In this our first installment of Claudia Merandi’s “Don’t Punish Pain” podcasts, tune in, listen and you will understand why United Patients Group is honored to promote Claudia and her international crusade for the most marginalized individuals. These are patients who suffer with Chronic Pain and Intractable Pain and are now being targeted by our government using the fake opioid prescription crisis and misinterpretation of the 2016 CDC prescribing guidelines.
In her interview, Claudia and her guest Beverly ‘Bev’ Schekman discuss the pain associated with Crohn’s Disease, an autoimmune disorder which attacks the colon and other organs including the eyes with varying severity. Both Claudia and Bev had severe Crohn’s and spent years in the hospital battling this condition. For those of you who don’t have Crohn’s disease, imagine the most excruciating intestinal pain with all the associated intestinal symptoms as the body attacks itself. During the early period of their lives, the ladies were treated appropriately with opioid pain medication, often with Dilaudid (hydromorphone) which greatly helped their pain.
Unfortunately, Crohn’s Disease is merely one of the painful disorders which are falling prey to the actions of our government and medical community. Claudia first began her advocacy when she was accused of drug seeking while suffering from her chronic illness. When she found that obtaining relief with pain medication was getting harder despite her diagnosis, the Don’t Punish Pain Rally group was born. Bev found Claudia as she too had been denied life restoring pain medications for the same reasons. Unbelievably, Bev was in terrible distress and presented to the ER. While taking her history she revealed she had been sexually assaulted as a child. Subsequently, she was denied pain medication because of the assault. This was perhaps the most egregious action by the medical community she had ever experienced or had ever been reported to her. Bev became an advocate with Claudia.
In this podcast they discuss some of the misconceptions about the use of opioid therapy in the chronic pain and often rare disease world of medicine. In 2016 the CDC recommended that physicians not exceed 90 mme (morphine milligram equivalent) without regard to the patient’s disease, condition, appropriate use of medicine and severity of pain. Over the past 5 years, this recommendation has taken on a new life as a regulation and treated as law. As such physicians willing to write for chronic intractable pain, have been targeted by the DEA who enters the doctor’s offices, gun drawn, patients waiting and demanding records. Claudia and Bev discuss this travesty against opioid prescribing in long term pain and the targeting of doctors who do nothing wrong except prescribe appropriately for the treatment of their patients.
Watch and listen to the unbelievable. We’ve just begun!
Why Can’t I Get Help Managing My Pain? With Bev Schechtman
Claudia Merandi 0:02
Hey everybody, welcome to don’t punish pain with Claudia Marandi. As a person who has struggled with Crohn’s disease since I was a child. I knew I needed to interview my first guest of don’t punish pain meeting the United patients group family. I am truly happy to be a part of the United patients group family and I want to welcome to you my first guest, her name is Beverly schekman. She is from Raleigh, North Carolina. She is what we refer to as a pain warrior. Beverly, welcome to the show. Thank you. Thank you for having me. Happy to be here. Yes. And you know, Bellevue and I met we connected about four years ago, or maybe it was three and a half years ago. You know, I’m not good with times. And, you know, we met on a Social Media Group, a peer support group for people with Crohn’s disease. And I know the struggling that I’ve been through in my life with Crohn’s disease, and you were so kind to share with me your journey, and you’ve come a long way with your illness. Yeah. Yes. You know, you change your diet, which isn’t always effective for people with Crohn’s disease. But I shared what I’ve learned as a person with Crohn’s disease with you and you changed your diet, you implemented exercise you up to your water, you know, I’m a big fan of water. And how much weight Have you lost? 81 pounds. Oh, my gosh, that’s amazing. transformation in you is unbelievable. Sometimes when I sit here and I look at you, I’m so proud of you. Oh, thank you. And I’m so proud to be your friend. I know you were nervous about doing this podcast today. I know your dog has a bone and we hope he’s going to be quiet. We can’t help it because we’re in the middle of the pandemic. So I talked with you, I know you are on maintenance medication to manage or what kind of medication or you want to manage your krones.
Bev Schechtman 2:13
So I’m on a biologic. I’m on simmondsia and I’m on an immunosuppressant daily. In your in the biologic I take two shots every two weeks. And then periodically predators don’t want to have flare ups.
