the ethics are clear: It should never be acceptable for us to countenance the death of one patient in the avowed service of protecting others, even more so when the projected benefit is unproven.

Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy made an underappreciated declaration in a recent interview with the New England Journal of Medicine. “We cannot allow the pendulum to swing to the other extreme here, where we deny people who need opioid medications those actual medications. … We are trying to find an appropriate middle ground,” he said.

As addiction professionals, we agree wholeheartedly.

Stefan G. Kertesz, MD, and Adam J. Gordon, MD, are physicians in both internal medicine and addiction medicine. Dr. Kertesz is an associate professor of preventive medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine; Dr. Gordon is a professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and editor of the journal Substance Abuse. The views expressed here are their own and do not reflect positions held by their employers.

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  • I appreciate the surgeon generals comments, but people are suffering now! Just cutting people off and offering no viable alternatives is BS. I’m afraid a lawsuit is the only option at this point. I don’t want a bunch of idiot politicians making my medical decisions. Or a bunch is spineless doctors that ignore people in pain, because of their pill count.

    • If there’s a class action suit, definitely count me in! I think there are many damages we could tabulate, even for those of us who have not yet been cut off from meds – the expenses that are generated by drug-war laws that artificially inflate the price of our medications, the overabundance of doctor’s appointments, drug tests, the extra pain psychology appointments (is there a psychology to pain? that’s like saying that feeling the sun on your skin has a unique psychology. Pain is a normal sensory process).

  • To all my fellow chronic pain friends:

    I would start from the start with my story but I know, you girls know and we’re all the same.
    I totally feel both your pain girls!
    The question that I have is why is it that patients who have “proven” records of excruciating pain, me 20 years of over 1,700 mg of Oxy-Neo, Dilaudid and last 4 years wonderful helpful 13-18 weekly nerve block injections, are being refused access of that medication and/or limits when this very medication was made for pain like ours.
    We are the very definition why this type of medication was made? How do they justify over-dosing with Chronic Pain Patients…this problem is on the black-market street drug…not at the pain center! I’ve never had any Chronic pain patient over dose, why should we be penalized if we’ve followed all regulations form our physicians and we have proven records that this medication is not hurting my body long-term…so what’s your problem Mr. Ministry of Health? What does any of this have anything to do with Chronic Pain Patients?
    Also, how can Mr. Ministry of Health come in cut us off, threatened our physicians and specialists from prescribing and yet, Mr. Ministry of Health never once asked to meet with the patients, face to face? They looked at “my” file I know that cause I was one of the highest dosage, however, they never once met with me personally, as the patient!
    They never heard my highly successful story, how I was able to return to the work force, obtain my teaching degree with honors when working full-time, rise my own baby boy, support family members with Alzheimer including managing my own pain. All this healthy way of living on Oxy-Neo at 1.600 mg/daily and Dilaudid and Alertec for 20 years without any incidents what so ever!
    Nop, I was never asked to meet with any of those so-called capable decision makers? How dare they? Really how dare they ruin our entire lives, ruin everything we’ve worked so hard to achieve while in pain…how dare they? Who are they to judge us like this…This should be looked at by each separate cases, not genaralize and put us all in the same category of drug dealers, drug abusers..its criminal really! They have no right to ruin chronic patient’s lives that have absolutely nothing to do with any over-dose, selling drugs on the street? Look at our files, it’s all there, we have proven records…common!
    They should look at the root-cause problem; “addiction”, and people who are abusing prescription medication without appropriate monitoring of Opioids…Now that’s the root cause of the issue. Take those drug dealers off the street, we’re not the dealers here! And, leave chronic pain honest hard-working tax paying individuals…common seriously!

    I’m so frustrated, this is so unfair, its’ not even funny!

    I apologies for telling it the way it is, but that’s the truth…

    I’m so ready to bring government to supreme court, this is a violation of the human rights and criminal because when did chronic pain patients is involve with street drugs, it makes zero sense Penalizing those who are only seeking medical care the right way, the honest way and mostly in the safest manner ever! seriously!

    If anyone would like to visit the idea of suing this government, I seriously think we have rights and they are taking this matter the wrong way and attacking the wrong people! We are paying a big price with negative health consequences, I would really like to tell this entire story, my success story to a judge, to the media, the press, everyone needs to understand how unfair this is! Chronic Excruciating burning pain since 1999 due to back surgery that went wrong…how is all this my fault…really?

