Written By:

It’s a trickle at present, but the conversation around chronic pain between doctors and patients is no longer one way only.

Over the past few months,  the constant messaging suggesting chronic pain patients are dying in dramatically increasing numbers because of opioid overdoses has been questioned.

Understand, the messaging was indeed clever. Chronic pain patients weren’t directly and specifically named, but the messaging caused listeners and readers to believe it was pain patients whose lives were being shattered, or even ended, due to opioids.

Then a few of us in media began to ask questions, and immediately the anti-opioid medication messaging began to falter. Patients suffering hideously from non-stop pain willingly spoke about the horrific conditions of their lives.

They voluntarily shared longtime doctors who had prescribed opioid medication which made their lives at least livable were under pressure to cut dosages dramatically, with the objective to end prescribing altogether.

There is pressure from supervisory medical bodies and governments. Ontario ended coverage of opioids on January 1, 2017, and now the elderly on fixed incomes, battling constant vicious pain, are required to pay for their not inexpensive medications out of pocket.

I interviewed the Federal Minister of Health at her request. Dr. Jane Philpott was ineffective in making the case against opioids for pain patients. In fact, she repeatedly told me my questions were “fantastic” and “excellent.” The only reason I asked the questions is because they reflected the need for relief from pain that can destroy quality of life.

Last weekend, Dr. Lynn Webster of Salt Lake City, Utah, past president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine and co-producer of The Painful Truth documentary revealed the anti-opioid medication crusade was undertaken by U.S. insurance companies, which were finding opioid prescriptions expensive to cover.

Today I’ll be speaking with Dr. Stephen Nadeau, a scientist and neurologist with over 30 years in a U.S. tertiary care centre treating patients non-malignant pain. Dr. Nadeau heard my interview with the health minister and chronic pain patients, and will share his own views on the subject.

Back with me today as well is Dawn Rae Downton, a national journalist and chronic pain patient who has a euthanasia plan in place in the event her opioid medication is arbitrarily stopped. Downton recently wrote a Globe and Mail column about her Fentanyl use.

Marvin Ross, who writes on health matters for Huffington Post Canada, has been challenging politicians and their anti-opioid agenda for some time.

If you’re a chronic pain patient, doctor or even a politician who cares about the crushing weight of never-ending massive pain, listen today and then speak out.

Living pain-free is a human right. Pain patients should not be reduced to pleading for help and meeting arrogance and indifference as a reply.

You can contact me directly at roy@roygreenshow.com.



  1. Thank you! I live with severe pain even with opioids. All of the people I know who use opioids for chronic pain are Very responsible with their medication and try to take the least amount possible. We are not the ones with the problem! People buying it on the street and using it for fun are. We don’t get the”fun” feeling from our meds, it is used up controlling the pain.

    • Absolutely, this thought process should not apply to is, but we pay for it anyway. People in to Medical field need to leave there personal opinions at home. I recently had to go to ER., they kept asking me what kind of drugs I wanted, with other staff members parading in n out of my room staring at me.

    • I worked for an insurance company. I recall when this happened. We used to pay for physical therapy. However, the insurance company, one of america’s biggest, all of a sudden wanted to pay for them but no physical therapy. This is the biggest scam ever. Also, Dr Kolodny wants people off pain meds…why? So they will go to his pain clinics. What another joke.