Claudia Merandi 2:28
Okay, and you’ve spent a good amount of time in the hospital with your illness.
Bev Schechtman 2:32
I did I did, especially before biologics really were used for Crohn’s I spent a lot when I first was was diagnosed, it was really just prednisone and IV steroids and back then pain control and nausea control. And then they finally found a good medication combination about I would say three years ago or so. Even when my Crohn’s was was controlled. I had severe joint pain and it took a really long time for them to actually step me through rheumatologist and diagnosed me with psoriatic arthritis. And when they gave me a higher dose of the biologic for psoriatic arthritis, that’s when I really started to see a lot of symptom relief,
Claudia Merandi 3:14
and you’re a mom to two teenagers. So and you’re a husband, you have a house to maintain. There’s a lot of challenges with after illness and your experience married my experience. I think we were both inpatient for about 10 years.
Bev Schechtman 3:30
Yeah, really monthly, sometimes twice a month, sometimes longer sometimes in for more than a month. Yeah, that’s a lot.
Claudia Merandi 3:36
And we’re not always greeted with compassion and empathy when we go to the emergency room. Because let’s face it, part of having Crohn’s disease is pain. It’s pain. It’s extreme fatigue, it’s weight loss, sometimes it’s weight gain, high fevers, there’s so much that comes along with our illness. And when I when I organized, the don’t punish pain, rally organization, I wanted to bring awareness to what was happening to people with pain and how we treated in the emergency room where you always treated with compassion with empathy.
Bev Schechtman 4:15
No, you know, it’s so interesting when I was in college and first diagnosed, it was never an issue, they just treated pain when when I was in the hospital, I never had to fit I didn’t know anything differently. And they even made a comment to me in the 90s saying, just be very grateful that this isn’t 10 years ago because in the 80s even people who were dying didn’t get pain medication, adequate pain medication because they were they were afraid they were gonna become addicted and I was like, That’s crazy. I’m so glad that I’m here we are all over again. And then I used to be treated with compassion. I mean the random doctor was rude one of the things that that really took me to the hospital more than anything else was kidney stones like I got chronic have chronic kidney stones, which is common with krones. Yeah Have passing kidney stones causing kidney infection, sepsis, all of that. And it was never an issue. And then just about when you started speaking out about it that I saw you on the krones pages maybe maybe five years ago, right around the same time as when I started having issues in the emergency room and in the hospital.
Claudia Merandi 5:19
Right. And when I started to hear the word drug seeker, yeah, I was appalled. Yeah. And I was number one emergency room doctor told me and my mom that I had, I always had an advocate with me, because I could see how it was shifting and how pain patients were being treated like people. Yeah, addiction. And but we do recognize that people with addiction need to be treated with compassion and empathy. But this country seems to hate to groups of people, people with pain, and attics the country, really.
Bev Schechtman 5:55
I mean, and I absolutely think that pain patients don’t realize that people with chronic illness, we don’t realize that the reason they’re treating us so horribly is because of this stigma of addiction. And it really just hate people with addiction. They hate them. They don’t understand them. They think they’re lowlifes they think it’s a character flaw, they think they’re gonna kind of like that reefer madness idea, they’re going to go, you know, murder you and steal everything you have to buy drugs, then it’s just a really unfortunate stigma that should not be there. But now they’re trying to remove it from addiction, which is lovely. But unfortunately, it’s being placed right on people with pain. And yeah, I don’t think a lot of us know how to deal with it. I think it caught us. It took us by surprise. And there’s not really a whole lot we could do about it. Because we can’t talk to our doctors, because anything we say is looked at as drug seeking no matter what we do. It’s always drug seeking. And you know, it used to be if you go to the hospital, and you have pain, and we can’t figure out what’s causing it, we might question you, and I get that I understand that. But now they don’t. You can have limbs falling off, and they’re still going to tell you you’re drug seeking. You know, it’s insane. My brother had a kidney stone for the first time his entire life. And they said to him, we need to make sure you’re not drug seeking. And it’s just everybody.
