My wife has lived with chronic pain since a car accident over 20 years ago.
Her first pain management doctor, the one that got her over the hump, attracted the worst-of-the-worst cases for chronic pain, partly because he was willing to try unorthodox combinations when nothing orthodox would work, and partly because there is a shortage of pain specialists in the state. There weren’t too many alternatives.
Unfortunately, a local news outlet, fired up with the “pill mill” news at the time, started poking around and published the statistic that this one doctor wrote more opioid prescriptions than a major hospital. It was a sensational headline…but the statistic does kind of make sense given the circumstances.
State regulators got involved, and his license was pulled for a couple of reasons, including sloppiness arising from the excessive case load, a couple of patients having died from overdoses (I knew one of them; she was a person whose condition was literally “your pain levels will increase, and your other capabilities will decrease, until there is nothing but you sitting in your wheelchair, blind, deaf, and in agony…and then you’ll die”), and several instances of prescriptions being diverted to illicit uses (not surprising, given the financial difficulties faced by folks unable to work due to chronic health issues).
I think a neighbor kid breaking into our house and stealing about two months’ worth of prescription fentanyl might also have played a role in that hearing.
Eventually, we did find another pain specialist who would work with Mrs. Sidekick. The fact that every appointment includes a pee test, a counting of the pills, and one to three surveys to monitor depression, pain, etc. is annoying…but I understand why that practice does those things. And even with those considerations, there are pharmacies that won’t accept prescriptions from that practice because of the number of opioid prescriptions they write.
Chronic pain, and the treatment of chronic pain, sucks.