Meet The Bureaucratic Roadblock Behind New Restrictive Painkiller Rules


Benjamin KrauseNew federal rules governing narcotic painkiller prescriptions have taken a toll on countless thousands of veterans relying on them to treat pain from missing limbs and other conditions.

Over the past six months, many veterans have written me about problems they experienced getting refills for their controlled painkillers. These veterans with chronic pain suddenly hit roadblocks whenever they sought the medication they previously received without problems.

Come to find out, new opioid prescription rules from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are behind the roadblock. DEA created the new rules to curb perceived abuses of opioids nationwide. Instead of helping, veterans claim the new rules have caused a dramatic uptick in depression due to increased pain, panic attacks, and other problems associated with sudden withdrawals that result when the refills are suddenly stopped.

In dramatically curtailing access to the highly addictive painkillers, the government is trying to roll back what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has termed “the worst drug addiction epidemic in the country’s history, killing more people than heroin and crack cocaine.” The rules apply to “hydrocodone combination products,” such as Vicodin.

More than half a million veterans are now on prescription opioids, according to the VA.

Pain experts at the VA say that in hindsight they have been overmedicating veterans, and doctors at the Pentagon and VA now say that the use of the painkillers contributes to family strife, homelessness and even suicide among veterans. A study by the American Public Health Association in 2011 also showed that the overdose rate among VA patients is nearly double the national average.

To help veterans combat the changes in prescriptive rules, VA’s national director for pain management, Rollin Gallagher, implemented a policy for staff to meet personally with patients. I am unclear how meeting personally with patients dependent on the painkillers to treat missing limbs, cancer and related ailments will assuage the pain.

What do you think about the DEA rule change and how that affects veterans? Should the policies be applied differently at VA in light of the less common ailments veterans face in coping with the hardship of war causing more serious injuries than those faced by the general population? Were the rules created using the right statistical analysis or will they disproportionately harm seriously injured or sick veterans more than the overall American population?

Best I can tell, VA could have handled the change better and treated veterans affected with more compassion while they suffered through withdrawals. A big problem with the change was that VA failed to warn and did not explain exactly why they change was going on. Veterans that pushed for the painkillers they previously received were labeled as “drug seeking”.


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  1. I too have fallen into this problem that my pain patch has been taken from me…
    I have nerve damage to my spine, several discs in my lower back are gone, along with both knees have been replaced as are both eyes that the lens were replaced due to many blows to the head …
    That is just a part of my problems and the VA treats me like a piece of trash….
    I am also the past district commander in the first dist. which the VA hospital is located in which means nothing…I am 100% disabled and a Chaplain…which means nothing…….

  2. I just read this whole page of comments, my story is the same or similar to 90% of these comments, 100% disabled service connected, just cut off meds, withdrawal, etc etc. called Bob McDonalds office, got called back by assistants, local clinic administrator lies, etc, etc. 74 years old and pissed off. I am declaring total war on VA. We need to quit bitching and actually do something, start a nationwide petition, get as many signatures as possible, stage protests, whatever we can do to get attention, picket the VA clinics and hospitals etc etc. Anyone willing to get involved please contact me.

    1. I’m thinking the same thing Ron. Injured in Vietnam and we won’t be listened to unless we take to demonstrating at our VA Clinics and Hospitals or no one will listen to us. Were not trash that needs to be disposed of by the fat boys like the Gov of N.J. who probably hasn’t had a hang nail in his life.
      I was in combat and was promised compassionate care, but now Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers and it’s not because of ” long waits in line” either.
      I misplaced a bottle of Clonazepam and only had a two week supply left of the old one. l went through hell for one month and on the day I found that the bottle had fallen into a suitcase full of old cloths was the day I was ready to get my new bottle. Had a mild heart attack and was insane for a month. The with drawls ripped my already damaged neck up and now I’m losing the use of my left arm. I am barely getting by and now I’m told I cannot reorder anything and got a letter from the VA that reads like it was the result of a “Drugs are Bad for You” essay done in Elementary School.

  3. I’m 100% service connected disabled through va, and have been for 20 years. I broke my neck, back, shoulders, and tore up my left hip jumping while in the 82nd airborne division. Since being out I broke my neck again and my left knee is now torn up because I have to walk with a straight left leg due to weakness and shaking on my left side due to my spinal cord injury. I also suffered about 5 concussions in service and 4 more from falling since getting out. Long story short, I am in medium pain all the time and in severe pain about a 1/4 of the time. Now I’m being told that I can take up to 36 steroid injections a year to treat all of my different injuries and that should solve my pain. First of all, your only supposed to take 3 shots per year, or at least thats what they told us for years until this new bs law came into affect. It’s funny how for a hundred years doctors told us you had to increase your dosage of narcotics occasionally or switch medicines to keep it working properly and now all of the sudden that’s not correct. They have slowly been jerking me around for about a year or two and all of the sudden they just refilled my pain meds and without even telling me I’m supposedly supposed to be weaned off by the end of the month. After 20 years!! What do they think I’m going to do for my pain?? Not only that they did this even though they know that I just blew a disc out in my lower back and my legs feel like they are on fire. Bottom line, they don’t care and if we don’t form a veteran’s group that is actually just veterans without money being involved and we only have one mission ” To get them to quit ruining our quality of life by screwin with our medicine”. One more thing ” OF COURSE WE ARE EXHIBITING DRUG SEEKING BEHAVIOR, THEY CAN’T AND WON’T FIX MY AND OTHER VETS PROBLEMS SO WHAT ELSE ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO?” I’ve tried everything else. I’m sorry I’m not going to take 16 absolutely bogus herbs, roots, antidepressants and whatever other b.s. they come up with, and hurt myself in physical therapy to make their lives simpler. The VA, and the government in general is purposely failing us so we quit going. Then all they will have to do us sit around and chat with each other and hand out a blood pressure medicine once a week and pat themselves on the back.

  4. It’s been nearly two years since I’ve received any pain medication for my service connected severe and chronic back condition. I’ve teetered on suicide for some time now due the debilitating pain….yet I don’t have the guts to do it. It’s gotten so bad I’ve begged like a child just to see a doctor…any doctor. To appease me with that request I got a referral to a totally unrelated clinic who was sure to inform me they won’t touch me and are referring me back to my primary care physician to give me another referral. I’m sitting on $22,000 of bills unpaid by Veterans Choice, although they’re the one who approved the procedures. Now there isn’t a private doctor who will touch me as that 22k rings a low echo throughout “the real” medical community. When I tried to explain this to my primary care doctor, I was given a lecture on financial irresponsibility and denied another referral for local care…along with denial of pain medication as well. The VA doctor tells me that I need more exercise and core strengthing and that will fix my inability to walk most days. I’ve lost my zest for life and I’m not the happy person I was when the pain was being managed. It really sucks being 100 percent disabled and an invalid reject of society. Nobody wants to be around someone who hurts all the time and complains about miserable pain. Thanks a lot United States. I was so proud to serve for you and I’m just a piece of rubbish to be discarded now. I never dreamed when I was nearly killed in the line of duty that I’d pay for it like this. I wasn’t trying to commit a crime by asking for help to live a little better life without pain. I thought you’d help me.

  5. WTF? I cannot understand the mentality of “Everyone is a Addict” I cannot get Any pain script now when I need it….have not had a problem or Script for 10 years, never had a drug related problem, yet they can now pull teeth and leave people helpless to deal with the pain…a sharp bone cutting side of tongue for 2 weeks now with no relief…WTF? WTF? USMC.did not train me well enough to ignore this pain, oooh raagh, Sempre Fi,

  6. I am a 100% disabled Veteran suffering a horrible skin disease that causes me to be in severe pain all the time. The VA in Roanoke VA is trying to cut off my pain meds for no reason, as I have complied with all the forced urine tests and psychological reviews and the comments from Primary care physicians accusing me of dealing drugs to making up my pain.
    What the hell is going on ? Please call or write your senators and congressmen/women and ask them to stop this discriminatory and dangerous crusade the VA is on. I do not know what will happen to me if they cut me off my pain medicines, as I cant take the pain I was in years ago, before effective pain management. I just wanted to put in writing whats happening to me and thousands of other Veterans across the country. I served honorably and did what I signed up to do to my utmost and got sick because of it and know I’m treated like trash. hat a great benefit. Peace.

