PHOENIX (Cronkite) – Debra Hickey, who has been living with chronic pain for two decades, recently went to her doctor to get her regular dose of 30 milligrams of oxycodone. The doctor told her that she needed to reduce the dosage due to government regulations in order to reduce the number and dosage of patients' opioid prescriptions.
The 63-year-old Hickey from Phoenix was appalled. And anxious.
"You know this horrible pain that takes about a minute to get away?" Hickey said Tuesday at a rally in Do not Punish Pain at the State Capitol. "Can you imagine that you were 24/7 without opioids in this kind of pain? That's the pain I'm in. "
Hickey lamented the restriction of an opioid that happened to be one of the few analgesics she did not respond to, and joined some 40 people at the rally. Many smoked cigarettes, some pushed strollers or used wheelchairs and some carried signs like #PatientenNotAddicts and Afflicted Not Addicted.
They characterized themselves as victims in the fight against opioid addiction.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids involved 47,600 deaths in 2017, and the number of deaths from opioids in 2017 was six times higher than in 1999. Four out of ten deaths were a prescription opioid ,
 In 2016, the CDC changed its guidelines in response to the epidemic and urged physicians to start patients on small doses and slowly increase the amount or to prescribe high doses of ibuprofen instead of dealing with pain.
The Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act includes a so-called five-day rule that limits the initial prescribing period to five days, along with a maximum dose limit of 90 morphine-milligram equivalents for patients Look for further regulations after the first filling.
[WATCH: Gov. Doug Ducey signs Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act (Jan. 26, 2018)]
US Department of Health officials did not respond to a request for comment on the rally on Tuesday.
Hickey She said the dose reduction had made her bedridden for weeks, and that nationwide gatherings planned in 50 states should grab the attention of legislators and make prescription opioids available to those that they urgently need.
The lawyers have not drafted a concrete plan
Organizer JoAnn Nuara said the needs of the groups were not familiar to the legislature, and neither Ducey nor the legislature had responded to letters with their problems.
She said that chronic pain patients could get the drugs before the onset of the opioid epidemic. They need to function and lead a normal life. Prescribing prescriptions, however, thwarted the ability of some patients to receive medication, so many took alternative street medications, she said. Nuara wears a brace around her torso to help her treat her autoimmune disease.
She also receives steroid injections and epidural treatments she never needed to resort to before her doctor was deprived of the Arizona Medical Board by the Arizona Medical Board 18 months ago for allegedly failing to use Subsys, a cancer pain reliever.
The new Arizona restrictions made it difficult to pick up prescriptions, Nuara said. Pharmacies run smaller stocks of opioids and sometimes they have to go to three or more pharmacies to find one that Opioide has in stock.
She said more chronic pain patients would comment. Nearly four times as many people came to the rally on Tuesday compared to one in September, Nuara said.
[RELATED: Opioid Crisis: Have politicians turned it into a war on doctors? March 27, 2018)]