    I am open for further conversation on this topic and seriously thinking of going forward with a lawsuit, if anyone is interested to at least visit the idea, let’s talk…

    Something has to be done!

    I feel and share your pain at each and every level!

    Sylvie L.
    Cell: 647-808-7895
    Toronto, Ontario Canada

    • I can tell you why no chronic pain patients at your clinic have overdosed. Opiate overdose is difficult to do, easy to interrupt, and if interrupted, leaves no permanent damage. Between the 1920s & 2000, the US government funded studies trying to find the reliable deadly dose of opiates – and failed.

      Overdose is an overblown concept, and nothing like the image the public have been trained to believe – a death so quick you don’t have time to remove the needle from your arm. That kind of death is due to anaphylaxis, Stevens Johnson syndrome, or from injecting morphine/heroin into someone’s blood vessel while there is alcohol in the blood stream.

      Opiate OD is a slow process, 1-12 hours, in which someone who is unconscious has slowed breathing, leading to fewer signals from the brain to breathe, leading to lower 02 levels, then slower breathing – a feedback loop that is easy to interrupt and which leaves no permanent damage.

      Here’s a quote that illustrates the ridiculousness of the image of opiate death that we’ve been trained to believe. This was said to the Guardian by Dr. Robert Anderson of Glasgow University Forensics Department: ‘Sometimes there is no trace of a poison in the blood because it killed the person too quickly. A heroin addict found dead with a needle sticking out of his arm is an example – sometimes there’s no trace of the drug at post-mortem. However, if the person lived long enough [after the morphine was administered] for the blood to get into circulation, it should be present.'” (here’s the link: https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2000/jan/31/shipman.health4)

      How does morphine that didn’t even get into the bloodstream stop either the lungs or the brain? How did neither Dr. Anderson nor the Guardian’s reporter or editor not notice the ridiculousness of this claim?

    • One other thing – Anaphylaxis and Stevens Johnson syndrome are never caused by opiates themselves, they are caused by cutting agents. It was during the 1940s that black market sellers started stretching heroin by adding quinine, leading to increasing deaths among heroin users. These days there are many cutting agents that can cause such deadly reactions. Cutting agents in use today include lactase, acetaminophen, and may other substances that can be safely consumed orally but are dangerous to inject.

  • My PA with my long term Pain Mgmt Dr essentially comes off as saying “this is all the medication you can now have and I hope it doesn’t cause your family to seek out a care facility for you.” I keep being told there’s a new law in my state of SC that max dosage is now 50mg. Unless it’s really new, the CDC still says 90mg is the max on recommendation. Insurance/Medicare limits 2@30mg ER then requires special authorization. I was on 90mg ER most of the last 19-20 yrs along with a 15mg IR oxycodone x3 day max. Cut 1 ER and 1ir but also changed the Ir to morphine so I would get the same drug name. Morphine Ir has left me dizzy and off balance from day 1. Scares me to take it . I asked if the PA would switch it back to oxycodone 15mg Ir since I didn’t have side effects that literally keep me from leaving my home. The answer I got was cut the morphine 15mg pill in half. Still afraid to take it. It must be too strong?? REALLY??? This PA has no clue ! I’ve tried to accept the cuts made but it’s gone too far. I’m at a loss on what to do and being with my Dr since my 1st day in pain Mgmt, I would most likely have trouble finding another who would treat me properly. Can’t have more surgery and injections are a maybe. Spinal canal closed up more after a bad fall in 2015. FYI… I’ve never abused the program but most certainly feel like I’m being abused now by the misconception that 1 size fits all. The PA did state all my Drs patients were being reduced to under 50mg . I left my house 1 time in 2 weeks …..

    Any advice appreciated!

    • Hi Julie, I wish I had good advice for you, but the drug warriors have really boxed us pain patients into a corner. Thanks to many federal regulations, it’s easy for prosecutors to follow the paper trails and know which doctors are prescribing opiates and how much. Last week, there was a news story about 60 MDs being arrested for prescribing prescription drugs. I’m sure that’s a lot easier for police than arresting actual criminals, since doctors aren’t likely to resist arrest, and the records of the prescriptions are easy to find. So much easier than investigating and finding actual criminals, tracking them down and putting them into the squad car!

      But it’s obvious the federal government doesn’t believe the drug war is winnable. I’ve read Justice Dept. reports freely available on the internet where they admit there will always be a black market for illegal drugs. Also, the same federal government going to such lengths to save us from our prescriptions funds free needles to use injecting illegal drugs. I bet the needle “exchange” facilities aren’t warning the illegal users to keep under 90 mg/day. (The facilities give out millions more needles than the get back, so calling it a “needle exchange” is another drug war use of language to lie to the public).

