Why isn’t my pain valid?

More and more the “War On Drugs” is punishing legitimate patients suffering from debilitating illnesses and labeling their real physical pain as “addiction”. The doctors who try to treat these patients are mired in bureaucracy and roadblocks set up by special interests and profiteers.

It’s a legal roller coaster where pain sufferers and their doctors are lumped into the same category as drug addicts and medical quacks. The result: INNOCENT PEOPLE ARE TREATED LIKE CRIMINALS.

And who is profiting from this? Check out this episode and see what Claudia has uncovered with her guest, doctor and attorney Dan Laird.

Why isn’t my pain valid?

Because my doctor is afraid to prescribe due to government interference. So how do we remove this roadblock? By getting legislation in all 50 states. If this issue affects you, let Claudia know in the comments below. If you want to get involved visit her at thedoctorpatientforum.com.


Why Isn’t My Pain Valid? With Dr. Dan Laird

Claudia Merandi  0:01

Hey, everybody, welcome to don’t punish pain with Claudia. As you folks know, I have lived with Crohn’s disease for many years. And when I’m in pain, I need pain medication. And it shouldn’t have to be a war. Every time somebody needs access to pain medication. The the insanity continues in our country. But I’m so happy to introduce you folks at United patients crew don’t punish pain to a wonderful doctor caring, compassionate. Welcome to the show, Dr. Dan Laird Hi, Claudia.


Dr. Dan Laird  1:31

Thanks so much. I’m very happy to be here. And Dan, I adore talking with you. I always have to share this story. Because two years ago, when I first interview you, I mentioned to my mom who’s 85 that you’re a doctor, and in your you’re an attorney, and she said, Oh, his mom must be so proud. And that story. I never thought about that. So we are very proud of you. And the pink community is really fortunate to have you, Dan, because I see you on social media. I you know, we follow each other on Twitter, you can follow Dr. Laird on Twitter, folks, just so you know. And you continue to fight for your patience. And thank you, Dan, you’re a pain management physician based out of Las Vegas, correct? Yes, yes. And you also practice law, I believe in the same building where you practice medicine.

That’s true. Yes. And more and more my so much malpractice. Nowadays, there’s a component of pain management in it. I’m surprised that that’s occurred. My legal specialty is medical malpractice. And plus i do some other industrial accidents and other types of wrongful death cases. But a lot of them have a component of pain management. And the most common thing that I’m seeing now that this war on opioids has gone so overboard, what I’m seeing is that there are cases related to the discounting of pain, like suddenly, pain is no longer considered a valid complaint. And pain is actually one of the most important signs or symptoms that a doctor looks at to consider what’s what’s going on with the patient what the diagnosis is, you know,


Claudia Merandi  2:29

Dan, I’m receiving more requests to advocate for people with sickle cell and cancer than I ever have before. And I shared with you a link that one of my researchers sent me and it’s about a woman who lives in New Hampshire, stage four cancer, three failed back surgeries. And when she had a conversation with her palliative care doctor that she didn’t see an improvement with the fentanyl patch. This doctor went right to more you’re probably an addict. Here’s a script for Suboxone. This is madness.


Dr. Dan Laird  3:06

It is madness. I mean, there is no reason that people in severe acute pain shouldn’t have their pain relieved, particularly with regard to cancer. patients with cancer, metastatic cancer in stage terminal cancer, there’s just no reason there’s no moral reason what’s happening is these people who approach the opioid crisis with their religious views instead of their scientific views. And I don’t mean religious in a like a Christian or Jewish or Islamic way What I mean is they don’t pay attention to science they go on their feelings and they’re they have this almost irrational belief and and simplistic belief that all opioid bad all over you and bad, like the robots who just don’t think about what they’re doing. It’s just crazy.


