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Pain killers at work?

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Old 10-13-2007, 10:53 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: houston, tx, usa
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oldironman HB User
Pain killers at work?

Hello all. On the methadone pills and the Fentanyl patch, do they both affect your motor skills adversely like vicoden? I take vicoden and ultram, but I can't take the vicoden at work, or technically when I drive (I'm not really positive about the driving part, just assuming). It would be nice if I could take something more potent than Ultram at work (chemical plant environment). I have a couple of bad discs and arthritis in my spine, so I ain't as bad as some of you, but sometimes I wear a toolbelt and carry heavy things around up and down stairs. Most times I really need more pain relief than I am getting. Thanks,

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Old 10-14-2007, 02:36 AM   #2
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badoldback HB User
Re: Pain killers at work?

After a short period of adjustment there usually isn't any problem driving or working with pain medication.

Old 10-14-2007, 04:11 AM   #3
Arthr Itis
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Arthr Itis HB User
Re: Pain killers at work?

You might want to check your company's policy regarding drug use on the job. When I was working I had to be extra carefull because if there was an accident it would trigger mandatory drug testing. With the zero tolerance and all it could get interesting. Fred

Old 10-14-2007, 04:52 AM   #4
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butrfligirl28 HB Userbutrfligirl28 HB User
Re: Pain killers at work?

I take my pain meds everday. It is the only way I can work. When I started in pain management, I could not work at all due to pain. Neither my boss, nor my co-workers know. The meds do not effect my job performance, except to make it better. I have no other choice, and have been lucky that no one does regulat drug screens and I have to explain my positive opiate screen. Even if it did come up, I would point to how long I have worked there, with no one even suspecting my chronic pain. As long as you can work safely, with no drowsiness or brain fog, I see nothing wrong with it.

Old 10-14-2007, 08:25 AM   #5
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Backinthesaddle HB User
Re: Pain killers at work?

Maybe I have lost something here but DRUGS and pain management medicines call in a completely different catagory. One is for recreational fun and the other is from a doctor. What is up with your jobs not allowing pain medicines? What if you had cancer or some other God awful disease would you not be able to take your medicines? In my job they all know what I take and watch me do it. Have for years. And I have a pretty high profile job. But I take the prescribed dosage of only the medicines I am prescribed. That is no illegal. I think it is really odd and possibly against the ADA.

Old 10-14-2007, 08:41 AM   #6
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oldironman HB User
Re: Pain killers at work?

I work in a chemical plant environment. I have already been told I can't take the vicoden at work, just the Ultram. In those type places, you can't even have a beer at lunch. An empty beer can in the back of the truck actually got someone in trouble once. I, too, would get drug tested if anything occurred - if I cause an accident or even if someone else causes it. Everyone involved gets tested. I'm not sure how they determine if I took it at work or if it is residual from home use, maybe they just go by a certain level as in with alcohol - I don't know. That is why I was wondering if others have the same problem and found good pain remedies that could be used at work. I can see where those in office places might not have that problem.

Old 10-14-2007, 09:51 PM   #7
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Shoreline HB UserShoreline HB UserShoreline HB UserShoreline HB UserShoreline HB UserShoreline HB UserShoreline HB UserShoreline HB UserShoreline HB UserShoreline HB UserShoreline HB User
Re: Pain killers at work?

Hi Ironman, If you can't take Vicodin, you certainly can't take any of the other stronger long acting meds. They wouldn't know when you took it and it wouldn't really matter, If you had taken any opiate within days it would be detected and you would have the same problem that anyone else at your plant would have.

Unfortunately being fair or right doesn't always matter. I now understand what my dad meant when his reponse the old that's not fair was who told you life was fair. Yes people get used to some of the side effects of meds and it allows some to return to certain types of work. A pilot, your kids bus driver or anyone that can or is putting themsleves or others at risk because they aren't 100% functional cognatively have to take extra care or flat out need to find a new job.

If you were in a car accident you could easily get charged with DUI if any drug that's considered impairing could possibly be to blame. I once read about a 70 year old lady that was charged with manslaughter because her husband died in the car accident she was driving in. She was under the influence of Flexeril and tylenol 3.

Whether we become accomadated and feel safe or couldn't work without the meds, It doesn't change the legal view on the matter. Driving under the influence is DUI when it comes to opiates, there isn't a varrying degree of sobriety, If there is enough in your sytem to provide a positive test, any of us on opiates would be considered impaired by any standard other than the one we want to believe in. Working under the influence of the stronger long acting meds would be a problem in your field.

