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When doctors help patients become addicted to narcotics

I completely understand why people change from prescription pain medications to heroine. I was under the care of a neurologist for 6 years for chronic migraines. Trying to find preventive measures to combat my pain without success. For these 6 years my neurologist turned to narcotics to relieve my pain.

At the beginning I was hesitant but willing to do whatever possible to relieve my suffering. Every two weeks my refills included sixty 10/325 percosets and thirty 10/325 vicodine. This was consist throughout the six years. I took my medications as prescribed which prevented hospital trips to relieve my pain.

After six years of treatment with my neurologist I was unable to schedule my follow up due to his schedule being backed up. The receptionist recommend I schedule with the nurse practitioner which I in turn scheduled with her. The nurse practitioner was not impressed with my doctor’s treatment plan. She immediately cut off my percoset prescription and dramatically reduced my vicodine prescription. Her reasoning was to start weaning the narcotics which I understood. Although I still suffer from chronic migraines she didn’t offer any alternative pain relief. She stated her goal was no more then three vicodine six days in a month. Which would make sense if I wasn’t suffering from severe daily head pain. On top of the head pain I know the withdrawal symptoms would not be pleasant which I expressed my concern. She refused to offer any treatment to reduce the withdrawal symptoms and told me I would have to tolerate the withdrawal process. When I left the appointment I was scared out of my mind. I later called my neurologist after having a couple panic attacks. I received a return call from the nurse practitioner stating since I saw her I would no longer receive treatment from my regular neurologist. She in turn told me I would be fine and she wouldn’t be changing her current treatment plan. Five days later I was in sever pain which included vomiting. I again called her which she responded with just work through it but schedule a followup within two days. Scheduling couldn’t get me in to see her for over a week at which time she did nothing but refer me out to another specialist. I was told she would continue my prescriptions until my evaluation with the specialist. When I needed my refill she denied my request. At this point I called my original neurologist and explained the situation. In turn the nurse practitioner returned my call and explained neither her or my neurologist would fill my prescription for pain relief. Even though I explained an alternative to narcotics would at least be worth a try for my pain. Again I was denied relief.

Currently I’m in sever pain while going through withdrawal. I feel it is unethical to steer patients to narcotics leading them to physical dependence then to eventually flat out cutting them off leaving them to suffer through the withdrawal without assistance and leaving them in the original state of severe pain in which you originally entered into the office for relief and proper treatment. I understand why people turn to buying prescription drugs on the streets and inevitably turning to the cheaper and more assessable heroine for relief of withdrawal and their pain. I am a wife and a mother of four beautiful children, serve on the schools PTO, am involved in the community, live in an upper class community. . . Society would judge me as a junky just as my doctors office views me after their line of medical treatment.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Leynal
    3 years ago

    Oh my goodness this really is concerning…. Are you able to go to a pain clinic or ANYWHERE to get help with the withdrawal? I am also on narcotics and want to get off but it is hard! And have tried on my own and it’s like impossible bc of the withdrawal effects, even with tapering. So I understand. Please go to other doctors and tell them your situation. Maybe anti anxiety meds? Whatever you can do to help!!

  • hollyjoy author
    3 years ago

    Additional information:

    Since my appointment with the nurse practitioner who cut off 1 of my pain meds and dropped the otherin halh before stopping all of my medications. I’ve had an extremely hard time seeking detox help.Let me start by saying I completely agree with getting off the narcotics as I’ve actually been asking my doctor for at least the last 2 to 3 years. However it’s a disgrace to the medical community to put a patient in the position to face addiction of any sort then abandon them. In my case it’s a physical addition. I’ve called around and have been honest about my situation as it’s the only way to get the correct assistance for medical care. Resorting to my obgyn for direction only to have the office who prescribed my medications lie to my obgyn. My obgyn was told they have been trying to help me for a long time to get off the narcotics and hinted I was a drug seeker. I sent an online message to my prescribing doctor calling them out on the situation and informing them they should be aware that lying about my treatment is more harmful to my future treatment. Before in initial consult with my neurologist I never drank, never smoked and never used recreational drugs because I don’t like the feeling of not being myself. At my consultant the neurologist insisted since I was pregnant narcotics was the safest line of treatment. I’m not even angry because my only assumption is he didn’t know what else to do with me. However I am angry they abandoned me when they put me in this situation. I’ve trusted my medical care to only be harmed instead of helped. I’ve always followed my medical care plan provided by my physicians, taken my prescriptions as prescribed, never gone to another physician for more scripts (even with surgeries I always called my neurologist for my prescriptions and informed the surgeon about the situation and explained there was no need to handle my pain care), I have not visited an Emergency Room for pain relief, and never have I sought pills elsewhere. Every pill I have taken was prescribed by my neurologist.

  • Tammy Rome
    3 years ago

    I am so sorry to hear that this has happened to you. Unfortunately, I think your story is all too common when doctors who do not truly understand how to treat migraine. As you have, unfortunately, learned — not all neurologists are headache specialists. I agree that it is unethical for a doctor to simply leave you with no options. Surely there is a better way to transition a patient to non-narcotic pain relief.

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