‘We are not criminals!’ Chronic pain sufferers say pain medication rules unfairly punish

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SEATTLE– “It’s the difference between laying in bed crying and getting up and going kayaking,” says Micki Forrester.

She was at a small rally Tuesday exterior the University of Washington Medical Center. It was one in every of 4 rallies statewide — and plenty of extra throughout the nation — to lift consciousness of the difficulties sufferers with persistent debilitating pain are coping with now that the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention pointers on prescribing pain meds are inflicting medical doctors to scale down or get rid of opioid drugs that individuals like her say they should perform.

pain rally

Micki Forrester (entrance) rallies Tuesday at UW Medical Center. Protesters say there have been additionally rallies in Spokane, Walla Walla and Olympia.

“The CDC has never seen my medical records, they have never examined me. They have no right to change my prescription,” says Forrester, who added that she use to have a vigorous and energetic way of life earlier than her illness confirmed itself in 2007. “I have to be drug tested every month to prove that I’m not taking heroin, ecstasy and all these other drugs I’ve never even heard of.”

Right now, Forrester spends her days out and in of a wheelchair. She suffers from a nervous system dysfunction known as Complex Region Pain Syndrome. She’s been in persistent pain as a result of her mind reads pain indicators from nerves that assume she’s injured. Her canine, Pip, is by her facet always to let her know when she’s about to have an episode of uncontrollable convulsions.

Forrester and her husband would like to do extra RVing across the country– however she will be able to now not get a three-month prescription for her pain. Now she has to ensure she’s in Washington state each month to resume her prescription. If she goes to a different physician in one other state, she’s afraid she’ll find yourself on a watch record of sufferers that are “shopping doctors” to acquire pain medication.

“We are not criminals, we’re just in pain,” she says.

Forrester says she understands the brand new CDC pointers happened from the nationwide health disaster that has been rising from the historic over-prescribing of pain drugs. CDC numbers present that greater than 350,000 Americans died from prescription and unlawful opioids between 2009 and 2016. But, Forrester says the brand new 2016 pointers are too strict and put bureaucrats between her and her physician.

Q13 News reached out to hospitals, doctor teams and pain clinics all around the area and no doctor was obtainable for remark Tuesday.

A gaggle known as the Alliance for the Treatment of Intractable Pain say opioid prescriptions are at a 10-year low, however opioid deaths are at a 10-year excessive. That’s why folks at this rally say they’re not the issue and may not be punished only for being in pain.

“I have had 11 back surgeries,” says Maria Higginbotham, holding a plastic sandwich bag of nuts and screws that surgeons have faraway from alongside her backbone over time.

“There’s three times that much still in there,” says the Gig Harbor lady, who was once a financial institution department supervisor. She has a hereditary degenerative situation the place the bones in her backbone are crumbling away and medical doctors constructed a metallic cage round her backbone.

Higginbotham says her pain is almost fixed. And whereas her physician has tapered down her meds to 40 p.c of the place they have been, she’s afraid new state laws which may come within the subsequent 12 months will make her pain meds to be tapered off much more.

“A lot of people want to be out here,” says Higginbotham, who was recognized greater than a decade in the past, “but some of them are in so much pain they can’t even get out of bed. I’m one of those, but I forced myself — I dragged myself to be here.”

The hope at this rally and others throughout the nation throughout Pain Awareness Month occurring now’s to get folks to contact their state and federal legislators and the CDC to roll again a few of the harsh restrictions folks in persistent pain are enduring.

“It’s a horrendous life,” says Higginbotham, “there’s no joy left in it.”

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