Ultram was recently classified as an an opiate and I wouldn't be surprised to see that become an issue at some point at work. I took methadone for 3 years at the same dose and never become so acomadated I wouldn't nod off if I wasn't actively doing something, or didn't break into a sweat from doing anything that excerted me. Driving is flat out hypnotic and although the opiates allow someone to sit longer than they would without the meds, it doesn't mean they aren't considered impaired in some way. Legally and contractually, you either are or you aren't. On methadone or oxy but claims to be used to it doesn't really cut it legally.

I wish you luck and their are alternatives you may not have tried. If you interested in some of the methods used prior to just 10 years ago when opiates weren't used on chronic pain. Their are docs out their that still believe the non opiate route is the better way to go that may be able to keep you working at your present job. If you don't try every non opiate method you can find, you'll never know if something like acupuncture, self hypnosis, learning bio feedback and seeing a PM psychologist would have helped.

You may reach a point someday if things are bad enough you need to consider alternative work. Better to look for a career change that meets your ability on your terms than the day an employer decides you are a liability and comp won't cover you if they knew you were on opiates.

Welcome and Good luck, Dave

Old 10-15-2007, 05:45 AM   #8
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Backinthesaddle HB User
Re: Pain killers at work?

Im guessing since you work in a chemical plant it is for safety not because u cannot take your prescribed medicines. Most jobs one cannot drink during lunch so that is a given. Ultram works better for me anyhow. Alcohol or drugs (prescribed or otherwise) have a ellimination rate. With ETOH it takes about an hour per beer to be out of your system where medicines take much longer and leave a half life that would show up on a drug screen if they were testing for that particular drug. Most drug tests do not check for prescription drugs but illegal ones. I wish you luck with controlling your pain level with Ultram. Do you take the slow release ones? I take a 200mg and sometimes a 50-100mg when I start my day. Helps out a lot.

Old 10-15-2007, 11:45 AM   #9
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forginon HB User
Re: Pain killers at work?

There are many employers with very restrictive drug policies, which include pain management meds. If you have a job that involves driving a lift or other heavy machinery, or work with any dangerous machinery, then they prohibit the use of psychoactive medications of any kind. And they test for it. And if testing uncovers the presence of a banned substance it can mean termination. It's probably a condition of the company's insurance carrier.

This is pretty common.

Old 10-21-2007, 07:16 AM   #10
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oldironman HB User
Re: Pain killers at work?

Thanks folks. It looks like I'm stuck where I'm at for the time. Oh well. I'm going to play in a charity golf tourney Monday (I'm down to about 2 or 3 games a year), so I should be in a really sorry mood the rest of the week. I promise not to come on here and take it out on you guys .

Old 12-19-2007, 09:21 AM   #11
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videogamecrazed HB User
Re: Pain killers at work?

I was injured on the job working as a firefighter/Paramedic. Our policy for us says that if we are taking any kind of Rx controlled substance that we have to report it to our employer. MY GOD i wish that I never did. The red tape that it has caused me to jump through to keep my job has been unbelievable. ON the the other hand if I did not report my RX to my employer and somthing was to happen and a mandatory UA was asked for then I would lose my job due to the fact that I did not report anything. I think at times that reporting your RX usage to your employer is a very fine line to cross for some of us, and many other folks have said "it just depends on your policy's at work and how they test". I am currently trying to regain my position as a 911 dispatcher since my I can no longer be a firefighter due to my back injury. My particular case is as follows. I can function at nearly 100% while taking my medication, my impairment is not to the point where it would affect my job, as a matter of fact it greatly improves my ability to work. This however make me in a sense "unhirable" (spelling?) but able to physically due my job. If I do not take the meds then I am by the book hirable (spelling again?) but I can not physically concentrate or sit for an 8 or 12 hour day due to the pain being absoluetly out of control (at this point I am then no good to them). I can not be the first person to face this position in life and truly scared of loosing my job and not being able to support my 3 small children and wife. I am working with my DR's to try and find a suitable regimen to allow me to work but I fear that I will always be on some form of opiate to control my pain.

God bless and Thank you all for listening to me as well,


Old 12-19-2007, 09:50 AM   #12
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kelsey1 HB Userkelsey1 HB User
Re: Pain killers at work?

hi all,
my husband takes many different meds that are 1 is a opiote(SP) other are controled subst. and when he gets drug tested he just makes sure he keeps a list of his meds with him at all times and his comes back neg and he works in a warehouse on a masnion(SP). but everyone there knows he tells them there is nothing they can do to him. but i feel for the people that have to work without meds i don't know how you do it. good luck kelsey

Old 12-19-2007, 10:09 AM   #13
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Re: Pain killers at work?