  2. I appreciate your article about the number of chronic pain patients who are suffering due to the new opiate rules. I have a condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), considered to cause the highest pain levels of any other condition, including pregnancy, kidney stones and cancer pain. Mine is in my right leg and came about from a workplace accident 10 yrs ago and after a ton of different treatments and programs, I finally gave in and started taking opiates 9 yrs ago. My doctor had been recommending them for 4 months at that point but I did not want to get hooked on them! But I couldn’t even get out of bed and walk to the bathroom, I literally crawled my way back and forth and then back into bed. And for 9 yrs I stayed on my same daily doseage of OxyContin and used Percocet for Flare Ups. The meds became less effective over time and I was living day to day with a pain level of 7/10 but that meant I could get out of bed most days and maybe even go out of the house a couple times a week. And I was prepared to live my life that way even though I was only in my mid-30’s then and am only 43 now. And then my doctor told me that the BC Medical College was insisting that he decrease my dose. I took 40mg twice daily but b/c they are only available in 20 or 40mg, my nighttime dose was going to be cut in half. That was a major cut which meant bad withdrawal along with the increase in pain. My Doctor felt that I may find that I would be able adjust to the lower dose but after a month on it that was not my experience. I was in agony. I had left the house only 2 times and only then to go to a bday party and to see my doctor. And I had only got out of my bed to sit in the living room with my husband 4-5 x’s in that entire month. I was having panic attacks daily, crying multiple times a day (and I never cry), and really starting to seriously ponder how much longer I was willing to live my life like this. My doctor had said that we would have to continue to decrease the doseage until HE felt I could bear it so I went into my appointment fully expecting another drop. My doctor does not really understand my condition and very much believes all the ‘propaganda’ about the evils of opiates and fully expected me to adjust to the lower dose. But to my huge surprise he agreed that I had suffered enough. He said I had met the Medical Colleges requirements as I had tried to go to a decreased dose (and I have regular drug tests, went off my anxiety meds, allow him to check my pharmacy records at every appt, etc) and that it had been too low to provide a level of relief that was compatible with some form of a life. So I am back to my former dose. However, CRPS can spread and often does when your body is injured or stressed. Currently my left leg has been a lot of symptoms of it as well. Since I also have Fibromyalgia and sciatica they could be the cause but CRPS has some specific symptoms that aren’t seen with the others so it likely spread that I am dealing with. Currently I use crutches to get around or a walker. I’m not sure how I will do it if both legs get equally bad. And it likely would not have happened if not for these stupid opiate rules. And my doctor has warned me that the College of Physicians is likely to make stricter changes still. CRPS has a nickname- Suicide Disease- and I understand why. Everyone has a breaking point and endless pain will get you there fast. It’s hard to understand that the vast majority of the medical system feels we aren’t worthy of pain relief.

    • i am so sorry i also have crps…pain patients do not mentally get attached to their pain medication like drug addicts…i am sick of having to pay for what addicts do

      • I to am in constant pain. I am and never have been addicted to any substance. However, it is deplorable to be put in the same category as those
        Who abuse drugs. I don’t take drugs, I take medication as it is prescribed. I don’t get high, I get some relief. I am never completely without pain. My quality of life isn’t great because of pain. I resent being punished because others are acting irresponsibly.

    • I tried to kill myself not long ago. I battle with CRPS also. Plus loose connective tissue and a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. I finally found a doctor who wants to look further. Things like Charcot Marie tooth..MS… I lose my legs. I have a wheelchair but no one has prescribed pain meds for 4 yrs. Because their career means more than anything. The rsd HAS spread. I recently decided to work because I don’t want to become homeless due to lack of proper health care. I feel like death. I hope doctors can help and stop believing the nonsense that we are addicts. Meds help the pain…. I just thought it was interesting how close your health is to mine (some of it) and felt like chiming in. Suicide disease is right. I couldn’t take the pain anymore. Now I’m pushing my body until it is officially done. No choice. Wishing you lots of relief. It disgusts me that anyone has to suffer.

    • ty for your story,i feel for ya bro.i have spondyosis and stenosis in lower back.im off opiates-my choice.i take gabapentine which doesnt do a whole lot/thats all the VA will give me.my left leg continues to go numb and life gets harder.

    • Your story is very similar to mine. If the media would just stop with all the “Opiod Epidemic” bs, it wouldn’t be this bad. Pain clinics are a joke. You go in and the staff there already has a preconceived opinion of you. My docs tried to taper me as well. Problem with that is, they didn’t give me any alternative to the pain meds. I finally went out of the box and found a doc that had more leeway. She prescribed medical cannibus and put me back on the amount of oxycodone that I could function. The cannibus is going to get me completely off the oxy. It does help. I still have lots of pain but…it’s more tolerable.

  3. Chronic pain caused by NF tumors on the nerves and denied all types of pain medicine. Only given nerve pills and over the counter Advil.
    What these doctors don’t understand is Nerve pills and Advil don’t get rid of pain caused by tumors surrounding nerves in the body.

  4. I can’t even get pain medication for a knee surgery gone bad. I suffer from chronic myofascial pain syndrome and fibromyalgia, dystonia, Thoracic outlet syndrome. I can barely walk or move now and No is the answer.. We do not prescribe them anymore. I never took them around the clock and thank God I didn’t because now I can’t even get 1 pill at the Er or from any of my many doctors. It’s disgusting. No I cannot live in this pain.

