Majority of pain sufferers feel they are treated like drug addicts during pharmacy visits: study

PR Newswire
March 11, 2014
By PR Newswire
March 11, 2014 — The National Pain Foundation's survey of over 300 people who suffer in chronic pain unveiled an important, but little-known truth about chronic pain sufferers: their feelings about how they will be treated by their health-care providers.
The survey found that pain patients are uncomfortable when they visit their pharmacy, according to The National Pain Foundation based in Golden, Colo.

More than half (52 per cent) stated that they "are concerned that they will be treated like a drug addict by their pharmacist." An additional 29 per cent stated that they "are concerned that they will be embarrassed by their pharmacist."

"This comes as no surprise given the plethora of media attention on prescription pain medicine abuse, addiction and death," said The National Pain Foundation chair, Daniel Bennett, MD. "The problem is that the vast majority of people who use pain medicine need those medicines, and they should not be treated any differently than someone fulfilling a prescription for an antibiotic or an antidepressant," Dr. Bennett added.

Nearly one in five respondents (17 per cent) said they were "treated poorly or very poorly" by their pharmacist.

Open comments from the survey included:
I'm left feeling like my pain is all in my head and am not taken seriously. Very frustrating!
I have been degraded, humiliated, called a drug addict, told I take enough meds to kill an elephant.
I have a wonderful team of doctors, but it took 10 years of being treated poorly before I was diagnosed.
Most treat me with suspicion and assume I'm a drug-seeking addict.
Sometimes I don't feel like they understand.
My doctor is more worried about the DEA, than about treating me.
Of all the doctors I've seen, only two heard me and understood. The rest assumed I was there for drugs.


The National Pain Foundation is conducting a series of surveys of people in pain to "give voice" to the 1.5 billion people who suffer in chronic pain globally. According to the U.S. Institutes of Medicine, 100 million American adults suffer in pain, costing $635 billion in medical treatment and lost productivity. Pain affects more people than cancer, diabetes and heart disease combined.

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