Hello to all of you - I have got to put my two cents worth in here. I think it is ridiculous the way that all of us are treated because of a drug that we are prescribed by a doctor after I am sure a long drawn out process. Most doctors out there do not like to give out pain killers so for us people who are getting them legally and really need them, we should not have to be treated like criminals by the rest of society.

I suffered TIA strokes, have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Myofascial Pain, hypermobility, BiPolar 1 and severe migraines. No, I am not seeking a pity party. I am however no longer able to work and am fighting with SSD at the age of 44. I was a workaholic and taking all the familiar drugs such as lortabs, xanax, seroquel, lamictal, muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatory, ritalin(for energy), neurotin, just to name a few. Yes, I had to go to work everyday until I had the TIA's. After that, I was no longer able to work according to my GP, pain management doc, therapist, and psychiatrist. No, it is not fun to sit home day after day unable to do all the things I use to be able to do. No, I don't have the money to go out and do anything either. The only time I do go out is when I have my doctor's appt, which I see each one every month.

Even if I could work again, who would hire me with the drugs I take??????? Most places require a drug screen these days. When I received my denial letter from the SSD office, they advised that I could do cleaning in hospitals or yardwork at churches or cemetaries. I don't have a problem doing either one if I could. However, I can't even do the dishes for myself. I cannot sit for more than 20 minutes, stand longer than 30 minutes and many days I end up in bed. I have always worked with computers and SSD said they understood that I couldn't do that anymore but I can work in a yard or cleaning. Sorry, sometimes I have fibro fog and loose my train of thought. I am awaiting my day with the Judge now. What will he think of all the drugs? I take them as prescribed.

Almost all of mine say do not drive or use heavy machinery until you know how you will react to this medicine.... It does not effect me at all anymore but I see where the one writer says about being under the influence if there were an accident.... So, what are we to do????????????

Good Luck to you all, Jenn

On top of all the meds, I get trigger point injections every 28 days for the fibro

Last edited by Jenn4508; 12-19-2007 at 10:12 AM. Reason: information left out

Old 12-27-2007, 01:07 AM   #14
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mattiemay HB User
Re: Pain killers at work?

I take Kadian (sustained release morphine) Neurontin and Vicodin for my pain.
The Kadian which I take twice a day generally keeps me comfortable if I do nothing but rest throughout the day, I must take the Vicodin if I plan to do or go anywhere. I always feel nauseated all morning and early afternoon, then my pain is worse from the days limited activity. The Vicodin makes me sleepy and does help my pain somewhat, however after only 1-2 hours of any outing the pain gets to be too much again. (its in my lower back). Right now I'm not working, in fact, I don't even trust myself to drive. My profession is nursing, and i really don't think anyone wants a nurse who is either distracted by pain or fuzzy from medications.

Old 12-27-2007, 10:00 PM   #15
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BabyOwensMama HB User
Re: Pain killers at work?

I think it really just depends on the place of employment. I know that people become accustomed to narcotics meds and can function on them. I do. But I can't honestly say I would feel comfortable if the Pilot of the plane I was on popped a few Vicodins on his way to work. Or the neurosurgeon about to operate on my brain. I know that being a cp'r myself that might sound hypocritical and I'm sorry but I can't help but feel that way.
Once when I worked at the customer call center I changed desks for a day and when I opened the drawer to put my purse inside there was a giant bottle of Vicodin belonging to the man whose desk it normally is. I mean it was like a 500 pill bottle. On one hand I wanted to make sure his meds were safe and turn them over to the higher-ups on the other hand I didn't want to call attention to the meds he was on if he might get in trouble for it. Plus I don't really trust people in general so I thought even if I turned it end it might never make it back to the guy. In the end I ended up calling him at home and asking what he wanted me to do. He was so grateful he hadn't realized he'd left them at work and was tearing up his house looking for them. I dropped them off with him on my way home. We talked about it and apparently all the supervisors knew he was on narcotics for chronic pain and no one cared. It was an .com call center and so I can see the logical in the liberal attitude towards people on certain medications that could cause impairment. I do think people with pain deserve relief, but I can see why one working a chemical plant would be more likely to come under s****iny for taking possible mood-altering medications then someone working the register at the local burger joint. (disclaimer to anyone working at "the local burger joint", I don't think one job is more important than the other..I love cheeseburgers..)

I want to say "people should be free to take prescribed meds on the job!" but I know why that's not safe or logical. For all the of thousands of us that take our meds,function just fine there is one guy out there who might fall asleep while driving the local city bus. And for that reason I believe in the laws about controlled substance and I do support an employers right to deny people to be on their meds on company time. It's just my opinion.

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