  5. Its very sad that this anti opioid agenda is forcing many of us, suffering from chronic debilitating pain to choose to die rather than live, it’s alarming that we were already fighting for just a quality of life, but to be discriminated against so badly and our human rights violated so mercilessly and viciously is just heartbreaking, I was a widow and at 51 at that time I met a beautiful and sweet filipina lady online, I wanted a life too like everyone else does,and, I persue my happiness and used my God given rights and travel to the Philippines and we were married in December, when I returned my pm doctor reduced my pain medication due to the new CDC guidelines and I not only have suffered in pain, was forced to abruptly stopped taking anti anxiety medication I’ve been taking since 2001, and, suffering from a type of ptsd since I survived an auto accident that claimed the life of my late wife, I haven’t been physically able to return to be with my new wife in the Philippines, All due to the new CDC guidelines for opioid prescribing. It’s more than sad, It’s Wrong and It Is Against the Constitution of the United States of America and My Civil and Human Rights.

  6. Simply Thank You. Chronic Pain Patients need a voice, we are not trying to kill ourselves it is the opposite we are trying to live as normal as possible.

  7. We are also not responsible for the people who overdose from the pills they are getting on the streets. The powder to make these pills comes from China; gets shipped here and pressed into pills, mixed in with herion and even sprinkled into marijuana. It can be highly addictive for much cheaper because of how potent it is. So that the government can say that they are doing something about the “opioid crisis”, they are shutting pain patients out-all because statistics show that less than five percent of prescription patients can become addicted….. it’s a crime and all out war on pain!

  8. It is a shame what is happening. My pain medication was changed to a tier 3, which means I now pay half of the cost. I don’t know how much longer I can afford to pay. This war on opiates is about money. They do not have empathy but only care about their profit. I didn’t know how chronic pain impacts every aspect of your life until my accident. Unless it happens to them, they will continue to stop opiate prescriptions or unless we start fighting back.

  9. I have been on opiods for Fibromyalgia pain for 14 years. I am not addicted. Now I also have arthritis and knee pain. I am very responsible in taking my meds and only take what I actually need to function. I do not experience a high from taking them… Only much needed pain relief to be able to function as a human being. They would not let an animal be in pain.. It is against the law to be inhumane to an animal.. The people who take away our human right to have pain relief should be arrested. God says we are above the animals. They will have many more people taking their own lives due to not being able to live in excruciating pain.

  10. My husband is a 100% disabled veteran. He had been on the same meds for appx. 20 years. He managed his doses. Some days he took less and sometimes he’d have to take more. The VA cut him off at the knees because after all these years of going there they tested him for pot. He has a green card because he doesn’t care for the med to treat muscle spams, however he still needs his pain meds. As anyone who is there knows there is a big difference between spasms and pain.

  11. Thank you! I’ve lived through chronic debilitating pain at various times and philosophies on opioids. Until they separate those with addiction and those with pain. Treat us accodingly by believing those who speak the language of those in pain and addiction is really pretty basic. We are the ones NOT taking opioids now while this ban goes on. We are spending every penny trying to get adequate care and be believed. Now our records are screwed up with the diagnosis of opioid use disorder. The VA is using our veterans as a massive study. Our vets and elderly are the most vulnerable. Thank you for having our back. It feels great to read your words backing us!

  12. Neuropathy pain patient. If anybody who has this disease tells you that it hurts so badly that they have to resort to cartoon descriptions – an anvil dropped on top of your foot, 1000 bees stinging you – with the stingers still embedded in you for hours and hours, savagely sprained feet with no way to wrap or support them, toes with clothespins on them, walking on a rocky creek bed with no shoes on, walking on glass shards, your feet getting sucked and twisted out of a hole in an airplane at 30,000 feet….

  13. I suffer from Multiple Sclerosis and Lupus. If I didn’t have pain medication I would be bed ridden and in enormous pain. I would have no quality of life. People with chronic illnesses should be able to receive pain medication without problems and scrutiny.

  14. It is the difference between disability and working ! Or being able to walk or bend,or even get out of bed and get dressed or shower or grocery shop the things health folks take for granted !These are as I see it basic human rights ! So to deny folks a life is absurd ! Folks that are dying are clearly abusing meds all doctors that have any professional morals in their practice have ways of measuring compliance and patients have the responsibility of locking up the meds if prescribed! We are always going to have addicts lowering the amount of opiates has only produced a heroin epidemic biggest fail ever when will they learn you can not stop the addict they are going to get high reguardless of measures put in place !

  15. Having spinal stenosis I’m on a pain regimen. I had a motorcycle accident and the pain has been extreme at times while going through physical therapy. I was issued a prescription for a specific dose of pain medication. I asked for a stronger dose and MediCal would not authorize until the 30 days of that prescription had ended. I barely sleep now as the pain keeps me awake. This is wrong!

  16. Email to roy invalid

  17. Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Thyroid Disease, Malignant Melanoma, Breast, Basel Cell cancer. I’ve had 12 surgeries my body is rittaled with scars and pain. The people that are responsible and take this very seriously are not the problem.

