Poor people and their pain

Theres one thing that i’ve noticed about most of the patients that I deal with on a daily basis.
The amount of pain you are in is inversely proportional to your income.
Now you may be asking “Hey! Thats a pretty fuck up thing to say!”, but can you prove me wrong? Sure you can bring up examples of rock-stars and heroin use; and Rush Limbaugh and oxycontin, but this pales to the amount of vicodin, soma and valium that I dish out to people who are on the state program.
So what makes these people have so much pain? I half way feel sorry for them. I mean what could they possibly do to be in such excruciating pain that it requires 120 vicodin every 15 days?
Its not just pain, its muscle spasms as well! I go through gallons of soma a month. In fact, their muscle spasms are so specific, that only generic Soma made by Watson will work (You know, the ones with DAN inprinted on the tablet). In fact, it seems that any hydrocodone made by Watson Labs does a superior job at controlling the pain than any other manufacturer! Of course we cant leave out Tylenol #3’s (that must have the 3’s on the tablet), or Generic Valium (that have the 10 on the tablet). Tablet markings equal more potency, everyone knows that. Surprisingly, I had a patient ask me if these were the vicodin that had “Watson 349” on them (I think). I look, and sure as shit they knew the NDC number of Vicodin and Vicodin ES.
Now I have two blown out knees due to high-impact sports in my younger days. I need a motrin at most when the weather gets bad and my knees ache (this is beside the point that I spend 9 hours on my feet, 5 days a week). When I walk they creak more than an old ship. Do I need vicodin? No. Do I need soma? No. Valium? No. Have I ever taken Vicodin? Once when I had my wisdom teeth pulled, and I took 1 to get me through the night.
Why on earth would someone take 3 vicodin, 3 soma, and 3 valium a day? We all know the type: come in with that nice glazed over look in their eyes, dont respond properly to conversation or questions. Its like talking with a brainstem.. The highlight of their whole month is when they can come and pick up their dope–er–medication a month.
So what do we do? We have to sit there and grin and bear it fully aware that they are selling the shit, but we have zero proof to actually do anything about it. Humanity makes me sad.

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38 Comments

  1. rebecca says:

    come on, now! we all know that they can’t be selling ALL of it. look into their pupils…they are ingesting at least half!

  2. Pharmacy Tech gone postal says:

    We have a doctor who fills AHCCCS (Arizonas version of medicaid) pain meds only on the 1st of the month. Its a nightmare. They are waiting at the door when we open, like theres little fairies in there filling the hydrocodone, MSIR, MS contin, oxycontin, etc, all night. They twitch and pace and glare at you from the other side of the counter when you tell them it’ll be a while. I’m not sure whos gonna snap first, them or me? I’m thinkin’ its me.

  3. I’ve seen the same trend. When I admit patients to the hospital, I ask what medications they take for pain. The patient that comes to the hospital with their Gucci luggage takes all kinds of expensive stuff. The patient that come to the hospital with a few clothes in a plastic garbage bag takes ASA or Motrin. It’s very discouraging.
    MJ

  4. sheila says:

    this is sooo true!

  5. hillspills says:

    Hi AngryPharm, a buddy of mine just turned me on to your site. Last time I worked retail was over 10 years ago. I love this blog, it totally reminds me why i couldnt do it any more.

  6. kathy says:

    I have to comment that I have a congenital problem called Chiari Malformation, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome in addition to other back “issues”
    I had a poster fossa decompression, extraction fusion c1-4 and it CAUSES pain. I didn’t ask for it, I was born with it.
    Get off your high horse and realize that not all that walk to your pharmacy counter are druggies, non-educated hicks.
    I didn’t ask for this to happen, it did.
    The biggest cause of homelessness, poor people IS illness.
    I would LOVE to work again. I keep trying.
    Walk a mile in my shoes. And perhaps think about a different career path is this job is so disturbing to you.
    JMHO