Claudia Merandi  4:05

Yeah. And you know, when doctors contact me because I advocate for doctors who have been shut down by the DEA by the FBI, and there are some doctors who are still the doctor, they’re probably not doing everything exactly right. But these doctors are low hanging fruit for the feds. And when a doctor and you know, there’s good doctors, Dan, and there’s not so great doctors out there. And the same applies to patients. Of course, there’s there’s patients who are posing as pain patients and a lot of these people struggle with addiction. But both communities deserve respect, and empathy. But if I ever had to advocate for my mom who’s 85 for pain medication, in her n days, there would be a war because this is wrong. These people have lost their moral compass. But when the doctors get on the phone with me, they’ll say, well, you don’t understand the stringent guidelines attached. You know, the CDC guidelines are embedded in, in software, and they’re embedded in our regulations. And of course, I understand it. But how do we get doctors to prescribe without fear, especially palliative care doctors?


Dr. Dan Laird  5:25

Will bloody I think if we just step back for a second and think about what’s happened in the last 10 years, I am absolutely convinced that had chronic pain patients not stood up to this, the battle would have been over a long, long time ago, it sends a shiver down my spine to consider where we would be if people like you, and the 1000s of chronic pain patients who have decided to stand up for their civil and legal rights hadn’t done anything, because and tremendous progress has been made. I mean, remember when you could not say in any public forum, that you believe there were as a physician, you couldn’t say that I believe there is a role for chronic opioid therapy. When the patient doesn’t have cancer, you would be scalped if you said that. You’d be criticized and and harshly criticized for saying something like that, we’ve moved beyond that. And a lot of times, the doctors hands are tied, because they’re put under scrutiny by the hospital. And there’s so much misinformation. And the activism that you have initiated, is making a huge difference. I would go as far as to say, the activism by chronic pain patients is at this point, the only hope it is the only hope. Because once you get into academia, and you get into government regulation of these things, it’s just follow the leader don’t dare say anything contrary to the accepted, quote unquote, religious views of these anti opioid zealots. And if you do, you’re going to be ostracized. So it’s the patient standing up for their own legal rights, that’s making a difference and not that they haven’t been criticized right. First thing out of the anti anti opioid zealots mouth will be that the chronic pain patient is a shill of the Big Pharma is being paid by Big Pharma. They say this kind of stuff constantly. They have absolutely no evidence to support their claim. And I would argue that those kinds of accusations are slanderous, or libelous. And we just need to keep fighting. And, and again, the only hope is chronic pain patients. Screaming louder. That’s the answer.


Claudia Merandi  7:54

And they are they really are. You know, I started out with four members and today we have chapters in all 50 states 20,000 membership, my legislation is now on the governor’s desk in Rhode Island. That took four years for and these people probably thought I was crazy four years ago, because I was like, oh, because when you said opioids are necessary three years ago to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, they looked at me They said, Oh my gosh, we were always at wakes for people overdosed. How could you say that? That that you believe there’s a place in society for opiates. And I remember saying to Sheldon Whitehouse, his office, I said, mark my words. Two years from today. It’s gonna be bad, and it’s bad. Now, Dan, I want to ask you a question about the fifth vital sign because I’ve seen doctors on LinkedIn posts that they believe this overdosing crisis we’re in today stems from the fifth vital sign. What’s your thought?


Dr. Dan Laird  8:59

Well, like like all of the half truths that these people put out there, there is a kernel of truth to it. However, remember that a lot of this stuff was orchestrated, and it was orchestrated by people who want to be who want. Let me just back up a little bit. The general public I don’t know, I don’t think may appreciate the fact that when a doctor works in academics, he or she doesn’t earn nearly as much as he or she can earn in private practice. So a lot of academicians, some of them are resentful of the salaries that they could have earned if they had gone into private practice. So you get situations where certain academicians want to be want to augment their income. And so one of the the common ways that an academician can augment his or her income is to become an expert witness on what Ever topic. And most of them are legitimate. Most of them are honest, most of them have good intent, but some of them don’t. And when you build a career on making yourself into an expert witness there can creep into that an element of dishonesty. And so there, this was an orchestrated plan in some, in some ways to start these big anti opioid lawsuits. And if the most important part about these lawsuits is don’t fool yourself, it’s not the patients who are the victim of addiction. And it’s not their families of the patients who died of addiction, who are getting all the money, the money is going to the government, who are the plaintiffs, and the trial lawyers who brought the suits and the experts who went along and were able to make the medical points that the trial lawyers wanted. So while at the same time accusing Big Pharma of making lots of money, I mean, it is true, I believe, what the Bible says about money, that the love of money is the root of all evil. And in fact, it probably is, when you follow the money, a lot of this comes a little bit more into clear focus.


