San Antonians who suffer from chronic pain are afraid they will be left behind as the country races to pass measures to deal with the opioid addiction crisis, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Quick action to deal with the crisis, which has led to a record number of deaths from painkiller abuse, is seen as necessary by both parties, as the U.S. Senate last night, on an unusual 99-1 vote, approved a bill designed to deal with the crisis.
But Dennis Ewing, a San Antonian who suffers from chronic pain, says people like him will end of paying the price for politicians' efforts to show that they are dealing with the problem.
"The pain patients are more and more being treated like criminals," he said. "Like having to take a 'pee test' every time we go in for a prescription, to make sure you're not diverting your medicine."
Ewing says the problem is out of control imports of Fentanyl from China and Mexico as drug dealers do what drug dealers always do...to spot a demand and try to meet that demand to make money.
"The users of prescription opioids, there have been studies showing that only about .05% to 3% result in addiciton," Ewing said.
He says the remainder are people who take opioids for 'kicks,' and end up addicted, either by stealing meds out of parents' or friends' medicine cabinets, or by buying the drugs on the street, just like addicts have become addicted for decades.
But Ewing says having 'lawyers acting like doctors' in Congress threatens to cut him off from the drugs that make it possible for him to function, despite his endless chronic pain.
"Opioids gave me the ability to work ten years longer than the doctors said I could," he said. "When I was finally forced to retire, they still allow me to do some housework and play with my grandkids. If they take thart away from me, I'll be bedridden."