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Thread: Lost My Pain Doc Due to the DEA!

  1. #1
    Distinguished Community Member
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    Mar 2009

    Angry Lost My Pain Doc Due to the DEA!

    I know that the environment for CP patients has become increasingly bleak in recent years. I'd read stories about the DEA hassling pain doctors for trivial reasons, leading to severe consequences for the doctors. Yet somehow I believed that my pain doc would never be targeted.

    My PM doc has been in practice for 30+ years, and is both extremely knowledgeable and very compassionate. (Maybe the State Medical Board just can't stand to have a doctor who is actually willing to treat pain with medications!). But my PM doesn't just prescribe medications; he also does trigger point injections and other procedures. He's board certified in Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, and stays on the cutting edge of therapies (both non-narcotic and narcotic, as well as alternative procedures).

    My PM doc isn't afraid to prescribe opiates if the case warrants it. He's compassionate and his goal is to give his patients maximum functionality with minimal suffering. He knows exactly which medications will best treat pain, and in which quantities.

    My PM doc also keeps meticulous records, does urine tests, checks CURES reports, etc. I'd almost be willing to bet money that every single one of his patients was a legitimate chronic pain patient, and NOT a drug addict. Trust had to be earned; he didn't just prescribe for anyone. He checked records and verified his patients' conditions with previous treating physicians. In other words, my PM did everything RIGHT, yet the DEA still targeted him with some sort of ridiculous 'complaint'.

    The State Medical Board didn't like the combo of meds he prescribed for ONE patient, and also accused him of inadequate record-keeping for this ONE patient. I could swear that the DEA is nit-picking, trying to find ANYTHING possible to try to make my doctor look bad. I'll bet they do this all the time to pain doctors! The people from the DEA probably sit around deciding, "Which pain doctor should we 'investigate' this month?" They probably just pick a name at random!

    I think there's an excellent chance that my doctor could have won the case, but maybe going to trial would have just been too embarrassing for him. He's a well-respected pain management specialist at a top university hospital---why tarnish his legacy? (My doc didn't even tell me about the accusation; I discovered it through an Internet search. His retirement was so sudden and shocking that I knew there had to be a bit more to the story). My doc is at retirement age, so apparently he decided to take an early retirement vs. going through a public trial and (possibly) losing his license or other punitive measures.

    DEA--We've lost a wonderful pain doctor; thanks a lot! It can be nearly impossible to find a GREAT pain doc, or even a GOOD one. Now patients like me will SUFFER and be unable to function in life, all because the DEA is trying to practice medicine and doesn't care about or understand chronic pain and CP patients. The DEA doesn't understand pain medications or the dosages---they just call everything a 'dangerous drug'. Go above a minimal amount of opiate and they label it as "excessive prescribing". If someone on opiates needs benzos for sleep? They call that a "dangerous combination".

    My doctor was a Pain Specialist for over 30 years; it's not he who suddenly did anything different in his practice. It's the fault of the DEA, who in recent years has been targeting one PM doc after another, for sometimes very frivolous reasons. THIS truly is a crime! I'll write to my Representative, but I doubt it'll make a difference. BOTH parties want to be 'tough on drugs', so all the politicians support these insane DEA policies.

    My pain doc and my mother were the only two people who truly understood the excruciating constant pain that I deal with, and now they both are gone. Neither one of them wanted me to suffer. All of the younger pain docs are too scared to aggressively treat pain, for fear that they will be the next doc to lose their medical license! In a way, I understand that no doctor wants to risk forfeiting all those years of study and hard work for the benefit a few 'complex' chronic pain patients, but where are the 'difficult' or 'complex' patients supposed to go? Are we supposed to go into the street and buy heroin? Are we supposed to commit suicide? The 'choices' are horrific.

    I WISH these DEA folks and the politicians could live for ONE SOLID MONTH with excruciating pain! I wonder what THEY would do? Suddenly, they'd find out that there are some conditions for which you can't just 'pop a Tylenol' and go on with your life! They'd suddenly know what it's like to awake every day to never-ending pain that makes it hard to even get out of bed in the morning. They'd understand having to curl up on the bathroom floor, waiting for one's pain meds to take effect so that you have the ability to get through yet another day of constant severe pain. How about withholding their pain meds? How quickly would they be running to the nearest E.R., begging for relief?

    It's almost as if people cannot understand what chronic pain is like unless they personally have lived it. Those DEA people should just thank God that they have their health, and NOT go attacking pain patients and the pain doctors who help them! The DEA is comprised of a bunch of bullies with zero compassion. Do they think some people 'deserve' to suffer? Do they think we're all just a bunch of drug addicts who are lying about our pain levels? Do they think severe chronic pain doesn't exist? I don't know what they think.

    The DEA needs to go after the cocaine and heroin cartels, and ease up on doctors who are trying their best to give their pain patients some quality-of-life. Unlike drug kingpins, doctors don't have guns drawn, so DEA agents are assured of physical safety when raiding or threatening doctor's offices. I had thought that the Oxycontin hysteria and 'pill mills' were a thing of the past; now all states have Prescription Monitoring Programs. I thought that pain docs who followed the rules were immune from prosecution/investigation. I guess I was na´ve. It sounds like the DEA plans to take down one pain doc after another, until there are none. I already heard of a nearby pain clinic that went 'opiate-free' as of 2015. And I have a friend who actually thought that the "War on Drugs" was over, just because medical marijuana is now freely available.