Claudia Merandi 7:08
And why do you think this is happening? Do you think the 2016 so in 2016, for the listeners, the CDC put out some guidance the same way the CDC is put out guidance for people to wear masks in the middle of the COVID of COVID, I should say. So the CDC published guidelines, right, they’re referred to as opioid prescribing guidelines. And these guidelines were intended if I’m not mistaken for primary care physicians, because there was a period of time when over prescribing was happening. I believe that was perhaps in the late 90s, contrary to what the fake news tells the public that prescribing was at the highest in 2016. And there is zero, there’s nothing scientific support. There’s no there’s no data supporting that. No. Do you think these 2016 CDC guidelines played a role in people not being able to access pain medication?
Bev Schechtman 8:09
Yeah, I think it’s a bunch of things. I think for sure. The false narrative is one thing saying that prescription drugs are leading this opioid crisis, because that’s false. But these CDC guidelines were based on very, very little evidence, as we know, they were done in a very shady manner. It wasn’t they weren’t transparent. It was very skewed the people, if you look at all the people on the workgroup, and all the people that were put there were already anti opioid zealots, for the most part, they didn’t have pain management doctors who could help us or support us. And they really disregarded any kind of concern that that groups had about what was happening. And so yeah, they were pushed through and they always say, oh, they’re only guidelines. You can’t blame us for that. But But laws were based on these guidelines. And doctors are getting in trouble based on these guidelines and algorithms are written with these guidelines written in so if you are a doctor and you prescribe over this arbitrary 90 mme limit, you’re gonna get flagged and so is the patient and it’s based on no scientific evidence, but they do call it evidence based, you know, and then they did they put out a clarification, oh, this is just a guideline. Don’t miss apply it.
Claudia Merandi 9:25
So listen, there had to be some controversy in order for the CDC and the FDA to do almost not a blackbox warning, but a press release went out and it and it just listen, don’t just don’t, you cannot abruptly cut these people off of their pain medication because there were reported suicides. Let’s talk about who helped write these CDC guidelines. I think they were paid. They were opioid consultants paid opioid consultants.
Bev Schechtman 9:55
I mean, Roger Chow was the one of the main writers he was already very involved. In other pain guidelines, he was out in Oregon and he always he already had a very strong anti opioid stance. And then if you look at some of the people on the workgroup, they were all proud members cross his physicians for Responsible opioid prescribing. And they were there. Their whole moat, their whole goal, their whole mission was to make it so that people couldn’t get pain medication. They promoted a false narrative on purpose. They formed in 2012, and said, Look, we’re over prescribing, and this is a problem. And yeah, and they were asked to look at these guidelines. And they were the ones on the workgroup. They were the scientific advisors, and they were pushed through with a mission. They had a goal in mind, which is really no opioids
Claudia Merandi 10:53
and pain. Really, it sounds like their mission is to punish people with pain. I want to talk about so these paid opioid consultants, they’re there. Andrew kolodny, with the organization Prop, Jane Ballantine and Olympia. Most of these people there. A lot of them are psychiatrist. Yeah, really. They didn’t want a whole lot of pain management doctors, the one pain management doctor that is on that group prop. I Jane Ballantine. She’s a paid opioid consultant. And yes, where I’m sitting, it looks like there’s a whole lot of people who are profiting they’re cashing in on that listed fentanyl overdosing epidemic. And I, for the people who are watching this, they’re probably you know, they’re thinking, well, opioids are so addictive. Why not? Why not try cannabis. But cannabis isn’t legal in your state.
Bev Schechtman 11:45
No, cannabis is not legal in my state. And even if it were, I wouldn’t be able to afford it. It’s not like it’s covered from insurance. I’d be happy to try it. I would love to try it for pain. I’m very fortunate right now in my illness. I do not need daily pain medication. But there was a time that I did. And I definitely felt like I was treated like a criminal at the pain management centers. But yes, these doctors, these doctors were already profiting. And it’s so interesting. Hold on one second. I’m so sorry.
Claudia Merandi 12:21
But I want to talk with you briefly. When you were struggling to find a pain management doctor, a doctor had the audacity to put you on a highly addictive medication that’s used to treat addiction. That medications called Suboxone?
