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WASHINGTON — In the final hours of public input on a controversial new rule limiting opioid prescriptions, a last-minute coalition emerged on Monday to oppose it.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rule would restrict opioid doses to Medicare patients to the equivalent of 90 milligrams of morphine per day.

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  • Responding to Mike B.,
    Your comment resonates with myself and many others. Government prejudice and mis-guided regulations are frustrating and hard to overcome.
    Others can tell you better than I what actions to take.
    The alternatives are narrowing down to alcoholism and suffering. (I don’t accept suicide as a solution. And I’m not going to smoke marijuana.)
    My doctor gives me (inadequate) pain meds, 57 equivalents, of which some are T-4.
    I agree that our rights are being violated. We (and our doctors and pharmacists) are being intimidated and treated like drug addicts (or dealers) because we have medical conditions that include chronic pain.
    We are not getting high, using illegal drugs, or shunning our responsibilities.
    Unless the government uses proper guidelines, a portion of patients will always be maltreated and suffer.
    Mike, good luck, Tom

    • Marijuana salve does not work. Smoking marijuana is illegal and I dont like alcohol and the rehab from alcohol would be detrimental to future employment. 20 Advil per day will destroy the liver and kidneys over a period of time. That was why I was sent to pain management to start with – to minimize the ingestion of nsaid’s. There must be something political about the hydrocodone synthetic version f codeine? I just dont know. I will give it a shot. I do not wish for my pain physician, of 9 years, to be on some sort of juvenile resembling naughty list. All of this is ONLY absurd to those of us with real pain. Most of the fake pain people have already left the clinics. I have seen the numbers dwindle, significantly, over the last nine years. It is time for them to leave us alone. Thank you for your response and listening to my input.

    • She gave me T3 which is 30mg codeine. Hydrocodone 5/325 is suppose to be the synthetic equivalent to Tylenol #3(codeine). Well, if so, why is it OK for a prescriber to not be on a list for prescribing Tylenol 3 but to be on a list for prescribing it’s synthetic equivalent? This is not logical. Is this political involving payoffs for certain manufacturers? I am just not sure. I have no choice but to try the Tylenol #3 for now. Wish me luck. Insurance companies have badgered me, the national media has badgered the entire pain management industry and now the government. Meanwhile prohibition is over and the lawmakers doing the badgering are having cocktails and wine every evening. Craziness! Lunacy!

  • I feel as though I may need to hire an attorney or sue the authorities. I was just informed my Hydrocodone 5mg is being switched to Tylenol 3 mainly because my doctor did not want to get on a government list of excessive hydrocodone subscribers? This is crazinesss!! Communism! They are pain management clinincs – this is what they are here for!! I have been in a successful program,utilizing hydrocodone, for 9 years and now they are changing the rules. I have to work at least another 7 years, maybe 10. I figured by now that any pain patients, not really in need, would have rehabbed by now with all the struggle they have made for pain med procurement. Now, it seems like they are going after people that were supposed to be in pain management in the first place and have never succumbed to their efforts of intended guilt and remorse they were trying to project on folks! Meanwhile, in my little Texas town here I just drove by seven brand new liquor stores opening up in the community.

    • Mike – As I have talked about in earlier posts, suing is not an option. This is why the government made these “guidelines” not regulations. Regulations can be legally challenged, guidelines that doctors are theoretically able to go against can not be challenged in court. The fact that the doctors are being threatened with action against their licenses if they do not follow the guidelines makes no difference because none of these threats are ever put in writing.

      I would tell your doctor about the letter that just came out from the CDC the end of last month regarding the misapplication of the previously issued guidelines and that they should not be used to justify forced reduction in medication for existing patients. Here is a link to the letter:

  • Empathy please for the people that suffer and have never abused their meds and need them to function or for at least a few hours a day to take care of what has to be done. People will give up, what else can they do???

