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Recovering addict being discriminated against

I am a recovering addict and also suffer from chronic pain. I have been on suboxone for a year and a half. I went to my new pain doctor for 3 bulging discs and one herniated cervical disc. My neck pain became unbearable 7 weeks ago. My new dr. Advised me that she is not Allowed to prescribe pain meds because I am on suboxone. I am so angry because just because I am and addict does not mean that I should suffer unbearable pain for weeks at a time. It has made me crazy. She made the comment it would be like giving an alcoholic alcohol. I strongly disagree. I am a patient and I have rights to not suffer and have reasonable care. Meds are needed in certain situations and because I am honest up front I am punished. She then asked me what is causing my pain. She did not even have a copy of my MRI which was forwarded to them. It's happened to me before with other doctors. I am thinking of filing a complaint. Anyone have any suggestions. I also have seen two surgeons and both of them claim that I'm too young for surgery. I am 39. I have been in pain for 20 years now. I don't know if they won't operate cause of my age or because I am an addict and cigarette smoker. I may go see another surgeon and not tell them I'm in recovery or a smoker and see what they say.


  • sandisandi Posts: 6,342
    edited 09/21/2014 - 8:50 AM
    an addict. They can loose their licenses. You are on suboxone, which also has pain relieving properties. Anti inflammatory medications might help to ease the pain and inflammation in the area. Ice and heat may also help.
    As much as you may not like what the doctor had to say, she was trying to help you. Herniated discs, unless they are in contact with the spinal cord or the spinal nerves don't always mean that they are the causes of pain. Bulging discs simply mean that one side of the disc is a bit outside it's normal margins and don't necessarily mean that they are painful either.
    If she didn't even have the MRI or the report, how is she supposed to provide treatment to someone, who complains of neck pain but doesn't know what is causing it?
    I know you aren't going to like what I have to say but I would be happy to have a doctor who wasn't just going to hand out prescriptions for pain medications if I had a history of misuse or abuse in my past. That , to me would indicate that they are watching out for me.
    There are other options to treat pain, injections, ice, heat, lidocaine patches, stretches and excercises, physical therapy are just a few of them.
    The days of doctors just writing prescriptions for someone who complains of pain are long gone. They don't do that anymore....if the person is in need of pain medications, they are referred to pain managment for injections, and other therapies.
    Also , going in to lie to another doctor will not be in your best interest. Your prescription records are online now and many states require that a physician check the pharmacy database before they can prescribe to a patient, as well as the pharmacist needing to do the same before they fill. Not telling any medical provider that you see that you are a former addict, and under current treatment will be found out and then you will loose all credibility with any doctor you try to see.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    They are so very true.....

    File a complaint - but for what? As long as the doctor told you exactly what/why they were doing what they were doing.
    The medical field is geared to treatment patients in pain with the proper level of medications. There is NO federal law requiring this. Different states have different laws in place to address this. Some have no such law and leaves it in the hands of the professional. Though, I can understand when you are in pain, you want relief and it can be hard to understand why someone is not helping you.

    The one I will also emphasis is to NOT LIE, deceive, hold back information,etc from ANY other doctor you may see tomorrow, next week or next year. Things have a way to catch up with you and they will, even if you moved thousands of miles away. The digital world has made sure that all medical records, pharmacy records, etc are available to all professionals in the medical field.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • JivajenJJivajen Posts: 7
    edited 09/25/2014 - 3:33 AM
    EDITED It is absolutely not against the law for a dr to prescribe opiates to a recovering addict. I am seeing a pain specialist as well. I lost my fiancé In 2012 to cancer (she was a recovering addict) and was given prescribed opiates. I have had surgery and they have given me opiates as well as dental work. They knew I was in recovery because I told them. I guess still in 2014 addiction is still so greatly misunderstood. EDITED I guess this is the wrong place for support.