Bev Schechtman 12:38
Yes, so I was back then it was probably I don’t know, 2012 ish, they were saying if you’re on short acting pain medication, and you take it all throughout the day, you need to switch to long acting. Now of course, they’ve gone against that and it’s even in the guidelines that that should have be but so they sent me to a pain management doctor because that’s how they were told to do it. Then before then it was just my gi doctors or primary care who was treating pain. And they put me on, you know, a long acting pain medication with a few breakthrough pain pills in case something, you know, there was a flare up. And it actually was pretty bad for me because I didn’t I never felt like I needed a long acting in my system all the time. I just needed it for when kidney stones were, were passing or when I had a severe flare up or my joints or some kind of acute issue. And I was left I think they gave me 10 breakthrough pills a month in anytime I had an issue I would have to call and beg, literally beg, that’s how it was. That’s what was in the contract. So there was one time where I had severe, like a severe abscess and you know with Crohn’s medicine, immunosuppressants you can get septic pretty quickly. You have to take care of these issues. So I went to the doctor to the dentist and he said look, you you have it an abscess, we need to we can’t do anything now put you on antibiotics, I want to put you on some pain medication and I said I I’m not allowed to take it. And he’s like, Well, here’s the problem. Because of Crohn’s you can’t take an NSAID like Advil and you’re going to end up in the hospital because this is excruciating, ly painful. And I said, Well, what am I supposed to do? I already called my doctor and he said, No, we can’t give you any more medication. Right. It sounds like you’re a parolee I was I felt exactly like that. It was atrocious. I felt like I had eyes on me at all times. But nothing I could do was right. And I was having to call him back literally calling back and and so the dentist said I will take care of this for you. I will call your pain management doctor. I’m giving you five pills. Take them Hmm. So that happened? Well, I don’t know if the dentist never called or I don’t know if the pain management doctor didn’t care. But the next visit he didn’t even come in it was his nurse practitioner which is what they they tend to do. And she said look, we’re not getting any more pain medication. How to print out you took five pills from this dentist You’re drug seeking your doctor shopping. And I explained to her what happened and she’s like, No, there’s nothing we could do. We’re stopping you from your medication. We’re dismissing you. And I said, Wait a second, I want to talk to the doctor because I can explain to you what happened. And she’s like, no. And I said, Well, I’m not leaving until you bring the doctor in here. So he came in good. The only thing that I’m going to do is any twist Suboxone doctor in our practice, he said, but this is what’s going to happen. I want him to do an assessment. And if he thinks that you have a, I don’t think back then they called it opioid use disorder. I think he called it addiction. If he if he thinks that you have signs of addiction, he will put you on Suboxone. If he doesn’t, you can come back to me and we’ll continue on your regimen. I was like fine, I wasn’t happy. But I was like, fine. My husband came with me to the doctor. We went there second I walked in that room. He was obnoxious, he was nasty. He was cruel. He mocked me. He made fun of me. He picked on me, he joked with me, it was very demeaning from the second I walked in there, gave me this huge list of questions. And then at the end, he said, You know what, you have some soft signs of addiction, which I couldn’t get him to explain what that actually means. Like he said, I you don’t qualify to have to be on Suboxone. You’re not you don’t have addiction. Go back to your doctor. I’ll let him know. Well, that night that night, like nine o’clock at night, that Suboxone doctor called me. He said, Look, the doctor changed his mind. He’s not willing to take you back. It’s either Suboxone or nothing. Oh my gosh. So at that point, I didn’t really know much about Suboxone. I didn’t know much about any of this. To tell you the truth, though. I was like, Okay, I mean, I’ll try it. He wrote me
Claudia Merandi 16:47
this. So for the viewers to Suboxone Do you take it orally? Is it a Is it a transdermal sublingual? What is it?
