RICHMOND, VA. More than a dozen people gathered on the steps of the Virginia State Capitol on Wednesday to protest the alleged unintended consequences of the anti-opioid epidemic.
The rally goers were either affected by chronic pain or knew someone who suffered from them.
"I've had chronic pain for at least 20 years," said a woman who identified herself as Denise.
"My husband has the misfortune of being a very heavy, difficult-to-treat pain patient," said Kristen Ogden.
Those who spoke stated that, due to the guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Disease Control (CDC) in 2016, against the continuing opioid crisis and rules and laws passed by states in response, led medical providers to reduce the amount of opioids they prescribed. They said that this includes those for chronic pain patients who need the opioids to lead a normal life.
In some cases, they claimed that their medications had dropped significantly below an effective dosage, while others stated that they no longer received the necessary prescriptions. Ogden said that since October 2018, her husband has been unable to get the oxycontin needed to treat his chronic pain and is now a less effective analgesic.
"They were unaware or unaware of the fact. There may be patients like my husband who, for probably genetic reasons, need very, very high doses of opioid analgesics for relief," Ogden added.
In April 2019, the CDC issued a notice in response to the misapplication of its 2016 policy. Some guidelines and practices citing the guideline do not match the recommendations.
Chronic pain patients said the update was too little, too late.
"Doctors will not continue as they were, they are afraid of the DEA, they are arrested, they are being prosecuted, they are detained and imprisoned for treating patients," said Sue Walker from the Richmond Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association.
A spokesperson for the Drug Enforcement Administration said the agency is sympathetic to people who really need painkillers and who are not targeting physicians who prescribe opioids to meet legitimate medical needs, but only those who operate outside the norms ,