Why states’ opioid prescribing regulations may be a detriment to chronic pain patients

Why states’ opioid prescribing regulations may be a detriment to chronic pain patients


Twenty-eight states have created laws and policies limiting the prescription of opioids to patients. For some individuals with chronic pain, these types of restrictions are more crippling than curative, according to NPR.

The most common regulation  among the states focuses on restricting a patient’s first opioid prescription to a number of pills that will last less than a week, while a few states, such as Arizona, have taken a stronger stance. The Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act, passed in late January, limits most patients’ maximum dosage for prescription painkillers.

Since the law’s passing, Arizona physicians reported feeling pressure to lower patient doses, even for individuals who’ve taken a stable opioid regimens for years without any issues.  The lower dose requirements are leaving many patients with severe chronic pain, according to NPR.

Julian Grove, MD, a pain physician at Phoenix-based Pain Consultants of Arizona, worked with the state to help create the law’s  prescribing limits.

“We moved the needle to a degree so that many patients wouldn’t be as severely affected … But I’ll be the first to say this has certainly caused a lot of patients problems, anxiety,” he told NPR. “Many people who are prescribing medications have moved to a much more conservative stance and unfortunately pain patients are being negatively affected.”

More articles on opioids:

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9 Responses

  1. Joy;
    Again, I feel like your words could’ve come right out of my own brain. The fact of heroin addicts being far better treated (both sociologically & medically) is something that is driving me progressively crazier….it’s so far beyond reasonable or sane I can’t even think of a way to phrase it –“Alice in Wonderland meets Alice Cooper” is the best I’ve come up with so far.

    Things are so bass-ackwards & inside out that I find myself actually wishing I were older (I’m 58), because I don’t think I want to be around when things get REALLY bad (tho that could be next year at this rate). But I do have to hang on, no matter what, for as long as my beloved service dog is here, so I can make sure HE gets the care he needs –he has pain & autoimmune issues. So far, I’ve been able to get him what he needs to remain comfortable, tho figuring out how to pay for it has been increasingly um…challenging.

    The slide into despair becomes ever more difficult to resist. I may have your “suicide is not pain management” tattooed on a prominent body part as a reminder.


    • I can definitely understand your frustration as today I type this from bed; and many of your thoughts have rattled in my own head. This is for sure one year I wish I could hit the redo switch for the sake of so many.
      I can’t understand what, where, when, why it went so creepy crazy. And to your “Alice-in-Wonderland-meets-Alice-Cooper” might I add we toss it in the washing machine of “The Twilight Zone”
      I think we Chronic Pain Paitents should just find our own island to live to form our own community as we are the only ones with some common sense and say to heck with every one else.

      • Joy;
        Definitely Twilight Zone.
        I love the island idea. I wish I had any money to contribute toward buying the island, but could sell some stuff. I can bring my dog, right? He’s a sweetie, & he has pain issues too, so he’d qualify. lord knows he’s smarter & MUCH more compassionate than the jacka$$es driving this whole (& real) witch hunt).

  2. You can go to govtrack.us There you can find your representatives, senators and legislation. You can use your cell’s location to find your state’s representatives and senators along with their contact information. In the “legislation” line you can select by subject. Scroll till you see health. Select it and you can read all the various healthcare laws that can affect chronic pain management, opioid management and how Medicaid and Medicare recipients could/will be affected. You can contact your representatives, tell your story and that your are strongly opposed to the negative changes being made to our healthcare. Also, you can visit. change.org as well.

    We have to be the ones that say enough is enough. This is our modern day…Spanish Inquisition…and has become unbridled lunacy. This ‘War on Opioids” is leaving Chronic Pain Paitents without necessary medication for a quality of life. We must have faith that we can bring about a positiive change.

    **How we choose to manage our Chronic Pain should be our choice.
    **There is no room for the government in a responsible doctor/patient relationship.
    **Suicide is not Pain Management.

    • Joy; all good suggestions, tho as a depressed veteran of writing & calling my reps, I gotta warn folks not to expect much, if any response, beyond 2 different form letters: either the “thank you for your input” type or “Here’s the bold things I’m doing to battle this opioid crisis!” type (which lists all the things the rep is doing that will do nothing to deal with the real problems (illegal drugs) but everything to ruin CPPs lives.

      I’m not at all suggesting not writing or calling, but one should not be too optimistic lest they get totally bummed out. I’m far from the only person who’s had repeated & maddening disappointments (to say the least). Maybe if enough of us contact them often enough, it’ll eventually get through. But the anti-opioid hysteria is very, very strong & deeply entrenched.

      • Nah, I definitely do not overly optimistic, but I think of it this way. If…ONE…woman could start a movement that would remove prayer from school surely there are enough of of that if we reach out and group together as many Chronic Pain Paitents together and become a unified voice something might very well change. Plus, I don’t mean singular letters to our elected officials, we flood them. We could eventually attract the attention of attorneys, doctors that believe in what we believe. Maybe we can make something happen. It won’t be easy and it won’t be overnight. We have to resolve ourselves to not give up and lean on each other for strength and support.

        **How we choose to manage our Chronic Pain should be our choice.
        **There is no room for the government in a responsible doctor/patient relationship.
        **Suicide is not Pain Management.

        • Excellently put, & excellent ideas. One way I manage to hand onto a teeny, weeny bit of optimism is to keep reminding myself that BC overturned their draconian limits on Rx opioids (after using our own CDC’s faulty “data” to do them in the first place). Surely our country can own up to a mistake, right?


          • This is my “peering into the future”. With so many states legalizing marajuana that poses a potential game changer and open the floodgates to the likes we could never imagined. This is what I mean…The War on Drugs is lost in many people’s eyes. With the legalization of heroin considered successful in Sweden and now Canada tossing the idea around I feel we could see heroin legalized in my lifetime (I’m 40) and what really makes me fuming angry is the very drug that got us here could be legal and our own prescription medication illegal. Yes, illegal. That’s what I call it. Dr’s are not providing prescriptions, insurances not covering them and pharmacies refusing to fill them. That and Chronic Pain Paitents resorting to suicide and many others living a lessened quality of life is my motivation to act. The thought of some clean, sterile building and workers giving out free heroin and they can also shoot up in these facilities while we suffer and are branded the new junkie. That’s wrong on so many levels.
            NO WAY!!!

            **How we choose to manage our Chronic Pain should be our choice.

            **There is no room for the government in a responsible doctor/patient relationship.
            **Suicide is not Pain Management.

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