Bev Schechtman 16:55
Yeah, sublingual, the one that I had was like the little sublingual patch thing you put in your mouth and it and it. Yeah, it kind of melts in your mouth and you do it. I don’t remember twice a day three times a day you take get. But what they didn’t tell me is that the mme the strength of it is so incredibly high that I would not be able to get out of bed. I went from, you know, a lower mme, I don’t know what it was, but it was way lower to they put me on the strength of what they would give someone who was, you know, addicted to heroin, which is lovely, wonderful for them. But I was knocked out like I wasn’t, you know, I get up at five o’clock in the morning, I was sleeping until two o’clock in the afternoon, I was walking into walls. I was scared to drive. I was on it for four months. And I did call to complain. I called and no one would help me. I called a lawyer. No one would help me. And he did write a note that said, I’m treating her for pain, not for addiction in case I went to the emergency room. So they would treat me with kindness, which didn’t help at all. Because what we didn’t know back then is in order to get Suboxone covered, they have to give you an opioid use disorder diagnosis, which I did, because it’s very expensive. It’s expensive, and it’s not FDA approved for pain, right? So you have to say that you have opioid use disorder.
Claudia Merandi 18:14
And Bev, you could have managed your pain with a $3 script of hydrocodone.
Bev Schechtman 18:19
As its it, that’s all I need. And in fact, that’s, you know, that’s after I came off of it, that when I was able to find a decent doctor, that’s what happened and I you know, it was a lot better but for those four months, and not only did it make me walk into walls, and I’m not I don’t want anyone to think I’m saying anything bad about Suboxone, I think it’s an amazing drug. For people with addiction. I I’ve heard amazing stories about how it gives them life and it helps them and that’s, I love that. But I just for me for pain. It did help for pain. At first, it did help my joint pain and then it seemed to wear off around the three month mark for me. It just didn’t work as well. And I would ask him about it and he would laugh. He literally laughed in my face. He laughed. He’s like, You think I’m gonna help you? I’m not gonna help you. I’m not giving you anything.
Claudia Merandi 19:06
These are such cruel, he was horrible. And now we see this big push to take everybody off of FDA approved pain medication and put them on this hugely expensive medication Suboxone and history is repeating itself. We predict in 10 years 1% of the population will be addicted to Suboxone
Bev Schechtman 19:27
or Yeah, I mean it’s Suboxone not a very good It’s not an easy medication to come off of. For me it wasn’t and the other problem is with because I guess because it was so strong. We all know like narcotics have a slowing effect. Some people it could give them bowel issues, but with Crohn’s disease, it literally froze my colon. I ended up in the hospital for two weeks like it. It was it was really, really disturbing. And then when my next appointment with him and I said to him, this is not helping my pain. It’s making me feel drugged. Please switch me off. He dismissed me.
Claudia Merandi 20:02
Yeah. I’m so sorry that you’ve gone through this, you’re off of Suboxone thank goodness, once again, for a person who’s and a heroin user. Suboxone can really change your life. But Beverly was, you know, we got the short end of the stick with Crohn’s disease. So I want to talk with you about one particular hospital stay, you went to the emergency room, you’re admitted for kidney stones, and you are a survivor of traumatic abuse survivor. Yeah, and I know it’s taken you many years to talk about this publicly. And and we’re so proud of you for sharing your stories, because I believe this story is going to help change the landscape of opioid prescribing, you were greeted with a hateful, hateful doctor at a hospital in North Carolina, you called me crying your eyes out, they refuse to treat your pain associated with kidney stones, and you were probably having a Crohn’s flare at the same time because our disease does this. And this doctor refused to treat your pain. For what reason? Because I was a survivor of sexual abuse as a child. No. And that makes no sense to people. So we have to we just have to break this down.
Bev Schechtman 21:29
Yeah, so this is the first time I actually spoke to you. I didn’t know what to do. And I was treated horribly in the hospital, they again mocked me made fun of me and made me feel like I was crazy. Even though we had scans and tests and everything showed that I had kidney stones passing in the ureter, everything they needed to see, they did a talk screen before they even came in. They saw I had what I was supposed to have. And he it what the way he found out is because there’s a he looked at my prescription drug history, the pdmp. And he saw that I had gotten out of it in the past. And he wanted to know why. And I ignorantly answered him, because I didn’t know I didn’t know why he was asking me I didn’t know anything about the opioid risks or anything like that. So I answered them. And he said, because of that, you know, your childhood history, your brain chemistry has changed, you’re more likely to become addicted. And he did and agree to give me the oral medication. I was already taking it home in a little bit of a higher dose, but I was vomiting. Right, keep me down. Sure. Yeah. And he said to me, I promise you, if it doesn’t work, we will help you. And that didn’t happen. And then come to find out later, you know, it was put in my medical records that I was drug seeking malingering. They said I threatened suicide, which is not what happened, like a lot of really false information in my medical records. So yeah, I mean, I always tell people don’t tell anyone, if you if you are a survivor of sexual abuse, don’t have it in your medical record, just don’t because it can be used against you.