  7. Steve says:

    Apparently you have came across neuropathy .. did you ever think that many/most of these people on all these meds & caid was because their pain has developed to such an intensity that they can no longer work and end up on Medicare disability and Medicaid.
    Those people are standing at your front door mostly likely because their doc is under-dosing them and they are either out and/or going into or suffering from withdrawal & pain .. not from ADDICTION but DEPENDENCY..
    The quack doc my mother-in-laws goes to just told her not to call her pain meds refills in UNTIL she takes the LAST PILL.. as we all know .. docs don’t take refills on nights & weekends
    It would be nice .. if everyone was on the same page

  8. Holly says:

    I refer to this as “Junkie Friday” – my retail store is in a lower income part of town and we do ALOT of medicaid scripts and most of these people are pretty incoherent for a good part of the week until Friday rolls around and they wake up at about noon and realize OMG, my doctor will be closed all weekend, I need my Vicodin/Clonazepam/Xanax/Adipex/Oxycontin/Lorcet/Soma/Percocet/Flexeril/Valium (mix and match any 3 from the list) NOW!!! We’ll just get rushes of this all day long on Fridays – it’s disgusting!

  9. Adam says:

    Just read about opiate induced hypersensitivity – long term opiate use creates a paradoxical increase in pain perception. I guess that’s why only the ABG oxycontins work for people!

  10. tmc says:

    this blog is awesome. its like i can share my everyday work experiences with people i dont even know that feel the same way! I used to work in phoenix,az and i have def. seen my share of azcchss (sp?)hoodrats (and also some but FEW ligitimates). I dont see QUITE as much abuse in the system in Seattle now but i know its everywhere. As said by a few others, I can empathize with patients that are in TRUE chronic pain..thats what these pain meds are intended for, not the crackheads!

  11. eric says:

    Same goes for the pink darvocet and the speckled lortab.

  12. Lupuschick says:

    I am a chronic pain patient (and yes I do use Schedule 2’s & 3’s every day for chronic pain) but I have to say I can totally see where you guys are coming from. When I was first prescribed my meds, I was definately guilty of the acts you all are speaking of. I do need my pain meds on a regular basis, but there are ways of making sure that I don’t run out and end up causing the pharmacy hell trying to get it! If your script is refillable, call ahead and give a day or two notice. If it’s a script you must pick up, plan ahead so you have enough to drop off the script and come back later! It’s hard at first to plan this way, but after experience it becomes second hand, and my pharmacist never seems frustrated with me at all. In fact on one occasion they gave me 6 hydrocodone 10/325’s to get me through until my doc was able to get back to them. Comply with the rules, acknowledge that your pharm techs and pharmacists are human beings with other shit going on in their lives and you will be treated like a human being as well. Disrespect them and you will be treated like an addict, and probably rightly so! Thanks angry pharm, you really give me insight as to what you guys go through each and every day. I respect my pharm techs and pharmacists immensely and that respect grows each and every time I read your blog. There are bad patients, docs and pharm’s out there but I like to believe that we are all basically good, we just need to know what is expected out of us.

  13. rich says:

    i found this site after doing a google search for pharmasist who treat customers like crap after they find out the customer is filling a presript. for methadone. i have a spinal injury and after three operations i’ve been told there is no more operations, and now its time for pain management for the rest of my life, i’m 41 years old. since the time i’ve started this medication, every time it is time for a refill i get myself prepared for the stares and obvious looks of disgust from you and your brother and sister pharmisists. i’ve even had the unfortunate incident where i was shorted 5 pills and was called basically everything but a liar by the phamasist who counted it after it was filled. i wish i never counted it to begin with but when i got home i saw the bottle top was cross threaded and for some reason i thought to count it, i really wish i didnt. i hope i can find a pharmasist in my area who is not judgmental like i found most of you to be. all i can say is i hope you are in the same circumstance i am in some day, the pain and then the humiliation.

  14. rich says:

    i found this site after doing a google search for pharmasist who treat customers like crap after they find out the customer is filling a presript. for methadone. i have a spinal injury and after three operations i’ve been told there is no more operations, and now its time for pain management for the rest of my life, i’m 41 years old. since the time i’ve started this medication, every time it is time for a refill i get myself prepared for the stares and obvious looks of disgust from you and your brother and sister pharmisists. i’ve even had the unfortunate incident where i was shorted 5 pills and was called basically everything but a liar by the phamasist who counted it after it was filled. i wish i never counted it to begin with but when i got home i saw the bottle top was cross threaded and for some reason i thought to count it, i really wish i didnt. i hope i can find a pharmasist in my area who is not judgmental like i found most of you to be. all i can say is i hope you are in the same circumstance i am in some day, the pain and then the humiliation.

