Chronic Pain Health — 23 July 2012

By Mary Maston, Columnist

I recently read an article featured in the Huffington Post about the growing number of babies born addicted to painkillers because their mothers abused pain medications while they were pregnant.  American News Reporthas also reported on the disturbing fact that the number of babies born addicted to opiates has tripled in the past decade. A drug addicted baby is born every hour in the U.S.

I feel so sorry for those babies, but their mothers had a choice. What nobody seems to realize is that their choices don’t just affect them and their babies, but all chronic pain patients who suffer with horrible diseases and conditions, and who rely on the same pain medications to be able to function on a daily basis.

People who can’t get out of bed not because they are “addicted” to prescription pain medications, but because they are in excruciating pain and that’s what helps them to function. People with broken backs or limbs, who have been in horrible car accidents, or people like me who were born with a rare, progressive kidney disease that makes us form hundreds of kidney stones and causes our kidneys to harden.

We all have something in common with the babies that were featured in these stories. We didn’t ask to be put into these situations and don’t have a choice in the matter. But here we sit, caught in the crossfire of the war on drugs.

When do we get a spot in mainstream media? Why isn’t “Rock Center” or “Nightline” traveling the country to get our stories? We’re out there, everywhere, in every state and every city in the United States. What about those patients who have to suffer through withdrawal because they are now unable to get the medicine they’ve taken for years? The entire chronic pain population is being punished for a select few and it isn’t right.

The media keeps doing these horrible stories about prescription pain medications and how people are abusing them and overdosing. What they continually fail to talk about are the chronic pain patients (like me) who don’t abuse these drugs, but need them to function on a day-to-day basis.

They don’t talk about the patients in pain who are committing suicide because pharmacies are refusing to fill legitimate prescriptions for them.

They also fail to mention the difference between addiction and dependency, so I’ll do it here, and hopefully every single person who reads this column will be fully aware of the difference.

There is a very distinct difference between addiction and dependency. When someone is addicted to a pain medication, many times it’s because they have picked it up off the street. They were not in any pain when they took it and did not have a legitimate medical reason to take these pills. They did it to get “high.” Once they experienced that high, they wanted more and more. They took them because they wanted to. Many addicts will lie, cheat, steal, prostitute themselves, and sometimes even murder to get their “fix.”

They get their drugs from dealers or friends who have prescriptions for them. Many times they combine them with alcohol or illegal substances such as marijuana to enhance the effects. They break the law, and they take way more than they should because as they continually take them, they need more to get that “high” feeling. They can’t control their actions because they are addicted.

Most chronic pain patients have a dependency. Once they start taking a legally prescribed narcotic medication for a legitimate medical condition, their bodies get used to having that medication in the bloodstream. The medication does what it was created to do: it blocks pain receptors in the brain. People who have pain that is significant enough to warrant the use of prescription medications on a long term basis do not get “high” from it. It only enables them to function better than they could without it. Most work closely with their doctors to ensure that they get the right dose and the right medication, so there is no need to take more than they should.

Most chronic pain patients that I know don’t want to be on medication, but because of their level of pain they have no real choice. It’s either that, or be in excruciating pain every second of the day. Now that the government is cracking down so severely, many chronic pain patients are unable to get the medications they need, and are being thrown head first into withdrawal – not because they are addicts, but because coming off of a narcotic medication when you’ve been on it long term throws the body into shock.

If you watch the “Rock Center” and “Nightline” videos that are included in the Huffington Post article, even doctors agree that coming off a narcotic medication too quickly has very negative results. In fact, in both reports doctors told the women to KEEP USING painkillers until after they delivered their babies. because the consequences of immediately stopping their use was severe and could even cause death.

In some cases, for both mother and baby it took months for them to stop going through withdrawal. So what does that mean for all of the chronic pain patients who are now being thrown into withdrawal because the government has initiated a drug war and they can no longer get their medication? Who is going to help them?

