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Opioid Prescribing Drops For First Time In Two Decades
Updated May 24, 2016 12:23 PM
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - There is a decline in the amount of opioid pain pills prescribed in about two decades. A study published by IMS Health points to more oversight and tougher enforcement as a couple of the contributing factors.

However, patients like Fern Decker, who legitimately need pain medication, are having a difficult time obtaining it.

She recently had back surgery and was initially prescribed 15 milligrams of the opioid Oxycontin. Despite following her doctor's orders and not abusing her prescription, her dosage was cut to five milligrams. Decker is now in constant pain and has no way of reliving it.

The problem is people start off with prescriptions and ending up on heroin, says addictions counselor Scott Watson with Heartland Intervention.

Watson says the decrease can be credited to tighter prescribing guidelines introduced in 2014 and countless examples of doctors behaving badly, like William Hedrick, a former central Indiana pain doctor linked to several overdose deaths of his patients, leaving a small population that is not able to get the pain medication they want and need.

Watson is talking about people like Decker. Doctors have grown so afraid of law enforcement that they are hesitant to prescribe opioids. Even those who are in desperate need of pain pills are being overlooked.

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