  15. Will says:

    For those of you who have reacted to the harshness of his comments, there are exceptions to every rule. Sure we know there are people out there who are legitimately in pain… however we also see those people who walk into the pharmacy with 4 scripts. They want the Antibiotics on hold because they don’t need them, and all the controlled meds have to be filled. They’re even wanting some to be filled as cash instead of on Medicaid because Medicaid rejected the claim saying they just had 120 filled 3 days ago. Where the heck did those go? Oh right, they all fell down the sink… or were eaten by the dog… or dropped in the toilet… or whatever excuse they use.
    It’s also fun to see patients complain to their doc that Lortab 10’s are way too strong and they need 7.5s. Then the very next month they are getting both strengths filled again. What happened to them being too strong? I have to say I love this website.

  16. Martin Beimer says:

    Wow !!!! The rumors are true: Pharmacist is Greek for PRICK!!!! As you age sunshine, may your knees ache so much your forced to crawl the gutters of your city looking for cheap smack to kill not only the pain, but hopefully some day you .

  17. LV says:

    Hey… I’m poor now since I lost my business and home due to this peripheral neuropathy! But I don’t get any aid… is that why I only get 60 pills a month?
    Where are these clients of yours.. maybe they’ll sell their stash to someone in real need!
    Lighten up… not all people who are in pain are drug addicts. Someone has to write these scripts.. right?
    If it’s just everyone who doesn’t make as much money as you do or not in as good health or who’s had a hardship, then put me on your hate list. It’s not a very charitable thought but it’s not for me to judge.
    Personally, having been through and still dealing with how an illness ravishes one’s finances, and just flat out screws up one’s life.. dealing with everyone that wants a piece of me since all I could do was pay people to dump my entire store instead of sell cause I just couldn’t use my freakin’ legs anymore, what the pharmacist thinks is completely irrelevant….. I have much bigger fish to fry.
    As long as there is a supply and demand, as long as there are doctors who overwrite rx’s and underdose people in pain and of course the people who just want to get high, this situation will continue.
    Have you ever thought about a different line of work? I know of a pharmacist that makes 90k working 3 days a week packaging pills for a nursing home. No contact, no bother… wouldn’t that make you happier?
    Just one more thing… please indulge me. Didn’t you suspect you’d come across this in your “chosen” profession?
    Be Blessed!

  18. Christopher Allen says:

    I am one of the few who wishes they didn’t have to take the pain medications. If I could have one pain free year to do all the stuff I wanted to do I would give up the rest of my life. I was a nursing student until me an my first wife split up. Then I had to pay child support so I left school and started trucking. After gaining a hundred pounds sitting behind the wheel and eating truck stop food I blew my back out. Looking back I now see that that was the point at which my life went to crap. I was the prom king, had the hottest girl in school, now I fight to get through everyday, and wear Wal-Mart clothes.
    I am pushing to become a doctor so I can give back to the people who have given me so much, the churches. Members who could barely feed themselves donated money so I could live in a run down hotel in the slums. I am now on Social Security, and other government assistance, live in a nice seniors complex even though I am only 32. At least it’s quite.
    I tried to kill myself 2 years ago because I was so embarrassed at what my life had become. I can also have no more operations and I am on pain management until some medical advancement can repair the nerve damage.
    Neuropathy is my main problem. I cannot step down on anything rough. Concrete, asphalt, it feels like I am stepping on needles. I understand what you are saying, however there are those of us who DO NOT run out of our medications, are not waiting at the door at 6am, do not call early for refills, and don’t “lose” them.
    Don’t judge all of us because of the rest.

