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Chronic pain patients struggling to obtain opioids due to CDC guidelines

Chronic pain patients are speaking out, saying they are now not able to obtain the medication they need.

Posted: Oct 10, 2019 3:38 PM
Updated: Oct 10, 2019 4:06 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Chronic pain patients say they're struggling due to guidelines regarding opioid prescriptions from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The CDC originally released the guidelines in 2016 but revised them this April.

The goal was to reduce addiction by encouraging doctors to prescribe less opioids, but chronic pain patients are speaking out, saying they are now not able to obtain the medication they need.

Amy Hays, a patient from Eugene that struggles with chronic pain, said these guidelines have negatively affected her life. Without opioid pain medication, she's unable to do the kind of day-to-day activities that others do without a second thought.

"The patients are being denied their prescriptions at a pharmacy level or an insurance level. The doctor even says, 'Here's your prescriptions,' but the pharmacies and the insurance agencies can play God and say, 'Nope, you can't have those,'" Hays said.

According to Hays, the CDC guidelines, which encourage doctors to find alternative methods for pain treatment, don't work for patients like her.

"The CDC guidelines were not meant for chronic pain patients, and if people read them thoroughly, they'll understand that," Hayes said.

Hays is now part of a group called "Don't Punish Pain," comprised of chronic pain patients fighting back against the kind of regulations that have kept them from the medication they rely upon. The group is holding a number of rallies across the country on October 16, including one in Eugene.

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