    Where are the doctors who are willing to prescribe opiates? The extreme governmental pressure is forcing pain docs to retire early, to refuse to prescribe narcotics at all, or to prescribe narcotics only in very minimal amounts. My pain doc says that we chronic pain patients really need to form our own political action group. I'd be happy to do it, but I'd also be afraid that drawing attention to myself and my need for pain meds would invite the scrutiny of the DEA. I'd worry that being politically active in a public way could result in negative repercussions for myself and/or my next pain doc. Over the years, I seem to recall a couple of instances in which CP patients who publically spoke out about the DEA's tyranny ended up getting into some sort of trouble (or their doctors got investigated).

    I finally found a way to cope with my intractable pain via my wonderful pain doc, but now the State Medical Board is forcing a great pain doc into early retirement (and leaving his patients to fend for themselves). During my last two appointments, my pain doc told me that the government was trying to take opiate medicines away from patients. I'd seen this at the pharmacy level, and thought that's what he was referring to. Maybe not so coincidentally, the indy pharmacy that my pain doc had used for decades also abruptly shut down as of Jan. 2016. The political climate for CP patients is chilling, and I have no idea what those of us who need opiates in order to function are supposed to do.

    Thanks for reading this. Even in 'liberal' California, access to pain meds has become very restricted. Maybe things are better in more 'conservative' states? Or are things bad all over? I'm wondering if there might be a different country out there that has more lenient pain medicine laws? Maybe England or Switzerland? There gets to be a point where the pain is so severe that life isn't even worth living, without adequate relief. I'll bet that all of my doctor's patients who needed opiates are feeling as frantic as I feel right now---I wish there was a support group! Unfortunately, my pain doc wasn't sure which doctors in the area even prescribe opiates anymore. He said that today's PM docs just want to do procedures, and not prescribe pain meds. So much for being 'pain management' doctors! Even my conservative father always said, "They make those medicines (pain killers) for a reason."

    I've yet to see a new pain doc, but I can just imagine them telling me, "That's not the way I prescribe." If other local pain docs are aware of this accusation against my PM, they might be reluctant to continue his treatment plan or even to take me on as a patient. Both my case and my medication regimen are very 'complex'. I don't even want to think about returning to the days before I started seeing my pain doc, because I was in so much pain that I couldn't even function back then. These are scary times for CP patients.


  2. #2
    Community Member Lil E's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Fremont, CA


    I had my PM for 12 years and the new rules said I couldn't pay him cash anymore. He is getting out of treating pain patients. I went from 48 mgs a day to 3 mgs. It took a year. I started medical marijuana and it is a great help. I couldn't find a doctor to take me on because of the multiple meds I take and my chronic problems. My PC has taken over and has helped me a lot. This is happening everywhere thanks to the failed war on drugs and people who have O.D.'ed, who probably shouldn't have had opiates in the first place.
    If no pain, no gain is true, where is everything I should have gained?
    DDD, Fibro, CFS, pain for 20 years. ADR c 5/6 Feb. 2018 doing well.
    Back to pain management, fibromyalgia getting worse.

  3. #3


    Many older pain doctors failed to keep up with the changing science and risks associated with pain medications. Those that continue to prescribe high doses have not a leg to stand on scientifically since there are 9 studies that show taking patients from high dose down to low dose or no opioids actually improves their pain and function. Certain combinations of medications such as soma, xanax, and an opioid have been known for a decade to be deadly, but sadly some docs refused to believe it, and needed to have their licenses yanked. Marijuana, mindfulness, yoga, acupuncture, and gentle exercise have been shown to improve pain perception and function in some patients, and increasingly are being used instead of the high dose opioids used in the 1990s-2012.

  4. #4
    Distinguished Community Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007


    Algosdoc - How much pain are YOU in - Cause? walk a day in my shoes and you would know and yes I have tried all of your suggestions. I mean no disrespect and I am glad you are in favor of Medical Marijuana. it is the people who are irresponsible that make it hard for the rest of us. I also hate the feeling other then the relief it offers my back.
    Blessings to you

  5. #5


    They are now finding out that replacing opiods with anti-seizure meds are creating a whole new set of problems.

    I've had my pain meds reduced and I didn't get better control of my pain. Yes marijuana, tens units, yoga, acupuncture, and gentle exercise are all good tools but I'm living proof that opiods do work.

    As an adult shouldn't it be my choice? After all, it's my life and I'm the one that has to live with the pain. I'd gladly trade 20 years of pain for 5 good years.

    They decriminalized drugs in Portugal and they've had overdoses, addiction HIV rates, and deaths go down. People seeking treatment has gone up. They have also had a decline in teens trying and using drugs. It would be nice if our government pulled their heads out of the sand. Just think of all the money we would save and the added jobs legalization would create. Plus violence in our border cities (due to the Drug cartels) might also go down.,00.html (after 5 years of decriminalization) 14 years!)

  6. The following user says "thanks"

  7. #6


    Eva you're probably right that the DEA is gunning for your doctor. Sadly since they're not able to do much about illegal drugs, legal drugs make an easy mark for them. I wish you luck in finding a good pain management doctor.

  8. #7


    Have you tried acupuncture, massage therapy and tens units? I've found all of these helpful.

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