Columnist PhotoEditor’s Note: Mary Maston suffers from a rare, congenital kidney disease called Medullary Sponge Kidney or MSK. She is an advocate for other MSK patients and a contributor to

The views, opinions and positions expressed in this column are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of American News Report, Microcast Media Group or any of its employees, directors, owners, contractors or affiliate organizations. American News Report makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information in this column, and is not responsible or liable for any errors, omissions, or delays (intentional or not) in this information; or any losses, injuries, and or damages arising from its display, publication, dissemination, interpretation or use.

Opposing views, opinions and positions about this column are welcomed by American News Report and or Microcast Media Group. Publication or lack of publication of opposing views, opinions and/or positions does not imply, suggest or expressly reflect an endorsement or disapproval of the originating commentary on the part of American News Report or Microcast Media Group.


About Author

Mary Maston, Columnist

Mary suffers from a rare, congenital kidney disease called Medullary Sponge Kidney or MSK. She is an advocate for other MSK patients and others in chronic pain.

(19) Readers Comments

  1. Most prescription drug addicts do not pick up their habits off the streets. They are people who were prescribed medication after a surgery or for controlling pain for a short amount of time who now use the pills when they don’t need to anymore.

  2. I remain amazed that doctors do not revolt against a government which deprives people in pain, whether chronic or temporary, when it is a known fact that not treating pain can do long-term damage. Nobody visits a doctor because they are well. They are either in pain or feeling poorly. With musculo-skelettal problems for years, and pain caused by adhesions due to some abdominal surgeries, pain has been a constant companion. For many years, I had a doctor who would not treat my pain adequately, but this was happening to others too. So, I would often take quite a few aspirins on many days. What happened? Well, stomach ulcers, and not the kind which can be cured (helicobacter pilory)! (Tylenol gives me liver problems.) The wait for pain clinics here in Québec is too long and after many years of disability, I could no longer afford even to travel to and from one, and I am too fatigued from the pain to do much anyway. Thus, many are the nights when I go to bed praying not to wake up. At nearly 64 – thus a “boomer” – I’m tired that our generation is being blamed for every ill on earth.

  3. I am in my mid 20s but live with heroic pain after a drunk driver caused an accident where I was ejected from my. At when it flipped on the highway. I have severe lower back joint and nerve pain that is managed with oxyIR and slow release morphine along with the procedures I undergo every few months to destroy the nerves (rhizotomy). Thank you for writing as an advocate, I am so sick of hearing people say it can be Magee with Tylenol. I am lucky enough to be treated by a caring doctor who I see monthly and have one pharmacist I use who works along with me.

    I found out I was pregnant, however, after my accident. I lowered my meds to the lowest dose possible and I was in serious pain but figured thst I was doing it for the baby. What they don’t say in those numbers about baby’s born dependent on opioids is that any mother, whether chronic pain patient or heroin user, is told to not stop or taper. Heroin or any other addicts are put on methadone because withdrawing is more dangerous then tapering when the baby is born. My child was monitored but ended up not experiencing any symptoms. The neonatologist told me they would send me home with oral morphine syringes for the baby but addicts can not take home narcotics do the baby must stay in the hospital for six weeks or however long it takes.

  4. I survived 3 auto accidents. 2 of those I cheated death. Now my spine is destroyed I have extensive nerve damage through out my entire body. My spine is no longer strong enough to hold my upper up. My muscles do all that and now I have atrafied muscles through out my back. I have gone 2 months withy oxycodone. The first 3 weeks were the worst. I just went from taking my oxycodone to nothing after 7 years. The withdrawals were the worst. My pain is about 80 on a scale from 1 to 10.y Dr. Was on vacation do I stuck it out. I am not addicted I was withdrawing from the medication no longer being in my body. The oxycodone made my pain tolerable. Now without it I suffer worse then ever. I am lied to by every pharmacy they don’t stock it but when my friend goes to the counter with the exact prescription they fill his. When I went through the withdrawals I had bad headaches my pluse was up and down and didn’t match my blood pressure. I did go to the hospital once my Dr. Got me OxyContin from a distributor. That was after 3 weeks of the withdrawals. My partner thought I was having a heart attack. I work up spinning in circles and had a headache and if felt like someone stretched a tiny rubber band around my brain. I took an aspirin but stubborn me didn’t go to the hospital for 3 hours. I couldn’t talk or grunt. They hospital did an EKG and said I wasn’t having or had a heart attack. They did a c/t scan seid it was normal but my last ct scan showed bruises on my brain from one of the car accidents. Never did a chest X-ray and I am still having chest pains. Only taking a control release medication doesn’t help much without a instant release. With a few oxycodone a day I will always suffer and now there are days the pain is so bad I am back in my wheelchair. I am being punished because I complained about about a pharmacist. I am not addicted and my medical records prove only an instant releases medication with a CR med will work. We go throught withdrawals because our body is used to that chemICal in our blood which happens when you take ANY medication for 5 or more days. So it’s not ADDICTION it’s our bodies dependent on the medication because of the length of time we have been on it. Anyone says otherwise is just wrong. They never walked a mile in any of our shoes!!!

