Drug Policy

The Obama Administration Is About to Make It Very Difficult to Get Pain Medicine


In July 2011, the Office of National Drug Control Policy released its longterm plan for reducing prescription drug abuse. One of the bullet points in that report was this: "Write and disseminate a Model Pain Clinic Regulation Law within 12 months."

Twelve months later, the ONDCP has yet to (publicly) release any model legislation for individual states to use, but you can rest assured the agency will soon, and that whatever it comes up with will make it even harder than it already is to seek treatment for pain. According to last year's report, the Obama administration's model legislation will contain the following: 

1) registration of [pain clinics] with a state entity; 2) guidance for rules regarding number of employees, location, hours of operation; 3) penalties for operating, owning, or managing a non-registered pain clinic; 4) requirements for counterfeit-resistant prescription pads and reports of theft/loss of such pads; 5) disciplinary procedures to enforce the regulations; and 6) a procedure to allow patient records to be reviewed during regular state inspections.

If it's hard to get pain pills now, imagine how much tougher it will be once clinics are forced to adhere to federal rules about staffing, hours of operation, and zoning. 

But there's another line in the ONDCP's action plan that's far more troubling, which is its goal of "Identify[ing] and seek[ing] to remove administrative and regulatory barriers to 'pill mill' and prescriber investigations that impair investigations while not serving another public policy goal." 

If you look at the separately released ONDCP action plan for the above bullet item, you'll see it lists only the ONDCP as responsible for "removing administrative and regulatory barriers…." But if you look at the original report, you'll see the following agencies are also involved: 

What could those barriers possibly be? Why does the DEA have a say in determing what rules should and should not be in place to, say, protect patient privacy? And if those barriers aren't serving "another public policy goal," is it because they're serving, you know, the law?

As for what we can expect on the prescription pill front this time next year, the ONDCP's 24-month goals are as follows: 

  • Have legislation passed that requires prescribers applying for DEA registration to complete training on the appropriate and safe use, and proper storage and disposal of schedule II and III opioids. Legislation to be passed within 24 months
  • Increase by 25 percent the number of HIDTAs involved in intelligence gathering and investiga­tion around prescription drug traicking and participation on statewide and regional prescrip­tion drug task forces within 24 months

Meanwhile, the plan's stated 36 month goal is to increase funding for addiction treatment by a whopping 10 percent. 

NEXT: UN: Civilian Deaths Down 15 Percent in Afghanistan; Five Year Low

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  1. So I should hang on to my leftover Percocet and….whatever that other opioid they gave me is called.

    WAIT! I mean…um…nothing…

    1. The other opioid was Dilaudid. Can I have some?

      1. ER patient: I don’t know, I think it starts with a d, its like doludid or something. I never use it so I don’t know what its called, but I need something for the pain doctor.

        1. +15….that’s all I need….whatever it’s called…

        2. I am an ER doc and your vignette is hilariously true. I can’t tell you how often a patient with unprovable pain/other symptoms will do something like this, as if we docs are complete morons who can’t see through them. The other version is the patient who says his meds were lost or stolen, and when we ask what those meds are, you know it already in advance: “Vicodins and Valiums!”

          1. as if we docs are complete morons who can’t see through them.

            According to The State, you must be, otherwise pain-med-abuse would exist.

            Ipso Factoroidalorum, ya big dummy.

            1. *wouldn’t exist

              I think it’s a tumor.

      2. Nope, had that when I went in the ER, dying.

        Norco! That was it. Never heard of it before. Not quite as effective as Percocet, but at least relived enough pain so I wasn’t doubled over and nonfunctional…

        1. Norco is just hydrocodone, but it’s 10mg to 375mg APAP, as opposed to, say, a regular Vicodin, which is 5mg hydrocodone to 500mg APAP. Percocet is oxycodone. It’s significantly stronger.

        2. Expect to see Norco more in the future, as a nationwide Vicodin shortage has led most med centers to replace vicodin with norco on their formularies.

  2. 6) a procedure to allow patient records to be reviewed during regular state inspections.

    Medical privacy? What medical privacy.

    I hope everyone involved in this garbage gets to experience what I have and be under-treated for it. Like I have. Rot, you fucks.

    1. Isn’t chronic pain fun, NutraSweet? I enjoy it myself. And if you think the sadistic scum who want to deny relief to us even more will ever be denied themselves, you are delusional.

      This. Is. What. Government. Is. If you are a minarchist, you are for this, because this is what it always becomes.

      1. Without an incentive to undo shitty rules, all governments, through sheer accumulation of rules, become totalitarian states.

        Now if there was a way to create an incentive to get rid of bad legislation and regulation…

        1. What an absurd statement. Bad legislation and regulation are the point, as they increase the power of state actors.

          You just described an impossibility. This is why minarchists are well-meaning, but ultimately so destructive: they actually think the government can be restrained. It can’t.

