VA taking away opiates from veterans

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  TPC_Opa 5 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #58038

    TPC_Opa
    Moderator

    I am curious if any other veteran has had opiates taken away from them. Were you tapered off or was it more drastic? If you have, what other treatment options are they offering you? I ask these questions because the VA will start my tapering off of morphine for the next 6 months. I saw my PCP last month and he didn’t have a clue as to what the VA will do for pain. I brought up the IMPACT program and he then remembered that he had undergone some training in that and had accupuncture done several times a week and it helped him with his back pain. But what they will do with me is still an unknown issue. I am planning on contacting the Patient Advocate to see if they can find out anything for me. I will write about my journey in hopes that some of my fellow vets will find something they can use that will help them out. Good luck.

    Semper Fi!

    TPC_Opa

    TPC Community Moderator

    “The views or opinion(s) contained herein do not necessarily represent those of The Pain Community.”

  • #107111

    tyron
    Participant

    Whow, nobody answer this. I know it’s been a year but have you found help? I am a disabled Veteran. VA has not helped me with my pain. I have to go outside to get pain management and medicine. I take Morphin & Oxycodone. I am not sure I would be alive without them. Dorn VA Medical center in SC don’t give out too many pain medications. Even if I have years of doctors and specialist notes. Let me know if you have found a better way to there hearts.

    I hope this website works better. To wait a year. Shame

  • #254082

    Kristy
    Participant

    I haven’t experienced this thankfully. It’s the General Practictioner’s I feel like I have to have a good relationship with as I have a pain specialist that justifies what level of medication I’m on. I have had one Dr day I won’t be prescribing these meds anymore just before my wedding and honeymoon. I was very anxious but luckily found a new GP but now he’s on medical leave and I’m looking for a Dr that is willing to prescribe the meds I need. I feel like I’m going around conducting interviews lol

  • #256537

    TPC_YaYa
    Moderator

    Kristy,

    Welcome to The Pain Community. We do wish it was under different circumstances. If we can help you in anyway please let us know.

    Take care,

    TPC Yaya
    TPC Community Moderator

    “The views or opinion(s) contained herein do not necessarily represent those of The Pain Community.”

  • #275560

    marinesgt
    Participant

    I am currently going through a local spine clinic and getting oxycodone rx’d to me. It saddens me that the suicide rate has climbed through the roof here in the state that I live in. So many veterans have been unable to gain relief from there pain and have decided to ” check out “. I can empathize with that so am glad that I have found some relief from the pain. All I can say is that my thoughts are with them and I hope that they can find some relief and not take their lives.

    Semper Fi!

    marinesgt

  • #419418

    cavlrrp
    Participant

    I am a 70 year old Vietnam combat veteran.the veterans administration put me on hydrocodone 15 years ago for severe back pain and bursitis in my hips. about a year ago I went to see my primary care physician at the veterans administration was told that there was no more prescriptions for hydrocodone to be given. I could take morphine if I wanted to. I chose to take the morphine and took it for quite a few months. However, did not work for me did not make me feel very good. I had stomach problems xcetera. So I decided to wean myself off of the morphine and let me tell you it was no picnic. I was sick for about a week but finally got off of the morphine. Now what? I started seeing a pain specialist outside of the VA and he started giving me cortisone shots in my back and in my hips. I get them as needed now. I take baclofen which is a muscle relaxant and I use ice and heat. I also use ibuprofen as needed. I have good days bad days and some very bad days. It is a struggle that I deal with everyday and sometimes it gets me down. That’s my story I wish you all the best.