    1. Ray,
      Most of us already have, and with one exception on this list, the politicians are the ones keeping this thing fueled along with the Press and government agencies. I’ve written to Obama (Got a reply which was a rubber stamped approval of what’s being done) both the Senate and House Chairmen of The VA Affairs Committee along with one of my State Senators who said “There’s nothing we can do for you.” I was furious when I found out he was on the Senate VA Affairs Committee and recently posted a dog and pony show with the heads of Veterans Organizations like he’s some kind of champion of Veterans rights. The only way we’re going to be heard is to march, and I don’t see that happening.

  7. Yes. Pain medication is addictive. So what? I dont drink alcohol or smoke weed. I didn’t think i could be dependant on pain meds. I dont abuse them, meaning i take what I’m prescribed. When i dont take them. I have withdrawals and when that’s over i have extreme pain.
    Tired of hearing they’re addictive! Most anything is if you take it or smoke it long enough!
    My point is, they work! I can function, i can walk and sit. Who cares if they’re addictive? What difference does it make???

  8. I am upset too. I have nerve damage from stage 3 lung cancer. I was on hydrocodone and I took one oxycodone pill and came up in a possible test. They don’t ask or speak with you as to what is going on or nothing. Looks like they were looking for an excuse to cut you off. Everybody does things they should not. But they don’t care.

  9. The veteran who can’t afford private doctors have the alternative “street herion” and the stats show the increase of use of this dangerous drug. Seems like plan by the DEA and the VA is backfiring.

    1. No Donald, actually it’s working. Ever hear of a “self fulfilling prophecy”? This is exactly what the DEA wants. They were caught and kicked out of Columbia after their agents were not only carousing with prostitutes on government time, but selling their seized contaband, just as VA Employees steal and sell pain killers to drug dealers here in the U.S. The VA admits to over 2800 cases of theft, but their website gave a lame excuse as to what they were doing to stop it. They said the drugs were meant for Veterans, but how can that be since most are no longer receiving them? China, the biggest exporter of Fentynal (legal and illegal) got the attention of the DEA who have sent 2, 2 agents to China to stop this. Please! Two agents? Heck, a guy with a grasp of chemistry can make Fentynal in their own homes and they are. What a nightmare.

  10. I live in chronic pain and now I’m being taken off my pain killers. I am not addicted to mine as I purposely stop taking mine a few days out of every month to ensure myself I can quite anytime I want. Don’t get me wrong, as the the pain is so bad at times that I go days without sleep and tears roll down my face. I also have a very high tolerance for pain as I pass kidney stones at home on a regular basis with a couple of beers, while others would be in the ER. I have heard all the BS being shoveled by VA Dr.

    My problem is that VA officials have studies showing that only 7% of patients on long term dosing to opiates, actually become addicted to the drug. What they fail to tell us and provide us is that they could switch the drugs every so often so our bodies would do become accustomed to one spacific drug.

    Finally, I think that all veterans should start flooding emergency rooms across the nation as a direct response against these new polices. There is no way our government can afford the ER bills if we stand up and boycott against these idiots. They cut the VA budget by 140 billion but did they take a pay cut, no last I check they all got a raise.

    1. It’s happening to every chronic pain patient throughout the country. They are even threatening pain treatment physicians to the point that they are afraid to treat chronic pain patients. The media hysteria is being fed false and misleading “studies” by the Anti-Opioid Cartel on a daily basis. There are 100 million people in the US who suffer with chronic pain and are being told to “suck it up” or ” live with it”. It’s time to Stand Up and Be Counted! We must advocate for our family, friends & physicians who treat if we want to have access to care. The UN even knows that Chronic Pain is currently a pandemic, but the US is going in the opposite direction- This must stop?

      1. Dee,
        I was sent through the “Pain Clinic” at the Indy VAMC. During the orientation, we were told that we would be allowed to keep our narcotic pain meds and that it was a lie that the Pain Clinic would take them away from us. That was all a lie and the Indy’s VAMC trick to get veterans into the Pain Clinic program in which the first thing they tell you is “we will be taking away your narcotics and treating you with “other” types of “treatment”.
        The idea is to get the vets into the clinic where the so called “pain Specialist” (a nurse practitioner) tells you that if you enter into the program your narcotic pain meds will be discontinued. If you do not want to enter the program, you can go back to your PCP and continue with your treatment. This is a catch 22 because that recommendation by the pain specialist is then put into your medical records. Your PCP will then go off of the recommendation by the so called specialist and they will take you off of your pain medication.
        This is what is happening to me. I refused to go with the pain clinic program, the recommendation that I should be weaned off of my narcotic pain med was put into my notes by the pain specialist, and my PCP stated that she had to go with what the “specialist” recommended as this was a specialist in pain therapy and that the specialist’s recommendation meant more than my PCP’s recommendation.
        I am also not getting any other type of treatment to help with my increase in pain. I have asked for six weeks for help with this and nothing. I have contacted everyone in the Indy VAMC for help and I have been ignored. I have resent my request for help to my senators, congressman, Ol’ Bob, ETC… and I have so far been left to deal with my pain that is unbearable the best way I can. I was told by the Chief of staff at the Indy VAMC Dr. Bashir, that I would be weaned off of this narcotic pain med even if I found no relief for my pain. This happens and they wonder why the heroin problem is becoming an epidemic. IN is so paranoid about this, that the state has formed a committee to look into this. As a result, Doctors are afraid to prescribe narcotics, pharmacies are being robbed for their narcotics, heroin use has risen, heroin overdoses have increased, and I believe that a few counties have had an increase in HIV cases due to the increase in heroin and the sharing of needles.
        I have asked if the narcotic medication is being taken away from those who have cancer and I have been told no. My daughter has had and continues to have cancer. She is doing better but she is still on a narcotic pain med and has been for three years. If this is bad for chronic pain, the risks for them would seem to be greater.

    2. I have been suddenly put on 6 10m methadone a day. True they took my 30 ir morph 15s….but 6 lol

  11. I agree with many of the posts here. I have had my pain meds cut in half for no reason at all. One month earlier the nurse practitioner even agreed that I was a low dosage of hydrocodone for severe pain. Doesn’t matter, next month she cut it by half and gave me a B.S. story. I have my congressman looking into it but says the V.A. has a full 30 days to respond to him. Mean while the V.A. won’t correspond with me at all and my paid meds were stopped. Never thought I would see this happen to the veterans. We fought in wars over seas but now we have to fight this one here at home. Really sucks.

      1. No, No, No, they are cutting people off methadone cold turkey and the withdrawals are many times worse than any other drug.

  12. this is more proof of the government not taking care of its people. the veterans deserve way better than this. they fought for our/their freedom, only to have more of theirs and mine freedoms of choice removed from us! the government agaencies,ALL OF THEM are hurting us and we are sitting back and letting them. including myself. how do we take back our rights to pursue happieness, which wont happen while in pain. the government lies, cheats and steals, then puts us in prison and jail when we do as theydo. the kicker is its our taxes that are allowing them to do this to us! we must take our country back with our freedom! there are more of us than there are of them. the higher percentages of deaths and such are because there are more people than there were when they started calculating. as well as corporations putting employees in positions where they become hurt in the first place. veterans deserve a whole lot better than they are being treated by the people the veterans protected. future military pay attention. if god blesses america then there will surely be some overly needed changes. i pray for reform of the us and all of the government offices as well as the people wakeing up and working together to find and use solutions to make a country worth living in.

  13. We are going through this in Canada as well (I’m military here and wanted to see what was going on in the US to compare notes). For us it started when we’d see our doctors about late 2013. We were told our insurance (which does cover emergency visits, ambulance rides, etc) would no longer cover narcotic pain killers. Too many people were abusing them and dying. Basically, it felt like we were told this is how it is; if you don’t like it go buy ’em off the streets and die. 100 percent our fault. Thanks to all these kids who raid their grandparents medicine cabinets and others who have made this MESS for the rest of us. We are all being taken off painkillers, and the heroin problem here in Toronto, as well as newly diagnosed vets with HIV is very high. Everyone is moving over to heroin. ONE promise I made to myself when I made it through basic training (because I have a family history of addiction): if I made it through that training, no needles. Ever.