Claudia Merandi 23:11
This is appalling. It sounds like you were re victimized at this hospital.
Bev Schechtman 23:15
That’d be what it felt like, I felt like I was being punished for something that wasn’t my fault. And not only that, they were nasty about it. The way they spoke to me, was so disrespectful and rude. And it was at a teaching hospital with a bunch of other residents in there, teaching all the young doctors on how to be nasty to women. And this is when I looked into why this happened. This is why I started researching. And you know, it’s it’s just just been a ton of research since then to try to figure all of this out. Sure.
Claudia Merandi 23:44
So you’re today you are the lead researcher for an organization I know well punish pain, rally organization, and also the nonprofit the doctor patient forum. I happen to know who owns that. Watch this. They’re both mine. And I connected with Beverly and and this is so crazy, right? This is how, you know, I don’t know if people are watching this. If they believe in God, I believe in God and God put you in my path. And your research has enlightened not only 1000s and 1000s of patients, but doctors who are targeted because there are so many wonderful doctors who have to treat pain, but they’ve all been shut down by the feds. And this is why I’m doing this podcast don’t punish pain with Claudia to bring awareness to what’s happening to people like Beverly she was re victimized. She was born you know we’re born with this terrible disease, Crohn’s disease, we’ve got to worry about our children inheriting it will not have to be treated like drug seeking criminals at the emergency room. Now eventually your research would lead us to all All of the people who are profiting off of not only the narrative against opiates, but people like there’s an organization shatterproof, and their mission was to help remove the stigma from addiction, but it seems like all they’re doing is in an effort to heal their pain, like Gary Mendell, the founder of shatterproof his son took his life. But he decided, well let me capitalize off of my son’s suicide. And we’re going to create our mission to punish people with pain, so they can never receive pain medication. And we’re seeing a lot of this, these profiteers. Everybody wants to gret to jump on that opioid gravy train, and your research is the driving force behind us able to get legislation to be able to advocate for ourselves, and you had a difficult time at first advocating for yourself.
Bev Schechtman 25:56
I Yeah, I did. And that, you know, thankfully, I haven’t had to go to the hospital for it’s been over two years. Now. I don’t know what’s gonna happen the next time. I’m actually terrified. I don’t know if I’ll be able to speak up. I do know, I feel like I found my voice a little bit. I think, you know, when we kind of regrouped about two years ago and said, we need to, you know, stop what we’re doing. It’s not helping, and we need to try to figure out why this is happening. And so we kind of went back to the beginning. And yeah, it really is. I’m not saying like Gary Mendell, or I’m not saying that these people was their goal from the start. I don’t know, I don’t know if they started off wanting to help and ended up seeing dollar signs. But all I know is these people who keep claiming that we’re all industry funded, which is what they tell anyone who advocates for a pain patient, they say they’re industry funded, they take many money from pharma, which mostly isn’t true, but doctors do take money from pharma all the time. In fact, their group takes a lot of money from pharma, including opioid makers like buprenorphine. So I’m not fully sure as to why they keep saying not except just to take the focus off of themselves. But they’ve made like, they make a lot of money in opioid litigation. And we’ve spoken about this before, I really do believe the main goal of those 2016 guidelines was to go after the bigger fish like Purdue and you’re seeing that happen as we speak. And they make a lot like edgy cloggy made five or $2,000 last year as an expert witness for Johnson and Johnson. So yeah, these people are making a lot of money off of punishing us and pretending to help addiction, which they’re not
Claudia Merandi 27:30
actually helping her. And now we’re seeing people with people on hospice, palliative care, people are having amputations, nobody is able to receive pain medication. And we can’t live in a civilized society without FDA approved pain medication. But these sociopath, they are they’re actually, you know, the sociopath paid opioid consultants. They’re actually trying to convince people to quote bubut away, prescribe Suboxone for stop for acute pain, which would just be a nightmare. Now, with all of the safety measures put in place, you’ve got Lynn Webster’s opioid risk tool, which was basically created just to punish women, right? Because men don’t seem to be affected by the opioid risk tool. And then, you know, that way, yeah. So then we have the pdmp, which, that is where when you go to the pharmacy, a technician or the pharmacist puts into your electronic health records or something like that,
Bev Schechtman 28:35
you know, it’s a database where they enter any controlled substances. So you could see if you if if a doctor’s prescribed it, they say they developed it for pharmacy to protect doctor shopping, prevent doctor shopping, but I actually think I actually think they did it to go after doctors considering it was funded by the DOJ. It seems like that’s probably what’s the
Claudia Merandi 28:55
Wow, how this is. So this is really crazy. We understand this topic, as well, because it’s what we focused on. So with all of the safety measures put in place, I would imagine overdoses are way down.