      Since Nixon declared the drug war in 1972 – naw, even since 1914, when the Harrison Act first put restrictions on opiate sales, only one drug has been taken off the black market. Because they became a party drug while still under patent, all it took to get rid of Quaaludes was for the one manufacturer to cease production. No SWAT raid required.

      And don’t forget OTC Sudafed, which they made more complicated to purchase than a weapon. Meth availability and sales did not even temporarily dip (and meth is, according to the ODCETF more available & more pure than ever). But we still have to show ID, sign a book, give our address and adhere to limits on single purchase and monthly total purchase.

      All we have left is to be political. Write to your representatives, Senator, Governor, letters to the editor. Next Wed. is the first day of action for the Blue Balloon Campaign – pain patients/loved ones launching blue balloons to represent our existence and need for this to stop.https://blueballooncampaig.wixsite.com/blue

    • I would start from the start with my story but I know, you girls know and we’re all the same.
      I totally feel all of your pain!!
      The question that I have is why is it that patients who have “proven” records of excruciating pain, me 20 years of over 1,700 mg of Oxy-Neo, Dilaudid and last 4 years wonderful helpful 13-18 weekly nerve block injections, are being refused access of that medication and/or limits when this very medication was made for pain like ours.
      We are the very definition why this type of medication was made? How do they justify over-dosing with Chronic Pain Patients…this problem is on the black-market street drug…not at the pain center?
      I’ve never had any Chronic pain patient over dose, why should we be penalized if we’ve followed all regulations form our physicians and we have proven records that this medication is not hurting my body long-term…
      so what’s your problem Mr. Ministry of Health?
      What does any of this have anything to do with Chronic Pain Patients?

      Also, how can Mr. Ministry of Health come in cut us off, threatened our physicians and specialists from prescribing and yet, Mr. Ministry of Health never once asked to meet with the patients, face to face, they looked at “my” file I know that cause I was one of the highest dosage, however, they never once met with me personally, as the patient.

      They never heard my highly successful story, how I was able to return to the work force, obtain my teaching degree with honors when working full-time, rise my own baby boy, support family members with Alzheimer including managing my own pain.
      All this positive productivity and constructive way of living while taking Oxy-Neo at 1.600 mg/daily and Dilaudid and Alertec for 20 years without any incident what so ever!
      Nop, I was never asked to meet with any of those decision makers? how dare they, really how dare they ruin our entire lives, ruin everything we’ve worked so hard to achieve while in pain…how dare they? Who are they to judge us like this…
      They should find solutions towards the real root-cause of the problem; “addiction”, and people who are abusing prescription medication without appropriate monitoring of Opioids…Now that’s the root cause of the issue. Take those drug dealers off the street, we’re not the dealers here! And, leave chronic pain honest hard-working tax paying individuals…common seriously!
      I’m so frustrated, this is so unfair, its’ not even funny!
      I apologies for telling it the way it is, but that’s the truth…
      I’m so ready to bring government to supreme court, this is a violation of the human rights and criminal because when did chronic pain patients is involve with street drugs, it makes zero sense Penalizing those who are only seeking medical care the right way, the honest way and mostly in the safest manner ever! seriously!
      Chronic Excruciating burning pain since 1999 due to back surgery that went wrong…how is all this my fault…really?
      I feel your pain ..totally!
      Sylvie L.

    • class-action lawsuit, that’s my answer cause they’re violating our rights to receive medical treatment equal to our medical issues. Chronic Pain Patients and our excruciating pain has absolutely nothing to do with street drugs, over-dose and drug dealers.. Contrary, we are seeking medical care in the out most safest manner ever! None of this makes sense, as far as I am concern, its complete violation of human rights and refusing to accommodate our disabilities.. That’s it! I welcome you to read my post and talk further.. I agree with you at all levels! Tks