    I resent the implication that we are getting drunk or high to forget whatever we went through either in combat or in civilian life. As if I couldn’t have just as easily had ruptured discs and broken ribs doing civilian physical labour? Do they all get loaded as well? I know a lot of other guys who are now homeless and doing heroin. These were guys I met who I admired so much from the beginning – never did I think I’d see them living in these old hotels and sitting around these alleys downtown all day. They’re like that because they weren’t cared for properly. There’s tons of money to be made in ‘combat’ and weaponry and war in general while there’s NOTHING to be made off of getting a veteran off the streets or demanding we be treated better than some ‘bother’ who has to schedule a doctors appointment every month, get a ‘hard copy’ prescription that the pharmacy won’t even look at you unless you have it – and Lord help you if you arrive a day early to pick it up otherwise you’ll be seen as a ‘frequent flier’…but to my American friends I can suggest if any of you visit…in Canada we have something that is sold over the counter (but the pharmacy keeps it behind the counter – you have to ask for it). It’s called ‘222’s. Basically it’s like Tylenol 3 in the U.S. BUT the downside is the amount of caffeine in it. They deliberately put caffeine in it so you don’t take it to get high. It will alleviate the pain somewhat but if you’re used to Percocet or those things it won’t do anything for you.

    I’m sorry to say the situation is no different up here. If anything, it’s worse because the population is so much smaller that the records kept on us are very thorough and immediate…if anything goes wrong at an appointment or with a pharmacy it’ll be in your file before the next day and you’ll be drug tested – guaranteed, and no exceptions. It sucks. I’m dealing, right now, with the ear-ringing, the feeling of my sinuses full of pressure, no appetite, no interest in even eating…I know that God doesn’t hand me anything He knows I can’t get through but right now I am angry because I have been in control, front and centre of my life for a long time and THIS WORKED for me. Then I read a story about a bunch of high school kids overdosing and now I have to suffer as well?

    I know it doesn’t help and hopefully someone sees this because I know how you feel….

    1. Good to see you here CM. Hope you come back often. If I recall correctly, Toronto has a bad heroin problem, and rather than trying to address it, they decided to hand out free needles as well as other things that just made it easier to be an addict. It sucks that veterans have to suffer for that. Keep your chin up and GO HAWKS!

      1. Do you really think that free needle exchange is correlated with increased use? Newsflash: handing out condoms and allowing for legal safe abortions has actually decreased teen pregnancy in states where both occur, while states with increased barriers to unplanned pregnancy report more teen pregnancies. You would probably complain that those who share needles and then need HIGHLY EXPENSIVE HEP C TREATMENT are part of the problem too, right? The reality is, the VA way over prescribes narcotics. I know of a former VA psychiatrist who prescribed Ritalin (a stimulant) for PTSD, (a diagnosis marked by feeling shaky, on edge, racing mind, increased startle, and difficulty sleeping.) Veterans have pain. It happens as early as bootcamp. Covering it up with opiates does nothing. Learning how to manage it, like civilians with responsible doctors have to, is the solution.

      2. Dee I think when it comes to your statement that the VA “way over prescribes narcotics” you are only presenting a half truth. It is certainly true that some VA’s in some states are over prescribing, but it is equally true that just as many VA’s in other states are under prescribing, and their patients are suffering for it. It is hyperbole fueled by the media that has perpetuated this myth that VA’s across the board are handing out narcotics like candy. I take issue with your statement that opiates do nothing but cover up the pain. Is it not the point? When there is no surgical option, physical therapy doesn’t help, or all other treatments have failed, what would you have both patient and doctor do? If the doctors don’t care, and most don’t and never did at the VA, you hobble home to live out your miserable life in pain.

      3. Terz:
        Where do you get your information regarding “hyperbole fueling the media”? Seriously, I would like to read this. I just did a quick google search and found numerous reports of concerns that the VA over-prescribes that included, but was not limited to, referencing the following sources: internal VA research, external VA research, current providers, current staff, former providers, former staff, patients, patients’ families…and I understand pain sucks. Getting old sucks. But covering it up and developing dependence on a highly-addictive substance which actually stops working as use increases, is not the solution either. If I am sitting in a room where the stereo is too loud, and I get a headache, I can take some aspirin and maybe the headache will go away for a bit. But until I make a behavioral choice (turn down the music, leave the room, endure the headache, etc.) the headache will come back. At the end of the day, sometimes people have to just endure it. That’s the reality. I would personally rather suffer with physical pain and enjoy the rest of my life than numb out with a heroin addiction that will steal it.

      4. NOT “Hyperbole feeding the media” but “hyperbole fed by the media.” Case in point, the highly publicized “overdose” death of Ohio veteran Scott McDonald was held up as the poster child for needed prescription reform at the VA. His widow Heather was paraded around denouncing how reckless was the VA. She even testified before Congress. When the autopsy results were released it showed he had been taking several psychiatric medications, a prescription NSAID, and Percocet. It also showed he had liver damage, and around 8 to 9 Percocets from his prescription could not be accounted for. The coroner ruled his cause of death as an accidental overdose due to the combination of medicines. The fact he had medication missing tells me he was abusing it . . . hardly a proper poster boy for the anti opiate zealots. His death was highly reported, but his autopsy report was an afterthought.

        Dead veterans get press. It attracts the readers and feeds Americans’ incessant need for tragedy and the corresponding self righteous indignation. Suffering veterans get ignored. I still have no problem finding stories of veterans being left to suffer.

        You may find it an admirable trait to suffer without help. The idea that you would compare a headache from listening to loud music to living with severe chronic pain speaks for itself. You can suffer all you want, but just don’t think for one minute that you, the FDA, the DEA, the VA, or anyone else has the authority to deny me the basic human right to receive a medication that decreases my level of disability and increases my quality of life.

      5. First of all, how is it a “basic human right” to receive heroin in pill form?

        And where, outside this one secret autopsy case, is the larger more comprehensive research that this country, and especially the VA, under-prescribes? I look forward to reading that when you find it.

        I am also curious about how a long-term opiate prescription has decreased your disability and/or improved your quality of life. Really. Because I have spent many years studying how the brain and body process chemicals and understand how this substance works on a pretty deep level.

        Furthermore, I am sorry you missed my simplified explanation of placing a bandaid on an amputation. Using opiates long term and claiming they are “increasing your quality of life” is no different than the VA placing a fresh coat of paint on the walls of its hospital and saying all the problems are fixed.

        With all due respect, Veterans who attach so much value in their narcotics raise all sorts of flags and more likely than not, justify the med-seeking stereotype more than not. I would take a look at that if I were you.

        You are correct; I do see avoiding pain as a weakness. I actually think that pain is best faced head on. Pain meds offer a cheap way out of moving through life with the hand you are dealt. And if saying that I can’t support a system that enables Veterans to not be the best they can be, as their true selves, and however those selves may look, makes me a heartless individual? So be it. I think that throwing a bunch of pills at someone is no different than keeping their appointments hidden. It’s not helpful.

        PS: I was born with a degenerative bone disease that has caused functional, structural, nervous system, and a variety of other biological and social chronic problems that are worsening as my life goes on. The only option I ever had to fix it was full spinal cord surgery as a teenager–30 years ago. I opted out. So believe me, I know a thing or two about pain and suffering. But I also choose not to let it define me

      6. First of all, we are not talking about heroin in pill form. Heroin like the ingredient in opiate pain relievers are derivatives of opium, but to compare oxycodone, codeine, or hydrocodone to heroin is just more hyperbolic nonsense that I alluded to earlier. Using your train of thought I suppose a compound fracture, post operative pain, and a severed limb don’t even qualify as painful enough to warrant opiate intervention. I didn’t realize Josef Mengele founded a school of medicine. Patients just need to deal with it right?

        Opiate pain medication greatly improved my quality of life and lowered my degree of disability. It is the difference between wether I can or can’t do something. No medicine equals greater restrictions on my ability to perform everyday tasks and household chores. Since the VA’s little jihad on opiate medication, I am less able to do things I need or want to do. I haven’t had any opiate medication for well over a year. I was not addicted to it in the first place. So your backhanded remark about my need for it is hollow.

        It most definitely is my innate human right to make decisions about my health and what I chose to use to treat injury or illness. If the government wrote laws or forced doctors by intimidation to refuse to write insulin prescriptions for diabetics it would be seen as an abomination and a cruel violation of international standards on human rights. Chronic pain is a medical problem not some abstract concept. By taking away opiate pain medicines you are violating an individual’s right to equal treatment under the law. It is also an atrocious violation of the Americans With Disability Act.

