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MAUREEN B. BLACK
Email mbblack@shaw.ca

Conventional Reading Room
Main Justice Building
Room 6505
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

Dear Sir/Madam:

I am rather in a quandary as to whom Iíll pour my heart and soul outward in the matter in which I will express myself in the subsequent paragraphs.

I am not speaking only for myself, but for a Chronic Pain Group I am associated. I may live in Canada, but the laws in pain management are not so very dissimilar.

The group I belong to is situated in the U.S. and is called the Chronic Pain Relief Coalition. We are a very kind and gentle group of dedicated people who are trying to uncover some relief from the daily chronic pain we must live with in many ways.  These can range from previous surgeries, auto accidents, amputations, musculo-skeletal illnesses, MS, chronic fatigue, and many spinal injuries and degenerated discs. These conditions warrant more extensive attendance and as you may know most of our doctors and/or specialists find it rather difficult to assist us. There are millions living in daily chronic pain without any relief. Suicide is one of the only options left for some which must be diminished.

We are hard-working people, not common drug addicts you may encounter on the streets, but are indeed helpless when it comes to uncover relief only to ask for some quality of life back after devoting most of our lives to working for ourselves and our families. Many of us must live alone and fear for our lives because of unrelenting pain.

Do you not possess family members who must live a life of pain? All occupations are not free of pain for their employees and colleagues as you can well imagine. After working for 26 years, I didnít ask to live this form of existence, only to be turned away from many doctors who could have helped sooner. This is all too common for an innumerable amount of people, not just myself. This scenario is a fate worse than death at times. Our cards may have been dealt this way with the typical signs of barely being able to walk or stand, but we carry on and become stronger for it than most.

We are only asking for some remission and pain-free days to live a life not shared by everyone in that they have their health and we must fight and battle the pain each day to survive. Where is the humanity in this world?

I have quoted the following quite often, but will also cite it here. Veterinarians are and always will be more humane than "some" of their other medical colleagues towards their patients.  Are humans not warranted the same compassion?

Many of us have studied Chronic Pain on our own, more so than our personal physicians and one of the main factors behind chronic pain is that pain medication does not respond the same as if someone who was not suffering or ingested similar medication. Pain medication affects only the area of pain and DOES NOT create any type of HIGH as agencies, doctors, pain-free people may anticipate. One has to live the life of pain to comprehend it completely.

Too many suicides are attributed to chronic pain because the patient was not allowed proper medication to alleviate the pain before making this final decision.  Someone must take responsibility for this action before it is too late for others. The Hippocratic Oath is not being utilized properly and even Anesthetists are not practicing what they were taught in medical school. Until more people are educated on the difference between chronic pain, cancer pain and acute pain, not one agency or organization should judge or make unnecessary rulings without first taking a closer look and evaluating all situations even from a doctors point of view. Not all are educated either in this situation as they do not have to live in daily intractable total body
pain day in and day out. How is one expected to live a quality life when they (doctors) turn their backs on us because they are fearful to assist because your organization tends to make the rules and give the decisive word. We live in a democracy if I remember correctly. If we desired to be dictated to, we wouldnít be living in North America.

The DEA are NOT physicians and at no time will be. Doctors cannot even help people who are in urgency of befitting treatment. We only ask for some quality of life back...to be allowed dignity and abandon our state of denial. We have a life to live.  We only ask it to be pain exempt.

