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Dealing with opiod stigma
25 Replies
cwilliams - February 19

Is anyone else having trouble with unsympathetic medical workers? In the past few months I have received big, judgemental reactions from pharmacists and doctors once they learn I am taking MS Contin.

I try to tell them that it has been a long road of drugs and side effects, Xrays, MRI's and lab tests, diet restrictions and alternative treatments.....but I have still had severe nerve pain.

They don't know about my long nights wandering around the house in misery, the missed work days and social events. For me, MS Contin was a big decision that considered dependency and tolerance -but I also saw it as an alternative to disability or suicide.

The reaction I have encountered has ranged from alarm "That's really bad for you!" to outright contempt. I went to Urgent Care recently with severe stomache pain. The doctor assumed I was having withdrawals and contemptuously sent me out without treatment.

Fibro is bad enough, I don't like being made to feel like a loser every time I fill out a medical questionaire or fill a prescription. Anyone else experiencing this?


schmind - April 6

My rheumatologist is fairly accepting of me being on MS Contin. My Family doctor "is glad it controls my pain much better but reminds me that he isn't comfortable with it. If he only could experience the huge amount o pain relief it gives me compared to any other med, he might feel different. He wld still like to try me on something else but it would mean reducing other meds for FM so will wait and see. The stigma is're right...but I've go support in a sis-in-law who's a nurse and thinks it's wonderful that MS contin is doing a better job. I still have quite a bit of pain and feel like I'm a100 lots of the time, but at least I have a life. Try to ignore the "stigma"if you can. All the best.


fibro friend - July 15

every one including my husband is not understanding of the need for pain meds. They think I'm using it as an excuse to use drugs. when all I want is some relief . They have no Idea what i go thru on a dail basis. When some has cancer pain do we question whether they sdoul be on narcotics. it pisses me off and some times hurts me that I have to defend myself.


Cheri_08 - July 28

The stigma of opiods for me is right in my family! My Rheumatologist, Pharmacist and my Phyciatrist are very knowlegable about FM. My 75 year old suffers horribly when family members actually withhold her pain meds. It's something we to have deal with all the time! Thisis the main reason I joined this forum. So that when my Mother and I need support we can find it here! I'm so sorry about your experiences with stigma! Just know that you are not alone!


Cheri_08 - July 28

Sorry!!!! My typing is not very good, no matter how hard I try. I should learn to proof-read... "My Mother" is suffering the same stigma, only it's worse for her because members of the family withhold her pain meds! It' just Heartbreaking to watch her suffer.


Lynn 62 - August 8

I feel for you all, my Dr. had me on a contract for narcotics,because I have cronic pain. so I have urine tests a couple times a year,have been taking vicodin for 13 years now he wont fill my rx because he says I dont take it often enough........... Iam pissed,not only do I have pain,he just cut me of my meds and it made me sick........ help


barnes3188 - August 21

My doctor only prescribes me Lortab and I had to beg for that and she still makes me feel like a horrible person for needing pain meds. The lortab barely touches the pain but it's something at least, I guess!


recross - September 23

the stigma you are suffering is so widespread it is not funny.Believe it or not there are many people who are now considered drug addicts that have to buy street drugs because they are to ashamed to seek the help they so despereately need.Its pathetic.No one understands what this dieses does to you.My doc is understanding and he and I get along fine when it comes to comeing up with a plan to keep me medicated but also keep me from becoming addicted to opiats,what most people dont understand or know is that there are better drugs out there besides opium based meds.It is very hard to get scripts to them tho. Seconol is a wonderful pain med but hard to get however I am trying to get it rather than the opium based crap,I am tired of being called a junkie because I am in jpain from having been put through so many surgeries.Onward I go tho and only time will tell


kdbbev - October 16

You know I guess I got it good, because my doc and pharmaist is so supportive, all my family is except my mom. But I don't talk to her. The MS Contin works great and gives me back my life, that is all that should matter..


Fantod - November 11

I have a friend who has severe degenerative disc disease. She is in her 30's and has had surgery, epidurals and tried every other pain medication on the planet. Her doctor finally put her on Oxycotin as a last resort. It is the only thing that actually works to relieve some of her pain. We had a long talk about it and having been through the whole process with her every step of the way this appeared to be the only alternative. She gets a lot of flak from the pharmacist particularly. I think this is a direct reflection of her age - they see her as a 30 something pill popper. It is unfortunate stigma that she is going to have to deal with for the unseeable future. Too bad that a responsible person is lumped in with actual addicts.