  5. Six years ago, at the age of 37, I was diagnosed with the congenital kidney defect that causes a rare form of chronic kidney disease called Medullary Sponge Kidney. Prior to this I had a long history of urinary tract infections and kidney infections that began sporadically in my childhood and quickly accelerated when I became pregnant with my first child at the age of 19. The lingering kidney pain that began in my teens became severe leading up to my diagnosis. As a chronic kidney stone former, these six years have been a great struggle to bring my progressive kidney disease and its painful, debilitating effects under control. The calcifications that have formed in the soft tissue of my kidneys, the microcrystals of calcium and oxalate that run through my kidneys on a continual basis, irritation from the passing of innumerable kidney stones/gravel/sand, and kidney spasms that literally take my breath away have caused a significant increase in my daily kidney pain. Currently, I have reached the limit of what available treatment options can do for me to manage nephrocalcinosis and the formation of free kidney stones. Because of the progressive nature of MSK, how I am feeling today is the best I will ever feel in my life that remains. More concerning to me than passing a kidney stone (which by the way truly is worse than the pain of labor), is the realization that I may not have access to effective means of pain management as my condition continues to worsen. Up until eight months ago I was tolerating daily kidney pain with pain-management techniques such as a heating pad, ice packs, applying counter-pressure, or a hot bath/shower, but only just tolerating. I would have utilized over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers, but was advised against this because they can cause kidney damage with long-term use. I hesitated to request prescription pain medications up to this point for my daily kidney pain for several reasons… Because I wanted them to work when I needed intervention when passing an active stone; because of the reluctance in the medical community to treat chronic pain conditions with prescription pain medications, regardless of the cause; and because of the societal stigma that comes along with the use of prescription pain medications to treat chronic pain. But when my MSK began to progress again eight months ago, I reached the limit to what I could tolerate without further intervention. My GP prescribed a non-opiate pain medication. Because I am very conservative with medications, I had no problem with this modest upgrade in treatment. As we discussed the progressive nature of MSK and the inevitable future need for more aggressive pain management, I sensed her apprehension due to those who have abused the privilege and are responsible for the current prescription “drug war” climate. It is a gross injustice to criminalize patients with legitimate chronic health conditions who depend on prescription pain medications to have some resemblance of a quality of life because of the minority who abuse the system. It is irresponsible for medical practitioners to withhold or interrupt prescription pain medications from the chronically ill whose health would deteriorate and would consequently be harmed by such action. It is gross malpractice for the government or even pharmacists to take the role of prescribing medical practitioners to determine what is best for patients. Do you find these things disturbing? These are happening every day in every state in the Union! I applaud Mary Maston and others who are advocating for MSK patients like me and others which chronic health conditions. I applaud American News Report and Huffington Post for their efforts to expose these gross imbalances and injustices and facilitate much needed change. I applaud every patient with a legitimate chronic health condition who has stood up for themselves in defense of their good character and honest intentions in obtaining necessary health care in pursuit of quality of life. And I pray that “the powers that be” would be objective and balanced, not emotionally charged and driven by personal agendas that will have a direct and incalculable impact on so many, perhaps one day impact their own self and their own loved ones.