Claudia Merandi  11:17

Absolutely. Speaking of paid opioid consultants and money grubbing academia. You know, in court reporting, we have a term, those who can’t write, teach. And if you couldn’t make it as a court reporter, you would teach court reporting. And at one point, I was doing both because I was a new reporter. And then it dawned on me as well. If you’re not good enough to make it as a steno, you’re going to teach steno. And I find this true with doctors, especially the academia, one specific person that comes into mind is a gentleman by the name of Dr. Andrew kolodny. And we just protested outside of his office, Brandeis University on May 13. And there were people that flew in for this protest, and they were in their, in their wheelchairs. And I was so proud to see these people some drove 15 miles just to come out and stand in solidarity with doctors and patients. And Dr. Andrew kolodny. He’s a paid opioid consultant. He’s been paid, I think $500,000 by one of the law firms involved in the in these lawsuits that we’re seeing throughout the country. Jane Ballantine, and she’s held out as an expert. I don’t know what she’s an expert in, but I’m not quite sure how Andrew kolodny earned the term, the nation’s leading opioid consultant. He’s a psychiatrist. And then there’s another woman, Anna Lemke. And now we’re seeing HBO, they’re running this movie the crime of the century. And I reached out to Alex, give me the producer, I said, This really is a crime, because this is propaganda. And for people don’t know. Andrew kolodny worked with Tom Frieden in the early 2000s. New York health department. And then Frieden agreed to publish these guidelines. There’s a history to this. It’s a lot for people to to absorb, and eventually, we would open the floodgates to opioid litigation. The propaganda is the general public’s been brainwashed about the safety and efficacy of opioids and our people. My elderly, they’re afraid to take pain medication, I don’t want to become an I don’t want to become addicted. And that’s how powerful propaganda is. Every day for seven to 10 years, the general public. The Sackler family, is causing the lard the biggest opioid crisis and this past week the Sackler family finally spoke out. And my researcher sent it to me and the Sackler family, they created a website and within and this website is called, I’m trying to find it here, judge for yourselves. And the Sackler family compile, I thought it was a pretty good website. And I said, What took what took so long, Dan for the Sackler family to speak out?


Dr. Dan Laird  14:23

Well, my personal belief is that chronic pain patients got the atmosphere to the point where they could finally raise their head up enough to defend themselves, wire to the national activism that’s been brought by chronic pain patients. It was so dangerous, that I think I’m just speculating, but I believe that it just wasn’t a safe environment for them to try to defend themselves. Um, when you’re talking about these professional anti opioid Crusaders, what I would like to do, you know, they’re always talking about fair fairness, they’re always talking about transparency, while at the same time, in my opinion not being fair or transparent. So let’s ask, let’s publicly ask right now publicly demand that these organizations like farmed out. Andrew kolodny, his organization, prop. Let’s ask Andrew kolodny Jane Ballantine, Anna Lemke and all of these other people to publicly disclose all of the money that they’ve received from testifying an anti opioid lawsuits for the last 20 years. If they’re not biased by the amount of money that they’ve received, I would think that they would be willing to openly share that information. But you’ve asked for this before I’ve asked for this before, and we never see it. And the reason we don’t see it is because they’re not being transparent. Yeah, I’m met all the while accusing people like chronic pain patients of being biased and being bought off by Big Pharma all of which is for the most part. False, right? Sure.


