Oklahoma Election Results

Don’t Punish Pain: Patients rally to bring awareness to chronic pain amidst the opioid crisis

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — Chronic pain patients with the group ‘Don’t Punish Pain’ gathered outside of Attorney General Mike Hunter’s office on Wednesday to speak out about not being prescribed, or being under-prescribed, their pain medication amid the ongoing opioid crisis.

“I am in pain management, but I’m not getting enough of what I need to keep me out of pain,” Terry Rosado told News 4.

Rosado isn’t alone.

"It’s just certain times when my sciatic nerve acts real bad and I can’t walk; I can’t do anything and I need help. That’s when I have experienced the problems,” Jo Shaw said.

The problems Shaw is referring to involve not getting medication, or enough medication, she needs to get through daily tasks every day.

That was the reason for a ‘Don’t Punish Pain’ rally outside of Attorney General Mike Hunter’s office on Wednesday.

“The CDC guidelines have given us some guidelines, but everything has been taken out of context because it was supposed to help primary care doctors with how to prescribe pain medication, but suddenly, everybody got on board and decided we’re going to restrict everybody’s pain medication,” Dr. Donald Kim, a pain management specialist, said.

Dr. Kim said with the opioid crisis in the spotlight, many patients are suffering as doctors are feeling some pressure.

“I just talked to one patient who was on pain medication for 27 years, stable, able to work, and then they cold-turkeyed her and stopped prescribing her her anxiety medication, pain medication,” Dr. Kim said.

SB 1446, which took effect in November of 2018, attempted to discourage doctors from prescribing high doses of opioids.

Back in May, with the help of AG Hunter, lawmakers passed SB 848, making it clear a higher dose shouldn’t be the reason a doctor’s medical license is revoked.

‘Don’t Punish Pain’ advocates feel that is a step in the right direction, but they want to see more done.

"People who have lost their children to overdoses when they didn’t need [the pills], I do have compassion for them,” Shaw said. “I don’t wish that on anybody. But please, I need my pills.”

AG Hunter has been vocal about opioid addiction in Oklahoma being an epidemic, with 6,000 deaths since 2000, leading him to file lawsuits earlier this year against opioid manufacturers Purdue Pharma and Johnson and Johnson.

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