Treatments

Feeling the Stigma with the Opioid Crackdown

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In recent years, some doctors have decided to fully stop prescribing opioids following commotion regarding the nation’s opioid epidemic. State and federal efforts towards reducing drug abuse prompted by the nation’s opioid epidemic have produced more intense guidelines regarding the use of opioids to tackle chronic pain. In some states, such as Tennessee, criteria distributed by the state Department of Health set maximum values on the daily amount of opioids doctors can prescribe, bestow detailed protocols for providing opioids to women who could become pregnant, and institute new certification requisites for pain specialists.


Laws regulate prescriptions for particular drugs, which comprise a variety of opiod medications, to 30 days. This legislation also demands that doctors perform drug tests via urine if they prescribe these medications to patients for greater than 30 days, as well as examining a prescription database to be confident that the patient is not receiving additional opioid drugs from another source, and entering the current prescription into the database.


Unfortunately, due to all of the attention that has been placed on the nation’s opioid epidemic and the current legislation, chronic pain patients have observed that many doctors and clinics now assume that pain sufferers who want a prescription to ease their pain may just be seeking the drugs for recreational use. Given the negative connotation associated with opioids and the fact that some doctors have ceased writing prescriptions with them, many chronic pain sufferers have limited options.


Of course, these patients agree with the consensus that the nation’s opioid epidemic and the associated abuse problems need to be addressed. Yet on the other hand, their personal experience dealing with chronic pain demonstrates the other side to the story where people are using these drugs to increase their quality of life. They only desire to find as much solace as possible from these drugs, despite the fact that it is fleeting, so that while the opioid is effective they can live a normal life.


Unfortunately, chronic pain patients are not being considered or talked to by the people that are making and enforcing the anti-opioid policies. This is tragic since over 100 million adults in the United States suffer from chronic pain.