Pain Patients Say They Can’t Get Medicine After Crackdown On Illegal Rx Drug Trade
In what may be an unintended side effect of a crackdown on prescription drug abuse, legitimate chronic pain patients are having increasing trouble getting the medicine that allows them to function on a daily basis.14 Aug 2015
Until a few years ago, Florida was considered the epicenter for the trafficking of illegal prescription narcotics. The DEA and local law enforcement shut down more than 250 so-called “pill mills” — clinics where doctors could sell narcotics directly to people for cash. Now Florida doctors can no longer dispense narcotics directly to patients. Wholesalers, who paid to setle claims for failing to report suspicious orders of drugs, now limit the amount they sell to pharmacies.
Doctors, say DEA enforcement actions have made it harder for them to prescribe narcotics. Last year, hydrocodone products, such as Vicodin, were changed to Schedule II status, meaning they have a high potential for abuse and cannot be prescribed in large quantities.
“What we’ve seen is dramatic reductions in our ability to provide appropriate care for our patients in pain,” says Dr. R. Sean Morrison, director of the palliative care program at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
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