Rally at Capitol puts spotlight on chronic pain community

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – People with chronic pain say they need opioid medication to feel better. A rally took place today at the State Capitol to put a spotlight on those individuals.

These patients who say they deal with chronic pain say while they understand the problem our nation faces when it comes to opioids, they say their voices on the issue matter too.

Our state is one of forty-eight taking part in this rally in cities across the country. Many say by coming together, they can shine a light on a problem they face every day. This problem is getting denied the medicine they say they need just to get through the day.

Since he was just a baby, David Israel has been suffering from a rare disease called hydrocephalus, which is when water builds up in the brain.

“When taking something I’m able to get out a lot more, now I’m not,” said Israel.

Israel says that’s because when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines back in 2016 asking health professionals to give recommendations on opioid prescriptions, many doctors stopped prescribing the medicine out of fear of losing their license.     

That’s exactly what Lesly Pompy says happened to him.

“I never thought that I would be treated as a criminal,” said Pompy.

The same year those recommendations were put out, Pompy said his office was not only raided, but he also lost his private practice for writing opioid prescriptions to a patient.

Pompy said the patient ended up being an undercover Blue Cross Blue Shield agent. The health insurance company said Pompy was inappropriately prescribing the medicine.

“Patients cannot get the help that they need and doctors can’t help them,” Pompy said.

Karlyn Beavers was the spokesperson for the event and she suffers from Crohn’s Disease.

“I have pain every day. Whether some days it may be light, some days it’s heavy, but it’s always there,” Beavers said.

Beavers said she’s tried alternatives like physical therapy, acupuncture, and exercise, but nothing works for her like pain medicine.

“Doctors need to be able to treat their patients again,” Beavers said.

Critics say doctors and other health professionals are to blame for this opioid epidemic, saying pills were being prescribed to patients who may not necessarily need it.

The CDC says on average more than one hundred Americans die each day from opioid overdoses, which is a number that has increased over the years.    

According to data from the CDC in 2016, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids, including those prescribed to people, was five times higher than in 1999.

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