Monday, November 10, 2014

Stricter Regulations on Pain Medications? How Interstitial Cystitis Patients Can Help!

Pain Medications
As a person with interstitial cystitis and other chronic pain, I am just as furious as you at the more restrictive laws regarding pain medications. But, part of the problem is the unguarded "supply" of these drugs in communities around the world that are available for misuse and abuse. In a way, you can't blame the lawmakers. It's their job is to protect the public and what do they see reported over and over? The fact that an estimated 2.1 million people in the United States reportedly are abusing prescription pain relievers.

In a recent Facebook discussion about chronic pain (not just bladder pain), someone asked if the other members had people asking (or stealing) their narcotics. Within 20 minutes there were over 80 responses and all but a couple said YES. Some had even put their own children in jail for stealing from them. Many others divorced their spouses or broke up with their significant others. I was shocked (and obviously naive) because I have never experienced this.

So what can WE do to help?
  • First, don't tell anyone you have prescription medications in your possession. Lie if you have to. (Yep, I just said "lie!") If someone asks you directly for medications, look them in the eye and tell them that the medications you take are finely tuned by your physician and you are very careful about how you take them. I can't tell you what to do after that, but I suggest that consider your relationship with that person carefully.
  • Second: LOCK them up! No exceptions. Some of the respondents to that Facebook query said that they never would have suspected the people who stole their medications. Be especially vigilant if you have housekeepers, contractors, realtors, etc. visiting your home. 
  • Third: Dispose of them properly if you don't need them any more.  Don't just flush them into the sewer or your septic tank. When I cleaned out my medications awhile back, I found out the only option in Michigan was to take them to the police station. Two policemen literally logged every bottle and counted every pill in front of me. I had to sign and "witness" them entering these numbers into a book. I didn't ask, but I assume the drugs were incinerated someplace.
So there you have it. Both sides of the story. Or two of them. I am sure there is more. At the very least I hope these suggestions help those of you who desperately need these medications to have a decent quality of life. It remains to be seen whether addictions and abuse of these medications decrease without hurting the people who need them.

PS: I looked for a good summary of the new guidelines for pain medications. There were very few intelligent commentaries, but this one came close: Consumer Reports: Vicodin and other prescription painkillers will soon be harder to get.


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Author, Speaker, Patient Advocate Just Tell Me What to Eat!

For step by step guidance for creating your own personal interstitial cystitis meal plan, see: Confident Choices®: Customizing the Interstitial Cystitis Diet.

For some basic, family-style, IC bladder-friendly recipes, see: Confident Choices®: A Cookbook for Interstitial Cystitis and Overactive Bladder

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