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Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 27423
Experience:  Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
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Greetings....Since Indiana changed its regulations regarding

Customer Question

Customer: Greetings....Since Indiana changed its regulations regarding pain drug policy I have been unable to receive proper pain relief after 7 or 8 years of being treated for cronic pain. My doctor got scared of going to jail for treating me as he had for years. There is something very wrong with this and I feel I have been thrown under the bus by my doctors. Is there any thing I can do to force them to treat my pain competently as before?
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: One year ago my neurologist that had been treating me for cronic pain in my neck. and for brain legions told me the state demands that a patient receiving long term opiate pain medicine has to sign a contract and take urin test ect. I agreed and had no problem with that. He continued to prescribe the same opiate ate the same amount. Then a couple months later he said he could no longer to prescribe to me as many pill as he had been because he was afraid of going to jail. So at that point he changed my Prescriptions to a different medicine and a lower dose over all of opiate mg. I tried them but it didn't give me the proper relief of pain as I had before and he changed it again. After that he said he wouldn't treat me any longer and sent me to a pain clinic to get rid of a patient that wasn't worth treating anymore due to change of laws.
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello again.......I read my question from an hour ago and believe I was a little unclear. My pain level is such it's hard to think clearly at times. To be a little clearer I have been in extreme pain since my neurologist chose to stop treating my pain. I believe the only reason he stopped is because he was afraid of being charged by the DEA. He sent me some where else so he didn't have to bother with me as a patient anymore. If what he had been prescribing me for years was so wrong as to warrant his being charged now. What was he doing prescribing me those medications for many years in the first place. Not to mention the hell of withdraw I went through because of his letting me go off cold turkey as they say. He made no effort to titrate me down off my meds which even the drug manufactures warn is dangerous to the health of a patient, me. I have never taken any medicine accept what was prescribed to me from him. I never went to another doctor for a prescription pain medicine. I had never lost, had stolen or damaged my pain meds and asked for another prescription. I didn't fail any drug tests and never have done drugs recreationally or drink with my prescriptions. I had not been asking for more drugs or more powerful drugs. In no way was there reason to believe I was abusing drugs or being harmed by the pain medication or had become addicted to them. It is normal and expected for chronic pain patients to become dependent and it's not of concern except that you don't just stop taking any medicine cold turkey. There was no reason for him to stop treating my pain except the reason he himself gave me several times. He was afraid of getting arrested. This has put me in a very difficult position of trying to find a doctor that will take new pain patients. If a person does find a new doctor it is almost impossible for a new patient to get treated with pain medicine in this climate of doctors refusing to help new pain patients. I know it's unethical and goes against the Hippocratic oath to first do no harm. Much harm has been done to me by his actions. I'm in constant debilitating pain now and even if I do start receiving the pain meds as I was it could be a very long time before the pain come under control again. Months or even years. My depression and anxiety has gotten much worse and my quality of life is just garbage now. My health has been damaged in many ways due to his actions. I know my doctors actions are wrong, but are they illegal and do I have any recourse. Thanks for your help,Charles
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 1 year ago.


Unfortunately because of abuse in this area, not just by the patients who have been prescribed these drugs but by the doctors and pharmacists who over the years have too readily supplied them, there is very strict accountability. A physician is simply not allowed to prescribe more than a certain amount of controlled substances per month for any one patient, and he is required to log who gets such drugs and in what amounts into a state and Federal data base.

In short, he can indeed go to jail and risk his license to practice medicine by continuing to keep you on opiods in an amount no longer allowed under state and Federal law. His fear is not unfounded, and even though you don't have a history of abusing the prescription, he can refuse to prescribe that medication further and to refer you to a pain management clinic for further care.

Further, the law cannot force a physician to order a particular course of treatment, even if it's legal for him to do so. He is free to use his own discretion, just as you are always free to look for a physician who would be willing to provide you with what you seek.

It is true and unfortunate that this does cause difficulties for many patients who are not drug seeking in an illicit sense but who need these medications in a higher amount than allowed by law in order to cope with their pain issues. All you can do -- apart from lobbying to force legislation to change the law -- would be to continue to work with this or some other pain management center until they finally get you something that will give you the same level of relief that you formerly had.

I am very sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

I know that this is not the answer which you want to hear. But it is the only answer that I can give you. The law does not account for the kind of exception that you and patients like you would require. You may want to discuss your condition and effective treatment options with the medical experts on this site.