Patients with chronic pain protest lack of access to painkillers

Don't Punish Pain rally sends clear message

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The “Don’t Punish Pain Rally” saw several patients who suffer from severe pain spread awareness for people left behind during the opioid crisis.

They say the most recent CDC guidelines from 2016 have made it near impossible to get the painkillers needed for their conditions.

“We have been force-tapered off of vital medications that we need just for activities of daily living and for quality of life,” Emily Ivari, a demonstrator at the event, said.

Ivari had been using painkillers for years to treat several chronic conditions, including a spinal cord injury that never fully healed. Suddenly, the updated guidelines meant doctors could not prescribe her the medication she needed.

“Now I spend 90 percent of my life in my recliner and my adjustable bed,” she said.

Patients like Ivari hope these protests can help spread awareness for those who are not addicts, but need special medication for their conditions that cannot be fixed.

“We are productive people, that’s all we want to do,” Michelle Pisczor, another woman who has been through several surgeries, “be able to get up in the morning and not feel like we had a train run over us. There’s no ‘breathing through’ that.”

Since patients are often in too much pain to even attend rallies, today’s event was broadcast on Facebook Live. Many allies who know those without proper care were also present, such as Katie Hoover, the rally organizer.

“I’m just happy to be able to help in some way,” she said.

Hoover hopes the rally can also remind others that anyone can face a lifetime of pain after just one tragedy.

“A car could come up on this curb and hit me and, boom: chronic pain for the rest of my life,” she said.

The rally was part of a series of protests across the country held simultaneously on Oct. 16.

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