Patient says curbing opioid prescriptions hurts people in chronic pain

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — An alternative look at opioids. It’s a battle raging across the nation as a crisis grows. For one woman here in the Cape Fear she said she now can’t get the medication she needs because of the substance abuse issue.

“Start dealing more with the people who are really abusing the medications, don’t punish us,” Paula Koenig said.

17 years ago doctors began prescribing opioids to Koenig for chronic pain after a work related accident. Koenig said her doctor stopped writing her prescriptions two weeks ago. Now she has nothing to combat the pain.

“On a good day I can get up and walk out to my recliner and sit there and watch tv. I used to go for walks on the beach, I used to be able to walk the dogs and I can’t do that anymore, I’m in too much pain,” Koenig said.

Koenig said the guidelines to help fight the opioid crisis are hurting those who need them.

“The drug addicts are getting more help than the chronic pain people,” Koenig said.

It’s a daily battle she never wanted.

“I wish I didn’t have to, but I would like to have a life. I want to live,” Koenig said.

Doctor Brian Lanier is not Koenig’s doctor, but as a primary care physician he thinks there are other ways to treat those suffering.

“The vast majority of cases that these medicines are not appropriate for chronic pain. Chronic pain is extremely complicated. There is often depression or anxiety that’s involved and often those affect people’s perception of pain,” Dr. Lanier said.

Lanier said methods like physical therapy and weaning people off pain pills is a start.

As for Koenig, she said she’s now left with nothing to help with the pain. A rally is taking place in Durham tomorrow to protest the CDC guidelines.

Categories: Local, New Hanover

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