Yesterday the Power of Pain Foundation Co-Sponsored AB 623 with Assembly Member Wood at the California State Capital in Sacramento where the bill was officially introduced. I spoke on behalf of both pain patients and opioid abuse. In attendance with me and on behalf of POPF and the bill was Erik VanFleet, Kharisma VanFleet, Debbie Ellis, and Brandy Ellis.
Speaking at the event was: Assemblymember Wood (author), Assemblymember Levine, Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman, Ralph A. Cansimbe, Chapter Commander PFC Alejandro R. Ruiz Chapter, American G.I. Forum, Representatives from bill sponsors US Pain Foundation, Power of Pain and American Chronic Pain Foundations and the CA Academy of Physician Assistants.
Published on Mar 26, 2015
(Sacramento) – California legislators, public health representatives and law enforcement officials announced new legislation at a State Capitol news conference to curb prescription drug abuse and deaths. Assembly Bill 623, authored by Assemblyman Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), aims to reduce prescription drug abuse-related deaths by reducing their access to those most prone to abusing them. More than 60 people die every day in the United States from prescription drug overdoses. Approximately 6.5 million people in the US abused prescription drugs in 2013, more than double those that abused heroin, cocaine and hallucinogens combined. “Narcotic pain medications, or opioids, have an important role in our health care system,” said Assemblymember Wood, who is a licensed dentist. “They provide effective relief for the millions of Americans who suffer from chronic pain. But too easily they are getting into the wrong hands.” Here’s more in this Assembly Access video.http://www.asmdc.org/wood
Watch the Press Conference on Assembly Live
Hello, My name is T. VanFleet, I am the Advocacy Director and Executive Board Member of the Power of Pain Foundation. I am also a pain patient myself. Through painful trial and error, my physicians and I have finally found the appropriate combination of medications to provide some relief from my debilitating symptoms. The prescription medications that I take allow me to do things that most people take for granted. Now, I celebrate small triumphs such as cooking, occasionally attending a function, and watching my grandson grow. One of the medications that helped give me my life back is a prescription opioid. A type of medication which has recently come under increased scrutiny due to heavy abuse by some.
Unfortunately, people who use prescription medications as intended can become unfortunate casualties of efforts to regulate opioid abuse, as we end up getting lumped in with those who misuse treatments. It is difficult to obtain refills,, denials and delays by pharmacists and insurance, including workers compensation leave patients in withdrawal and un-manageable circumstances including suicidal ideation.
Fortunately, there are new weapons available to help combat prescription opioid abuse which do not sacrifice the many patients who legitimately use the medications to fight pain. New “abuse deterrent formulations” (ADF) for opioids have properties that make it difficult or undesirable for someone to tamper with them. These medications are made with physical and chemical barriers, such as a special kind of coating or hardness to the pill itself, that won’t allow them to be chewed, crushed, cut, grated, ground up, or melted with water or alcohol.
The Power of Pain Foundation strongly believes that California policymakers must enact policies such as AB 623 to help develop a strong, lasting solution to the health crisis of prescription opioid abuse. We must find a balance that separates patients who truly need opioid medication to live productive lives and those who are abusing them. Responsible patients should not be punished in an attempt to crack down on prescription drug mis-use and abuse. Legislators, health care professionals and pharmaceutical companies must work together to stop opioid abuse while keeping the needs of chronic pain patients front-of-mind.
I was honored to support this bill with Assemblyman Wood on behalf of the Power of Pain Foundation. It’s important that we assist in the prescription opioid drug abuse problem. This will help responsible pain patients get access to the care they need. Too many are denied now because of the stigma attached to their chronic pain identity. Abuse deterrent formulation’s will assist both issues.
Press Release Article Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Legislation to Curb Prescription Drug Deaths Unveiled by Assemblyman Jim Wood
For more information on the Power of Pain Foundation’s Policy Efforts, please visit-
Power of Pain Foundation | Policy Efforts | PatientAwareness.org
-Friday March 20, 2014 Episode of
The Burning for a Cure show
With Hosts POPF President, Barby Ingle and POPF Executive Board Member & Marketing Director and Promotions Chairman – Joeygiggles and Co-Hosts Executive Board Member and Advocacy Chairwoman Twinkle VanFleet with Power of Pain Foundation Executive Director Ken Taylor.
Discussion: Legislation- Abuse Deterrent Formulation (ADF), more Listen Here
Out in the real world, I try not to identify as a pain patient. We will be judged. You know it, and I know it. It becomes our label. As I attempt to go forward in advocacy it can sometimes be a little awkward. Not in my physical appearance, but In my inability to speak properly, delays, memory, forgetfulness, stuttering, wake-sleep, sleep-wake. I’m heading into my 15th year with CRPS type 2. My Neurocognitive deficit seemed a rapid decline. It’s part of the story that helps me fight to go on, for my family, for you.
You have to hang on to you! It’s okay to not be perfect. It’s okay to not be your “yesterday”.
The struggle is real. We are who we’ve become. And it really is okay in all that it is. We might not like it, but we have to learn to accept it.
Perfection is all that you can achieve in the here and the now. Getting that shower, getting dressed, combing our hair. Those are the triumphs.
There’s so much worth in the smallest things.
I believe in you! Believe in you, too.
Thank you Barby Ingle for always believing in me and my ability even when I didn’t.
Lets try to remember to not pre-judge a chronic pain patient on appearance or preconceived notions, but instead, assess on diagnosis, and credibility. ~Twinkle V.