  6. Thank you Mary for defining the words addiction and dependence. Even as a pain management patient it’s nice to be reminded that these medications are helping me lead a “normal” life. I too suffer from MSK and have had chronic pain since my diagnosis in September of 2008. Even without an active stone my pain level was very high. My kidney pain would be so bad it would bring me to tears. I was referred to pain management in November 2011 (that’s a long time to be in constant daily pain)! I work closely with my pain management doctor and see him frequently – he has actually partnered more with me than my urogolist when it comes to managing my disease. I would not return to that time period before I started managing my pain as now I am able to be a mother and wife which is difficult when you are in daily pain. My family DESERVES me at my best, chronic pain and all! I do have a kidney disease so this is my “new normal” and it took me a long time to accept this. Thank you for writing this article. My hope is that people reading this will be more aware of chronic pain patients and our struggles and that we need support not labeling.

  7. Thank you Mary for shedding some light on this very often over looked distinction–dependency vs. addiction. Those that are dependent on their medications, for ANY quality of life, are yes dependent on their medication and therefore do not ‘come up short’, sell their medication’ or even trade. True chronic pain patients will do NOTHING to jeopardize their standard of life–

    These women and others that abuse medications, are making CHOICES! Not popular to say or make them responsible for their choices; We don’t have any choices–our lives were changed in an instant, or by the genetic lottery. What I wouldn’t give to have a choice. I did however, make the choice, when I got pregnant, to go off of all pain medications (he still came early probably due to the body dealing with the constant pain), but I can say he was NOT born addicted to medication, because I made that Choice! Thanks again Mary for your wonderful article! E11/Jennifer

  8. I have 3 children and Medullary Sponge Kidney disease. Everyday is a battle because of pain. I am and have always been a very natural, herbal, holistic kinda girl I admit I may have even passed judgement on people that took pain meds everyday but that judgement came from pure ignorance. After passing numerous stones in 2008 I found from a ct scan that I had MSK. The nightmare had just begun. After many surgerys, stents, and stones I now have constant pain in my right side. Not a moment goes by when it doesnt scream at me. For 3 years I went without pain meds and I was a mess I could not function all I could do was cry EVERYDAY and watch as others lived their life while I could only live from my bed and a heating pad! My children were suffering because mom could not do the things I used to Crap I could barely do the daily chores without mental breakdown and again LOTS of tears. So after much (and I mean overboard) suffering through it like some kinda champ I was not I gave in and asked for pain meds to live a normal life. I now get to be judged like I judged, and I understand because unless you live with chronic pain you have no idea what it does to the mind, body, and spirit. I still have days were I get really angry that I have to take some medication to do what every other mother/wife does. This was not first choice for how my life would be but I have decided to take control of my pain and not have my pain control me. I am scared to think that I may no longer have the choice to live as close to a “normal” life as I can. I understand that these drugs are scary in the wrong hands but some of us really do need them.

  9. I’m very grateful that I do not have a chronic illness that requires me to take narcotic pain medications. But anyone at any time could become ill or get in an accident and require these meds for an extended period of time(or possibility forever). It is unfortunate that because some abuse these medications, that people who really need them are now treated as drug seekers. It is easy for those of us who don’t require them to support this so called war on drugs, but how would we feel if we or someone we loved experienced chronic pain that could not be relieved satisfactorily without these meds. It seems to me like the people who are being hurt most are those who really need them. Those who abuse them find illegal ways to get them. It is sad and it breaks my heart to read these comments from those who are suffering.

