Cut OFF: Veterans Suffer With VA's New Painkiller Policy

Cut OFF: Veterans Suffer With VA's New Painkiller Policy

July 25, 2016

Cut OFF: Veterans Suffer With VA's New Painkiller Policy

Paul Fielder, a Vietnam veteran admits that he drank bourbon for nearly 12 years in order to alleviate his chronic lower back pain.

Due to the fact that his career as a machinist was not physically demanding, his doctors have linked his chronic back pain to his time serving. During his active service he was jumping 10 to 15 feet from helicopters to the ground nearly six times per day. Fielder did this throughout his service which lasted from 1969 to 1970.

Although it had become a bad habit, Fielder shares that since his Department of Veterans Affairs doctor began prescribing him Vicodin, he has not had a drop of alcohol for nearly three years.

At 71-years-old, Fielder says he takes at least three pills throughout the course of his day to simply function.

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However the VA is set out to change Fielder's usual routine. The VA has made the argument that there is a growing amount of veterans who are addicted to opioid-based medications and are taking far more than they need and even mistakenly overdosing.

“I worry about it because it’s a hell of a shock,” Fielder said. “I’m not addicted but I have a certain pattern of life that these medicines, even though they are a narcotic, give me. When they cut me down, I tried two a day and I was not able to get out of the Lazy Boy.”

It was in April that the VA cut Fielder's 120-pill monthly prescription in half to 60 pills.

Kevin Kelsheimer is the St.Joseph County veterans service officer and has admitted that since the change took place, he has been contacted daily by veterans for help.

“I’m hearing it quite a bit,” Kelsheimer said. “We have Iraqi and Afghanistan veterans coming home and some of them have back and shoulder pain from getting hit by (Improvised Explosive Devices). They’ve been on these pain medications for five years and now they’re being told they’re being taken off, and the VA is not giving them any kind of substitute medicine for the pain.”

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4 Responses

Ronald Limer
Ronald Limer

October 27, 2016

I don’t have to say anything but same bullshit here and mostly homebound from pain and sleep ddeprivation.U.S Army 8yrs

Paulette martin
Paulette martin

August 16, 2016

This is a damn bunch of Bullshit these men and women can go fight for our country and so called freedom put their lives in danger and now because of what the did to help us hurt on a daily basis and some behind the desk pencil pusher ass that has probably never done one damn day of hard anything is going to dictate what these Veterans need and dont need well excuse me but I bet they get everything they need no questions asked and never once saved anyones life in anyway

Gary H Smith
Gary H Smith

July 25, 2016

I am a 66 year old Viet Nam vet . My back is ate up with arthritis an bone spurs .I was on tramadol an was taken off of it . Why am I being left in pain because of others past experiences ??

Stan M
Stan M

July 25, 2016

I am a Navy veteran and am on total and permanent disability due to leg and back pain. Over a year ago, the VA (in it’s infinite wisdom) has not, just decreased my pain medications, but have discontinued them completely. I seldom get out of the house anymore and can barely get out of my chair. My VA primary health care physician told me that the VA doesn’t prescribe pain medications to those with chronic pain anymore.

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