    2. I’ll tell you exactly how and why this has happened. The DEA has come down hard on senior level doctors to stop prescribing opioid’s or face revocation of their license to practice. In the process of executing this move they made examples of quite a few physicians by jailing them and taking their license’s. So all physicians are now scared shitless to prescribe opiates.

      As many of you have come to realize what this move did was send many of us to the streets, and with pill prices too high for anyone’s budget most of us found heroin to be the cheapest strongest fix. But you see, here in lies the problem and the motive, that as you hand those dollars over to the street you are now funding the cartels, the isis’s and the terrorists. I have coined this entire cluster fuck, “The perpetuation of endless war”. Be it real world war, or the drug war, they are sustaining it.

      If you google “afghan opium production” you will see that the Taliban was able to crush afghan poppy cultivation to a rate of 0% in 2001. They were telling poppy farmers that such a crop was not in line with their spiritual beliefs and the farmers must stop. Well, the US showed up in 2002 and as you will see in the afghan opium production charts afghan opium production has risen to become the supplier of more than half the world now providing over 90% of the over and under opium to the world. So the war in Afghan was not a terrorist war, it was a modern day opium war.

      With the CIA owning all the borders in Afghan, as well as all the land and maritime routes in and out of Afghan we now begin to pull together the big picture of what has truly been going on. Three letter agencies appearing to work in cahoots with each other so to secure their jobs and fund their organized crimes. It’s a shit stack. Just as so many of America’s business practices have gone, our nation has seemingly become one, big, swollen, fucking racket.

      This all said and done I am going to now release some information to you that has otherwise been kept under wraps for years. I shall warn you that should you put this information to work that you will be placing yourself in a state of high risk for the potential of attracting legal issues that are sure to land you in jail or prison. So what ever you do with this information you need to be very careful, the last thing we need are for the overflowing prisons to gain more populous from the veteranship of our world. Bottom line is this….. there is no reason at all for us to be dependent upon a country like Afghan that is thousands of miles away and controlled by corrupt organizations for the growing, cultivating and processing of opium. The poppy as a plant can damn near grow ANYWHERE! Now for the nugget I promised……

      Ever heard of McCormick’s herbs and spices? I am sure you have. Well they sell poppy seeds that can be used for various foods such as bagels etc. Little known is the fact that the McCormick poppy seeds that have the red top are indeed the variety of seeds known as Papaver somniferum; or, the opium poppy. Look for the bottles either large or small with the red top, and well, try your luck at baking or something. Before you go doing anything stupid I would highly advise that you research your local laws and such. Other than that, when it comes to use of this information I will leave you with this: Do what thou wilt, Harm none.

      There, the cat is out of the bag. And perhaps so much so that a few states may eventually have to change their state flower. Not that I would accidentally begin to leak seeds where ever I drove, biked or walked or anything. It does take two to tango right? May we sow what we can no longer reap? Lest you be the judge.

      Love, Light and Power,

      1. A couple things I find interesting about your comment. Commit malpractice, main and kill veterans and federal officials ignore you, let you keep your license and continue harming veterans. But, you prescribe opiates, whether there is a medical basis or not, and you can bet your ass federal officials will come after your license.
        As for poppy seeds and baking, I believe some will cause a positive hit on a drug test. Albeit a tiny amount, but I believe it still indicates positive.

      2. While I was still in the Military I had a friend who was an excellent mechanic and Air Crewman with a spotless record, who was sent for a random urinalysis. He had turned up positive because of a poppy seed bagel he had before starting work. I couldn’t get over the zeal that the moron’s at H.Q. went after him.
        He ended up having to hire his own attorney who was able to demonstrate that the bagel was the source of the false reading and he was reinstated. No apology, no help with the legal fees, but a darn good mech was out of work for close to a year. This was long before the DEA started on CPP’s since they botched things up in Columbia and recently in Honduras. 4 children killed in one of their “raids”.

  14. Currently dealing with the same thing here in wv. I have multiple back injuries, a left shoulder injury, GSW to the left leg with extreme nerve damage and knee pain. After six yrs of the same two pain relieving rx’s and what has worked best. I am now being treated like some sort of criminal on probation, i have to go in for pill counts and urine tests and am constantly belittled and made to feel the same. What do you do? Im sick of keeping my mouth shut and playing the complaint little sheep. But again what can you do? Im constantly having major anxiety (wich doesn’t help my other issues in the least) about weather or not i recieve my next 30 day rx. But god for bid you speak out else ur labeled a drug seeker and red flagged and god forbid you call your script in early just to insure that the doc gets it in even though it wont even be filled until the day it is do anyway. The future looks bleak. Ive often thought of the medical marijuana after reading that it helps with not only pain but pts as well wich would greatly reduce my script count but alas who knows if the burecratic bs VA would try to cut your comp.

  15. I feel you you. It is just happening to me . I started raising hell now I’m a trouble maker. I’m in GA No one will listen ? I guess when were all dead they will be happy

  16. I have been on here a couple of times with comments on the VA Opiate reduction inititave I have been on opiates for about 15 years ,I started hydros 10/325 @ 240 month ,I had Dr put me on Morphine about 400mgs a day ,I had a contract Dr back in Dec 2013 tell me what was coming ,( Opiate Reduction Inititave ) he told me if I could I should start stock piling what I could ,Thank you Dr .I have always tried to keep just below what they ,the VA were perscribing ,because I knew this was coming. . I am now down to 30 Mgs a day with no refills.what I have went through The Withdrawals I would not wish on anyone ,my ears ring still my vision is blurry and that’s not including the pain & anxiety I am in ,I find my self yelling at people in public ,I have a very short fuse when I am in pain I lash out,I am sorry for this when ever I catch myself .My Drs & Pharmacist have been trying to cram this shit down on me ,It’s the DEA &FDA, As you all know We all answer to somebody ,I kept looking and looking to see who the DEA got their orders from,and who was behind this Opiate Reduction Inititave.Turns out there it’s something called Kaleo ,it’s by none other than Bill & Hiliary& Chelsea CLINTON .I ask for you to please look this up for yourselves,Can you imagine what will happen if she were to make it into the whitehouse,,& as for the gentleman asking about cannabis ,Ben has had some blogs on here where a veteran moved to Colorado I Beleive and they did start messing with his bennifits I myself don’t mess with pot ,& have no idea what to do when I run out as they have not left me any options. As much as I hate to,Alcohol is still legal,as I have done Everything from Surgery ,Epidural Tens Accupunture, & pain Mgt I have no idea anymore & do not trust the VA anymore.

    1. When I moved from New Jersey to Texas it took 3 months to transfer my narcotics (which was awful) and now a month later she says that she can’t refill it because of the positive test for cannabis.

  17. Don’t listen to these robotic doctors who don’t have any feeling about and prescribe you hardcore drugs that will kill you. Go for the natural rout. I use medical cannabis for my back pain, amputation, nerve damage, hip, migraines, and PTSD. I was using up to 12 medications that nearly killed me mutiple times. After I got out, I listened to the older vets from WW2 and the rest of the wars that we served to protect. Some of the vets were using cannabis to maintain their problems. I feel that these pain meds are there to get us hook and die. We are all brothers in arm, dont listen to these textbook robotic doctors. They have no feelings if we die and that they don’t care if their love ones are gone. We don’t want another fallen angel to be taken away from us. Please find other alternatives than manufactured medication or FDA aprroved drugs.
    Semer Fidelis to Jesus Christ.

    1. May I ask what the ramifications are if one does use Medical Cannabis? Could the VA simply take away one’s Service Connection Disability Rating Income under the guise that it’s still considered illegal under “Federal Law”?
      I have often thought more recently about moving out to Colorado for this very reason and I use Medicare rather than the VA Witch Dr.’s, and luckily have that option, may do not.
      Wondering if anyone has any insight or more importantly, facts on what I posted here? I do not currently live in such a State but there’s an organized movement to get in on the ballot but my State still has sodomy on the books as illegal, so not really seeing Med. Mar. as having a chance in hell of ever passing so moving has been something I have been contemplating.
      Anyone have personal experience with this?

      1. Hi namnibor,
        It sounds like you live in Georgia.
        I have lived in GA all my life and know for a fact Medical Cannabis will never be legal here.
        The Governor did start a committee to look in to a test of Med Can over the next 10 to 15 years. Don’t think I’ll be around that long.
        I have been at war with the VA med system for over 45 years, they delay my meds whenever I make too much trouble.
        Keep up the good fight!


