Qadgop the Mercotan, the reason I have to travel every month is because we have a problem in the state with drug abuse, and the DEA has restricted the writing of scripts for opioids for chronic pain patients to a small handful of pain clinics located in a couple of “cities” in our state, Anchorage being the closest to me. This came on the heels of the oxycontin/oxycodone debacle four years ago, where we had several people (five I could name off the top of my head) on the island die from overdosing on their pain scripts, which had been combined with other sedating scripts, alcohol and cocaine. The state also has a problem with teens stealing from their parents (or whoever) and dealing/doing oxy’s. Their preferred method of taking the drug (along with quite a few adults with legitimate scripts) is to crush and snort the time released oxy, (stupid) frequently in combination to snorting cocaine, as it apparently extends the cocaine high. (even more stupid) I wound up purchasing a safe in which to store my pain meds, when I had them. So, everyone gets their hands slapped, and if one has a severe injury one is lucky to obtain a script for twelve 5 mg hydrocodone here. (I speak from experience.)
At the same time, we have also had pain clinics closed for indiscriminate prescribing, unlawful prescribing, (a doctor I had been seeing in a pain clinic lost his license for trading scripts for sex, I kid you not) and I personally know at least three people who are currently eating their duragesic patches while also being active alcoholics. We have a flourishing black market in which pain medication is sold, or traded for cocaine. If only I didn’t have a conscience, and a healthy respect for the law. Ah, but I do, so I don’t go there.
It’s wrong, my quality of life is diminished, my family suffers, too bad for me is the response.
I am more than a little bitter about the entire situation. Do you, as a physician, have an opinion as to why the DEA would slam the door on all chronic pain patients in Alaska, when it seems that the other 49 states also share the abuse problems?