  19. Kevin Yates says:

    I know many people take advantage of narcotics and doctors that prescribe them. I have been in 2 auto accidents. Hit from behind at a dead stop both times. I have been through 14 operations, my bottom 5 discs are rubbing bone on bone, C4-C7 in my neck are fused and 2 discs on each side of that fusion are now bad. They want to operate on my lower back again but I am sacred because it never works. My right wrist has had 5 operations that resulted in a full fusion. I also have 2 tears on my left rotator cuff. I only have half of a colon and also have 7 more bulging discs. Both of me knees have been operated on. I was offered social security but turned it down because I wanted to work. I am in such extreme pain all of the time sometimes I cannot imagine why I go on. I am a white color executive and suffer silently every day. One of the worst things I deal with is the embarrassment of having to go to the pharmacy every month to get my prescription filled every month. I feel like a drug addict. I currently take Celebrex, Valium, Methadone and Vicoden. I have tried many different drugs but nothing really works. I always bring in my prescriptions a couple of days early. I only take what is prescribed and never change anything without talking to my doctor first. Do any of you out there know what it is like to wait for a doctor and have them look at your X-rays in the other room and when they think you cannot hear and you can hear them they say “O My God” because they cannot believe how messed up you are. All I am trying to say is pharmacists need to think some people have legitimate reason for prescriptions and it is very embarrassing to have to deal with this. I am a human and should be treated with respect. If there are any questions they should call and talk to my doctor.

  20. Fergie says:

    Hi. I don’t know how I came across this website but I am so glad I did. I thought I was the only one dealing with rude pharmacists that make you feel like a drug addict. I know pharmacists have heard all kinds of stories to fill vicodin (or what ever) early but I swear to god this happened to me last month. I filled my script of 120 10/500 Hydrocodone. I have benn taking them for 13 years because the right side of my face is plastic from a car accident. If I don’t take them my face hurts so bad and my cheek and eye swell up horribly. I am not addicted to the meds but I am dependent on them. If I run out early because I took too many some days, I become deathly ill from withdrawals. Anyway…I put my brand new script on the window sill in my kitchen above ny sink. When I went to the kitchen to take some, low and behold the bottle was floating in the dish water!!!My cat must have knocked them in. OMG I dont think I have ever felt a worse feeling come over me in my life!!! I felt like someone just died!! I called the pharmacy and told them but they didn’t believe me. They told me to call the doctor and get a new script written but then they said I wouldn’t be able to fill it anyway cuz the insurance would never pay for it. I never thought to pay cash…so stupid. But the doctor laughed at me anyway and would NOT write another script. I even told both of them I would bring the bottle of soaked pills to prove it but it didnt matter. So I had to purchase 120 dros off the street that month at $4.00 a pill!! SO obviously that hurt and I couldn’t pay my rent or electric bills. I am still playing catch up!! That was a horrible experience..Not to mention I am treated like total crap every time I fill now cuz they think I am a liar….I know they all talk about me and laugh at me. It is humiliating. Then another time I had a refill on my hydro’s and called it in 4 days early to the pharmacy. When I went to pick them up the (woman) pharmacist told me I couldn’t have them for 4 more days..She refused to fill them early even though by law I can refill up to 7 days early. I argued with her and she asked me why I ran out. I told her I have a plastic face and there were a couple days that month where I had to work double shifts at my job and had to take extra to get through it. So she had the nerve to call my doctor and tell him I was taking more than prescribed and trying to fill early!!! I never wanted to jump over the counter and punch someone so badly in my life!! Anyway, my doctor was mean to her and told her to do her job and mind her business. and fill the damn things today!!!~ hahahaha thanks DOC

  21. sugarveins says:

    I have Mortons Neuroma and can’t FIND anyone to give me anything for the pain….I stand on my feet 8 hours a day and then come home and chase a 6 year old and a 1 and a half year old and almost cry with pain. On top of that I take Valium for anxiety (I TAKE THE VALIUM, I DO NOT SELL IT), for when my foot is killing me and my kids make me want to yank my hair out…..so it’s not everyone doing the same thing. Just some people.

  22. anonymously yours says:

    I just wanted to add a comment to the pharmacist.
    You are a Royal Jerk and If you had to deal with the kind of pain I deal with on the daily then you would be filling your pain pills too! Oh your poor knees, My jaw and head feels like it is going to explode from my TMJD and migraines and when that is not the issue I have severe pelvic pain from Endometriosis and ovarian cyst.Am I a liar and faking it too? I wonder if you know how it feels to be in pain,severe pain day in and day out and still not get any help!