  18. I’m getting my morphine cut right now 60 mils at a time and nothing to help. Been on them for 15 years along with many pain clinics that have helped me giving me Morphine . I was in a wheel chair to a cane . now with the cuts Ill be back in the chair before long. And No one cares or will answer any emails from they VA

    1. I feel for you. I’m there myself and I could have been functioning but instead lost the time to debilitating pain. There are doctors out there who will prescribe pain meds even with the new rules. Those doctors just aren’t at the VA.

  19. Reading the above comments is terribly disturbing! What is “Pain Management” without the ability to prescribe needed medications to manage such pain. Even with all of the bad press and the so called “Veterans Service Organizations” working on our behalf we are still getting poor care and untold bureaucratic harassment from the VA for those needing “Pain Management” and many other services. As many of you point out.

    Nothing will improve until we band together and bring enough political pressure and publicity to what we are experiencing at the VA and demand change. Sadly the squeaky wheel will get the attention. Many other special interest groups have moved mountains to change law – LGBT Rights and Same Sex Marriage!

    Gallup Poll 2012 – Percentage of American Males and Female Who Are Veterans

    PRINCETON, NJ — On this Veterans Day 2012, about 13% of U.S. adults overall are veterans, including 24% of men and 2% of women. Veteran status among men is highly related to age, moving above the majority level for those aged 65 and older. By contrast, 12% of men aged 25 to 34 are veterans.

    We have the numbers, but we do not have the organization. What are we doing to better our position and gain control of our medical treatment in all regards? How can we mobilize to improve our experience with the Veterans Administration? I do not believe that the Veteran Service Organizations are making that great of an impact, unfortunately.

    We need to become more engaged with publicity and the political process to make any substantial gains.

    The above posts are extremely upsetting to me and yes I have been affected by the change as well. Fortunately for me I am able to cope with less effective medications.

    I am close to the 65 age group and know that many of you may be as well. For our age group we may be 50% of the population are Veterans! Still 13% of U.S. adults overall are Veterans! Why are we so poorly represented? Is it money? What?

    1. Why are we so poorly represented? That is because the big 3 vets organizations, VFW, American Legion and DAV refuse to unite and fix the problem by demanding Congress fix it rather than just throw money at it. They would rather protect their access to the upper level management and Congress. Each group advocates for generic things for vets, but they never use their collective power to demand all vets are given the medical care and benefits we have earned. Korean War vets, Agent Orange and Hep C, Gulf War illnesses, TBI and other recent medical conditions have had research and medical care provided because of individual vets or vets groups outside those 3 pushing hard for it. The big 3 would then join in at the end of the fight as if they supported it all along. What is unfortunate is Congress and the VA often ignore vets outside the big 3 for a long time, making getting a problem addressed that much harder.

      They could do so much better.

      1. They all seem to be the gophers for the VA. When I got back from Vietnam, none of them wanted us in their organizations, and then I noticed they were (And have been successful) in stopping VA Choice which will soon disappear. Why? Because we are forced back into the control of the VA. Trump campaigned on sending us wherever we wanted to go, but nothing has changed, it’s only gotten worse. His new VA Tool was one of the head masters of anti opioid use before he became head of the VA and when he had a day of “Open dialog” on YouTube, not one of the questions on the pain policy were addressed. In fact, when they started to come in the session was stopped. I have gotten a stone wall of silence from the Veterans organizations over this issue.

    2. I doubt anyone in washington is going to care about vets. Someone mentioned the LBGT, same sex marriage movement and wondered why vets couldn’t band together as well. But the leftists in Washington (especially judges) cowtow and pander to the homosexual lobby. Ten years ago the thought that homosexual marriage would legal everywhere was crazy but look what the judges have done. Disabled, patriotic, red, white and blue vets aren’t loved or respected like the gays. I see a specialist myself and pay cash (ain’t cheap). I take 100mg MS Contin daily along with 7.5 hydrocodone (it had been 10mg). I shudder to think of not getting my meds or being cut back. My doctor (not VA) writes my scripts 3 months at a time. That way I don’t have to drive 50 miles to p\u or have them mailed. God bless all of you vets. Youvdeserve better- much better!


        The Body, is the temple, and the temple is sacred. Being as such, NO ONE but the rightful owner of that body temple may dictate what that person places into their own body or likewise chooses not to.w

        Pass this language and message on to any attorneys you may know and let us begin to arrest those who are grossly abusing their powers.


      2. We are a weak and feeble lot. We gave our fight when we were young but now we’re older and feigning medical issues.

        While our welfare is a noble cause, we are a faceless client who are not morally tied to those who administer our care. Those we entrust with our care see us as a pitiful and downtrodden niche.

        The issues we see getting attention are for control of the veteran dollars – buildings and jobs take the lead. Yet, actual veteran services consistently trail as a priority.

        Our new leader at the helm clearly depicts the depth of the danger we are in. He outright lies to us. He lies to the public without remorse. He has targeted our choice card dollars for needed programs he can’t identify, and he’s brought in a corporate circus company to train employees how to deal with us.

        All of the actions we see are smoke screens. We don’t see anyone actually focusing on our health care. We rely on those at the helm to do what’s right but we remain the faceless client. We have little left to fight because we gave our fight to our country.

        God help us all!

  20. I received this from Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) on Feb 9th

    Dear Friends,

    I’ve been a staunch advocate for fair military pay, educational assistance, and increased economic opportunity for our veterans since joining Congress in 1996. But like millions of Americans, veterans all too often are not getting the heath care services they need and have earned.

    The statistics are sobering:

    Over 20 percent of the 2.8 million American veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTS and depression.
    In 2012, more veterans took their own lives than the total number of soldiers killed on the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
    A recent study found that of the nearly one million veterans who receive opioids to treat painful conditions, more than half continue to consume chronically beyond 90 days.
    Another found that the death rate from opiate overdoses among Veterans Health Administration patients is nearly double the national average.

    We need to change this. That is why I recently introduced legislation aimed at reducing the impacts of PTS and pharmaceutical substance abuse by authorizing physicians and other health care workers employed by the VA to provide recommendations and opinions regarding the participation of a veteran in a state medical marijuana program. The VA, its dedicated medical professionals, and the veterans they serve, ought not be the victims of an outmoded set of rules, informed by thinking that’s past its time.

    Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have passed laws that provide for legal access to medical marijuana. As a result, well over one million patients across the country, including many veterans, now use medical marijuana at the recommendation of their physician to treat conditions ranging from seizures, glaucoma, anxiety, chronic pain, and nausea. There are also nine states and the District of Columbia that now allow physicians to recommend medical marijuana for the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS), due to a growing body of evidence suggesting that marijuana offers relief when nothing else has.

    While outdated federal barriers often prevent the research necessary to develop marijuana into an FDA approved drug, states have heard from their citizens, including veterans suffering from PTS, that marijuana is helping them now, and have adjusted their laws.

    We should be allowing veterans access to medicine that will help them survive and thrive, including medical marijuana — not treating them like criminals and forcing them into the shadows when they seek care that’s often more effective, safer, and less likely to lead to devastating prescription drug abuse.

    Yet the VA specifically prohibits medical providers from completing forms brought by their patients seeking recommendations or opinions regarding participation in a state marijuana program.

    This is shameful.

    My bipartisan legislation, HR 667: The Veterans Equal Access Act, would eliminate this outdated, harmful barrier between a VA doctor and their patients. If passed, the Veterans Equal Access Act would authorize a broader spectrum of care for our service members by allowing medical professionals to fill out any forms involved in the process of recommending medical marijuana.

    Veterans should not be forced outside of the VA system to seek a treatment that is legal in their state. VA physicians should not be denied the ability to offer a recommendation they think may meet the needs of their patient.

    I will continue to work on reforming our outdated marijuana laws in Congress and ensuring our nation’s heroes have the greatest healthcare in the world.