  • I have been on pain meds since I was 33 , now 64 . I always said as long as I could walk and talk I would deal with having to take meds for my chronic pain before I would consider surgery . Now a week or more ago I sought out a surgeon to help me . I can’t take it any more ! It’s unbearable ! The meds barely touch the surface now and my quality of life sucks ! But ,,,,as my luck goes the Surgeon told me to stay away from Docs like him! He said i am so far gone my only hope now is that my discs in my spine may ware down even and perhaps my pain will too! Oh boy lucky me ! I don’t mean to be a cry baby but I hurt like hell! I still work and intend to till I leave this earth because if I stop it gets worse . I am told !!!!!!!!! So if they can’t help me with meds , then what’s left ? A slug from my 38? Not my way . I would rather suffer than hurt my loved ones .But it’s only been 31 years ! I may change my mind ?? So let the assholes that don’t hurt constantly or the assholes that say , “everyone’s back hurts “walk a yard in my shoes ! Or any other person that has a chronic disc disease . And now they want to stop me from getting help from my pain care doc? Or limit what they can give me !As I write this my shoulders and back are killing me but I will finish this ! I have to wash myself in Voltaren to keep going but it helps !

    • Patrick, at least you can trust that there are readers here that understand that you are not a crybaby – a lot of us suffer chronic severe pain. I respect your grit and determination to complete this post in your condition.

      It is only thanks to decades of concerted efforts by dozens of federal agencies with all/large parts of their mission focused on the Drug War, and the cooperation of the media and Hollywood (which has been milking the sin-and-redemption narratives of addiction-and-recovery since “Days of Wine & Roses”) that the general public is completely convinced that opiates are deadly dangerous and also cause antisocial and criminal behavior – and that anyone who claims to need such medications for pain is either exaggerating to get the drugs to get high or unaware of “better” alternatives (which work less well, have not be subject to – or failed – placebo controlled random trials, are more invasive, more expensive, have more side effects…).

      The agencies doing the drug war missions know full well that they can’t eliminate the black market for drugs – I have found this in government reports freely available on the internet. Another example of the government showing that they don’t even believe in their own drug war is the federal funding of free needles for use injecting illegal drugs. But “harm reduction” is a lot easier to inflict on pain patients – we and our doctors are easy to track thanks to federally-mandated paper trails of every prescription.

      Without pain treatment, it’s almost impossible for pain patients to publicly assemble in public to request redress of grievances – so the monumental cruelty of current opiate policies can be met with sweet, sweet silence.

      Also. notice they never explain HOW depriving people like us of meds serves the drug war! A patient with chronic and severe pain is the last person in America who is going to lose track of even one pill – the risk of unending pain for the rest of one’s life is strong motivation to be exceedingly careful.

      Next Wednesday is the first day of action for the Blue Balloon campaign. I’m asking pain patients to release balloons – from home if you’re housebound, or anyone who can do so, from a public place. I wanted to create a way we could send a message from wherever we are. All the balloons rise into the same sky. Photos and videos of balloon releases can be posted online to make a record of our struggles accessible to the public.

      https://blueballooncampaig.wixsite.com/blue

    • @ Patrick…….I’ve become chronic pain following my back surgery..just so you know..I had ripped herniated l4 l5 leaking on sciatic nerve, so yes, Orthopeadic and/or neuro-surgeons will operate..there are certain level of spinal injuries that are being operated on…you may want to keep seeking additional “orthopaedic/neuro-surgeons” opinions.. Just in case one of those agrees to operate. Ask for Teradol -Katrolac its an anti-inflammatory/pain killer but not considered narcotic so you wont have any problem getting it from any doctor!!! Even dentist would prescribe it. although, it should not be taken on a regular basis, it is a wonderful super powerful remedy to relief some of your kinda of pain…try it…let me know…until then, do not bend forward, left heavy or sit too long, yessss keep walking and do have resting time! Hope you get somewhere cause I do know exactly how you feel Patrick! Please read my other posts…talk to you later..Sylvie

  • Why are they only targeting Chronic Pain Patients, why dont they take anti-depressants from people that are depressed? Why not address the issue where it is coming from…drug addicts. Yes some people abuse medication, but without a substitute for current pain medications to take medications from people that have not had issues is imoral, and the next issue will be a rise in suicide…What will they do then take windows out of houses and sharp objects away from people in pain…The government needs to govern and stay out of medicine. They are all a bunch of idiots both the democrats and the republicans and if any of them were in chronic pain I am sure they would find a way to get their medicine….

    • sl, why are they targeting pain patients? First, because the drug warriors need to look like they are accomplishing something, even though in their own reports – availably for anyone to read on the internet – they admit there will always be a black market for illegal drugs. Pain patients & doctors are easier to find than actual criminals, and arresting such people leads to far less wear-and-tear on police. Medical records laws make finding prescribing doctors easy, and are substantial amounts of evidence to use to prosecute the target.

