Before becoming a Physician’s Assistant and a specialist in Pain Medicine, I was a paramedic for 17 years. I have seen first hand what drug abuse and addiction can do to people, and those that love them. It is an incredibly serious problem!


The destroyed lives and broken bodies, families torn apart, dreams cast aside.  However, after treating such patients over the past 10 years, I can tell you that access to these same medicines that can be abused, can also save lives.


Pain is a conserved sense - we all need it for our safety - and the body protects it even when people try and reduce its sensitivity.


Any patient on opioids will tell you, even though they may be on grams of opioids, they can still feel pain when they stub their toe. When we have pain and it goes untreated there is a significant insult to the body in varied and complex ways. Studies show unmanaged pain effects every bodily system, and can indeed kill you! 


What’s the source of chronic pain you may ask?  - Poorly treated acute pain is the answer!

 

Pain is truly a debilitating disease that we have all experienced for some fleeting moment.  Think of how we cry or perhaps wince when we are stuck with a needle or smash our finger.  Now imagine if that small discomfort was magnified 10,000 fold, all happening at once all over your body, what would you say then?


Wouldn’t you be pleading with anyone who might listen to please help you?


A study by Fishbain, et. al. examined over 79 papers looking at the risk of addiction, analyzed them in many ways, and concluded that the percentage of abuse/addiction is at only 0.19% (in people who have no genetic link or personal predisposition to any type of addiction - that's most of us).  These results were derived from meta-analysis of studies combined to include tens of thousands of patients! 


If only 0.19% get addicted, how is it that addiction to these medicines is such a problem?


It is because millions of people are in pain - or are getting access to these medications for recreational purposes - or both!  

 


Pain is a problem we need to address


Remarkably, there are surveys that indicate over 38% of physicians are choosing not to treat! The number one complaint for someone seeking out help is because of pain!


How can one decide not to treat this condition of pain?


Because of fear!


Fear of the DEA, community stigma, and the “terrorist” amongst us we call addiction - a disease like any other. Knowledge and surveillance by the provider and family are the key to overcoming this problem.  I know,  because I see it every day. Pain can truly be a debilitating disease, and providers don't know how to diagnose its cause or multiple sources, let alone treat it properly!

 

For some fleeting moment we’ve all experienced the need to cry or at least wince when we were stuck with a needle.  The pain created by one needle, really, its no big deal.   What happens when you feel like there are a thousand needle pokes all happening at once, all over your body, it is HELL! And there is no other way to put it! 


Dealing with Pain is bad enough, but to have no chance of relief, is unimaginable. 


When you consider that 38% of prescribers (doctors) have either chosen to not treat pain, or have chosen not to write prescriptions for opioids, you realize the scope of the problem at hand in our field of medicine.  We as providers of medicine took an oath to do no harm, but not treating such pain is far worse than the effort involved to mitigate the abuse problem we have at hand. I and other Pain Specialists can show you people who have regained their lives after accidents through the judicious use of opioids. These people who’s accidents and sources of injury are not their fault.  They deserve to be "normal" again, but they will never be.  Though the careful prescribing of pain medications they can come very close to their old life.


There is a solution to the problem and it is Abuse Tech™!

 

There has to be a way to minimize the abuse, and provide care for those who so desperately need it – I for one am all for the balance we need to mitigate the misuse, abuse, and diversion of these medications, and yet allow safe and monitored access to those who need them so very desperately, provided by those properly educated in the safest most effective ways possible!




Chris J. Kottenstette, PA-C, C.P.E.

President, Abuse Tech™, LLC

Engineered and Education Solutions for Mitigating Abuse and Diversion


Makers of the Abuse-Loc ™ Locking Prescription Bottle

 

Founder & President,

PA's in Pain Medicine, a Special Interest Group of the

American Academy of Physician Assistants

 

Director of Research, Pain Partners MD, LLC Lafayette, CO

 

Founding Board of Advisors Member,

American Academy of Pain Educators


 

Understanding Pain