ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona doctor, patient explain why access to opioids is necessary

Jun 20, 2019, 3:26 PM | Updated: Sep 16, 2019, 6:23 am

PHOENIX — A pain management specialist and a patient suffering from chronic pain say that access to opioids is necessary to people who need them to manage their conditions.

As Arizona and other states work to place more rules on opioid prescriptions, some patients are afraid they are being lumped in with addicts, according to pain management specialist Dr. Tony Bui.

“For the chronic pain patients, it’s been very difficult for them because … they feel pretty marginalized from the restrictive action that the state has taken,” Bui told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James & Pamela Hughes Show on Thursday.

“We’re talking about people who are not … (experiencing) addiction, but more like dependent on these medications, only because they have pain.”

Lori Cutter, one of these patients, suffers from fibromyalgia, degenerative disk disease and neuropathy.

She told Bruce & Pamela that she spent $14,000 last year out of pocket and went to over 200 doctor’s appointments trying to find ways to manage her pain.

“To get the kind of care that I need, that helps me thrive, I don’t want to just go to the pill,” she said.

She said at one point she was on four to five medications before she and her doctor decided to stick with hydrocodone, a well-known opioid.

Bui said it’s common for people taking these types of pills to have exhausted all other options.

“With the opioid medications, it’s usually for the person who has tried various other medications, or other modalities like injections, or beyond, that haven’t worked for them and they still find themselves very dysfunctional from an activity standpoint,” he said.

Cutter said she has sometimes struggled to find a provider who will write her a prescription for the potentially addictive drug.

“That’s a legitimate fear inside me sometimes … because I don’t know how long my doctors will continue to fill that,” she said.

Without the drug, she said, “I don’t think I would be functioning as highly as I am. … There’s days I probably wouldn’t be able to get out of bed or sit at my desk very long.”

Bui said his patients often feel like they are automatically labeled as addicts and are looked down on by society.

Cutter said she feels that stigma every time she reaches for her pill bottle.

“I’m hearing these words, ‘abuser,’ ‘addict,’ because that’s what the media and everything is blowing up right now,” she said.

“I think we need to be celebrated that we are managing life as best we can.”

Tune in to KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James & Pamela Hughes Show each day this week at 10 a.m. for special coverage of Arizona’s opioid epidemic.

To reach the Arizona Opioid Assistance and Referral Line, call 1-888-688-4222, or visit the website for more information.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Follow @KTAR923...

KTAR.com

2 arrested in southern Arizona after drug, firearms discovered at multiple properties

Two people were arrested last week after the discovery of a cache of firearms and drugs on their Arizona properties, authorities said.

58 minutes ago

Arizona election worker threatened by California man, officials say...

KTAR.com

California man arrested for sending threatening voicemails to Arizona elections official

A California man allegedly sent threatening voicemails to an Arizona election worker in November 2022, the Justice Department said.

3 hours ago

14th annual Dog Days of Glendale event 2024...

Serena O'Sullivan

Annual Dog Days of Glendale festival returns this weekend

The 14th annual Dog Days of Glendale event will take place at Glendale Landmark School on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

3 hours ago

How the Business Connect program will help Lauren Allen catering...

Serena O'Sullivan

Phoenix catering company to benefit from NFL’s Business Connect program ahead of Final Four

Lauren Allen, a catering and event company, will benefit from the NFL's Business Connect program, which returned in January.

3 hours ago

Tables with balloons and displays are set up Arizona State Fairgrounds Exhibit Building before the ...

Kevin Stone

Attention shoppers: Junior League of Phoenix Rummage Sale returns to Arizona State Fairgrounds

The Junior League of Phoenix’s Annual Rummage Sale -- aka "Arizona's largest indoor garage sale" -- returns to the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix on Saturday.

3 hours ago

Roberto Jay Vasquez, 63, went missing on Wednesday, DPS said...

Serena O'Sullivan

Silver Alert issued for missing 63-year-old man last seen walking in Phoenix

The Arizona Department of Public Safety issued a Silver Alert on Thursday evening for Roberto Jay Vasquez, 63, who was last seen Wednesday.

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Arizona doctor, patient explain why access to opioids is necessary