Claudia Merandi  16:21

Oh, yeah. I know, when we protested, he said, well, because the US pain Foundation was there. And his only rebuttal is, well, they’re they’re industry funded. So now we refer to the I refer to prop as a hate organization. And prop stands for physicians for Responsible opioid prescribing. Dan, whenever we dig, we find more and more and more it’s, it’s like, it’s a bottomless pit of the greediest doctors we’ve encountered. And they’re all in that organization prop. I think one of the members of Prop has a is trying to patent an injectable, you know, and everything is, it’s related. It’s always there biased against opiates. And my thought was, Do these people think they’re immune from illness? Do they think they’re immune from their loved ones ever needing to access controlled substances? Do they not have a moral compass? Dan?


Dr. Dan Laird  17:25

Well, um, I think the way you and I see it, we, we believe that suffering has meaning. And that suffering has a purpose. But that we as human beings have a duty to relieve the suffering of people who are suffering, that that’s just basic morality, in the Judeo Christian ethic. But when money becomes involved, things change. I don’t doubt that there are some sincere people in Prop, people who maybe lack the ability to think critically about various issues. And I believe that many of them are well meaning. And of course, we want to be careful not to slander or libel any of these people, but I would just call for transparency. Just disclose how much money you received from trial lawyers and their clients to testify in these lawsuits. Stop. I would also ask them to stop the ad hominem attacks on chronic pain patients, right? They, their particular one in particular, Anna Lemke has given a TED talk, which now comes with a warning on it, that it shouldn’t be considered medical advice, wherein she basically just spends 20 minutes or so. Launching ad hominem attacks against chronic pain patients that there basically the implication as I interpret it, is that they’re liars. malingerers ne’er do wells, just drugs seeking malicious people. And it just isn’t true. I mean, yes, as you pointed out, Claudia, there are evil people who are patients or you know, people who are physicians, and they’re probably always will be, but there are methods and systems in place to deal with those people, state regulations, lawsuits, etc. But for the vast majority of people that doesn’t describe them accurately


Claudia Merandi  19:32

Sure. In this organization prop they have dedicated their lives to destroying the lives of millions of disabled people, because I I’m a disabled person. You know, I’ve lived with Crohn’s disease since I was a kid. And the reason I put my face on this causes I didn’t like how Lana Anna Lemke. You know how she portrayed What a pain patient is where we’re milling couch potatoes and we take medication because it’s like putting a warm blanket on us. And I said, This woman’s a psychiatrist. Oh my god. I said, this is a psychiatrist who the hell sitting on her couch. But these are media whores, Dan, they can’t get enough. Andrew kolodny he steps into the spotlight with 16 minutes tailing behind him and now he’s in HBO. But the truth of the matter is eight out of 10 Americans they burnt out on the phrase opioid crisis. I think what’s going to change for Americans is some really important people are going to be affected senators loved ones are not going to be you know, they’re not going to receive the medication they need. And I’ve said from the beginning, we really just need 10 senators, Democrats republican to come together and say, I know, this was a plan that has gone awry. These CDC guidelines were a bad idea. Then so many people tried to be vocal about the guidelines, the American Cancer Society tried to sound the alarm, the FDA said, Hell no, we’re distancing ourselves from these guidelines. Do you you remember when these guidelines were published? Obviously, when this first happened, what was your first thought?