  18. I have lived with chronic pain due to work injury 14 years ago I had been denied any type of pain medication for 9 months now had to ween myself off of all meds because they blame pain meds on heroin users well at no point in the 6 months of withdrawal did I feel I need to go use heroin it’s a week minded cop out I don’t understand at all why chronic pain patients have to suffer because drug addicts continue to want to be high!! Now they can repeatedly over dose and free NARCAN is helping how is this fair!!

  19. I love all of your post, I’m a cancer patient and I have neuropathy in both arms and legs I’ve had 6 surgerys just on my chest in 1yr 4 on my feet. And they have completely took away all pain meds. I cannot find a doctor that will proscribe pain meds anymore, and I can’t even sleep at night due to my chest I toss and turn all night, you know what they told me? Take a sleeping pill and tyanol really doctors! Come on this is just getting out of hand. I don’t abuse mine. And I do understand but my family will also tell you that they get tired of seeing me in pain not being able to sleep and crabby all day I can’t go places with them because of the constant pain please help save us and our lives too

  20. Ok, so, we are all responsible pain patients. We all know this. What do we do about this problem now? Some guy here in Vegas shot a couple of people plus himself when a pain clinic wouldn’t schedule him an appointment right away. One article quoted a doctor saying that a lot of pain patients use heavy drugs and withdrawal from them is terrible and you never know what someone will do. Now, that’s just plain irresponsible with no evidence to suggest that was the case. Fake news! Propaganda! His neighbors said he had chronic back pain and couldn’t sleep, which is probably closer to the truth, because there is EVIDENCE to suggest it. This is what happens when you abuse people by cutting them off from their pain medication. People DON’T GET WELL when they’re cut off!

  21. I really appreciate this article and appreciate your approach toward living pain free being a human right, it’s definitely a more humane way of thinking, but it’s also a right to give a person a choice in their care too, I’ll clarify myself, a choice in treatment.
    We each have our own spiritual, religious, political, and up raising/bringing that affects our personal decisions on how we choose to treat our conditions, and honestly our decisions is ours a lone and we do not have the right to choose for anyone but ourselves, no more than we have the right to judge others for the choices they make.
    I have been diagnosed with spondylolisthesis, which is a slipped vertebra, it’s the bone in your spine my S1-L5 to be exact. It has slipped 7 mm, which is mild, but it has caused by disc to leak on my nerve causing nerve damage, it’s permanent. I also have bulging discs L5-L4 L4-L3 with DDD and osteoarthritis causing sciatica and other nerve issues.
    Without steriod injection’s every 6 mos I can’t stand for more than 30 minutes at a time. My sciatica Is severe and I have issues with Medications used to treat sciatica, I’m now trying my fourth Medication and I’ve had to cut the dose down to one a day because the side effects are so severe I can’t do my job at work, so I’m in constant sciatica pain.
    I have pain in my bottom with spasms, feels like knots, pain in my hip and thigh bone and muscles, top and bottom that’s starting to bother me when I set now too. Pain in the back and outside of calf with numbness. The top and bottom of my feet go numb and tingle and my three outer toes wake me with numbness and pain.
    Pain medication helps but does not take it all away, I’m also on diclofenac for my arthritis twice a day which does help, I can tell the difference when I miss a dose. I just wish I could find a medication that would treat my sciatica. Quality of life, not able to stand and cook your family a meal, not able to clean, not able to shower daily, is not much of a quality of life.
    I have heard so many people tell me how cbd oil has helped them. You see, I’ve never been able to take medication and now I’m stuck depending on taking medication daily for the rest of my life destroying my body, why can’t I choose in my state cbd oil? It’s a plant and the stuff that gets people high from it is taken out of the oil. I need this.
    I took Gabapentin and it gave me short term memory loss, when the doctor increased the dose my throat and tongue became sore until then I just thought I was tired all the time because I couldn’t sleep from the sciatica and I had like a brain fog, which I’m getting from most of the Medication used to treat sciatica.
    I really hope people understand that chronic pain can’t be faked when you have the MRI’s and x-rays to back yourself up. My pain goes even into my bulging discs in my neck.
    In 2009 my brother had his fourth back surgery. His spinal surgeon thought he was God and took him off his pain meds four wks after his surgery cold turkey.
    I’ll never forget my mom calling me asking me to come over to her house at 11:30 at night to find two police officers parked outside of her house. My brother ended his life. Chronic pain is real and who are we to judge or say how much pain someone can bear?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here