Don't Punish Pain rally held to bring attention to chronic pain patients denied medication

    Don't Punish Pain rally held to bring attention to chronic pain patients denied medication

    OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) - Dozens of people fighting chronic illnesses met at the Capitol Tuesday for a "Don't Punish Pain" rally, to fight guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for prescribing opioid medications for chronic pain.

    IN 2016, State Bill 1446 was passed, putting restrictions on the amount of medication doctors can prescribe to their patients.

    After the guidelines were released, officials said patients across the country fighting chronic pain discovered their doctors would no longer treat their pain, or decreased their prescriptions.

    "For over 10 years, I took the same dose and because of the Oklahoma opioid task force, my doctor had to cut my prescription by 75%," said Patrick Burdette, a patient.

    Burdette said without taking the prescription he needs, he can no longer work.

    "It caused me to sit at home in bed most days," said Burdette.

    Patty Loveless said she had to have hip surgery last year and was only given enough pain pills for one week after surgery.

    "My physical therapist would come to my house and I just basically sat there and cried because the pain was so bad," said Loveless.

    Dozens at the rally shared their stories of suffering and what they hope to see change in the future.

    "I deserve a quality of life. I deserve to take my medicine and get where I’m going," said a patient at the rally.

    "We have a ton of people right here who are in chronic pain and can't even get the relief that they need, and that's OK?!" said a patient at the rally.

    After the rally, some patients marched to Attorney General Mike Hunter's office to make their voices heard.

    "I know many of you are upset about this," said Hunter.

    At the AG's office, an opioid overdose fatality review board was holding a meeting to release an annual report on the cause of opioid deaths that have been reviewed.

    The meeting also included recommendations needed to combat the crisis.

    Some of those ideas included mapping where opioid medications are coming from, creating more guidelines for practitioners and patients, demographics of those who fatally overdosed and keeping track of the data.

    According to the Department of Health, statistics showed the majority of drug-related deaths in Oklahoma last year were from prescription drugs.

    Statistics also showed prescription opioid deaths have decreased from 2007-2017.

    "We are not drug addicts," said a patient.

    Many at the rally argued that someone suffering from a chronic illness should have a seat on the board.

    "The physicians and patients have been left out of the discussion," said Blake Kelly, physician at the Oklahoma Pain Center.

    Hunter listened to the concerns from patients after the meeting and agreed to meet with them at a later date to review legislation.

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