NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - It's a hot topic across the country, but there is another side to the "war against opioids."
This week, a nationwide Don't Punish Pain Rally will present a unified voice for the millions of Americans suffering chronic pain.
They are the ones relying on opioids to function day to day.
East Texas News met with a Nacogdoches resident going to the Dallas rally about the message pain sufferers want to convey.
Rhonda is a chronic pain sufferer one of more than 116 million in the U.S. According to the Institute of Medicine. The grandmother, who loves cooking and gardening, depends on opioids, combined with other therapies, to make it through any given day.
"Without these medications, I know exactly what would happen," Rhonda said. "I would be in bed, and I would be suffering in agony every single move I would make."
Rhonda now volunteers with the Texas Pain Advocacy. The nationwide organization is lobbying for revisions in the Centers for Disease Control opioid guidelines.
The CDC suggests that doctors prescribe no more than 90 milligrams of a morphine equivalent.
Rhonda is concerned about her prescription.
"I just asked my doctor that last week, and I'm about 20 milligrams over," Rhonda said.
So far Rhonda's pain management hasn't been interrupted, but the CDC guidelines, combined with the war against opioids, is causing more providers to no longer treat chronic pain cases.
"So they're cut off cold turkey. Pharmacies are refusing to fill these medications. Insurance companies are refusing to pay for them," Rhonda said. "It's scary. Patients are in fear."
Some are speaking out. Veterans are suing over restrictions enacted by the Veterans Administration. Advocacy groups are asking for evidence-based recommendations, including no generalized single threshold dose level and improved patient screening.
"These [opiods] are a life source right here," Rhonda said. It's why I'm able to get up and walk to
The Texas Don't Punish Pain Rally is in Dallas Saturday morning, April 7th beginning at 11. The rally will take place at Dallas City Hall.