DENVER (CBS4)– While the focus on fentanyl is relatively new, the opioid crisis has been the subject of new laws and regulations for years. With the current focus on counterfeit pills hitting the streets, but those dependent on prescription drugs fear their access will be affected.
For Carly Haynes, pain management has been a daily and lifelong struggle.
“I was diagnosed in 2015 with Kiara malformation, it’s a malformation of the brain and so my brain is too big for my skull and it’s causing a herniation in my spine,” she said.
This is in addition to a disorder that slows his ability to heal.
“All of this combined has caused a lot of pain and it’s pain that Tylenol and ibuprofen just won’t solve. That’s when I started trying to find some management of the pain, just to live a daily life like a normal person would,” Haynes said.
The only thing that worked was the drugs.
“I’m prescribed oxycodone at the lowest possible dose,” she says.
But for her, getting to this point has been equally painful, given the strict requirements for dosing, risk assessment and monitoring of patients undergoing opioid therapy.
“The new CDC guidelines…doctors are afraid to prescribe drugs, the addiction judgment when you have to see a new doctor, there’s this judgment, you’re just a drug addict…you’re looking for drugs,” said she declared.
Robert Valuck, director of the Center for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention at the University of Colorado, helped implement policies specific to Colorado.
“We try to have that balance that we achieve, but it’s very important that we preserve access for those with medical needs,” he said.
He points to the development of the state’s prescription drug monitoring program designed to do both by requiring doctors to check before dispensing an opioid.
“It’s meant to identify someone looking for drugs, trying to get to the doctor or the pharmacy, but also to reassure the doctor that oh, you’re clearly not looking for drugs because that I’m the only person you’re talking to.”
Haynes worries that more demands will scare away more doctors.
“It goes with everything I’ve seen, many stories where people don’t have access to prescription painkillers and turn to alcohol or go to the streets,” she said.