Both the Oklahoma Attorney General and President Donald Trump have formed opioid commissions to combat overdose deaths. But patients with chronic pain say they worry what those regulations will mean for them.
AJ (we’re withholding her name for her protection) has had a series of surgeries and medical conditions that she says, has led to a need for pain killers just to get through the day. But she says she's not addicted.
“That’s the difference between addiction and dependence,” she explained. “You can depend on something for relief without being addicted to it.”
A former patient of Dr. William Valuck, who pled guilty of running a pill mill, she has seen abuse.
“It was like a menu, you know, (you) could walk in and take this, this and this.”
But she and others argue that is an exception not the norm.
“You automatically feel like a criminal when you’re just trying to live our life and take care of our family,” said another patient named Kari.
Kari has had rheumatoid arthritis since was a kid. She started using pain medication in her mid-30's. But says since moving to Oklahoma City, she can't find a doctor to prescribe it.
“They don’t want to take on somebody who’s already on a higher dosage of pain medicine,” she said.
They believe the solution is leaving the decisions on what to prescribe and how much in the hands of the doctors. Both on an individual basis and when making public policy.
“I don’t think any politician should be making any of these decisions because they are practicing medicine without a license,” said Kari.
Both ladies say they would like to see a pain management physician on the Attorney General's and President Trump’s Opioid commission.