  10. I began suffering with kidney stones when I was 18 years of age. The pain was so excruciating I honestly thought I was dying, and at the time I had no idea what was going on, as I had never experienced anything like that. Before I could make it to the emergency room, I passed out. I literally passed out from the pain, and thank goodness I was sitting on the floor at the time, as I had just thrown up from the pain as well. I wasn’t diagnosed, somehow, until 6 months ago with MSK and extensive nephrocalcinosis, even after passing many stones between that time and now, as well as many emergency room visits, and even hospital stays. I am 26 now, a mother of two, and trying to learn as much as possible about my disease, along with the help of an advocate, Mary Maston. I cannot imagine having to go through the pain of passing a stone, pain that can get so bad it makes you throw up, and for me at times, pass out, without the help of the appropriate pain medication. Now as my disease is progressing, even without passing a stone, the pain gets so bad in my kidneys I cant get out of bed, or interact with my children, or carry on with normal life without proper pain medicine. At this moment Im not even able to work, as Im still trying to find a doctor more knowledgeable about my disease, and who will help me. My life as I once knew it has come to a sudden halt, and the unbearable pain has often made me want to give up at times, as well as not being able to live out my once daily routine. But Im holding onto hope that somehow this will all be understood soon, and we MSKers will be helped, and we and our disease taken seriously. Im floored at the lack of experience in this department that even kidney specialist seem to posses, as well as other doctors, in turn making us suffer more. I am disheartened at the fact that so many have abused the system, overdosing, getting “high”, and even having babies “addicted” to the very medication we NEED in order to function. That is not our faults, and do not deserve to suffer anymore than we already have to. Not only would we suffer with out this form of pain management, but our families as well. Who will care for my toddler twins if I can’t because I am hurting so much? I certainly don’t have ANY family to help with them. And is it fair for them to have to see me pass out, laying on the floor when the pain gets that bad? Absolutely not! Should I just give up taking care of them, lay in bed all day suffering, get on SSI and take more tax dollars away, and lose the loves of my life completely? For the people that shouldn’t be on this medication and have no business even putting these things in their hands? I think not! There is a line to be drawn, and it is to make sure these people don’t have the opportunity to even become addicted, and possibly get others addicted, NOT to make patients that need this medication to function, and live a normal life. NOT because of addiction, but because of dependency in order to rid our very real pain, and continue with what “normal” lives we can now live after MSK has taken over. I’m sorry that such things have happened in this country, and such trash has taken over something that is supposed to be and is so helpful for us suffering. But should I and my family, and others and their families really have to suffer more than we already do because of this? No way. DOCTORS need to have more than just “Im hurting” and a clean drug screen to prescribe these. They need CTs, x-rays, blood work, 24 hour urine work up, or whatever is needed to prove and show the REASON someone is hurting. And in the case of MSK patients, more knowledge of the disease, and why we are hurting so very much. This is very real, very debilitating, and hard enough to deal with, without someone trying to take away what will HELP us get through the rest of our lives. Along with good doctors, more understanding of this disease, and a serious change in diet to try and prevent further damage or more/larger stones from forming, these four things come together to make our lives more manageable. To take away what we have left and force us to suffer even more is completely beyond me, and honestly, no one wants to even live in that much pain. Thank you Mary, for this great article, and I pray it reaches where it needs to and we are able to get a better understanding for our pain each and every one of us suffer from.

  11. Both my husband and I suffer from chronic pain. He has two ruptured disks, one that deflated like a “jelly donut” according to the doctor. His nerves to his arm are trapped between the vertebrae that are rubbing together bone on bone. He has been like this for 5 years and is not a candidate for back surgery because he has osteoporosis and his bones would crumble and the screws would fall out.
    I have the same kidney condition as the author, Medullary Sponge Kidney, and I have thousands of kidney stones in my kidneys and pass stones weekly.
    My husband went to a chiropractor for a year before being prescribed pain medicine. I used to have to go to the emergency room when I passed a stone, for pain relief, until my urologist prescribed me pain medicine. It keeps me out of the ER.
    This past year, both of us have been turned away at many pharmacies, being told they are “out of stock”.
    Neither of us has every taken more than prescribed, or needed to get a refill early or shared with anyone else. My husband takes an opiate daily and in February he was not able to get his Rx filled. He eventually went into withdrawal for 2 days until we found a small independent pharmacy that would fill it. It was so horrible to see him suffer. He had muscle cramps, nausea and diareah in addition to the pain the medicine was supposed to treat. He was not able to get out of bed and missed two days of work. He is dependent on it, not addicted.

