Don’t Punish Pain Texas chapter head says opioid crackdown hurts many who need help

‘Don’t Punish Pain’ Texas chapter head says opioid crackdown hurts many who need help

There are 50 million Americans suffering from chronic pain and the opioid crisis is making the hurt even worse.

Many say the fight against opioid addiction is punishing those seeking relief.

We discovered the problem only a couple of weeks ago while doing a story about how the opioid epidemic is on the rise on our area.

Immediately after that report aired, we heard from many of you telling us about another crisis stemming from opioids. The challenge–to find doctors who will prescribe them for those who must have relief.

John Schoellman is head of the Texas chapter of ‘Don’t Punish Pain.’ He’s sounding the alarm on how the effort to combat the opioid crisis is creating another crisis.

“What’s happening with the chronic pain patient now is they don’t get their medication now, some have heart attacks, their blood pressure goes up so high they have heart attacks,” said Schoellman. “Some actually go to the streets and try to get the pain medicine because they’ve been cut completely off, and this exactly goes against what they’re trying to fix, the drugs, the overdoses.”

Schoellman suffers from chronic pain after years of repairing televisions. Still, he led an active lifestyle, thanks to the prescription pain medication he received, which came to an abrupt end.

“They told me, look, we can’t give the pain medicine any more.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reacting to the opioid addiction epidemic, urged doctors not to prescribe opioids to chronic pain patients like Schoellman to avoid the risk of addiction and overdose.

“CDC guidelines, which were written in 2016, were written by a group of addiction specialists, not pain doctors. They didn’t even request a pain doctor on the committee.”

The CDC walked back those guidelines, warning abruptly discontinuing a patient’s opioid prescription could lead to greater harm. Schoellman and many others with chronic pain found it severely altered their lives

“That was horrible for them,” said Schoellman. “They’d been taking it for 20 to 30 years as prescribed and able to work like myself, and then when the guidelines came, we couldn’t do anything any more.”

Despite the CDC’s about-face, Schoellman says the Drug Enforcement Administration continues to target doctors. That, he says, has had a chilling effect on them. Schoellman says the lack of pain management is having a debilitating impact on his health.

“I wouldn’t have a surgery one, and I would be active. I would be a contributor to society and not a dependent on it or a burden, because I had to go on disability because of it and I hate that.”

But Schoellman is contributing to society. The College Station man who once fixed televisions now goes on tv to raise awareness.

Schoellman and his group plan to rally in Austin at the Texas Medical Board on March 20, demanding a solution to their suffering.

“You have to fix it. We’re not part of the opioid crisis, we are a casualty of the opioid crisis.”

Schoellman now has a pain pump device in his body delivering medication to his back, but he says it provides only limited relief.

That Don’t Punish Pain rally in Austin is noon until 1:30 p.m. March 20 at the Texas Medical Board.

3 Responses

  1. The pain pump is only providing minimal relief because I bet these doctors limit that too! They just want to stick sh!t in peoples bodies. They don’t care if it provides relief. My pain doctor wanted to do injections for my Osteoarthritis. Seriously? I would be living at the pain clinic, literally, because all my money would be going to them. They just don’t care. From being on 1 pain med and 1 benzo, which completely cured everything for me, (more than just pain)I’m now taking 4 prescribed sleeping pills and another pill to stay awake. What the living hell kind of life are we leading????? All these pills I’m taking have severe side effects!

  2. Hope they get more than 5 or 10 people to show up. Maybe someone in charge needs to find a way to get a large turn out so they aren’t making pain patients look worse

  3. Even having been force “tapered” in pain medication after 23 years use of the SAME medication by 80 percent 3 years ago, I am not tempted to use illicit /illegal substances however I do understand that it could come to that if were completely cut off of life enhancing pain medication compounds. DEA and those on the frontline at the point of entry of dangerous substances have NEVER had the importation of these dangerous, illicit substances “under control” so what is decided by a VERY small group of “expert” addiction specialists at CDC? To force “taper” pain management patients even if personal documentation PROVES that prescribed medication has been beneficial, non harmful, even life enhancing, enabling, as far as remaining independent, active, employed, socially functioning, more “normal” if you will without ANY negative consequences. If our fine people attempting to slow and stop illicit drug distribution in ALL areas, in ALL states can not do so, the next best thing to do is blame the so called “opioid crisis” on the prescribed patients and our physicians with a “number” to dispense these “dangerous” drugs”. Again, the American citizen has been told that we do not have the sense to manage our own lives, therefor the CDC backed by the enforcers, the DEA must do it for you. All this as a result of a VERY FEW “experts” at the CDC. Of these handful of “experts” where are they now? Some of them profiting…. you say? Profiting from millions of peoples’ misery? AS I have read now since the start of the forced “tapering” , some, if not one either member or contributor to the “guideline” is actually….profiting from the 2016 CDC “guideline”. Is this right? If DEA can not stop the influx of illicit substances BEFORE the “guideline”, how will they do it WITH the guideline? Scapegoat, that is what the “opioid crisis” needed. A scapegoat, millions of “drug addicts” that have been legally acquiring their high for decades. Never mind their documentation or the fact that pain management participants….aka PATIENTS, have been required to “pee in a cup”, pill counted, jump through hoops to have “some” pain relief. In my experience, called by cell phone and TOLD to be at my pain management facility within 10 to 15 minutes for a pill count or urine screen or I would be AUTOMATICALLY discharged for non compliance. I have been a circus performer for over 20 years, jumping through “hoops” so I could remain active, supply income for my family, operate my longtime small construction business. I truly thought that my particular pain management facility were operating within the scope of the law. By the way, I NEVER failed a urine screen REGARDLESS of what time of day or night I was forced to drop everything and be at the pain management facility within 10 to 15 minutes. WHY? Because what I was prescribed…..I used as my own personal medicine to stay active, continue to own and operate my longtime business, and remain a member of my community, my volunteer fire department because I ENJOYED….helping the good folks in my community. LINE ME UP against the wall. Take me out.. Might as well, I am a “drug addict”……I suppose, at least according to the authors of the CDC “guideline, we are all overprescribed and therefore…..”drug addicts”!!!!

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