I am writing a letter/story to you in response to the from Nov. 22, 2011 re: "Are doctors to blame for prescription drug crisis...." I would like to say that as a "victim" of being prescribed pain killers for back and neck injuries and then stopping the medication abruptly, I started to go into withdrawals.
I am not condoning "doctor shopping," however, these doctors are prescribing massive amounts of addictive drugs and then abruptly stop prescribing. This leaves a person in a state of severe withdrawal and they will do anything to get their hands on the medication...not to get high, but to prevent themselves from getting sick.
I use the term "doctor-induced addiction" in these situations. No one sets out to become addicted. I went to a doctor three years ago to go on a medication (Suboxone) which, initially was going to be for three months. I was not aware that this drug was highly addictive, as it is used for people who have a history of opiod dependence and essentially, it is to stop cravings for opiates (narcotic pain relievers).
ALONG WITH the Suboxone, my doctor prescribed me Klonopin and Ambien (both highly addictive meds). I called the pharmacy, scared to take the Klonopin and the pharmacy said "I wouldn't take it." I was shaking and experiencing extreme anxiety so I called my doctor and waited SIX hours for a response.
When he finally called, I explained to him that I contacted the pharmacist, etc. and he said it is not safe to take those two medications. The doctor replied, "Why are you asking the pharmacist...what does he know about these medications?" !!! WHAT??? Since then, I continued to see this doctor and asked him numerous times "When are you going to start weaning me off these drugs?" He always had an answer: "Well, are you sure your pain is going to be under control?" OR..."You're under a lot of stress right now and I don't think it's a good time to start cutting down."
This doctor literally stated to me once "You know, you are taking three addictive drugs." Well, why is he prescribing them? There are two key statements I said to my doctor which I would like to mention. One: during one visit I said to him, the Klonpin doesn't seem to be working...(that is the first sign of dependence) and instead of him tapering, HE INCREASED MY DOSE. Another statement I made to him was "I think I'm becoming dependent on these drugs because when I cut down, I start feeling symptoms of withdrawal."
His answer first was "You probably are (becoming dependent) and the next answer was "Why are you cutting down... you brush your teeth twice a day, so why aren't you taking the meds twice a day?" "Because I don't want to be on these addictive drugs the rest of my life."
When I scheduled an appointment, I was denied because I have a balance with this doctor. Finally, I got health insurance and saw another doctor who charged me $250 for the first visit and I have to return in one week. I am a healthcare provider and know more about addiction than these prescribing doctors.
The bottom line is, doctors have an accountability to their patients when treating them. When a doctor continues to prescribe an addictive substance and then abruptly stops prescribing, it demonstrates negligence on their part, leaving a patient sick and dependent on drugs which was "induced" by their own doctor.
I never abused the drugs I was prescribed, but after a period of time, ANYONE can become addicted and it is the doctor's responsibility to evaluate a patient and say "Well, you've been on this for such and such amount of time, etc." "Maybe we should start cutting your dose down so you do not become dependent on these meds." Yes, there are people who doctor shop, but, again, as I say, being a "victim" of "induced" addiction, I believe 100% the doctors are to blame.
When I told my neurologist 6 years ago, "I think I am addicted to these pain meds." His reponse was "Oh, there are rehabs for that." So, instead of him titrating the drugs or taking steps to wean me off comfortably, he STOPPED prescribing and I was so sick I had to go into treatment which did not help me at all, as I was in treatment with illicit drug users, court ordered clients; people who did not want to be there.
Yet I went for help and was treated like a criminal....literally. And all because my doctor was negligent in his prescribing practices. These doctors should be reported to the DEA and the AMA. I have considered a lawsuit against my doctor, but I will be looked at in court as a "lowly drug user", so I, instead, will be reporting my doctor. I did not choose this nightmare I am going through, yet I AM PAYING THE PRICE....PHYSICALLY AND FINANCIALLY.