BOSTON – Patients on prescribed opioids say their doctors had them sign “opioid agreements” that some say “made them feel like criminals.”
The so-called opioid agreements or contracts are becoming increasingly common, even among doctors whose specialty isn’t treating pain.
For patients like Caylee Cresta, it meant her new doctor wouldn’t prescribe her the medicine she needed unless she signed the agreement and allowed for certain things like random drug tests, pill counts and giving law enforcement access to patients’ pain treatment records.
“I felt like a criminal,” said Cresta. “I was very uncomfortable. Really you were giving somebody control and saying you would submit to whatever they said. Instantly.”
Cresta, who suffers from painful muscular spasms, says she signed the contract but didn’t feel good about it.
“Physicians are very, very frightened of prescribing now,” said Boston Pain Care Dr. Michael Schatman.
Cresta understands why her new doctor demanded she sign an opioid agreement but says she can’t get over how uncomfortable it made her have to do it.
“Doctors are doing it because that’s how they need to feel comfortable with their practice,” said Cresta. “But the bottom line is you either sign it and you participate in something you don’t agree with or you don’t have access to pain control.”