How CDC’s Opioid Guidelines Killed My Mother

Sheila Ramsey, Guest Columnist

For the past year, I have been reading the heartbreaking stories being posted about the degrading and inhumane treatment of the elderly, critically ill and disabled persons by our government, healthcare institutions and physicians.

And all I can do is sit here and cry, thinking about the struggles that my mother went through for the last 25 years of her life. She was a diabetic for 40 years, had rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, high blood pressure, depression and cystic lung fibrosis. These conditions caused her much pain every day.

She was placed on a low dose of hydrocodone 20 years ago. It did not completely erase her pain, but made it manageable to where she wasn’t completely bedridden.

Then in 2016, when the CDC came out with their opioid “guidelines,” her doctor reduced her dosage three times. I watched her suffer immensely and she pleaded with him to raise it several times. He would not.

Her life became more miserable than before and her depression worsened. She even had to stop driving, relying on me and a few friends to take her to appointments and grocery shopping once a week. Which were the only times she got out of her small one-bedroom apartment.

In May 2017, her lung disease got worse and it was hard for her to breath due to panic attacks several times a day. Her pulmonary doctor placed her on a low dose of Ativan to reduce her anxiety.



As soon as her primary care doctor found out about that, he immediately gave her a choice of which illness she was willing to suffer from: panic attacks or chronic pain due to her many incurable illnesses. She chose the Ativan and he immediately stopped her pain meds. She then had to start using a walker instead of her cane.

In June 2017, she had a friend drop her off to see her lung doctor. While waiting for the elevator, she tripped over her walker, fell and broke her hip. She went into the hospital for surgery, caught pneumonia and had to be placed in a medically induced coma. She also had congestive heart and kidney failure. She was waiting on a lung transplant but did not make it. We had to take her off life support on October 25, 2017.

This was all due to complications from being in the hospital for a hip surgery that never would have been needed if she did not have to use a walker and had not been taken off pain medication! If her pain had been controlled, my mother might still be alive.

That’s why it angers me that our government is denying medication to patients that benefit from them. How in America can our lawmakers let this happen? I’ve written so many letters. I don’t know who else to contact or what else I can do to help all the people who have been brutally denied pain relief and subjected to humiliating and degrading treatment. Please if there is anything I can do to help stop this neglect, I’m all in.

I just want to let everyone who reads this to know that I feel for each and every one of you who is suffering, and I hope this ends soon. God bless you all.


Sheila Ramsey lives in Ohio. Her mother, Janet Dixon, died last year at the age of 69.

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15 Responses

  1. My PC was going to cut me back to 90 mg a day, I went to my old pain doctor and he cut me back, but it was 140 mg a day stating he needed to keep his license. That’s still a hundred 120 mg of morphine and 20 mg of hydrocodone a day. I need a little more than that howeve, it does help and I am grateful for it. In fact I consider myself to be one of the lucky pain patients. Having said that I still have some pretty stressful days, extremely painful. With all due respect I would have went to another doctor or doctors until I found one that would help me. Having said that every state is different.

  2. A patient has to go to a doctor before they know how the doctor will treat them. All pain management doctors are not alike. Just as all primary care doctors are not alike.

    Patients with more than one doctor. Are usually prescribed medications by each doctor. That is why it is so important to use the same pharmacy for all medications.

    If this lady choose not to go to a pain management doctor. That was her choice. But, no one can say how a pain management doctor would have treated her. Because no one knows for sure

  3. Sheila, I am so sorry for your loss. My heart breaks for you. So many are suffering, I cry every day. Our poor doctors are being persecuted, patients tortured. We are dying, just as they planned.

  4. People should send their comments and stories two
    I got a letter back telling me how good the CDC guidelines were and how they did their best. So make sure when you do, explain it’s not the CDC guidelines it’s what they’ve caused ignorant doctors and government officials to do. Your mother was well within the thresholds of the CDC guidelines anyway, this doctor should have not been concerned at all for himself, he was within the guidelines. So its obvious to me this doctor needs to be removed from practice, a complete moron, inherently evil in a white coat. There was absolutely no reason this needed to happen, none whatsoever. I believe this doctor was negligent in his duty, and deserves to be arrested and jailed. My condolences go out to the family members.

    • I wonder how,many of these doctors are foreign.. I know they have to pass a test in order to practice here. But, that is not the same being educated and trained here.

    • Thank you many of us have written to our congressmen senators news stations. The DEA has weaponized the CDC guidelines. They set up dragnets in cities and they go through prescriptions on the PDMP and find who ever is prescribing the highest dose. It could be any amount. They then raid, investigate, ruin the lives of many. Look up Dr Forest Tennant in CA. He was caring for 150 patients who were complicated, near death. No other doctor would touch them. He was raided in November, no charges were ever filed. The doors of his home were knocked down. Costing him $1K a day in legal fees he was finally forced to retire March 31st.. He had no choice the stress was unbelievable. No one knows what is going on. People in chronic pain are being blamed for the opioid crises and cut off medications they have been on for years. No taper, little consideration. Doctors who go them to those high doses should have appropriately weaned them down. Not abandoned them. You can google all of this

  5. Why didn’t this lady see a Pain Management Doctor ?

    • Pain Management Doctors are doing the exact same thing. They are all afraid of the DEA who’s decided the CDC guidelines are law for all doctors. Even though we were told the guidelines we’re just for GP’s everyone is suffering. Doctors who prescribe opiates are under investigation and are being raided. Dr Forrest Tennants offices, homes were raided in November. No charges ever filed, he was forced to retire 3/31/18 Doctors of Courage is another example. Most people aren’t aware of what’s happening, they won’t know until they are in pain. We aren’t in Kansas anymore. Our politicians are playing doctor.

