Doctors’ reluctance to prescribe opioids hurting chronic pain sufferers.


AUGUST 23, 2019, 2 MIN READ

Battling the opioid epidemic has caused some unintended casualties: chronic pain sufferers.

KATV traveled to Hot Springs to visit with a man who says he and his neighbors need help.

Reverend Dan Ash has lived with chronic pain since 1980 when he was in a bad car accident.

The 64-year-old lives in a Hot Springs apartment community specifically built and designed for the disabled.

Since the crackdown on opioids, he and many of his neighbors are suffering.

“My heart as a pastor…I’m concerned about all these folks here that hurt,” Ash said. “They’re hurting. I know…I know their medication has been taken away.”


As opioid abuse and overdose deaths attracted national attention, primary care physicians became more and more reluctant to prescribe opioids like hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, codeine, and fentanyl to anyone, including chronic pain sufferers.

“And the sad thing that breaks my heart is that they took it away from us,” said Ash. “Those of us who need it. There are many people out there who are suffering. And if you haven’t suffered from chronic pain it is like being in torture.”

Ash says he knows things had to change. Two years ago his nephew became part of the anti-opioid argument when he died of a heroin overdose.

But he says the pendulum has swung too far, causing some chronic pain sufferers to end their lives.

“Oh..the thought comes all the time,” says Ash. “Now I wouldn’t do it. Understand me…I would not do that. But I sometimes say, you know, there’s an easy way out of this. There’s an easy way. But when I had the fentanyl patches you don’t think that way.”

Ash says if a chronic pain sufferer has the x-rays and records and reports to prove they are in real pain that the drugs needed to control that pain should be prescribed.

The medical board allows doctors to prescribe opioids to chronic pain sufferers to levels up to 50 milligrams.

Ash says his last prescription was for only a 10-milligram dose.

Airdate: August 23rd, 2019

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