Opioid crisis could hurt those who need prescriptions to live pain free
ELLENSBURG, Wash.- Prescriptions are nothing new for Tammy Yeakey.
She's had them around her house for years for her interstitial cystitis. A painful chronic bladder condition that Yeakey said she can only describe in one way.
“It feels like of like you have a stomach full of broken glass. I've been to the hospital several times with the pain from that,” she said.
To deal with the pain from that and her misaligned bones in her feet, she has a prescription of Tramadol and oxycodone.
But said it been more difficult to get these drugs because of the opioid epidemic the country is facing.
Yeakey said doctors have suggested other options like meditation or acupuncture, but she said nothing can stop the pain like the pills she has in her purse.
“I'm very frustrated with being lumped into this group that uses opioids and being considered a potential opioid abuser just because I happen to have a prescription,” she said.
And you don't have to go far to find someone who feels the same way.
Just next door, her neighbor Denise Benedict suffers from fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.
The pain from those two combined has her deal with muscle aches, headaches, vision problems and even trouble walking.
She's recently adopted a three-year-old boy and said she wouldn't be able to take care of him without taking Tramadol and Tylenol with codeine.
“You really don't feel like you can deal with your daily life. You are trying to breath without hurting,” Benedict said.
Damien, the three-year-old boy, was born a drug affected baby. So, Benedict knows why doctors are being more cautious when prescribing opioids for pain relief.
She said she now gets 28 pills for her prescription instead of 30, which doesn't seem like a huge difference.
Benedict said that often leaves her with two or three days a month where she can't function because of the pain.
She understands doctors are trying to protect people but said it should be a case by case basis.
“Prescription medication is so abused today, doctors feel like they have to do something. So, they're dinging those of us who are even for real,” Benedict said.
Both Benedict and Yeakey said their pain has brought them together. They just hope they can properly deal with it going forward.
Starting next year, a new law will require doctors in Washington state to use prescription monitoring programs to combat the abuse of opioids.