  • The CDC is now saying their strongly worded suggestion for prescribing opioid pain medications were misunderstood and doctors are to be empathetic towards chronic pain patients. The doctors are only to cut patients back if they agree to be tapered, but otherwise they are to educate pain patients to the dangers and affects of opioid pain medications.

    Here is the CDC website describing their intended approach towards chronic pain patient care:

    I hope this gives us some protections from forced taper. Next time I see my doctor, her and I will discuss this and I will be asking to be brought back up to the doses of my pain medications that worked for me in the past.

    Best wishes to all of you chronic pain sufferers. Eventually this extreme swing of the pendulum will balance closer to the center.

  • I understand the major problems with the opioids. However, I am unable to take ANY nsaids of any kind. I wish I could because some over the counter pain relievers worked just fine, however, I am unable to use these as I am stage 4 renal disease and was recommended I check into pain management. Without my medicine I am unable to function. There are those of us that don’t abuse the medicine. Is there not some way to fix this?

    • Susan, I am one of so many individuals who have written their own experiences on this particular topic, here in response to this article. It is one of the most significant chronicles of the individuals’ who have shared their experiences within this specific article. I highly recommend that you try to read the stories about each individual who has provided the rest of the readers and commenters, with not only their own experiences, struggling with the most egregious suffering that I have ever read. I am always coming back to the article each time I receive a notification from STAT, that there is a new comment on this “community section,” of some of the bravest people I have ever read before.

      The story that you have generously shared with us all, is a well documented case for why we are all having to needlessly endure this tragedy; because for so many reasons that are considered to be a genuine concern that the current administration is responsible for the consequences of people who are truly going through a situation that is nothing short of a never ending nightmare.

      I strongly encourage you to read the countless responses from the entire nation. There will be some strongly suggested reasons from the entire community of individuals who have endured experiences that will be something that none of us could ever forget. There are some individuals who actually have some recommendations about what might make you think about how you might be able to overcome your own experiences enough to read about these recommendations that several individuals have shared with those who us who are also going through the same experiences that you are too.

      I want you to know that you are now one of us, who are here for everyone who has shared their experiences with all of the individuals who read and try to be of some type of help, and to remember you in the ways that we all try to keep you in whatever way that is generally a prayer, a hope, a reminder that we are all here to try to help everyone who writes, in what many individuals think of as our community that might be a conduit for us to remain in hope and peace, and who want to do something to end this tragedy of our being abused by those who could stop this dreadful situation because of the federal government. One individual who asks “what can we do?” We have the same agenda, and we must vote for this tragic situation to be over. Until we have that opportunity ( which we hopefully might not have to wait until we vote for a compassionate group of individuals who are amongst many who also want this to end, for us all.
      Thank you for your sharing with us, and we are all trying to stay strong enough so that we may prevail against the current administration whose tyranny over our physicians who are put on notice that the DEA is going to make sure that our physicians do not have to do what this administration has done to our physicians and us- their patients.
      Catherine Dunn

  • Dear sailbum, I find myself in a very similar circumstance, slowly approaching less and less driving, housework, socializing, etc. Ironically, only some meds, including opioids, give me moments of more normal thoughts and functioning. That the government is threatening this frightens me deeply.

  • i receive a prescription for Norco 5/325. I have United Health Care and with their effort to help fight the Opioid epidemic, they only cover 1 week of my prescription at a time. the problem is that i go to my specialist monthly, so i have to pay out of pocket for 3/4 of my monthly prescription (unless i go to my Dr. weekly, then they would cover it 100%).
    This is so wrong, United Health Care would rather pay for me to see my doctor 4 times a month so i can have them pay 100% of my medication, o i have to pat for my medication myself if i go see him monthly..
    this policy is not going to stop me from taking my medication, it just makes it more expensive.. for either medicare or myself depending on what road i take.. lot of times i go bi-weekly and pay for half mt Rx each time (just to make United Health Care have to pay for more visits to a specialist because of my inconvenience)

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