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After Your Last Pain Med Prescription

IT'S ALL TOO COMMON

"Over the years I have worked with many patients detoxing from substances. They each have a unique story and everyone’s situation is very different. One patient in particular stands out in my mind from early in my career.

She was a 62 year old who never drank or used a drug in her entire life. On her 60th birthday she was involved in a very traumatic car accident. This accident changed her life and did tremendous long term damage to her body. At the same time she also developed ulcerative colitis.

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She had been seeing a pain doctor monthly for over two years. He put her on 60mgs morphine sulfate which she took for 2 years under her doctor's care. Out of blue her doctor told her from now on he is not seeing any more pain patients and he would refer her to a pain doctor. The referral was not able to take her on for 2 months. She continue to search for other pain management doctors but wasn't able to find one quickly to renew her prescription.

Her worst nightmare began she ran out of her medication and started to feel the  "horrific" nausea, anxiety, insomnia and diarrhea of cold turkey opioid withdrawal alone at home. She felt abandoned and terrified. Desperate to make the pain stop she began to use her friends prescriptions to avoid being sick. This quickly progressed to her finding someone who could give her fentanyl. Her use of street fentanyl continued until her family intervened and convinced her to go to a medical detox.

She was one of my patients for a week. I saw how sacred she was and upset she let it get to this. We detoxed her over a week period and set her up with aftercare to address the chronic pain without the use of opioids. It is bittersweet to see the success of this patient, when I know there are hundreds more out there that don’t know they have other options."

– Melanie French, RN at Relieve Medical Detox

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