Last session, the Minnesota State Legislature passed a law purporting to “fight the opioid epidemic”. They had three primary effects:
- Bringing down a suffocating wave of government scrutiny and legal peril for prescribing “too much” opioid pain relief – in the opinion of a committee that included nobody who suffered from chronic, incurable, intractable pain. Doctors, physician assistants, dentists, pharmacists and even veterinarians could expect warning letters from the state for writing “too many” scrips for opioids – and much worse, if they didn’t comply, including having the Feds investigating their practices, being perp-walked out of their practices, and having their patient records seized.
- Making it impossible for pain patients to get the prescriptions they need for their long-term, intractable, incurable pain – and impossible to find a doctor that’d see them, given the legal risks to taking on someone whose condition required treatment that’d put the professionals at risk.
- Most importantly – made legislators feel good. They’d “dooooone something” about opioid addiction. Moooove on.
This past weekend I had Cara Schultz – a Burnsville city councilwoman and cancer survivor – and Rep Jeremy Munson on the show, talking about the problem and a couple of bills that’ve been introduced to try to fix the problem, taking some of the peril out of pain relief for the professionals involved, and changing the composition of the committee that works on the policy to include some people who suffer from actual pain.
It was really good hour of radio – but it got a little harrowing at times. People who couldn’t get relief for years of pain are killing themselves. Callers who’d been suffering for horrible chronic pain told stories that should have “Mengele” in the cast of characters. Give it a listen. If you get angry at the arrogance of the legislature and the bureaucracy, then that’s a good start.
Now, we need you to do something.
Be A Pain
House File 3746 has been introduced into the Health and Human Services committee. It’ll help people with chronic pain that isn’t alleviated any other way to receive pain medication.
It would make sure cancer patients and cancer survivors are able to receive pain medication. The law would require doctors act within FDA guidelines – this is not opening the door to unrestricted Vicodin for every junkie that wants it.
Here’s what is needed.
The House Health and Human Services Committee is holding this Bill hostage. If this Bill doesnt get passed out of committee by March 20th, it’s dead.
And there are lots of people in both parties who are fine with that. It’s an election year, and nobody wants their opponent to call them “soft on opioids”, even though this bill is not that. Anyway – it’s an election year if they can just ignore this, that’s what they’ll do. . So please call them. Dont leave a message with an aid. Ask for a phone appointment with the rep. Speak to them directly. Want to go the extra mile, ask for an appointment. If you are a voter in their area, they WILL meet with you if you request it. Either at the Capitol or in your town. 1. Ask them to hold a hearing on the bill ASAP. If they refuse, ask them why. 2. Ask them to support this Bill. If they don’t ask them why. 3. If they have any concerns about the Bill, let them know Rep. Munson would like to speak with them and should you let him know they want to talk with him to get clarification/answers/work on it?
Here’s The Mission
If you are a constituent of any of them, please – this week or next:
- Make an appointment to either see them face to face, or at the very least a phone appointment. Legislators have a harder time ignoring constituents who are on the phone.
- Ask them to hold a hearing on the bill ASAP. If they refuse, ask them why. If they explain it, let me know – email me if you need to (ask me in the comments). .
- Ask them to support this Bill. If they don’t, please ask them why.
- If they have any concerns about the Bill, let them know Rep. Munson – the author of HF3756 – would like to speak with them and should you let him know they want to talk with him to get clarification/answers/work on it?
I’ll be talking with Rena Moran in coming days. Please try to do the same, if you’re a constituent of any of the HHS committee members.