Jon Fowlkes, a former law enforcement officer who took OxyContin to help with excruciating back pain from a motorcycle crash, said his doctor abruptly refused to renew his prescription. He told Ehley he contemplated suicide because he couldn't live with the pain, but was able to find a doctor willing to prescribe the drug blamed for starting the epidemic of addiction and overdoses. He worries what will happen if that doctor also stops -- not an idle fear, Ehly reports, since President Trump has set a goal of cutting prescriptions by a third over the next three years and has stepped up prosecution of doctors who inappropriately prescribe narcotics, including opioids (synthetic opiates).
Stories like Fowlkes' "illustrate the unintended consequences of efforts to suddenly reverse years of loose prescribing practices that fueled an addiction crisis — and why so many of the estimated 25 million Americans suffering from chronic pain feel angry and forsaken," Ehly reports. "While studies suggest that other therapies are safer and more effective for many chronic conditions, large numbers of these patients are now hooked on the narcotics and on the relief they say they get from constant, grinding pain."