Dr. Dan Laird  21:29

Well, I think though, the word on the street among physicians was that some wackos, this was my understanding that some wackos had proposed some extreme, impractical, opioid guidelines, but they had effectively been killed, basically. But I think we all have this sense. And and there was a great sense of surprise when the CDC issued these guidelines. And now they’ve, I believe, even acknowledged that the guidelines have caused suicide and other issues, and made things worse for a lot of patients. But I think we all have the sense that this was an inside job. Now, of course, this is denied. But there was a relationship between a professional relationship between Frieden who was the director of the CDC, I believe, at the time the guidelines came out. And Andrew kolodny with prop. And Andrew kolodny, has been beating this drum for 20 years, you know, where he wanted the FDA to change the label that opioids should only be used for non malignant pain, whatever that means. But I think you hit on something earlier, when you mentioned that you could consider prop that people may consider Prop, a hate organization. And I don’t know about the rest of the people in prop. But I do know that Andrew kolodny, has espoused the idea that discrimination against blacks was had been beneficial systemic racism against African African Americans had been beneficial. Because, as I understand his argument, it decreased addiction and therefore, save lives. And this is just an example of completely kooky thinking. It is never a moral good to discriminate to harm people. And it’s just absurd. If you look back at the history of pain management, it is just it is systemic racism is and I’m not a big, systemic racist racism guy. But I will tell you that in pain management, systemic racism is woven into the fabric of our ideas about pain management, because what the people who want to decide who gets opioids are wanting to decide is whose pain is important. And that requires a judgment call. And when you get to asking people whose pain is important, it brings out all of the prejudice, all of the bias, all of the stereotypes, all the misunderstandings of what’s gone on in years past and it’s really, it’s really quite ugly. And when you were mentioning about my God, and Olympians, as psychiatrists will, don’t forget this, like, organized psychiatry has gone off the rails before, right? I mean, up until the 70s. They were saying that people who were gay, lesbian, bisexual, whatever transgender were mentally ill and they needed to be treated and, and they would be denied, you know, a license for to practice a lot of practice medicine, maybe to drive a car. I don’t know how far it went, but they were completely in the weeds on that. And some of these psychiatrists like Anna Lemke, who are now spouting this malicious nonsense about chronic pain patients. They’re in the weeds on that too. So put on your surprise face, I guess. But they they just go off on these tangents and and i think that most chronic pain patients have an appropriate moral compass and have common sense. And that’s what we need to follow not this nonsense.


Claudia Merandi  25:18

Yeah, and I don’t think this issue is going to be resolved on a federal level because the the CDC is will now be or the Agency for Healthcare and research. I think it’s AHRQ, now they’re working on acute guidelines. There’s a doctor, his name is Roger Chow, and he’s got his dirty little mitts and in the acute guidelines, and he’s actually one of the people who wrote the CDC guidelines, and he has collaborated with Jane Valentine with Anna Lemke. And there’s another group of individuals who and these people just profit they’re profiting off of suffering, they profit off of suicides. Then there’s another organization several and these are organizations they lost a loved one to an overdose so they dedicated their lives to making people pain patients lives miserable because they lost a child to an overdose. There’s an organization shatterproof Gary Mendell lost a kid to sadly to suicide, but it he’s capitalizing off his son’s death and, and then when we start to connect the dots, I see that Gary Mendell has collaborated with pisarra pharmaceuticals, and Sarah pharmaceuticals paid chris Christie $800,000. And then before you know it, they’re tied to Brandeis University and the teacher, the Department of Justice and the pdmp. And it just goes around and around. And they’re make and that’s why I remain vigilant in fighting this cause I hate dishonest people. These are dishonest. These are bad people, Dan. And sometimes I try to give them the benefit of the doubt. But I can no longer do that. Because I will not watch these scum of the earth profit off of people with sickle cell with cancer with you know, Andrew kolodny said Fibromyalgia should never receive pain medication. I’m not I will not stand by and watch people profit off my community. It’s just such


Dr. Dan Laird  27:20

an absurd statement to say, to pick out a diagnosis, and to say that nobody with eggs should be should receive opioid medication, no matter what the circumstances are. That it that is not science. It’s bigotry, right? It’s making a decision about what people quote unquote deserve based on their diagnosis. And that isn’t science. Um, doctors are trained to treat the individual patient. And these guidelines that are advocated by these people that if you have a sprained ankle, you should never get an opioid or it just all or nothing. Rules are generally a bad idea. Because there’s often an exception, there are extenuating circumstances. It’s it’s just we are making progress. But they continue along this path they how far they’ll go. I don’t know. But as you pointed out, Claudia, it gets more and more absurd every single day.


