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    RE: Drug Overdoses involving Veterans
    meaningfulc1952 posted:
    I thought that my post that I just wrote was on here, but I don't see it. My son-in-law passed away almost 2 yrs ago now. He had horrific pain that was caused from a tumor that they found that was next to his heart. He also was on heavy duty opiate meds to help with the pain.

    He went to dr. to dr. and never got in to any trouble. The VA dr. prescribed some of his pain meds and then he had some other dr. doing the same. He was out of control but he also had chronic/severe pain from that surgery that he had.

    Does anyone have a comment to make about this? What bothers me is that it seems like the VA did not monitor his meds and then he also went to other drs. and got more opiate pain meds. He was an accident waiting to happen.

    My daughter has suffered so much from all of this and used to have a grief support group to go to before she moved. Now she says that she can not find a grief support group here. I find this a bit hard to believe because she lives in a large state.

    My son-in-law died the day after my daughter's birthday. She found him in the living room on the couch and he was gone. Just recently she learned that he was taking meds from the VA and other drs. I would have thought that one of these drs. would have checked or monitored his pain meds, but they did not.

    What do you all think about this? I would really like some feedback from you all.
    meaningfulc 1952
    77grace responded:
    Hi and Welcome,
    First of al I am very sorry to hear about your Son in law!It is very Sad and unfortunatley not an unusuall story!
    I also usffer from Chronic pain and have beenfor over 30 years,so I really understand where he was coming from!
    How long was he taking these pain killers???Anyone who takes them for a long time developes tolerence(what worked at first does'nt anymore)So they need stronger dose's!Like you said ,"He was an accident waiting to happen!"That tells me there were signs of trouble!,getting more drugs than the VA,etc!Unfortunatly the VA or any Dr.cannot keep track of what they don't know!He did'nt tell them!So,Im assuming that he Overdosed???Sadly ,this happens more than we like to see!
    I'm here anytime! 77grace
    Anon_2912 responded:
    Sorry, but I don't blame the doctors....
    77grace responded:
    Hi again meaningfulc1952,
    I also wanted to add a few things that I may not have said!Sadly since I have been around this problem of Chronic Pain and Opiates! I hate to say but I havew lost some friends too!They were doing the same kind of thing you r Son in Law was!Maybe this thought will help,It sounds like he was addicted to these drugs!If so ,then he also had a diease of addiction,just like an alcoholic !So maybe your Daughter and you can get some sort of comfort in knowing that he was out of control and wasn't trying to hurt anyone!I don't even know if this makes any sense to you ,I just thought I would put this in!
    I'm herew for you, 77grace
    77grace responded:
    I'm just checking back in to see if you've checked your messages!Great input and concern!
    Not that it matters but I was wondering ,Was this accidental or on purpose??
    Eiother way I will keep you and your Daughter in my prayers!
    meaningfulc1952 replied to 77grace's response:
    Hi 77grace,
    I just now checked my messages. Thanks to you and the others that left messages too.

    My son in law did not commit suicide, but he absolutely did take a mixture of meds and had alcohol in his system after they did the autopsy.

    I have chronic pain and know that you should never drink any alcohol, and he surely knew this too. I just do not know why he did what he did. I think he was just out of control at that time and fed up with the pain that he was in.

    annette030 replied to meaningfulc1952's response:
    What matters is that now you and your daughter are missing him. You both should do whatever you need to do to get past this and move on with your lives.

    If that means participating in the move to help vets with these kinds of problems, do that. Maybe the two of you could participate together???

    If that would only bring the two of you more pain and a constant reminder of your loss, then don't do it.

    Take care, Annette
    dfromspencer responded:
    That is just horrible! How could the V.A. not know the level of opiates in his system? I go through the V.A., and they have me tested regularly. Urine, blood. I don't know how the civillian Docs do, but i would think they would check that out before giving him anything? Wow, just, WOW! I am so sorry for your loss.

    Has your daughter tried the internet? Perhaps the local hospital might be able to help her find a support group? She should also try the local V.A. where you live. Good luck.

