The Crackdown

It’s literally life and death and I, for one, will not go down without a fight.

Hello dear reader.

I read an article in the New York Post written by Betsy Mccaugh called The Insane Crackdown on Pain Medication. I’ve written several posts about this issue, but I believe people like me who deal with chronic pain are the invisible casualties of this “crisis” and I’m doing all I can to be seen.

Here are some of the facts being overlooked or twisted…”Politicians parrot a false narrative that millions of people are becoming drug addicts because of prescriptions their doctor gave them for pain.” The truth is that…”Only about 1 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain become addicted — according to a systematic survey of peer-reviewed medical studies

Here’s another fact that contradicts what we’re being told by the government…”Illegal drugs cause nearly all overdose deaths, not drugs patients get from their doctor.The fact is that “Fewer than one in five overdose victims even had a prescription drug in their system, and it was virtually never the only drug.

Here’s what it boils down to, the people abusing pain medications get it illegally, and will continue to do so. That’s what needs to be stopped.

It’s very difficult to misuse pain medications you get from a pain management doctor. I go to my doctor once a month (a five hour round trip). Every visit I am required to do a UA which looks for every drug in my system, including alcohol. If anything besides my prescribed medication is found, I risk no longer being treated there. If the levels of my prescribed medication are wrong (too high or too low), I am at risk of no longer being treated there. What’s wrong with the levels being too low? That means you either took too many when you got them or are selling them. I’m sure there are ways around these safeguards, but it wouldn’t be easy and I don’t think it could be done for any length of time.

I went to my doctor last week and while I was there I asked him what to expect going forward. He told me about ‘morphine equivalency’ and that by the end of this year nobody will be able to be above a morphine equivalency of 90. I asked him what the morphine equivalency of what I take now was. He did some quick math and said approximately 170. So my pain medication is roughly going to be cut in half.

With the levels I’m on now, I’m functional approximately 60% of the time. Cut that in half and I’m looking at being in too much pain to function 70% of the time. That’s not a life. It’s torture.

There are many other people in the same situation I’m in. We need to make them see us, make them realize what they’re doing to us, and hopefully change the way this crisis is being handled. Personally, I’m scared to death. If you or someone you know lives with chronic, debilitating pain please add your voice to mine. It’s literally life and death and I, for one, will not go down without a fight.

Until next time…

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Please help

Hello dear reader.

Today I’m going to use my blog to ask for your help.  Any of you who know anything about me know how important the work CASA does is to me.  Children are given a voice they wouldn’t otherwise have, someone to be in their corner when he world as they know it has fallen off it’s axis, and someone to make sure they don’t simply fall through the cracks. In many cases, the CASA is the only stable thing in their lives during (and sometimes even after) the time their parents are getting treatment, therapy, or just trying to learn how to be a parent. The majority of work done by this incredible organization is done by volunteers, but there are still a lot of things that cost money, and that’s hard to come by in the best of times. I’m copying a letter I received today. It explains what’s happening and how you can help. Please. It’ll only take a moment of your time and it won’t cost you a dime. Children deserve to have someone on their side.

What’s Happening:

The CASA program has been called a model volunteer program for abused and neglected children. Volunteer advocates now work with over 230,000 children a year throughout the US. But this is only 35% of the children who need a volunteer. Federal funding has been the most significant source of support for reaching more children who urgently need our help.

Now, Federal funding for this crucial work is in serious jeopardy. Earlier this week the House of Representatives slashed millions of dollars from the authorized funding for CASA – recommending just $3.5 million for CASA advocacy in 2014. Next Tuesday, July 16, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee will meet to determine the 2014 funding level for the CASA program. This is our only chance to save funding for the CASA program. Thousands of abused and neglected children are at risk of losing the most trusted adult in their young lives. Your help is urgently needed!

What you can do:

First, see if your state, or the state of someone you know, is listed below:

State Senator to contact Alabama Senator Richard Shelby (Vice Chairman) Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski Arkansas Senator John Boozman and Senator Mark Pryor California Senator Dianne Feinstein Delaware Senator Chris Coons Illinois Senator Mark Kirk Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu Maine Senator Susan Collins Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski (Chairwoman) New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy

Second, take these two easy steps immediately:

1. If your Senator is listed, email or call to urge him or her to appropriate the authorized funding level of $12 million for the CASA program. 2. Forward thisalert to your network of friends and colleagues in any of the states listed, and ask them to join you in taking immediate action for the children.

Here’s how to reach your senator:

Go to http://www.congressmerge.com/onlinedb/

Enter your zip code (only) and the site will take you directly to the contact information for your members of Congress. Click on the “Contact Form” for your senator, and it will link you directly to him/her, from where you can submit your request.

Here’s a Sample Message to send to Senate offices:

Please restore full funding of $12 million as authorized for the CASA program in the Violence Against Women Act.

In a Justice Appropriations Subcommittee hearing with Attorney General Eric Holder on June 6, committee members noted that $6.9 billion— a full 25% of the Department of Justice budget proposal for FY 2014— is taken up for federal prisons. And the prison population is ever-increasing.

CASA advocacy is an important strategy in criminal prevention efforts. A study by the National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice, has found that children who have been abused or neglected are 59% more likely to be arrested as juveniles. And foster youth are 30% more likely to become violent criminals as adults.

The Department of Justice has recognized the CASA model as a model juvenile delinquency prevention program. More than 400,000 children still need CASA advocates to protect their safety and bring stability into their futures.

With the continued rise in the prison population, and its impact upon society, restoring funding for the CASA program is neither controversial nor debatable. It is a proven solution to bring stability into vulnerable children’s lives, and to prevent far more costly consequences for their futures and that of society.

Thank you for your attention and support to this critical issue!

Your name Your Address Your City/State/Zip Your email

Thank you! If you have questions, contact carmelaw@casaforchildren.org

If you’re taking the time to do this, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. If you’d like to know more about what CASA does, I have a post entitled “What is a CASA?” which will tell you from a volunteer’s perspective, or you can follow this link to the CASA organization itself… http://www.casaforchildren.org.

Thank you again.

Until next time…