Pain at the State Capitol

They came to the state capitol with their aches, their pains and their signs. A dozen protesters who are being denied the pain medication they need to function. Two car wrecks and 16 surgeries brought Robin Haass here. “This is no life. I don’t wish it on anybody.”

When Robin has her pain medication, morphine and Oxycodone, she can function, but since Florida began its war on pain clinics, she can’t get her prescriptions filled.

“I will walk around three weeks with those paper scripts in my hands,” said Robin.

Adding insult to Robin’s injuries is the way she’s treated.

Robin Haas says “I’ve been put down, spoke rudely to, and treated like a criminal.”

She’s not alone, Karen Stateler injured her neck and back 20 years ago, and for years she’s had no trouble getting methadone for her pain, but when the government began cracking down on pain clinics that changed. “I went back to the old pharmacy where they used to call me by name, and they said ‘sorry, we don’t have any.’”

Karen went so long without her medication; she had to be rushed to the ER for withdraws. “I went to the next CVS, and that’s when they told me ‘we don’t have any, but we will have some on Tuesday.’ This was a Friday and in that amount of time I started into withdraw.”

In 2011, state lawmakers passed a bill to stop drug dealers from getting unwarranted prescriptions at fake health clinics known as pill mills. The law also created a database to track doctors who prescribe pain medication. The Drug Enforcement Administration followed suit.

The DEA is limiting the number of legal narcotics sold at Florida pharmacies and cracking down on pharmacists that fill fake prescriptions.

Senator Mike Fasano says there is nothing in the law that prevents a doctor from writing a legitimate prescription to be filled at a legitimate pharmacy and the problem is at the federal level where supplies are being scaled back, but Fasano is quick to point out that before his bill passed, 85 percent of the Oxycodone sold in the country was sold in Florida.

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