    I cannot understand how they let him slip through the crack like this? Do you know if they ever had him tested for opiate levels? Did he ever mention anything like that to you? They should have. I even had to sign a contract, before they would give me the opiates. Someone dropped the ball on this one.

    Again, i am sorry for your loss, but welcome to the site. You can come here to vent, or ask other questions, Dennis
    annette030 replied to dfromspencer's response:
    I have a pcp who has tested me once in nearly 15 years for opiate levels, the test was not covered by Medicare and cost nearly $400. She did it after about 10 years, when her practice tested everyone on opiates.

    She is now with a group practice who does urine tests, they only screen for the various drugs they do not tell the doctor how much is in the person's body. I have had one of those since she started working for this group. Very cheap.

    Most doctor's do the urine test for screening routinely, but are just looking for certain drugs. If one was positive for something the doctor was not prescribing, I suspect the patient would be looking for a new doctor. However, if one was testing positive for a drug that the doctor was prescribing, one could take more than the doctor was prescribing and get away with it.

    I have signed a contract with my pcp, and my husband has also signed a contract with his doctor, however, if we were dishonest people, it would not matter to us. Or if we felt our pain was not being treated properly, we could get additional meds elsewhere. This may have been what happened with this young man, no one really knows what was inside his head.

    I don't go to the VA for care, my son does for some things, and sees a private doctor for other things. In my experience as a nurse, different VA hospitals give different levels of care, depending on where they are located, this is not uncommon per my son. Some for Kaiser hospitals, it varies from one to another. Not to pick on the VA or anything.

    My son's father's family was rife with suicides, it does terrible things to the families, and friends of the direct victims, accidental or intentional. His mom, two brothers and a first cousin all died.

    Take care, Annette
    An_246419 responded:
    responsee to Meaningfulc1952

    I am sorry for your families loss. I think your son-in-law was probably in so much pain that he may have been despriate for anything that might work.
    I use the VA and private doc, because the VA hospital is 110 miles one way and local VA clinic 30 milees one way.. I carry a list of ALL the medicine I take and show it to any doctor I see so they will know what I take. It is not the doctors fault if you do not tell them what you are taking.
    The VA has gone down hill in the last 20 years and I know of 2 former VA doctors who say that the VA is killing veterans, but not intentially just bad medicine. Based on my personal experience I agree, but I am not sure it is all by accident. The greedy rich would save money from every veteran pensioner that dies or at least they think so, greed is the worst sin in my opinion. You can not sue the VA very easily and they will punish you if you go against them. Also there is no independent quality control of the VA nor anyway to compair them with private medical centers.
    Some states have all pharmacies and sometimes doctors on an internet so that anyone getting medicine is listed so that they can not go doctor hopping for pain meds at least. But I do not think they go between states nor do they include the VA medical centers in the internet system. It would probably be better if they did.
    Of course you should never drink alcohol, unless your doctor says it is ok. My experience with the VA is that they will not give you anything if they can avoid it to save money. That is why I think VA medical centers should be closed and eligible veterans given insurance to go to private doctors. It might even be cheaper for the government plus many eligilbe veterans will not go to the VA for different reasons.
    Again I am sorry for your loss, but it does not sound like anyones fault. Just a case of too much pain and no treatment that would work. This is one of the reasons I support euthanasia for chronic medical conditions that have no known treatment that can help them. This way a person can make a consicious and informed decision on what to do about their condition and talk to the proper people. Plus the family would know what is happening and could say their good byes. After that it is between God and the individual and the government should stay out of it. Of couse a family would have to understand and be very understanding about what their loved one is going to do. It would be a very difficult decision, but even now the FDA is being petitioned by a small group of doctors to restrict even more the use of strong pain drugs. This will make life much harder for everyone in pain.
    May the blessings of the Lord be with you & your family.
    meaningfulc1952 replied to An_246419's response:
    Hi There,
    Thank-you all for your messages. I do not blame the drs. or anyone except maybe the VA for doing a crumy job of not monitoring his pain meds. They just mailed them to him and that was that.

    Everyone has their own opinion about this and that's OK. I still believe that it was an accident waiting to happen.


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