  • #421070

    Susan
    Participant

    Hello all, I’ve been on pain meds for many years for several ailments and started using the VA in 2015 and the PCM I was assigned established all of my prescriptions including my pain meds. Last month went I requested a refill online through secure messaging my new provider (this is my 4th) told me that that the VA no longer offers narcotic or opioid chronic pain management and a taper is mandated. Now my main issue with this is I’ve never met and or have I ever been examined by the ARNP that I’m assigned to, we have no medical doctor at my facility. According to numerous articles and literature on VA websites the following must occur: prior to any changes in therapy a caregiver needs to discuss the risks of continued use along with possible benefits. Additionally there needs to be an established plan to consider dose reduction and to consult with specialists, or to consider alternative pain management strategies when considering an opioid taper. A physician needs to monitor conditions that may warrant additional evaluation and arrange follow-up care when indicated. The caregiver needs to ensure that screening and treatment is offered for conditions that can complicate pain management before initiating opioid taper since numerous factors go into the speed of taper selected, suggests only 5 to 20% every 4 weeks depending on dose, duration and any risk factors of medical conditions. Now my dose was cut by 66%, from 84 tablets to 28 tablets. I have been communicating thru the secure messaging and the clinic has responded with letters. My issue is what the hell am I suppose to do? The clinic refuses to make me an appointment to discuss this and said I can only make one for my annual…all the correspondence ends with I can seek an out of the VA provider who would accede to my wishes…My wish is that I didn’t have so much pain that I cry several times a week, I can’t sleep because the pain wakes me up and I’ve been getting by with a very low dosage, along with ibuprofen, joint gel, heat and ice. What can we do???

  • #421072

    tyron
    Participant

    Hello Susan, I am in the same boat unfortunately. We can thank the president for a lot of it. It depends on what state you are in, well for outside Help I mean, VA is about the same in the US. I take Morphine and Oxycodone, but I have to go outside the VA to a pain specialist. I am living in fear each month hoping and praying that the medications are not taken away from me. VA just mainly says the pain is in my thought, some psychological medications is all they will give. It plays with you mind and I find I am confused and still in pain. I am not sleeping much, but the can’t give me medications for that. It is a sad and miserable life. I really don’t think I can live without help. I am a believer in God, so suicide is not Godly. But man pain never goes away. VA is trying to be the cold hearted SOB. I am sorry I have not been much help. I just needed to vent. I hope you understand. Right now the option are better outside of VA. Good luck and keep your head up. Let us all know it you find anything. We’ll do the same.

  • #421073

    Susan
    Participant

    Thank you Tyron for sharing and I know how hard it is and I’m really afraid when I get those last 28 pills next week. I have pain on top of pain if you know what I mean and pain is real, it’s not a figment of our imagination. I’m having back injections in the morning so I haven’t been allowed to take ibuprofen (which I use with my pain meds) for the week prior to, so hopefully I’ll get a little relief. You know my mom has lots of pain, many medical issues and I have thought in the past that she takes lots of meds and it should help, but now I know it doesn’t take it away, it can numb some of it though. I’m waiting until after my procedure to change over from TRICARE Prime to US Family Health Plan and maybe I can find a doctor to listen. I had great health care and a great doctor before I got laid off, so know I rely on TRICARE and the VA and its really frustrating. I understand about not sleeping, I might fall asleep, but in a few hours I’m up, I use my heating pad 24/7, started drinking tea and usually fall back to sleep in a bad position and then I hurt even more. I’m going to contact the Patient Advocate for my area and let them know what happened, that my provider who I’ve never seen made a decision without considering my physical or mental health, or lack of. I’ll keep you posted. Good luck to you and remember that each of us is worth it, we matter and if you ever get low, make a phone call, reach out to a friend, or post here and I’ll respond. I’m still trying to figure this site out, bear with me, but know that you have me in your corner.

  • #421898

    TPC_Opa
    Moderator

    Sorry That I haven’t gotten back to anyone sooner. I have been off of pain meds for 1 1/2 years now, not by choice. Mine must have been one of the first VA’s to start this new policy. They also have switched to the mind over matter policy. The VA has tried several methods with me over the years to alleviate my chronic pain. Hypnotherapy, biofeedback, etc. None of them worked and I have a high tolerance to pain meds. I had been going outside the system to a spine specialist for pain meds, but was dropped from that place due to my missing a couple of appointments. I have had to learn to live with the pain because of my high tolerance and now lack of any sort of pain med. My spine is deteriorating due to bulging and herniated discs. I am currently going to physical therapy 1 x per week to ” strengthening my core ” Haven’t noticed improvements but will continue to make the 2-3 hour round trip and see if it will help. Not holding up much hope because I had something pop in my back 2 weeks ago that laid me out flat for a week. I am thinking one of the bulging discs herniated in my lumbar but won’t know til my next round of MRI’s. Will keep updating and let you know if I notice any improvements.

    TCP_Opa
    TPC Community Moderator

    “The views or opinion(s) contained herein do not necessarily represent those of The Pain Community.”

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