  23. jube says:

    i think it is funny how some pharmacists think they are doctors. it’s obvious they want to be doctors but aren’t smart enough to pass the schooling. so there they sit behind the counter like a king in their litle CVS kingdom. it’s the only place in the world where they have power, like some crappy mall security gaurd. if my doctor says it is ok to fill my script of xanax 3 or 4 days early then do your job and fill it.next time your fat ass walks into burger king i hope the counter person won’t super size your order because you are a fat bastard.

    • Sarah says:

      hahahahahaha. this is one of the funniest things I have ever seen. Pharmacy is very different from MD school, and just a difficult. Pharmacists study different things that doctors and know more about drugs than your doctor does. That’s why they exist, you dumbass.
      Love,

      Your favorite PharmTech<3

      • daniel tyler says:

        Medical Doctors have to attend stuff and keep updated when new things come about. Do pharmacists do the same? How often do you update your knowledge on things? There are a great deal of people with chronic pain due to accidents mixed with a poor lifestyle. Basically many older people have bodies that are breaking down. Tolerance develops with any medication.

        • daniel tyler says:

          and by the way, you are aware that brand names are important, even for people who really need the medication. Cheap generic brands are put together differently and your body doesn’t absorb it the same way. It is the same way with vitamins, you can go to a chain grocery store, like the one that starts with wal and get cheap vitamins, but your body doesn’t absorb them the same way, so what good does it do? Unfortunately many of us in chronic pain are written off and have to with generics unless the company gets a new patent, like ambien xr, which basically does nothing special compared to instant release. Many doctors fail to tell you that the drugs they are prescribing you will cause addiction! Even SSRI’s cause bad withdrawals. Then if you want to get off pain medication they switch you to suboxone which is brand name only and cost like 400 bucks for 30 and refuse to prescribe generic subutex, even though its been proven that the nalaxone in Suboxone is useless because it binds to the receptors in your brain so much stronger no matter how you take it which is why doctors are afraid to prescribe buprenorphine and drugs like xanax together because if you overdose, not even narcan will reverse the effects because buprenorphine binds to the receptors so strongly. However it does little for pain and actually raises your tolerance even higher than when you were on medications such as oxycodone and trying to get off them is hell and lasts over a month and if you try to go back to your old pain killing dose, it doesn’t work!

    • CantStandIdiots says:

      Okay Jube . To become a Pharmacist requires at least 6 years of school and there is a Doctor of Pharmacy degree so yes they are Doctors but not Medical Doctors. Of course you didn’t know that since you sound like a high school drop out drug addict and a hater because you couldn’t get your high

  24. mutuelle says:

    hi,that’s really cool and interesting the subject.Infact i totally agrre with the writer.Keep it up.

  25. Ryan says:

    Why do pharmacists need a degree any way? The only things they need to know how to do is read and count. Don’t lie people all your chemistry and biology courses do nothing for you. A fast food worker has the same skill set as a modern pharmacist.

  26. Kim says:

    YOU ARE A COMPLETE MORON and it’s time to change professions to something that deals with nothing but inatimate objects! GOOD RIDDENS
    to a non caring pharmacist and I can’t WAIT until Medicare is up your ass to deal with for yourself!

  27. bcmigal says:

    To Kim..please get a dictionary or spell checker.

  28. defender of good says:

    I thought pharmacist weren’t supposed to be biased. As we all know people feel pain differently. I wouldn’t wish the pain I feel on my worst enemy. I agree there are people that abuse the system. But you can’t assume everyone is abusing the system. Sounds like you need to go back to school. Because this website is a violation of patient confidentiality.
    Maybe you can switch careers. preferably somewhere you can gossip and have no compassion.

  29. Anon says:

    So let me ask you, what about people like my aunt? She has MS, a stack of pallets fell on her at work, she had to have two back surgeries one to put rods in and another to take them out when they didn’t work. Her pain is constant, most days she can’t even get out of bed. As her care taker I see this every day, she doesn’t take more than prescribed, never tried to get her prescriptions early. Is she a bad person? Does her disease make her bad?? No, it doesn’t and you are wrong for suggesting it. Not everyone who takes this amount of pills is bad, shame on you for suggesting it.