I will quote some excerpts from the Canadian Pain Society below:
"A) To foster and encourage research on pain mechanisms and pain syndromes and to help improve the management of patients with acute and chronic pain
by bringing together the basic scientists and health professionals of various
disciplines and backgrounds who have an interest in pain research and management.
B) To promote education and training in the field of pain.
C) To promote and facilitate the dissemination of new information in the field of pain.
D) To promote and sponsor regional scientific and educational meetings.
E) To encourage the adoption of a uniform classification, nomenclature, and
definition regarding pain and pain syndromes.
F) To encourage the development of local, regional and possibly even national and international data banks, and to encourage the development of uniform records system, with respect to information relating to pain mechanisms, syndromes, and management.
G) To inform the general public of the results and implications of current research in the area of pain.
H) To advise national, regional and local agencies and institutions on standards relating to the use of drugs, appliances and other procedures in the therapy of pain.
I) To engage in such other activities as may be incidental to or in furtherance of the aforementioned purposes." (end of quote)

As you perceive, there is much education to be learned from people who must live in chronic pain. There is obviously a difference between people seeking pain medications for illegal use compared to chronic pain patients seeking only a release from daily pain.

I will attach one of my poems which will also explain in depth how many of us agonize in these times when our cries and pleas for help are not noticed.

Happier Times

Why must we live through this torture?
Why must we live through this pain?
Is it not unthinkable of you to ignore us all the same
Are we expected to live our lives in this manner before we go insane?

Yet I dream and meditate about recovering days
Although few care to listen
It is only my wish to experience happier times
Rather than depreciate my existence.
Aloneness is all I perceive at times
This is too overwhelming to accept
Those who are advancing to observe our cries
Should allow us more respect.

The trembling and fear understood inside
is hidden with extreme attributes.
so when time is designated for our physicians to theorize
It is difficult for them to compute.

Our sorrow, our grief, our anguish and fears
Are not taken with appreciation
For if they experience one day of our lives
They WOULD find some justification.

Not for us.....no only for them
We must spend exceedingly to live
When our self-esteem is scarcely alive
We carry through our demands to give.

Oh yes, count your blessings
It is so elementary to say
But when and if afflicted with these ailments
Youíll descend, kneel down and pray.
Many in our category you will behold over time
Quite miffed at what to do
We only want some courtesy and pain free days
That is all we shall anticipate from you.

Too many of us suffer needless daily pain
It is a fate worse than death
Help us alleviate this pain
Prior to taking our last breath.

Why must you place us on the back burner?
When we need some quality care
For that is essentially why you are there
As we enter your dwelling following a small prayer.

Happiness and acceptance is not effortless to abide by
Only suffering, anger and denial
Understand our present state
And permit some justice as we plead to you awhile.

Our life, self-worth and pleasures are now in the past
Can you not observe how it is sweeping our lives
These conditions are overpowering us now
We appeal to you with skepticism it will not last.

(c) by Maureen B. Black



This is only a illustration of what we may experience. Please educate yourselves more on these matters for our sakes and the sake of our families who it also affects.  No need to dwell on the obvious. As my poem states, we do not want to be placed on the back burner or overlooked. Take a closer investigation at our situations and the impact our pain imposes on ourselves, our communities, families and physicians.

There is minimal abuse with certain pain medications or opioids classed in schedule 11 or 111 as earlier suspected. There are many ways to maintain computer records of all medications prescribed to patients through pharmacies. This of course is already being done, but limiting doctors from prescribing for their patients in continual pain is not humane for a fellow human being. Our self-esteem, dignity and self-worth has been taken away at present. For our benefit, do look into these policies with a magnifying glass if necessary to help alleviate our pain and restore our aspirations.

Thank you for taking the time to peruse my message. This cannot be altered in a day, but an attempt to make an effort on your part to cooperate should not take a lifetime nevertheless.

Sincerely,
 

Maureen B. Black
Stop the Pain and Start the Humanity
mbhall@baynet.net

cc:  1.  U.S. Dept. of Justice
      2.  Margaret A. Irving
           Deputy Director
           Office of Information & Privacy Act
      3.  Chronic Pain Relief Coalition
      4.  U.S. Surgeon General
      5.  College of Physicians and Surgeons (Canada)
      6.  Canadian Pain Society
      7.  North American Chronic Pain Association of Canada

Maureen B. Black
mbblack@shaw.ca
Jan./1998


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