      • No,,all pain management doctors are not doing the same thing. Just as all primary care physicians are not doing the same thing. When you truly need opiates to function. You exhaust all possibilities.

        • How do you know the woman wasn’t seeing a pain management specialist? Did you see they made her choose? Panic or pain, can’t treat both. Evidently you live in a state where it hasn’t happened yet. I feel sorry for you when it happens. You will remember this. It is happening to millions of people.

          • The article states her primary doctor told her to choose. She could have found another primary doctor and started seeing a pain management doctor.

            Doctors can and do treat chronic pain and anxiety. But, you usually need to see a,pain management doctor for pain and a psychiatrist for anxiety. Or at least a psychiatrist for anxiety. The thinking is if the anxiety is severe enough to require medication. a,specialist is needed to treat it

            My state is like any other state. Depending on the cause of the pain and the medications the patient wants. They will find it easy, difficult or impossible to find a doctor that will prescribe them opiates. Some patients have to try several pain doctors before they find one that is the right fit for them. If the patient is willing to keep their dosage low. They accept that chronic pain, like other chronic illnesses requires no longer being able to do many things they like to do. And they truly need opiates in order to perform daily tasks. They can find a doctor that will prescribe opiates.

            If on the other hand they believe they have some right to a particular pain medication and/or a particular dose. Or they don’t want to bother with going to a new pain doctor. Giving that doctor a few months to see what he is comfortable prescribing them. Or they can manage to do most things without pain medication. So they don’t want to bother with finding a new doctor. It is highly doubtful they will have their pain treated.

            By the way, it is possible the fact the lady was still driving had a lot to do with her primary telling her to chose.

    • As I stated in my article, she had multiple health problems, and has been in the care of her PRIMARY Care Doctor for 30+ years. And, was on at least 15 different meds at any given time. Her Doc didnt want to take the chance of having another provider taking control of monitoring her meds. You know what they say about having too many cooks in the kitchen? The more theres a chance of mixing the wrong meds together,, or wrong procedures being done to worsen her condition. Which, I might add, is another reason why the less docs, the better. Plus, the procedures that they try to push…shots, PT, etc…she could not do because of other issues. Things I didnt list, IC, IBS, chronic cough, bleeding ulcers and acid reflux RLS…The point I was trying to make, “If something is not broke, why try to fix it.” Because, a majority of the time, you just make things worse, not better. And, I say this for a deeper concern than for just the disscussion at hand.

      Also, with all she had going on, Im glad that she wasnt subjected to the inhumane and degrading treatment that is doled out by those lovely, caring people. These same people who also commented on how a good friend of mine, ” Got outta that one.” Refering to her inability to give a urine drug screen due to having half her bladder removed because of cancer, and having to pee in a bag for the rest of her life. Yep, that mustve been her plan all along. Or, maybe its the incentives and kickbacks that these “pain docs” receive for the transformation of as many pain patients into ” addicts” and refers them to the major mental health and addiction clinics. You know the ones that keep popping up everytime u turn around. Im not suggeasting that there arent people with addiction or mental health issues. And, of course, they deserve treatment, too. But, I dont see the overpopulation of these places, unless thee people are being recruited. And, thats Just My Opinion…
      Thank you all for your condolances. And, keep up the good fight. God Bless…Sheila

      • Sheila brilliant reply!
        My sincerest condolences to you and your family .
        I was abandoned by my Dr .Who was dropped by ny insurance in January .
        He never told me, as I followed him to his new practice ,only to be told he would not be able to prescribe meds as he had for five years.
        I have Crps, stenosis ,nerve damage, right arm has dropped ,was crushed in accident ,rebuilt. Palsy has set into my right hand . Calcifications in right kidney, bkadder prolapse
        I found my own pain management, and Dr said my pcp was killing me.
        I was on MS contin30 twice a day ,oxycodone three times a day 15mg for breakthroughs . He put me on Clinodine and 5mg methadone twice a day for pain ,I passed out on the bathroom floor ,bp eratic.
        My husband called and Dr .Never returned calls, only suggested Tylenol .
        I ended up in hospital with toxic enzymes fron liver and urinating blood .
        My bp has been 188/132 continued eratic.
        I left that ckinic, paid for my records and read several discrepancies in notes,
        I take kratom and cannabis.
        I have nothing else to turn to .I was so humiliated and labeled at the PM clinic
        I won’t go through that again .
        I live ib Ohio ,also.
        Your experience was heart-breaking.

        All my love ,
        Rebecca Morgan Estock

        • Rebecca, I am sorry I understand the feelings. It is very frightening, I have so much compassion for those that are experiencing this. Some aren’t yet, They think it won’t happen to them. That is what we were told too! You have a pain management doctor, you are protected, LOL, until he wasn’t. I feel like we are living in a nightmare and can’t wake up. It is a new kind of bigotry. I apologize for writing too much, my anxiety is very high right now. I live in fear in my own country

      • Sheila, again, I am so sorry about your Mom. It had to be horrific to go through this. We were also told, to go to a pain management specialist, that worked until the CDC guidelines came out. This number on pain doctor in Washington DC is now putting all of his patients on Suboxone. What I see from people being critical is fear and a smugness that it won’t happen to them. It is coming, people are not paying attention. Until they lose their medication, then they will understand. You have my most sincere condolences. Many are dying, no one is paying attention.

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