          1. I was thinking of the Heinleinian bicameral legislature where one house needs a supermajority to pass laws while the other can repeal them with a minority.

            People would run for office based upon what they would undo, for in that house repeal would be their only power.

            I’m sure that they’d find a way to abuse it like anything else, but it would be better than what we have now.

            1. And eventually it would become what we have now. Government is not the solution.

              1. Government is not the solution.

                I agree. But it is inevitable.
                Anarchy is an impossibility because groups will compete for the power to use violence, they will violently compete with each other, and the winner becomes government.

                Such is life.

            2. I’m sure that they’d find a way to abuse it like anything else

              Lifetime Incumbancy by candidates who don’t want to repeal anything.

              Ta-da, just fucked that idea in the ear.

      2. Whenever I vote, I look at the candidates, and I say, “Who is the most likely to make SugarFree and Episiarch suffer?” And then I vote for him.


        2. That’s it. I’m cutting back your water ration.

        3. “most likely to make them suffer” or “to cause them the most suffering possible”?

          It’s an important distinction if you don’t want to waste your vote.

          Plus, any box on the ballet will likely satisfy the 1st criteria.

      3. After 225 years, you mean.

        An anarcho-capitalist system would degenerate into warlord/Mafia fiefdoms in two weeks tops.

    2. Ditto. Except – fortunately – I was not under treated. Treated “enough” to fix it, thank goodness.

      Fuck these assholes.

      1. I had access to MMJ for as long as I needed it. Of course, that’s kind of out of the purview of the federal government, and its pet insurance companies, and the FDA…maybe if we abolish those entities, life will get easier for everyone?

    3. a procedure to allow patient records to be reviewed during regular state inspections.

      As someone who knows his way around patient privacy, I can tell you right now that any “health oversight agency” can get access to your medical records pretty much just by asking, which means that they already have access “during regular state inspections.”

      1. which is exactly why they need more bureaucracy-enabling legislation to have even more betterer access.

      2. The real laugh-or-cry part of HIPAA is that this purported landmark protection of patient privacy doesn’t provide any protection against the government getting its mitts on your records, at all.

        1. at least you can be secure in the knowledge that random people with no interest in your medical records can’t get access to your medical records.

          Sleep Tight.

  3. The Obama administration is about to make it very difficult to get pain medication

    That’s because he cares about the poor people and the children so much, because they never experience pain, only evil drug abusers do. Pain pills are reversed for when granny needs to take a pill and just fucking die already.

    1. he cares about the poor people and the children so much, because they never experience pain, only evil drug abusers do.

      ummm, no they don’t. they’re evil drug users. they’re just doing it for teh lulz.

  4. Hey liberals, you know why us Libertarians say that you are so stupid for continuing to support this guy? Shit like this, that’s why, you fucking retards.

    1. I’m hearing this in the voice of the Hahvahd guy in “Band of Brothers”…”….you STUPID MORONS…look what you’ve DONE!”

      Not Malarkey…..WEBSTER. “….you IDIOTS!!!!”

  5. If I had the power I would bestow upon Congress and regulators the gift of chronic pain. The burden of lack of empathy would be lifted from them so they could legislate and regulate with all the facts.

    1. + a zillion

      Can we get that bestowed, like… right now?

    2. They’re already exempt from all this crap. The Praetorian Guard will not attack its benefactors.

    3. if we’re talking that kind of power, you gotta pop one of those goo-domes from Ghostbusters 2 over the capitol building as well, so they definitely can’t have access to any meds until enough people show up to chant them out.

  6. Sounds like a good time to get into the heroin business.

    1. Obama: creating as many illicit jobs as possible.

      (SEE PEOPLE, HE IS CREATING JOBS!!!…just not the kind that are going to report themselves to the people/agencies tracking unemployment numbers. THE RECOVERY IS WORKING, WE JUST CAN’T MEASURE IT. FUCKING REPUBLITARIAN HATE MONGERS!!11oneoneone.)

      (Also, Fried Somalia)

      (it’s like Baked Alaska, but the presentation isn’t as orderly.)

    2. Well, he needed some sort of stimulus to get Afghanistan rolling again.

  7. If it’s hard to get pain pills now, imagine how much tougher it will be once clinics are forced to adhere to federal rules about staffing, hours of operation, and zoning.

    A friend with horrible pain from degenerative back disease already has trouble getting pain medicine. He’s had horrible pain for so long he’s “opiate resistant.” There’s a drug he gets (fentonyl, I think) that opens the receptors. He can get it as a pill, but that leaves him stoned out, so he was getting it as a lillipop so he could control it as he went. He actually took LESS. Nope, it was ruled, on-label use is for cancer pain, not back pain.

    So the ruling keeps him stoned instead of clear.