Claudia Merandi  28:24

It does. And, you know, people are fortunate to have you as a doctor. And if you’re in Las Vegas, and if you if you think you’ve been wronged by the medical system, like millions have reached out to Dan Laird, so many times I put patients in touch with medical malpractice attorneys, but it seems like an impossible press. It seems like it’s so difficult to prove medical malpractice. So it’s it’s a tough, it’s, it’s it’s tough to situation, I want to talk with you. You are a pain management doctor. I would imagine you have a full patient load, right? I do have to see your pain, or do you see your patients every four weeks? Generally every month? Yes. So monthly every three months? Yeah. And I see a lot of doctors are cash only because they don’t want to get caught up with the whole Medicare. You know, the insurance but now I’m seeing doctors who have been targeted for for only taking cash and there. The Department of Justice says they’re these are drug dealers because they took cash and no insurance. And then if you accept Medicare and you do too many procedures, then you’re accused of too many procedures Medicare fraud. It seems like pain management doctors are damned if they do damned if they don’t too many drug screens, not enough drug screens. You didn’t discharge a patient who fails a urine drug test. Then you have a disgruntled patient, they contact the feds. It’s this this really is organized And it seems like the feds are just standing by. But now I’m seeing an uptick in Suboxone, doctors getting rated.


Dr. Dan Laird  30:09

It is crazy. And it is difficult right now to be a pain doctor. It’s been that way for about coming up on 10 years now. And bless my patients. I know they get tired of this, but I have a four or five page question questionnaire that they have to fill out every every month. And I know they get tired of it. I know they get tired of, of me basically documenting, documenting, documenting, there are things that a doctor can do to protect himself or herself against accusations of wrongdoing. And I would be very happy to assist any doctor who needs documentation or advice about how to structure your practice. opioids are dangerous medications and they must be prescribed appropriately, usually as a last resort. And it’s the doctors job to watch for addiction. And we both know that there have been pill mills and bad doctors. I think for the most part, the pill mills are gone. And now we have the drill Mills, where patients are sometimes coerced into having invasive procedures. As a condition of staying in the clinic. I just had one of those the other day that they kicked him out because he wouldn’t undergo additional steroid injections. And they just in my opinion, they they were indicated, but not nearly as frequently. So it is a tough time. But I can tell you again, Claudia that chronic pain patients doing what you did at Brandeis University, completely changes the narrative. And people listen and yes, they’ll criticize you. They’ll make fun of you they will. And you know how kolodny apparently just scoffed at the whole thing. Let him scoff. Now, his credibility, I think has been damaged. Because he’s hit if you’ll notice this position can continuously changes. Oh, I didn’t say that. Oh, I didn’t mean that. I know his whole thing about claiming that Vicodin was heroin. Just a base. That’s basically an ad hominem attack on pain patients. And it’s scientifically and chemically false. He stopped saying that now, because we pushed back.


Claudia Merandi  32:32

Yeah, yeah. Well, we will continue to work on this. One day. I think one of the researchers is working on a video in juxtaposing Andrew kolodny when he said we just found another quote, and and this one, this he said, Oh, it’s much safer for people to hit the streets and use heroin than to take you know prescription oxy codeine and I don’t know if this man has had a traumatic brain injury and doesn’t remember what he says but I can’t tell you that a doctor in the in the pain community has organized a GoFundMe to help defray the cost. You know, we’re not sitting back. I won’t stop until I see Andrew kolodny Jane Ballantine, Anna Lemke, Brandeis University, listed as defendants in a lawsuit and I know that day will happen four years ago, I was told my legislation will never will not happen. We’ve only just begun. We’re headed into all 50 states because I really think local legislation will at least give these doctors some some comfort, comfort maybe to treat their patients pain, but to not treat a person’s pain in the emergency room with kidney stones, Dan, these come in all day all night. But you know, if you’re in Vegas, folks, and you think you’ve been mistreated, reach out to Dan Laird. Dan, thank you for taking time out on your Sunday to spend time with me. Oh, we’re talking soon, folks. Thanks for tuning in this episode of don’t punish pain with Claudia. Once again. So happy to be part of the United patients group. Have a great night. Thank you, Dan. Wait one second. I’m just going to stop this recording.