    Post edited for inappropriate comments.The moderator team reserves the right to edit any post

  • doctors can not continue to provide the drug of choice/sustain an addiction to a medication to someone who is abusing the medication. Does that make things a bit clearer?
    I understand that you are a bit sensitive to the subject,
    I think that we all understand that you are a bit frustrated with your situation, and I can only imagine that you do in fact recieve a look of concern from your physicians when they are made aware of your history with abuse. And rightly so. They would be negilgent in their duties to do no harm in giving medication to someone with a history of abuse, no matter what the substance is.
    That does not mean that you aren't entitled to the same pain relief as anyone else, but what it does mean is that doctors are going to be more selective and enforce more close supervision and monitoring in place , should they determine that there is a need for opiates .
    You seem to believe that your doctor didn't offer you treatment for pain relief based on your history of addiction, and what I was trying to point out to you is that there are many other options available for pain relief, besides the use of pain medications and that doctors today do not just write a prescription out for someone who complains of pain, no matter what their histories are, without the proper medical reports, studies and testing to confirm the source of the pain, and even then, we all have to try the lesser therapies and medications long before the subject of pain medications in the opiate class are ever tried.
  • Yes well I have been in treatment for 20 years and have been thru it all. As I sit here I have a bottle of norco from my previous pain doc. I made my sub doc aware of it and tried to avoid filling it. I waited 3 weeks till I could not take it anymore. My sub doc gave me instructions on how to take it. My pharmisist did as well. I waited three days and when I took it it was not strong enough to cover the withdrawal let alone my pain so I stopped and went back on subs. This flare up has been going on for two months. I'm having an rf oct 2. There is a pamphlet in narcotics anonymous that advises us on pain meds and it says that we are not martyrs. It even says that we are not to refuse pain meds as being in significant pain for long periods can lead to relapse. I have in fact relapsed several times due to my neck problems. I fought hard to get my life back and I had to resort to suboxone because I could not take any more time off work after losing my fiancé as I was by her side for the last month of her life. I hate being on it ands very time I try to titrate off my neck problems prevent it. It's a vicious cycle. I have done physical therapy, chiropractic, injections and Rfa. I was just looking for support here because my sponser suggested I look for specific outside support.
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,342
    edited 09/23/2014 - 4:12 AM
    I understand.......we all do, living with pain is no picnic. Suboxone, when used for pain is dosed much differently than it is when used for addiction treatment. It has a ceiling effect when it comes to pain relief so I am not surprised that it isn't helpful right now.
    Have you considered possibly trying the butrans patches? You may have to taper down the suboxone low enough , but it offers the same medication, without the naloxone, and then the pm doctor might be able to add something else in regard to an additional pain medication that might work together to get the pain under control, while keeping the cravings away? Or possibly converting to subutex, and then a different pain medication. The naloxone is most likely what is interefering with the medication and pain relief.
    Also adding some muscle relaxers and possibly nerve pain medications if you have nerve symptoms might help to ease some of the pain as well.
    Do you have a TENS unit? I know that there is one made by Icy Hot I believe that you can purchase in the pharmacy in the same area that they sell topical ointments and muscle rubs, etc, that has a patch that contains a mini TENS unit, and can be reused over and over. The patch appears small enough that it may fit nicely in the neck area and it may help to ease some of the muscle tension. It is an idea to try.
    I'm sorry for the loss of your loved one......loosing someone we love is the hardest thing that we have to endure.
    Hang in there Jivajen, we will try to help as much as we can.......
  • EnglishGirlEEnglishGirl Posts: 1,825
    edited 09/23/2014 - 5:47 AM
    Do you have a GP or other medical professional who is very aware of your situation & knows you well as a person? Getting treatment in difficult situations runs so much smoother if conversations about your needs & special circumstances take place between docs before your appointment. You need to know if a specialist is willing to treat you before you waste your time & money going. Maybe your GP can prescribe for you once he researches the situation or he could find a PM who wants to work with you. Know what I mean? A comment like "giving alcohol to an alcoholic" makes me think that that doc doesn't have experience or willingness to treat patients with addiction issues.

    The same advise goes for finding a surgeon. My doc phoned surgeons before & after my consult. In my experience surgeons are more likely to explain why they have declined to treat you to another doc. They just say that you're not a candidate to you. I've found that there are specialists who just don't want to work with 'different' patients. I wasted a lot of time & money on specialists before I realized I needed help finding the right ones.