    1. ^^this^^ exactly

      I think of that Doc they crucified in KS that Reason kept posting about, thinking, “That prosecutir can’t get [any chronic condition accompanied by tons o’ pain that NEVER goes away].”

      It’s just maddeing and infuriating.

      1. OK, what the fuck was a typing?

        “…Prosecutir can’t get [all that bad stuff] fast enough…”

      2. Stephen Schneider. I hope that Hell exists if only for people like Tanya Treadway, the prosecutor in that case who also murdered Siobhan Reynolds.

        1. Oh please…. Treadway did *not* murder Siobhan Reynolds.

          General Aviation crashes happen. People who deserve to live die. Deal.

          1. Tanya Treadway has not produced proof that she did not murder Siobhan Reynolds! Therefore she can be assumed to be guilty!

            It’s Harry Reid’s world now.

    2. t was ruled, on-label use is for cancer pain, not back pain.

      Because cancer pain is totally different than any other type of pain, you noob.

      wait, what?

    3. Could he try cutting up the pills to take less?

  8. There is more regulation of pain clinics than abortion clinics. Think about that for a second.

    1. It will make even more sense later on, after the health care law goes fully into effect and us peasants that get chronically ill learn that our options are just hurry up and fucking die already and then the pain won’t be an issue any longer.

    2. Killing unborn children is a basic right.

      Treating pain is a privilege.

      1. Killing unborn children and being gay are basic unalienable rights, everything else is prividedge. Liberal handbook, page 2.

    3. Nobody OD’s on aborted fetuses or robs someone on the street to get money for an abortion.

  9. Opiates make me violently ill, even the smallest amount appartently. A friend of mine once gave me an oxycontin because I hurt my back and was in a lot of pain. I didn’t even know what it was, but I later learned that is what it was and that it was just a really low dose. After about 20 minutes I got dizzy and then spent about 2 hours violently throwing up. Well, it sure made me forget about my back since I was too sick to notice for the rest of the day.

    I guess I would be in real trouble if I had chronic pain, because I am sure whatever else might work that I could take would be highly regulated, or just banned completely by assholes with our best interests at heart.

    1. There really isn’t much else that works, so you’re fucked either way. Don’t get injured.

      1. I guess so. I already knew that codeine makes me really sick, I learned that when I was a kid and got some cough syrup with codeine for the flu. I guess I would just have to drink more beer, get my medical pot, and hope for the best.

        1. Get more anti-nausea medication with your opiates. Not getting hurt is a good plan A, but for plan B, you can do better than “hope for the best”.

          1. Benadryl may help, but be careful, the additional sedative effects could be dangerous in combination. Disclosure, I an NOT an MD.

            1. ondansetron (sp?) is the go to anti-nausea drug to take with opioids, although i have seen hydroxyzine palmoate prescribed as well

              the latter also potentiates opioids

      2. Don’t get injured.

        I don’t understand why it’s so hard for you tractorpull-loving goons to understand this simple advice.

    2. Weed can help with opiate intolerance. You’ll still get dizzy, but you won’t throw up. Best to use only in extreme circumstances, obviously. There’s a theory that MDMA can also serve as an alternative to opiates, but of course that’s been extremely difficult to get reliable data on.

    3. I know someone who reacts like that to talwin (synthetic opioid).

  10. What’s all the bitching about? Everyone of us need to suffer so that, say, Andy Reid’s son doesn’t self-medicate and off himself.

  11. Better 10.000 pain sufferers die of liver failure than one high school kid get off.

    1. I am hoping that is sarcasm !!

  12. Gotta jsut love those bought and paid for politicians.


  13. I had a cracked rib last year from martial arts training. If you ever had one you would know it is very painful, like breathing hurts. I went to the ER to have it X-rayed and something for pain, my BP was high which is an objective measure of pain. All they gave me was ibuprofen, which I told them I was already taking, it is OTC but I took prescription quantities. You would think they would give me a real pain killer, just a few days worth, to go along with the anti inflammatory drugs but no, can’t have anyone taking teh evul drugz.

    1. sadly, bp is suggestive , but not dispositive for pain

      as any medical text will explain, there IS no objective test for pain.

      a doctor can notice tightness in the face, complaint of pain, sweating, and all sorts of other things, but all are subjective at best.

      this is part of the problem. dr’s are afraid to prescribe drugs due to DEA oversight, in many cases some draconian state laws, and fear the person is a “drug seeker”

      people ACTUALLY in pain – suffer.

      i’ve seen wide variance in dr’s willingness to prescribe opioids. i am a large individual and i have high tolerance. some dr’s understand that, others don’t

      but one doctor might prescribe hydrocodone (weak…) and another would prescribe dilaudid (strong) for the same complaint.

      dr’s need to listen to their patients. the good ones do

  14. All Unverified BS,, I dont know who your sources are , but you might want to double check them ,, I cannot find one of your articles on snopes.com ,,, which means somebodies lying,, and I dont think it is snopes

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