Bev Schechtman 29:13
They should be right. You think since you know most people dying and overdosing, were those getting legitimate prescriptions from their doctors you think it would have done
Claudia Merandi 29:21
are they not? Because I would imagine so open prescribe has been reduced by 47%. It’s the lowest it’s been in 20 years. overdoses related to illicit fentanyl are up by 1,042%. Not fentanyl hospital, not the fentanyl that surgeons use. But there are but illicit fentanyl shipped in from China, from Mexico. So can I get the word out to desperate people, please never take a pill off the street ever. That’s right. But with all of these safety measures, the overdoses are this high. The prescribing is down this low and we have a whole lot of suffering. So look, you were so grateful for your advocacy, you are a true warrior. You have been re victimized victimized re victimized by the system and we are going to change that with legislation eventually it’s taken. It’s taken us a long time. But we have legislation in Rhode Island. Hopefully the governor signs that we have legislation in Oklahoma, New Hampshire preventing people with these are legitimate. People with legitimate issues, cancer, sickle cell, we’ve
got it. Yes.
suffering. One last question, I have to ask all of my guess, where do you find your strength?
Bev Schechtman 30:40
God for the most part, I mean, that’s I have a very, very strong faith in God. And we’ve spoken about that. Without that I. I don’t know. I don’t think I would have been able to survive any of this. And then my family and friends. It really sounds cliche, but your dog Griffin. And he is really like he is like a like a little emotional support dog. I just wanted to add one more thing, Claudia that I think is really important to say that, that I neglected to say before, is in this push for, you know, basically vilifying pain patients, they have this new thing where there’s they’re basically trying to say that chronic pain is a mental illness and that it’s it’s caused by mental illness. And so they wanted to treat it with mental math, like psych psychiatric drugs. And so I just want Yeah, I want to warn people about that. Because just be very careful. If you’re struggling with depression or anxiety, absolutely, if you need help talk to your doctor. But if you’re going and you have a chronic illness, and you’re kind of struggling with being sad, don’t tell them because they’re going to take your pain medication away, and they’re going to say that your pain is only because you’re sad, and they’re gonna they’re gonna make you feel like it’s your fault. And then
Claudia Merandi 31:52
you can’t wait. We can’t be honest with our doctors. So people with mental illness and chronic pain, they have a double whammy. Yes. And we know people have been forced to choose between their, their their anxiety medication or their pain medication. Yes.
you are wonderful. Thank you so much for taking time out of your day your dog has been very well behaved. You will continue to fight the good fight and visit you can follow Beverley work on Twitter. How can people follow you on Twitter? Um,
Bev Schechtman 32:28
well My name is that you could look up my name or you could look up IBD girl 76 IBD girl 76 and you’re also on Facebook. I am on Facebook. Bev schechtman. You can follow me there. And yeah, if you need anything, if you need an advocate or just some information, feel free to reach out to us. And you know,
Claudia Merandi 32:45
hey, thanks so much for joining us. Tune in for the next episode of don’t punish pain with Claudia. We are here to enlighten you on what’s really happening in the country. When taken as prescribed and stored correctly. FDA approved opioids remain to be safe and effective to treat both acute and chronic pain. We are here to debunk the just science that this country has been fed with. Have a great day, everybody. Thank you. Thanks for having me.