Last month the editors at ProHealth ran a survey regarding the recent restriction of opioids to patients with chronic pain conditions. According to the CDC the overprescription of narcotic painkillers results in 40 deaths per day in the United States. Characterized as an “epidemic” state and local government have enacted legislation to dramatically curb the use of narcotic painkillers.
Critics of the dramatic cutbacks in opiod prescriptions have pointed out that chronic pain sufferers rarely abuse the use of opiods, and that the “hysteria” surrounding opiods has only hurt patients who otherwise have little recourse to alleviate pain that can be incapacitating.
A total of 117 people responded to the survey. While the majority of respondents had a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, there was a wide array of pain-producing conditions that warranted treatments. In addition to ME/CFS, chronic back pain, arthritis, CRPS, and Lyme disease, respondents reported diagnoses of migraines, Ehlers Danlos syndrome, IBS, interstitial cystitis, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc and joint disease, congenital narrowing of the spinal canal, neuropathy, tension /cluster headaches, compressed disc fracture, spondylosis, Scheurmann's disease, kyphosis, scoliosis, chondromalacia, lupus, Post Polio Syndrome, chronic myofascial pain, polymyositis, bone and joint pain, damage due to chemotherapy, and endometriosis, among others.
The majority of people who took opioids for their chronic pain took them daily. Interestingly, all (100%) of the respondents had tried other therapies and pain medications, but these proved not as effective as opiods for the most part: 60% found alternatives to be not as effective, while 40% found other therapies to be effective, but only when used along with opioids.
Over 84% of respondents expressed the belief that the current restrictions on opioid prescriptions were harmful to chronically ill patients.