    Earl Blumenauer
    Member of Congress

  21. This reply is to TS, but the Reply button was not available after his comment on Morphine being better than Vicodin. That may be true for you, but there are many out there who Morphine does nothing for the pain. I am one of them. After knee replacement surgery and while still in the VA hospital, they were giving me Morphine in addition to Percoset. They would give Morphine periodically, then the Percoset at a later time. The Morphine did nothing and I told them so. They refused to listen. One night the pain was so bad I was in tears and considered dialing 911. The nurse finally conceded and gave me Percoset. The next day, the surgeon said he would up my Morphine dose to 30mg. I tried to tell him it did nothing for the pain, that only Percoset would relieve it, but he wouldn’t listen. Thankfully the nurses listened and were more timely in giving me the Percoset…except on the last day I was there. I believe the nurse I had that day was stealing Morphine, and he suggested I was drug seeking or used it at home because I complained of the pain. He claimed he gave me the Morphine in the pill cup, but it was not in there. When he came back two hours later, he finally gave me Percoset. I didn’t see him the rest of the day, and that afternoon my wife had to find a wheel chair so I could leave the hospital. They refused to provide a knee brace like the doctor ordered since his order was not in writing. Unfortunately, I had to return that evening to get the IV port taken out. Since my nurse disappeared, there was no one to insure I was ready to be discharged. I wasn’t in much shape when I left, but my wife noticed later I still had the IV port in.

    The hospital accused me of leaving before I was ready.

    1. 91 Veteran, part of the reason for the difference in the Moprhine and the Percocet happened to me also, after my third and last operation on my right knee. I was still in the Military and the Nurse was giving me Morphine I.M. (Intra Muscularly) and I only got relief with the 2 Percocet I received later on. She told me (In laymen’s terms) “The Morphine gets into the system quicker so it leaves quicker, whereas the Percocet takes a bit longer to get into the bloodstream but stays longer.” She was correct. I was able to get the Percocet instead of the Morphine shots and needed only one refill on a 50 cap bottle when I got out. Of course I was much younger then, and I don’t know if your Morphine was given by shot or orally. I tolerated Morphine quite well when I first started and for 15 years it helped me live with the increasing pain we all have. What a bad ordeal you and your wife went through. We have to find a way to stop the viciousness of these new policies, but I’m afraid logistically we cannot.

  22. I commented on this happening in the thread reporting on Tomah…that veterans would be cut off cold turkey from painkillers without regard to whether they were addicted, or without regard to whether they needed them.

    I am surprised it took this long for this to become public. Last year after knee replacement surgery, I had a hard time getting single refill of pain medicine even though I had complications from the surgery. Not long after I got a letter from VA about the DEA rule change. Luckily I did not need the full prescription provided, but I knew others would not be as lucky and would be cut off.

    1. Tomah is now flat out denying me pain medication for severe chronic pain. I have documented medical evidence I have a severe condition.

      They further go on to tell me, and I have it in writing, they don’t give pain medication for my injuries. Then they go on to tell me to go to the store and get something over the counter.

      My quality of life has gone down to barely being able to move. I am beyond disgusted they are doing this to me. What they are doing now is more of a crime than over prescribing.

      1. If there is any possibility of doing so, you should try and go to the Madison VA. I went there for almost 15 years. While they still had some problems, a majority of their clinics we’re far and away so much better than any other VA I have gone to, and I have been to several over the years.

  23. Seems to me this is the VA playing a dangerous and sadistic Passive Aggressive game of “push back and retaliation” for whistleblowers and Veterans in general for rocking the VA’s sick status quo! Plain and Pain-fully Simple. They DEA already has such a craptastic track record on the war on drugs…remember the not too long ago DEA/ATF losing track of crapload of heavy artillery weapons fitted with tracking devices…and now those very weapons are being used against our Border Patrol? Federal Flunkies!!!
    Abruptly discontinuing any type of pain RX cold turkey is simply reckless. Placing red flags on Veterans simply wanting to know what’s going on when they have not rec’vd. regular shipment of meds as “drug seeking” further places an exclaimation that this is all pushback and retaliation for we Veterans finally standing-up to this BS!

  24. The DEA rules make some sense in curbing opiate abuse, but the VA dropped the ball when they didn’t even bother to inform Veterans including myself that prescription refills would be stopped without notice or warning. Instead I spent two or three weeks trying to figure out why my prescription refill was overdue, and finally a friend at the VA let me know the new rule was the culprit. In the meantime I went to a pain management referral, for facet injections, not painkillers, and because I mentioned that the VA painkillers were overdue, he labeled me as “drug seeking” when I wasn’t even there for a prescription of any kind. So yes, the VA dropped the ball and then some.

    1. Dea oversee’s the hysteria, but the failure to notify and the failure to give meds to help with with drawl’s is in the lap of the VA.

  25. I am veteran whom has had a personal sit down with their primary care team. Being threatened with ever growing drug contracts; being bullied in to random drug tests… Getting the stink eye during every appointment. Being treated like crap when I’d call to tell them my meds were late in the mail…. Al of these legit concerns labeled me as “drug seeking”….But I was certainly “applauded” when I volunteered to get weened off of Narcotics. The DEA and VA have put the responsibility squarely on the prescribing doctors; the doctors bully us in to getting off; regardless of how much these drugs help us.

    1. Jason, I know how you feel. I too am treated badly by my PCP. The Opioid safety class I had to attend was, as I call it, a brainwashing class. It main focus was that these narcotic pain meds are the devil and that we should do everything we can to get off of them. The class was being done by a Dr. from the VA pain clinic and it was very clear that she would do what she could to try and get us to stop taking these meds. She even made some statements that I had to laugh at and I got a couple of mean stares from her. One of the statements she made was that 1mg of Vicodin was the same as taking 1mg of morphine and there was no difference in the two. The other one that got me was her claim that very many of her patients had better pain control by taking a non-narcotic and taking an anti-depression medicine. She also stated that “other” methods of therapy helped and she flowed that up with therapies that the VA would not pay for. On vet in the class asked her about his condition and if pool therapy would help him as his condition was such that he needed to take the pain meds and she told him that he should take every advantage of the “Y” and do the pool therapy at that place. He told her he had a membership and she told him to make sure he never cancelled it.
      I guess I am stubborn because I have always thought “if it is working then don’ mess with it”. My disability has limited treatment options and the chronic pain med is the best and most logical choice. If I could get off of this med, I would. The VA has no other option that they are willing to take so why should I have to suffer and have no life because THEY don’t want to do anything. Fix it and I will get off of this medicine. Sounds simple and maybe that’s the problem, it is too simple and the VA doesn’t do simple.

    2. They are exceptional at bullying, berating, and belittling veterans. I think they take a special class offered by the DEA. War 101 is know thy enemy. Turns out that it’s the same people we served to protect in the first place.

    3. Pain management is no longer just a pill. It can be quite comprehensive, using several modalities to treat one person. PCP’s should refer vets to a pain management doctor for assessment purposes. I have been through it on the outside and within the VA. I know now what works for me and the change made to my medication (tramadol) only limits the number of refills per prescription. Not bad.

      Since the VA is careful not to over-prescribe narcotics I buy off the internet to keep a large stash in reserve. I am grateful for what is available through the VA and choose not to get into pissing contests with my PCP about pain meds. I have found internet sources to be reliable for the most part, with one company being a scam, which isn’t bad since I have purchased that way for 15 or so years. Any painkiller can be bought off the internet without a prescription. You just have to be careful.

      One vet asked if the VA take away part or all of his compensation if he takes too much pain meds or illegal drugs and the answer is no. Your scd must improve before reduction is justified.

      1. Stan, I have to use a narcotic med for my chronic pain. I also do what I can to keep active and do therapy. I have heard of vets that have had their benefits reduced because of testing for an illegal drug (an illegal drug is a narcotic medicine and/or a street drug which does not have a valid prescription). If you have your tramadol taken away and you take a urine test at your VA and it comes back positive, will that have an impact on what your PCP does for treatment? I am not sure if Tramadol will come back as a positive; however, other narcotics will show a positive and that could be a problem if your PCP cancels your script.
        Another thing that I thought about is if your script gets canceled and you still have or get the meds from another source and do not have a script, how would that go for work as an example. If your work has you take a urine test and you had scripts before and now you don’t, that is the same as taking an illegal drug and could cause someone to get fired.
        I think that many of us that need these meds know that they are not the main part of being treated for their chronic pain; however, many of us need these as the options for our treatment is limited and these narcotic meds help us to have a better quality of life. We most likely will never have the same life as we had but we get some relief and that allows us the ability to get some enjoyment and some relief from the everyday pain. That pain is something that unless others have had to deal with, they will never know what we have to go through everyday. It is no fun and until we can get the VA or another HealthCare to do something to fix us, we have to rely on these meds. I wish that I could get something done that would allow me to be able to stop using these meds but the VA will not do anything and I can’ afford and don’t have any other HealthCare to use. I do like to hear that other vets can and are able to get off of these meds and be able to have a better quality of life. Someday I hope, that will be me.