Jeanwe8 - November 12

Yes, I have. Trying to be helpful my primary physician sent me to a rheumatologist. He was rude, talked down to me and when he found out that I took Oxycontin, he said, "I don't prescribe narcotics". Just the way he said it made me feel like I was some sort of drug abuser. Even though my primary physician prescribed it. At the end of the appointment, he said, "I don't think I can help you", in a very condescending way. Fortunately, the pharmacists where I get my Oxycontin filled are very pleasant and caring. My husband occasionally bugs me about taking Oxycontin, sometimes saying, "that's just taking the easy way out." Grrr, I'd like to dope slap him when he says that. Most of the time though, he's pretty understanding. I think sometimes he just gets frustrated because he can't do any thing to relieve the pain.


piratecookie - November 17

I have severe issues with docs, nurses and pharms that cause problems with patients due to medications being rxd. First, I currently have a pharm who is great. He takes care of nursing homes and other patients who have been long term pain management. My pain management doc is also great about meds--he too has had long term pm pts. (since 1983) If you are getting that kind of reaction from any docs, pharms or other healthcare workers, go to their supervisors or change providers. It is expected that you will not complain or will take whatever they dish because they are used to no one complaining because they are "educated." I am here to tell you, do what you have to do to take care of yourself or those you love. You don't have to explain a damn thing to anyone.
Now that my steam is slightly quelled: keep a medication/life journal. I record every medication I take, when I eat, sleep, exercise, how I am feeling, and at what times etc. You get the idea. I take it with me if I have to receive ER care or visit another doc, along with my pm doc's policy on pain meds. I am sure you are familiar with the whole, "I won't solicit other meds from other docs," info. I leave that policy copy (not the journal) with them, along with my pm doc's info and request to sign a release so they can get any pertinent info from my pm doc. If you are able to document all of the issues going on with you, an ER doc should not be sending you home assuming you're dt'ing. He/she is lazy if that is the case and you have provided your journal of meds taken and all your other documentation. Once they see you are serious about taking care of your health and not a drug seeker, they will be more willing to take you seriously. I work in law enforcement (20+ years) and as soon as they see you have all that paperwork, they know you are not there for the drugs. No drug seeker I have ever met has had the fortitude to keep a daily log, paperwork from docs, etc. I know you may not feel like carrying all that crap, but it does help more than you would think. Until non-pm docs learn more about pm, it is going to continue. Help to educate them. You don't have to be rude. (and I have wanted to on several occasions) Just remain firm and ask to see someone else there until you are satisfied your best interest is being looked after. And if they continue to be snotty, take names and write letters to their administration. It is also imperative to take someone with you whenever you go: if you have to take your complaint to the medical board of your state, you need to have a witness. The more the merrier. I have personal experience with that as well. My complaint was going to be dismissed until I reminded the investigator that I had two witnesses (and one that was completely independant) It worked out in my favor. I am just sick of docs, hospitals and all the associated workers giving the good docs and workers bad names. I'll get off my soapbox now. Good luck and here's to everyone's good health!


wellshorse - December 2

I am so sorry you have dealt with that. I have learned that people are very ignorant. I to am on ocycotin 4x day soma, i then have norco and oxocodone for break thur pain. I have experienced some of this from medical staff or friends but the funny thing is friends that are around me on bad days now understand when they watch me get up to walk some where and Iam huntched over shuffling my feet and almost in tears they get it now.. But you cant fix stupid and there will always be people who will do and say mean things. Just think to yourself they have no right till they walk a mile in your shoes...


wellshorse - December 2

Ok one more thing the funny thing about all this is I dont get high off my meds I dont catch a buz So for those who say she does it just for the high cracks me up..


DianaTF - June 28

yes. yes. yes. My pain management M.D. has me on Cymbalta and Lyrica for Fibro. Lupus and R.A.
I've told him that these all HAVE helped take the edge off, but some days I am in AGONY. I told him in the past, Darvon worked well for pain, so he agreed to prescribe that. When I told him it wasn't strong enough, he gave me Vicodin, which didn't do much. The darvon was actually better, so I'm back on that. I really want to try a contin drug so I don't need to be popping pills all the time.
My biggest dilemma is this: I know it was wrong, but my best friend has had back surgery and she's a mess. One day, I was in absolute agony and she gave me one of her continuous release morphine tabs.just a small mg, like 4mg I believe. It was as if I were "normal" again. felt like I was in my 20's not my 40's...the pain was GONE for an entire 12 hours.
I'd like to ask my pain mgt. M.D. if he'd prescribe, but am afraid. I suppose I'll just be honest.....and hope for the best....


Misti47 - July 28

Contact the state medical health board. Its against the law for them NOT to prescribe pain relievers to you. Believe me, I took my doctor to court and won! So next time those idiots tell you that they wont give you narcotics, CONTACT the state board.

BTW, ever wonder why opioids are FDA approved but forbidden but the new pain relief drugs are always on tv claiming people's lives or lawsuits against them? Doctors and ER doctor should listen to your pain, not deny it. When my ex-doctor try to tell me it was all in my head, I wanted to fire her and do whatever I could to get even. So I fired her! Then I contacted the state board and a free lawyer. Three months later, I won! She can NO LONGER PRACTICE!

BTW, a so called drug seeker wouldn't waste their time or money in a doctor's office or an ER! DUH!

Doctors, wake up! LISTEN TO YOUR PATIENTS and their need to relief for pain!


fibro4years - August 5

I totally understand. Last week at the pharmacy
because my prescrp. was one day early they looked
at me like I was some kind of drug addict. I should
not feel like I have to defend myself. People do
not understand the amount of pain and emotional
tole this takes on a person. I started doing mail
order for my prescriptions. I take hydrocodone
10/500 and this works pretty good for me. There are
times when I am worse and really could use
something stronger until I get through the flare up
but havent asked my doctor yet. I am afraid to ask
for oxy contin.



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