    If you don't have a GP or anyone to help in this way let us know & we can think of an alternative plan.

    You are right. Living with chronic pain is a nightmare & you shouldn't have to suffer like this but many, even without your history do. It can be so bloody hard to find the right specialists to work with. Hang in there. They are out there. There are members here with a history of addiction who now have good relationships with their docs & get the treatment they need.
    I'm sorry, sometimes it takes a while to 'get to know' new members. This is a very helpful, supportive group. I'm sorry you haven't felt that yet.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,342
    edited 09/23/2014 - 5:51 AM
    an addictionologist.....they have a speciality in pain management for those with addiction issues. They are really helpful when it comes to advocating for proper treatment for those who have had addiction issues and need pain treatment.
    If you check on your insurance website and look at the physician list, you may find one. Having one in your corner may help in getting more help from someone you are seeing for pain management.
  • Greg1978GGreg1978 Posts: 28
    edited 09/25/2014 - 3:43 AM
    Wow it's tough hearing your situation man. I was kinda heading in the same boat except I never told my doc about my abuse. Did you turn into addict from a persription or was this something you used as a Rec drug . I'm a EDITED person that's kinda how I EDITED up my back. When my doc persribed me oxycodine the first pill I took was nothing I have experienced In my life it was the best filling I have ever felt in my life so you can only imagine that got out of control fast. I got to were I was doing my monthy script in a week I'm talking handfuls at a time. I know this is a pain forum but these are the facts I also know a strait edge guy like mysefy that hurt his back after his first script he was a all out Addict he actually converted to herion and if you look at the I statistics most herion addicts started off with pain meds. I was so close to telling my doc but I suffered from the WD and got my EDITED together and started using my script how it was prescribed. I used Suboxone and subutex [edited] while battling my Demond's and to be honest I like bute better because it lasted a lot longer the half life is 36 hours Opposed to 8 hours plus I didn't get the euphoric high I was always trying to chase and the pain relief was really good.

    Post edited for language and inappropriate comments. The moderator team reserves the right to edit any post


  • JivajenJJivajen Posts: 7
    edited 09/25/2014 - 3:35 AM
    Before all this happened I would have sworn up and down that you should tell your dr that you are in recovery for your own safety. I now know better. I have been discriminated against for being honest and trying to do the right thing. The part that is hilarious is both times I went to that doc I saw two of my friends from NA in the office and they both were heavily medicated and confessed to me they did not make the doc aware they were addicts. So here I am still suffering until oct 2 when I get my RFA. XX. I tried heroin when I was 17 and was hooked for years. So no it did not start from a script. I honestly have great compassion for those pain sufferers who became addicted due to health issues. Addiction is a treacherous disease in which most addicts die. My whole life I have been treated poorly by the medical community and have yet to meet a doc understands and it's not even their fault because they receive very little training in the disease. Good luck to u.

    Post Edited, Inappropriate statements - Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator
  • JivajenJJivajen Posts: 7
    edited 09/25/2014 - 3:40 AM
    If it sounds like I have a chip on my shoulder I do. EDITED . Cannot afford resentments.

    Post edited for inappropriate comments. The moderator team reserves the right to edit any post


  • Jivajen said:
    EDITED It is absolutely not against the law for a dr to prescribe opiates to a recovering addict. I am seeing a pain specialist as well. I lost my fiancé In 2012 to cancer (she was a recovering addict) and was given prescribed opiates. I have had surgery and they have given me opiates as well as dental work. They knew I was in recovery because I told them. I guess still in 2014 addiction is still so greatly misunderstood. EDITED I guess this is the wrong place for support.

    Have you tried going off the sub. Or are you now addicted to it? I'm not here to judge at all no one is no one knows what kind of pain you're in but my question is was you a addict because you had surgery and had to take them and got addicted or was it just to get a buzz? People need to know that sometimes it's unstoppable to get addicted and you have no control over it. Sorry you're not getting treated the way you should. It sucks when Drs treat you wrongly or just look at you like you're another person trying to get a fix.

    Post edited for inappropriate comments.The moderator team reserves the right to edit any post

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