  26. I have told my story on here a few times and I feel that the VA did a terrible job at handling this situation. Many of us need these meds to have a normal life (or as normal as it can be) and so many of us had to deal with the horrors of the lose of our meds and the lose was also a abrupt stoppage of these meds to us. Many of us had to start over and prove to the VA that we did indeed need have a need for these meds and some of us are still having to fight to try and have these meds prescribed back to us. This is a bunch of more VA BS, nothing more, nothing less. The VA is also trying to prescribe some type of depression med either along with the chronic pain med or in place of it (at least in my situation). I myself had to deal without the meds for almost five months before I was prescribed a lesser effective chronic pain med. I had to go to an opioid safety class before I could get a refill (or so I was told) and after taking the worthless class I contacted my Dr. because I had not signed the consent form for the pain contract. After sending a secure e-mail asking about making an appointment to sign the consent form, I was sent an e-mail from his nurse stating that I could sign it at my next appointment. My next appointment is in Aug. Now I have to worry every month that my meds could be taken away because I did not do all of “my part” in this contract. I do however, have the e-mails to show that I make the attempt to sign the form and it should not my fault. This is the VA and I would bet that it will be my fault when the medicine is taken away.
    The VA has over reacted on this and as a result many of us have had to deal with many problems as a result of our meds being taken away. I am sure that this blog would overflow if all of us were to put our problems this has caused us. I know of several of my fellow vets that have also put their stories on Ben’s other blogs and I can say that I know how they feel. It would be SO nice if the VA would not be so scared about saving their butts and actually do the right thing. The right thing of course would be helping us vets with any of our problems and concerns. Instead, they look out for number 1 and we are seen as liabilities. We are the money pit for the VA and that is such a shame.

      1. Rick, I wish I had the answer. I don’t know how we can fix the VA. Even if we went to Washington DC and marched I am not sure that would make a difference. It may draw some attention to us and our problems but I feel that with the Phoenix problem and the result of that so called “investigation” that we will never have a chance as long as the VA is being run in its current format. I still have some hope that something can and will be done even if it does not help those of us that currently use the VA, but those who will use it in the future. The VA could be the best and the most cutting edge HealthCare system in the world if it was done differently. Instead we get nothing but having to fight for anything we are trying to get. Even some of that is not done right or done by people who are not qualified to do the job, yet the VA still keeps them and does nothing to hold them accountable for their actions.
        I hope I am wrong and something very good will come out of all this turmoil. I would love to be wrong on this and we have nothing but praise for the VA. I like to hear some of the vets on here post that hey get great care. This shows that some of the people in the VA are doing what they should be doing.
        Just my opinion and if the DC march was something that became a reality, I would be there.

    1. I’m afraid nobody cares. It is what it is. If they don’t care whether you live or die, they’re not going to care if you’re suffering a miserable life. I’ve been off my medicine for well over a year now. I fought the fight and lost, and all I was taking was Vicodin. I contacted both the ABC and CBS affiliate in Columbus, Ohio and no one would touch the story. My abuse is well documented as well. The press generally doesn’t want to touch the story because it conflicts with the narrative they have already written. That narrative is, “Vets are overprescribed narcotic pain relievers.” This may be true in some instances, but it is equally true that many vets are suffering miserably because they are unfairly denied these medicines. You’ll find that after a while your only wish at night will be that you don’t open your eyes again in the morning. The degree of inactivity associated with chronic pain has certainly increased my weight and degraded the health of my heart and lungs, so that should help insure an early death, so there is that to look forward to.

      1. TS, I agree with you on the “nobody cares” statement. I was on morphine for 2+ yrs. and after I moved from WA to IN I had to start over and prove to them that I had a disability that needed this type of medicine. The IN VA refused to look at the VA records in WA (10 yrs. of records) and after I jumped through the IN VA’s hoops they could not find anything wrong. I was awarded an increase for the same disability in Jan. ’14 and they could find nothing wrong? Anyway, they finally prescribed me Vicodin.
        I too contacted anyone and everyone that I thought might help. I tried the new media as well and I think you are right about them not wanting to touch it. I think that it also has to do with the fact that this about the prescribing narcotics and the news media does not want to get in the middle of it. I think that if they would look into it, they would find that there are people (not only us vets) that need these meds and the govt. is trying to fix a problem that has more to do with those who abuse these meds and by restricting them they have hurt those of us who need them.
        I hope that you are still fighting them to get your meds back. I pushed them very hard and also I realized that they would not budge if I didn’t do what they wanted. So even though I fought them and I let them know how wrong they were, I also realized that if I wanted to get my chronic pain med back I would have to do what they wanted. I told them when I first started to fight them in Sept. of 2014 that it would me Mar. of 2015 before I would get the medicine and I was close. They finally prescribed the medicine in Feb. 2015. Keep fighting and don’t let them win.

      2. Figure8fan, if you had to switch from morphine to Vicodin, I hope it’s going to keep you upright. That Vicodin is not going to work anywhere near as well as morphine. I took Vicodin for over 5 years, the only thing it allowed me to do is keep my body and my house halfway clean. Before they took me off of it, it was barely providing any relief, but it was better than nothing.

        I’ve thought about moving to Mexico, but most of the painkillers from the US you can’t even find down there. I don’t know about Canada. To me anybody in a position of power that can look at another human being who is obviously suffering and be treated in the hateful, contemptuous, condescending way I’ve been treated is one evil SOB. There is no other word to describe it. My dog receives 10 times better care at the vet than I do at the VA. I only wish my dog’s veterinarian had a medical license.

      3. TS, it is a HUGE difference between the two. I was on Vicodin, then went to Percocet, then I had to attend chronic pain management classes (eight of them at the WA VA) and then the decision was made to put me on morphine. This was done over several years just to be clear. The WA VA started me out on Methadone fist and it made me sleepy so they switched to the morphine. Yeah, I do not get the same relief as the morphine but as least I am getting something. I am in kinda the same boat as you because this med is not going to help for that long and it will be a mater of time before I too have to make the choice of what to do. The IN VA will not increase the med or go to a stronger type of med. I don’t know, it’s all so stupid and they wonder why the heroin use has increased. The VA’s 2+2 and my 2+ 2 doesn’t add up to the same thing.

      4. SPOT ON! I was on Morphine since 2001, and I’m blessed to have a small prescription remaining, but it’s a shadow of what I once was on and never had a negative reaction with it. When the VA got me on Harvoni I was able to walk 2 miles a day after my Hep C was gone, along with Synvisc shots in my knees every 6 months. But now I can barely make it to the bathroom and what the government is doing to us is worse than my reception when I returned from Vietnam.
        It will only be when we start marching at VA Hospitals or Washington D.C. that our voices will be heard, but the logistics seem impossible for those of us who can no longer walk.

  27. I remember my VA Pain Management Doctor had me addicted to Oxycontin sending very large bottles home with me, no questions asked. it was like their answer to everything; “If the Vet is complaining about pain, they would shut us up with drugs”.

    Well one day about 4 years ago I informed the Doctor I wanted off the Oxy product/ Morphine and I now am trying Medical Marijuana. His answer was a very controversial: “YOU CAN’T DO THAT”!!!

    Well let me tell you a story, I did and i fell a lot better on my “New” Medication. The family has even noticed a difference in my behavior. Now i have a few question for these “Chucklehead Conservative Doctors”

    (Please remember I am a 100% Service Connected Disabled Veteran)

    1. After years of abuse of other Narcotics the VA crammed down my throat, who is going to give me a new liver when this one is shot do to there neglect.

    2. Other then the Pharmaceutical Companies; Who is against the use of Medical Marijuana and why? Please remember the Medical Marijuana helps with physical pain along with mental issue (prove me wrong if you can).

    Since I can prove that Medical Marijuana works, why does this service connected Vet have to pay for his own use of medical marijuana for his pain relief and mental stress do to injuries? Why does this disabled Veteran have to hide in his garage to do his medicine like he is a criminal in a state that licensed him to do so (hide from the Feds)? By law, I can not bring my medicine across state lines, even though it is prescribed to me without scrutiny from that state or federal government?

    We know in the past where Veterans returned from war and were spit on. It’s this Veteran Opinion that the federal government is doing it again and something needs to be done.

