ACCESS HELP: Getting and promoting by J. K. Rotchford, M.D.

There is serious shortage of  effective medical help for patients with complex chronic pain and substance use disorders.   Patients addicted to pain pills or other opiates often lack access to life saving medical care.  There is an epidemic of opiate misuse.  It could be argued that opiate related problems are one of America's primary public health concerns. What to do?   

The first step generally involves helping yourself or a loved one.  Afterwards, we can attempt to heal others and the community at large. 

For yourself or a loved one:

1.  Obtain a formal pain management or addiction medicine consult.   These are unfortunately difficult to come by.  Ask your doctor for suggestions. 

There are many ways a pain management and an addiction medicine specialist can help patients:
  • Work with other prescribers to assure that a patient is prescribed the safest and most effective medical regimen.
  • Provide FDA approved medical care for for addictions. Besides buprenorphine, naltrexone is another FDA approved medication that can  be helpful for treating opiate addiction and alcohol use disorders. It may also be used to help in some cases of chronic pain. 
  • There are non-pharmacological ways to manage pain and addictions. Since the early 1980s I have provided medical acupuncture and am skilled in a host of ways to treat pain without the use of addictive substances.
  • There are effective treatments to help patients limit withdrawal symptoms. Much support is available even without the use of a controlled or addictive substance.
  • There are a host of medications, supplements, and behaviors that promote healthy pain management and brain function. The best care is individualized.
2. Seek help whether with Dr. Rotchford or others:

Community wide action steps and support material:
Please let us know other ways you have found helpful in finding effective medical care for your condition(s).  We support interested family members, parents, friends, and others to come together to help create a political force that would encourage state policy makers to effectively address the medical needs of patients with complex chronic pain or substance use disorders.   If you are interested in such a group our office has started to put together a list of interested persons.  Without grass root's political pressure it is unlikely the lack of access will effectively change.