Where's the Patient's Voice in Evidence-based Treatment & Research? | Pharmacist and Physician Opioid Collaborative

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Each day, more than 130 people die from opioid overdoses.

Opioids are a class of drugs that include prescription pain relievers like oxycodone. They also include illegal drugs like heroin. In 2019, 1.6 million Americans had an opioid addiction. This is also known as opioid use disorder. Yet effective medications—like buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone—are prescribed to only a fraction of people with opioid use disorder. Patients often receive such medications in an opioid treatment program. Methadone, for example, can only be given in a certified treatment program. Primary care physicians can apply for a waiver to prescribe buprenorphine. However, less than 10% of U.S. primary care providers have a buprenorphine waiver. Given the limited number of patients that each physician can treat, involving pharmacists in opioid treatment may improve access.

The Doctor Patient Forum’s Mission Statement is to advocate, educate, and defend the rights of patients, to protect all providers (including prescribers and pharmacists) who tirelessly work to treat their patients, and to bring awareness to the general public regarding restrictions upon medical providers. We are fighting for a return to individualized patient care instead of using guidelines and laws based on little evidence using arbitrary thresholds. Contrary to what has been said, we are not “industry funded.” We haven’t taken any money from pharma. We are not being paid to promote opioids. We are simply chronic pain and illness patients who are fighting as hard as we can to effect change in this broken system where the patient’s voice is non-existent.

For part 4 of the series, we're honored to have Ms. Bev Schechtman. Ms. Schectman is one of the founding members of Don’t Punish Pain Rally and is the VP of The Doctor Patient Forum. She grew up in northern New Jersey, and has lived in the Raleigh area in North Carolina since 2009. Bev has been married to Randy for 18 years, and has two teenage daughters, Emma, 17, and Livvy,13. She also has a 3-year-old Aussidoodle, Griffin.

Bev has been living with Crohn’s Disease and Psoriatic Arthritis for over two decades. She first contacted Claudia Merandi after being denied opioid medication while hospitalized for kidney stones in 2017.She was denied due to being a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. Bev is a passionate advocate for people with chronic pain and illness as well as those who have PTSD/ survived sexual assault/abuse. Bev has her B.A. in Psychology and hopes to get her M.S.W. in the near future. Bev is a voracious reader and researcher. She is passionate about understanding why pain patients are being mistreated so she can educate other patients and empower them to fight back. Bev hopes her advocacy work brings awareness to the anti-opioid zealots who are profiting off of punishing pain patients while pretending to care about those with addiction. She also believes strongly in Harm Reduction efforts.

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