  30. itsme says:

    I understand your irritation with your job. Everyone has things about their jobs that drive them nuts.

    Truly it’s a fact that certain medication is over prescribed. It is over prescribed by people with a lot more education than the people you wrote about. You also have a lot more education than the people you wrote about. Of course anyone who sells their medication is clearly wrong. If they take the medication that was legally prescribed to them by the highly educated doctor and you, then who is wrong?. I understand that some people (used) to doctor shop and that is wrong.

    I don’t want to say what my problem is but it is a valid illness. I went for four days without sleeping. Before that i was sleeping on avg. of two hours a day. After about six months of that I went to a doctor (after a month wait). Doc prescribed me 30 sleeping pills. Told me to try one but if it didn’t work take two. Took one and waited three hours and took the second. Ten hours of laying in the bed I called her back. She said take three. So I did and it worked. That was 5 pills gone. Next day I took 2 and it worked but next day it didn’t so took 3, etc, etc. Today I was out. I thought I had 30. The bottle had only been half filled by the pharm. I called pharm they said since the script said one a day they couldn’t help me. I said the doc told me to take three and besides you only gave me half the script. They said come back when 15 days is up.

    Of course I could be making this up but im not. I am insulin dependent and buy it there every month. It really irritates me that I spent hundreds of dollars on docs. Spend who knows how much on insulin at that store. I wasn’t raised in the best part of town. If I wanted these lousy pills and didn’t care how I got them I could have saved a ton of money buying something off the street. They are so weak it takes three to get me to sleep. They are not something most people would have heard of. Seriously doubt most drug dealers would have heard of them. But my guess is they might sell for a dollar each if one could hunt them down. So why treat me like a dope head? They could have at least gave me the 15 they shorted me, don’t you think?

    Last thing (maybe)… you do know you put money in your pocket that comes from these people? I’d say if you are so sure they are selling and or abusing the medication that puts blood on your hands too. I personally think that doctors who prescribe without cause, knowing the drug will be abused should be put in prison (at least). If I were you I wouldn’t go around telling everyone that you supply drug dealers and make a joke out of it. You should be ashamed of it. This big education some of the comm enters brag about should have taught you not to supply drug dealers and addicts. Of course you could cop-out and say it’s how it works, etc. I am willing to bet a dime to a dollar that your schooling told you not to do that. You are as free as the rest of us to change jobs but of course you might have to give up some of your “drug” money.

    Future readers feel free to say my post is the funniest one. That way you will confirm that you think the lives of people who are hopelessly addicted to the “medication” you push is meaningless to you. In the world of drug abuse you are currently the biggest kingpin of them all. Sure, that’s real funny.

  31. Rachel says:

    Wow what an arrogant, judgmental, asshole. True there may be some who abuse the system, but everyones bodies, medical conditions, and situations are different. There are plenty of those who truly need that pain management through certain meds to even get out of bed. I know because I’m one of them. I have never been a ‘druggy’. I never grew up smoking weed and have barely touched alcohol, let alone any other variety of street drug. Then I was in back to back auto accidents, neither my fault, and it completely changed my life at the young age of 23. I was going to college full time, working full time, traveling around the world on humanitarian missions, adventuring (rock climbing, repelling, etc) and living a very happy and full life. Then BAM. Everything changes. I lost everything, and everyone. And YES, because of all this, I even lost my business and ability to gain meaningful employment which is horribly disheartening. Id LOVE to go out and have a normal life, work, and social, and have enough money to enjoy life. Yet I have lived with chronic, severe pain every day for over a decade now, and I lost A LOT of that time because I couldn’t even get any type of pain pill till I reached a certain age because they said I was “too young” to be in that kind of pain. As if i chose this? It nearly ruined my life. NOW, I get a minimum of pain meds and use them wisely. My quality of life has much improved since I am no longer bed ridden. I’m slow moving but the pain meds get me walking again. So FU. You don’t know.

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