  12. Great article Mary, this is a very touchy yet important issue. Pain relievers were created for those who suffer daily with inevitable diseases. Doctors have perscribed mediation in the past & now those patients have legitimate need for this medication. Those whowho suffer from multiple ailments simply need to block pain receptors to fuction normally. I have msk, and I am not currently on any pain medication. I also hve never passed a stone. I am very scared to do so and I know that is inevitable. What makes me more worried is that when I do drop stones, I will not be able to maintain my pain without the proper meds. I do have pain luckily for now it can be managed by OTC meds. I did have a severe kidney infection before my diagnosis and had to recieve morphine and be hospitalized. I am not sure what the future holds for my kidneys, but I do know that my kidneys hold stones. Pain management is important for anyone who is in pain & addicts get high, those who are in pain just get relief

  13. I’m a chronic pain patient and when pregnant with my daughter who is now 9 was kept on the medication because it’s considered safe and doesn’t cause birth defects. It was a low dose, she wasn’t born addicted/dependent and didn’t need “Nar-con” when born [addicted babies do]. That said, when I was pregnant my pain was less – which may be due to the hormones. So I needed much less of the med. It was supervised closely with the pain doc and approved by my OBGYN.

  14. The War on Drugs. This is a ludicrous discussion. Why would legitimate patients that have to deal with an already painful, complicated, often debilitating disease need to debate our right to prescription pain medication? Why is this conversation even debating the use of pain relief from its’ very purpose. There are probably 1000’s of documented cases of patients walking into emergency rooms in mind boggling pain due to stone formation in the kidneys, colic pain due to movement of stones…I have MSK a little known rare birth defect that has caused me many trips to emergency and many nights withering on the floor in tears of pain. This disease has changed my life. I have become accustomed to daily pain. I live with it. I need to travel with antibiotics in case I get an infection from painful urinary tract problems or my plumbing as one loved doctor. There has not been one instance in the last 7 years since this disease reared its ugly head that I have not experienced pain that I sometimes needed to have something stronger on hand to help me keep coping with the business of my life, I cannot afford to stop. I need to be able to count on something stronger than Tylenol 3’s which I take on a daily basis just to keep moving through my day. I continue to work full time, run a busy household with 4 wonderful productive teenage children. I would never in a million years consider this to be the lifestyle of an addict or a drug seeker. I do what I need to do to keep functioning and to keep living a decent life, going to my children’s sports games, participating in my life! I could cry when I think of how this disease has changed me, I cannot for a moment imagine what a life would be like to be forced to deal with the sudden severe pain that this condition can sometimes hit you with. Please consider this when you are making across the board decisions and lumping normal functioning human beings with drug seekers or addicts. I could go on and on and make a few comparisons with other acceptable addictive substances that could easily be ban because of abuse but surely I would not want to insult the intelligence of the FDA.
    Signed Laura Frances…

  15. Thank you so very much for advocating for pain patients, particular those with MSK. I cannot imagine having to pass a stone or suffer the pain of a stent without having access to appropriate pain medicine. And if in fact, my disease progresses to the experience of daily, chronic kidney pain, I want all possible means of managing my pain available to me! Sadly, doctors are either uninformed about the damage uncontrolled pain can do to the body or too afraid of prosecution or malpractice to properly address pain in many patients. I pray that doctors will be allowed to treat their patients without government interference. And while illegal drug use and addiction are of great concern to everyone, I believe punishing people who are ill and in severe pain by limiting their access to appropriate care is not only counterproductive, it will NOT stop addicts from getting their fix.

  16. Great article Mary. Very well said. This has been a huge a problem for many of us with pain. Even our pharmacies don’t understand or even know the difference. I hope that many citizens read this and our healthcare professionals too. Many people still need to be educated as of what this medicine is really all about, not a high. For legitimate pain patients.. We need these medications to function with a quality of life as close to normal as possible. Without it.. we have no life. Many of us would rather be dead than suffer with pain everyday..That is not normal.. That is where most are wrong.. I think they forget in all rush of everyday life. The life of the pain patient is not easy at all. We would not choose this if we had a choice. So if anyone thinks differently than what Mary has said here, they are very wrong.. We are not addicts and should not treated be as one.

