Opioid crackdown leads to 'more suffering' for chronic pain patients

Posted at 10:04 PM, Mar 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-20 00:30:24-04

DENVER — The battle against the opioid epidemic in our country can’t be overstated. Thousands die each year — even more are addicted, and the problem continues to grow. 

But as action is taken at the national, state, and local levels there is a group of people that say they’re being hurt even more by the crackdowns: those on opioids for chronic pain. 

“Chronic pain patients are either being cut off completely or drastically cut back,” said Colin Connors, who suffers from chronic pain stemming from a pair of medical issues. 

He’s had multiple surgeries but the only remaining option to deal with the pain in through prescribed morphine. 

“It’s allowed me to get a job, help provide for my family,” he said.

But with a crackdown on drugs to try to limit addiction and overdoses, Connors says his prescription dosage has been cut. 

“Its been about a 30 percent cutback in the last month or so and they want to do another 40 to 50 percent in the next two months,” he said, which has led to more pain.

He went on to tell Denver7’s Jason Gruenauer that he knows of several other people dealing with the same thing. 

“If they crack down anymore, I’m going to have to quit my job and rely on disability,” Connors said. “They just don’t seem to think about the outcomes for the patients that have been left behind.”

The “they” he’s referring to include some Colorado lawmakers. 

There are currently several bills within our state legislature dealing with opioids, including putting limits on prescribers. 

“What these bills are going to do is target training for providers in highly affected areas where we're seeing a lot of addiction and overprescription problems,” State Representative Brittany Petterson told Denver7 last week. “They’re being trained when to prescribe opioids, when not to, what to do when you notice someone has a problem.”

But in the meantime, Collin says “it means more suffering.”