Friday, February 13, 2009

No Oxycodone for People in Colorado

My sister called yesterday with news that people with severe pain in Colorado are having difficulty getting oxycodone. The DEA limits what can be produced and how much is made available, and too many people have filled prescriptions, some abusing the drug by doctor shopping. While I have no doubt and in fact know that people abuse prescription pain pills, this leaves patients with intractable pain--those with cancer, severe spine issues and pain syndromes--in a bind.

Many physicians are understandably reluctant to prescribe such medicines to those who need them because the DEA has wrongly targeted doctors or legitimate prescriptions, tending to assume pain patients are in general addicts. Obviously drug abuse means that some people are getting prescriptions who don't need them but there are also pain patients who have difficulty getting adequate pain control. Perhaps liars are more convincing storytellers or actors than people with true pain.

For those who don't know, there is a database available to all pharmacies that can flag multiple prescriptions from different physicians and help prevent narcotics abuse and reselling of the drug on the street. Of course any such database can lead to some false accusations, as when my rheumatologist turned over my pain management to my surgeon for a week (not oxycodone). Can those who change doctors also be wrongly accused when the refill comes from a different doctor?

In the meantime, people with legitimate needs suffer because of others' abuse and because of quotas on drugs that may not be high enough. Supposedly suppliers have not informed the DEA that a higher quota is needed; but people are unable to fill their prescriptions and the DEA is aware of this.


Unknown said...

Hey, good morning. Thanks for the note on my post about a gadget to carry things for my odd new wheelchair. I've not made a decision yet, but I probably will go to a sporting goods place and simply get a simple bag. Things like that are significantly less expensive than stuff made with the guy-in-the-w/chair logo.

I like this post which I found when searching for your email address. This sort of stuff raises my blood pressure. Any rational person knows that drug abuse is a medical program. Why criminalize an addiction, whether it be alcohol or any thing else? As you note, if I didn't have a MD who recognized my medical history, I'd not have pain-killing Tylenol-4 at hand. And don't get me started on the idioctic hysteria surrounding medical marijuana.


FridaWrites said...

Yes, anything marketed specifically for disabilities is often heavily marked up.

I do agree with you that anyone who is abusing oxy or other drugs needs help with that addiction--under medical supervision. I do worry about false accusations against people who have legitimate medical needs. I, too, am fortunate to have doctors recognizing my pain is real and have to wonder if some illegal use is from inability to get pain syndromes recognized.