  17. This travesty of justice is simply unconstitutional that ‘We’ Pain Patients can not access prescriptions written to us by licensed Physicians. It is a crime against humanity & something needs to be done ASAP .. FAST.
    We are losing people of pain to suicide, simply because they can not get their prescriptions filled by a Pharmacists. There is absolutely no reason why people should have to live in pain due to the tactics & manner in which the DEA has gone about in the “War on Drugs’ w/o total disregard for the Pain Patient. If I recall correctly, the DEA and those that represent them in this war stated @ the inception that this would NOT AFFECT LEGITIMATE PAIN PATIENTS. With that being said, they either lied or don’t care because it has. Not only has it affected us but
    we are the collateral damage in this whole war against prescription drugs.
    .. With alot of media seemingly ONLY focusing on “this war”, the statistics released ( most being outdated, not researched for validity and/or just plain wrong ) giving “The People” the wrong impression. I’ve read countless times many articles & most of the time, what ‘they’ derive from them is that they feel these medicines are only used & abused by ADDICTS, DEALERS and so on … totally negating the fact that they help those that are, indeed in alot of pain& were originally manufactured & still are used to help terminal, chronic, cancer patients .. all types of intolerable pain that makes daily living PURE HELL … Without this medicine we can no longer function as any type of productive people .. not only for ourselves but for our families & just a reason to get up every day, that is “IF” we can get out of bed…. PLEASE KEEP ARTICLES LIKE THIS COMING … This horrible injustice needs to be BALANCED .. and ACTION IMMEDIATE before it’s too late !

    PS: Just a thought for those of you who may be too quick to judge in this “Unbalanced War”.
    How about You or maybe someone very dear & close to you, maybe your child.
    Just imagine, for a moment, that You, They; are told you are now diagnosed with & have an incurable disease OR numerous incurable diseases ( or God forbid also, get in an accident resulting in horrible pain levels ) all of these causing intolerable pain, unbearable pain ….
    Over the counter medicines will NOT WORK FOR YOU and/or any other type of pain relief method ..
    The ONLY thing that can help you is Pain Medication .. BUT YOU CAN’T HAVE IT .. because of the addicts & statistics of deaths by people who have abused or err’d in their choices …
    All You Can do is: Sit there, be helpless & hopeless .. You can do absolutely nothing to help them…
    And….ALL OF THIS … Because of this “War on Drugs” initiated by the DEA ..whom went too far .. and do not care
    for those who are suffering the most due to THEIR ACTIONS & CONTINUED ASSAULTS …. This is not over & is getting worse !!!
    Try that one on for size … don’t be so quick to judge or throw stones…. when one has not walked in another’s shoes ………

  18. It seems there is an overwhelming bias in the media these days against the only thing that allows most chronic pain patients to be able to function and live a near-normal life, prescription pain medications, specifically, Schedule II pain drugs and Oxycodone drugs. Day after day I see more and more articles about people from all over the country – states and communities where there is rampant drug abuse blaming the drug and not the person. It would seem, if one were to believe all the statistics in these articles that every major city (and their suburbs) in the country is “the hotbed for Oxycodone abuse”. The problem is that people believe these overblown and confusing statistics and the result is a hysteria of dire proportions resulting in the DEA and Law Enforcement putting fear into the hearts of every physician and pharmacist so that now legitimate, law-abiding citizens, whose only crime is that they just happen to suffer from chronic, intractable pain, have to suffer. 98% of the media out there is filled with more and more hype about how “Oxycodone = Bad” because of people who broke the law and abused these drugs yet the ones least able to fight this issue, the sick, the infirm, those in pain, have to fight for their right to get their legal and lawful prescription filled and to get relief from their pain. I applaud American News Report and Mary Maston for bringing to light the truth about the “real” victims here – the legitimate users who can’t get their medication because the physicians and pharmacists are too afraid to lose their licenses. Whatever happened to “First, do no harm”?

  19. Thank you so much for printing this story! I also suffer from Medullary Sponge Kidney daily and do not have someone to give me another option that will help me function as a mother of five. Someone needs to help us. We have a closed facebook group that is a life line for me. EVERY person who joins is so greatful they are not “crazy”. How are able to trust doctor with our care when they are worried about getting their liscense taken away for helping us live with some level of comfort! I certainly would rather not have to take medication to not feel the pain of a kidney stone or spasm, but I did not choose this chronic illness. I thought after I raised my kids I could have a life and now all’s I do is fear for my future.
    Thank you Mary for taking this issue on!