Silence Is Acceptance


I like a million other people who have commented on your blog live with debilitating chronic pain each and every day…… I wanted to know from you is there a place where we chronic pain sufferers can go to plead our cases, to be heard? Is there a way we can get our word out? Is there anyone that will listen to us? A politician, a news agency? anyone you can lead us to?

This is an excerpt from a comment that was recently posted on my blog.

People Want Their Voices to Be Heard

I hear many stories like this one from people in pain or their family members. Nearly all of them recently have had their pain medication or therapies diminished, discontinued, or threatened. A change in attitude towards chronic pain patients seems to have adversely affected their access to care.

Some people post comments to this blog or directly email me for advice. But the reason most people contact me is to vent their fear, concern, and outrage at the new, restrictive policies for drug use. I have received thousands of emails and comments over the past year or so. Many of the people who have written have used opioids for years and claim not to be addicted to them. I believe them. In fact, they credit opioids with giving them the quality of life that they enjoy (or have enjoyed), and they worry about their ability to manage their pain without prescribed opioids.

Many people write to me because they want to be heard. An email that I recently received is another good example:

Are there any Drs. …..out there advocating for the pain patient? I am a chronic pain….I can’t get a Dr. around here to talk to me like I have a brain. It is frustrating! Thank you for listening. I almost want to start a class action suit against the CDC and all government entities interfering with my care that I have a right to. Any answer as to why we are all being placed in the same box?

A Call for a Change

To serve those who are looking for help, there is a new organization called A Call for a Change. I am unaffiliated with the organization. However, according to its web site, A Call for a Change” is comprised of the leading voices in the opioid crisis, including patients, healthcare practitioners, advocacy groups, law enforcement, industry, insurance companies and politicians.” This new organization states it “advocates for policies to ensure the safest prescribing practices and that all patients living with addiction or chronic pain are receiving the best, comprehensive, multi-faceted treatment possible.”

A Call for a Change offers action steps for doctors and pain patients that include advocacy for ADF opioids, asking your doctor to recommend alternative pain treatments, calling upon insurers to pay for those treatments, and sharing your story. Let’s hope that A Call for a Change accomplishes its goals of giving chronic pain patients “a voice in the opioid crisis,” and that good things happen as a result of its initiatives.

Express Your Concerns

I urge everyone to express their concerns and fears about pain treatment. A Call for a Change is one place to be heard. Another way to share your story is to continue to post comments on this blog, or contact your elected officials and the CDC. You can also write an op-ed and pitch it to your local newspaper, or you can start your own blog for free.

Whatever you do, don’t be silent. Silence is acceptance. No one should accept what is happening to people in pain. Policymakers need to hear your voice as much as you need to be heard. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day that we become silent about things that matter.”


  1. Gavin King on October 23, 2017 at 10:02 am

    I live in the UK. Had septic arthritis in my left knee about 7 years ago. Was on oxycontin and pregabalin. Got addicted to the oxycontin and was taken off it. Been taken off the pregabalin as well. Been off oxycontin for about year and pregabalin about 3 months. The pain in my knee has increased alot. Had x-ray which showed alot of wear and tear and bone debris in the joint. Was put on tramadol 50mg which helped but was taken off it and put back on pregabalin which isn’t helping. Want to go back on oxycontin but know the Dr won’t agree to it. So it seems the Dr would rather have me in pain than risk me getting addicted again. To be honest would rather be pain free even it means I get addicted again. Just fed up and depressed. Don’t know what to do!!!!!!!!

  2. Marsha on October 23, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    Thank you Dr. Webster for always keeping patients at the forefront of your comments and blogs.

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