      Think about it – they are prosecuting physicians for prescribing prescription drugs!

      Opiates have long been demonized. Writers from ancient times to the 19th century complained that some opiate users were lazy and resisted advice to quit using, which was used in 1914 to justify the Harrison act, our first law restricting opiate use. Oh, and opiates could make someone euphoric – and we can’t have that! Before 1914, opiates, mostly morphine and codeine, but also heroin, were available for purchase and used by many Americans, including products for children to help with teething pain, and for sleep and pain the same as adults.

      The 19th century children who were given these medications didn’t grow up to be the kind of living-dead antisocial zombies we now associate with the word “addict.”

      Also, in the Congressional hearings leading up to Harrison, nobody made the claim that opiates were particularly deadly – because they’re not.

      It was only in the 1940s that users of black market heroin started to be seen to be dying in unusual numbers. In the 1960s, then NY State ME Dr. Michael Baden determined, and tried to inform the press, that it was cutting agents causing the deaths, mostly due to airways rapidly closing because of anaphylaxis or Stevens Johnson syndrome. Also, injecting opiates into a blood vessel when the person has recently consumed alcohol could cause rapid death by a different mechanism.

      While the feds go to such lengths to protect us from Rx medications, they fund free needles to use injecting illegally purchased drugs. So much for protecting the public from dangerous products!

      It’s all a cruel joke. The worst part is that the government, media & Hollywood (with their ongoing infatuation with the addiction-and-recovery storyline, which my husband says is: “as tired a theme as a car commercial”) have convinced the public that opiates are uniquely dangerous, as are any/all users of opiates, and that pain patients are whiny babies who should just grow up and, if the pain is so bad, allow electronic devices to be implanted into our bodies.

      Worst of all, opiate restrictions were sold to the American public as a way to protect vulnerable sick people from snake oil salesmen. But now, the federal pain task force draft report complains that acupuncture and yoga and other alternative methods of “treating” pain should get more insurance coverage – the task force contains practitioners in these unproven, unscientific techniques.

      The Drug War has also spawned dozens of federal agencies, many duplicated at the state level. If there were a drug war armistice, that would be a lot of people who would need to find real jobs. “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
      Upton Sinclair

  • Making America Great Again…deprive people of pain controlling and anxiolytic medications – ruin their lives…
    Great idea!

  • Here’s a link for locations of Don’t Punish Pain rallies:
    https://dontpunishpainrally.com/rallies-chart/

    Blue Balloon launches can be at any location, even from home if you are housebound. All balloons will rise into the same sky! Please consider taking photos or video to post online. Blue Balloon Campaign has a You Tube channel where videos & photos will be available to the public.

  • There is a website for The Don’t Punish Pain Rally, the rally is May 22.

    Also on May 15, the Blue Balloon Campaign is encouraging people to launch, distribute or display Blue Balloons to show support for pain patients & reform of harsh restrictions on meds for people with diagnosed painful conditions.

    BlueBalloonCampaig.wixsite.com/blue

    • This whole anti-people in pain, anti- opiates-drug war has gotten out of hand. Are they,( the gov’t/media/establishment/etc), deliberately trying to see what happens to all of us people in pain from now on that they’ve done this to us? Is this some kind of social experiment of the Communist/Nazi/Socialist kind?? Believe me I know, I grew up in a Communist country. This reeks of something like that… Are they wanting people to keep committing suicide? Go to the streets and buy illegal drugs so they can in turn make arrests and say, hah, gotcha, here’s the bad guy, we caught the bad drug addict, and now we’ll send them to rehab. Just like the lady in the comments says, they sure like their sin & redemption stories. What happened to the American fighting spirit that I remember, that I grew up believing in??? Has American society become so complacent that they let the gov’t dictate their whole life to them? I’m sorry, but not sorry. I will go in a hunger strike just like my father did in the old days of fighting against communism in my native country, and other non violent ways of civil disobedience against the state that is threatening our civil liberties. Come on President Trump, fight for us the people. We the people of the USA, who work very hard in private business and for companies, and pay taxes, take care of our families and daily affairs. Please, let the Doctors do their jobs, stop prosecuting them. PLEASE ISSUE A STAND DOWN DIRECT ORDER DECREE TODAY AND NOW, TO THE DEA, FDA, CDC, AMA, and OTHERS involved in this mess of a war that is literally killing peoples lives. Thank you, God bless us all with wisdom, understanding, love, compassion, faith, hope, and prosperity, Amen!!!

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