  28. Anybody who thinks they have a right to tell me that living a life of never ending suffering is somehow superior than taking a narcotic pain reliever is both a tyrant and an idiot. I’ve been dealing with this for over a year at the Columbus Ohio VA. They have not only denied me access to pain relief but have committed medical fraud, falsified medical records, and retaliated against me when I tried to report it. I tried on multiple occasions to speak with a patient advocate, but once they caught wind of my problem they summarily ignored any attempt on my part to contact them. Any attempt to contact the hospital administrator gets no further than his secretary. Their policies regarding the prescription of opiate pain relievers are not only an atrocity against the disabled but are criminal in their application and enforcement. As usual, no one cares, and veterans who are suffering in agony remain voiceless and trapped in a government made nightmare. To hell with them all.

    1. IM with him, I to have the same problem with the Columbus VA. I have been called a drug seeking addict. records falsified abuse of authority. nurses and Drs holding meetings behind my back and refusing me the meds I need to function a normal life. when complaining to my congressman nothing gets done in a timely matter. where being abused by DR’s and nurses at this VA. patient advocates disagreeing with the veteran and not helping their concerns. why can’t these Dr’s be held accountable for their neglect and misdiagnosis I bet a lot of veterans don’t know you can’t sue or discipline any and all DR’s that are contracted by the VA. something has to be done about this.

    2. Thank God I’m not the only one. After a botched surgery in Dec and a 6 week hospital stay (at the VAwhere I was physically, sexually and psychologically abused) they have forged records, altered dates, lied about basic facts and retaliated against me today by cutting me off suddenly and completely from my pain meds. And each person just stared at me and said there waa nothing they can do.

  29. Even more fun is when my PCP at the VA cut off my pain meds a month ago, she also ran a federal background check to see if I was getting pain meds from another source. WTF? MYODB. I downloaded my health records via Health E-vet, and there it was in black and white. I’m doing my best to deal with acute peripheral neuropathy caused by a botched surgery at the VA to correct a service related injury last spring. I made the critical error of stating that I had a drink 1X/week on Friday with my spouse. That’s where it all went south. FML.

    1. I was cut off without warning after my PCP RETIRED recently. I spent 7 hours today trying desperately to fix it even though it’s not my error. I haven’t changed. My service connection hasn’t changed. Just my PVP. Currently suffering through massive pain and withdrawal. FML 2

      1. You may want to try Kratom if they have completely cut you off. It’s still legal (At least until September of this year) and I know friends who say it’s helped them get off pain meds altogether.
        DEA tried to make it a “schedule I or II narcotic” but people showed up at the white house and demonstrated against it. Then they said ” Write us and let us know what you think.”
        So far 23,000 people have said “Please just leave it alone.” A cousin of the coffee plant the varieties come mainly from SE Asia (I probably walked right over it and never knew) and no overdose are linked to this plant unless the person was on something else. Haven’t tried it myself, but a number of people have and more info can be found if you google it.

      2. Thanks Tommy. I have heard of it. It circulates or the conversation of it does. It’s been available on Amazon but recently disappeared. I hope i can find it again.

  30. If you look at the news this DEA policy and I would imagine it will as well drive veterans needing those pain medications to the streets and with an increase of heron use as to buy heron off the street is far far cheeper then buying the medication off the street!! Veterans are going to be forced onto the streets to buy the painkillers they need and wind up either with bad drugs and death or addiction to far addictive drug alternatives on the street. I would ask congress pass legislation to allow such at the VA or any veteran from military injury be exempted from such rules.

    Lee Horowitz M.Ed, CAGS

  31. Why do we POLICE the WORLD by ourselves, and if we have ALLIES, why aren’t their Vets experiencing the same PROBLEMS ??? Maybe we need to look at their VA systems.

    1. I’ve spoken with Vet’s in Canada and England and in many cases it’s far worse. Can’t speak for all NATO Veterans, but most of our allies have “cradle to grave” government run health services. If a government tries to dictate how to breath then it’s probably bad. In the service we called this “pericranialrectumitis.”

  32. Well, this has just been taken to the extreme even in the civilian medical area where I get my healthcare solely from. I have been taking Lyrica for extreme peripheral neuropathy for over 7 years now. Even though Lyrica is NOT on any official schedule 2 medication list, because of all this crap my family Dr. is no longer able to even electronically send my RX to Walgreens. I have to actually make an appointment in which I will have a copay for JUST for him to give me a “controlled medication RX slip”, even though the damn RX is NOT a controlled RX but I have been told that *some people* have abused the RX and reason for the hyperbole in prescribing now. THIS really SUCKS when the DEA never seems to address the REAL problem which is Dr.’s not being penalized formally for overtly RX’ing actual controlled RX’s with no accountability.
    What’s worse is now I have to sign a medication contract with each Dr. BUT GET THIS…those on Obamacare State Medicaid, aka Welfare Recipients; ARE NOT subject to such medication contracts nor even drug/urine testing. WTF?? I feel like I am being treated like the common drug-seeking letch, yet it’s those that DO abuse the system that are making quite a bit of red tape and grief for those that genuinely require such RX’s for any semblance of quality of life without extreme pain.
    Meanwhile, we still have entire States such as Florida, where PILL MILLS are so common that people from many other States go down in chartered bus trips JUST to get their RX “FIX”…and the DEA does nothing. Again, WTF?!!
    Does any of this make logical sense?

    1. namnibor-in my opinion there’s NOT a fucking thing that makes any sense, logical or not, anymore and there’s no logical sense that no one gives a rat’s ass out there except those of us who are victims of the system.

  33. Here is the full article in it’s entirety:

    Civilian hospitals don’t like it either as it’s causing their doctors, along with pharmacies, way too much time and paperwork. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) is sponsoring a bill (HR 667: The Veterans Equal Access Act) for the VA doctors to prescribe their patients medical marijuana in medical marijuana states.

    1. I think that marijuana should be legal in all states and to threaten to take a patient’s pain meds away from them because they smoke pot is cruel and inhumane. Marijuana calms, increases appetite, etc. My husband was just told today that if he did not stop smoking weed he would be cut off of his pain meds, and he is going to be weaned off of them anyway because of this unjust policy. What we can do is write our law makers, and keep posting on face back. We need to let our voices be heard. He is 59 years old and if he didn’t use pot he would not eat or sleep. They never bother to ask why he needs the pain meds or offer an alternative. At this stage of his illness what is the point? He has chronic hep c and cirrhosis of the liver stage 4. He also has arthritis and has had pain from breaking his back since he was in his 30s. The doctor he saw today immediately began attacking him about taking him off his meds and told him to choose between the pot or the pain meds, but she is going to wean him off the pain meds anyway. This is so ridiculous that some states can legally sell pot and the VA can do this to its veterans. We need to protest, and that can be done by writing the President on down. I am so angry at the injustice of it all. I am contacting everyone I can think of and calling the VA social worker tomorrow. That doctor treated him like a low-life street junkie and he is not that. He is just a sick man in a lot of pain, why can’t they just let him have some peace. God Bless all of you veterans and thank you for serving our country and keeping us safe and this the Greatest of all Nations due to the sacrifices you have made. You deserve better treatment.

      1. That’s fine for you, but some of us can’t use marijuana, because if one smokes it, your harmless drug has more tar and nicotine than cigarettes do, so dying stoned is not a good option for some of us.
        Second, pot causes paranoia on a scale that far outweighs it’s ” pain killing properties” for some of us, myself included.
        Third, I don’t want to get “high”. When I was 16 that sounded reasonable, but I’m 67 now, and I enjoy reality. The way Opioids were dispensed gave me a chance to go to school, study a foreign language etc. without me nodding off. If it helps you and others, fine, but right now no one in the Federal Government wants to legalize it and that presents another issue to us seeking to live a half way “normal” life.
        The fact that you show no reality in your wanting to convert us to pot while we languish in pain doesn’t help the matter but in the mind of mindless politicians and mindless press reporting that the “VA handed pain killers out like candy” only adds to the pain by classifying us along with those who use pain killers to get high with. Great if your husband can be helped with pot, but many of us cannot, and the problem of us being treated this way comes from our new “untermenchen” (Sub human) rating. The VA and the government is doing this to clear up the backlog of paperwork of the inept people who work there. The pills on the street come from the VA employee’s who sell them for profit.

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