Floridians living with pain are finding it increasingly difficult to get their legal and legitimate pain medication prescriptions filled. The story of Sue, a nurse who worked with newborn babies in the intensive care unit, represents what countless Floridians face. Twelve years ago, Sue was rear-ended on her way home from work by a distracted driver and has spent every day since with disabling back pain. She had to give up nursing because of the pain and she still struggles every day to get out of bed to work as a self-employed legal consultant. Because of Florida’s well-intentioned but poorly executed efforts to crackdown on “pill mills” – criminal enterprises that masquerade as legitimate pain clinics – she is now forced to drive 2½ hours to find a doctor who will treat her because many doctors are unwilling to prescribe these drugs for fear of being labeled as a pill mill. As if that’s not bad enough, last month, she had to drive more than 100 miles to find a pharmacy to fill her legitimate prescriptions for pain medications! Recently, CVS pharmacies even started refusing to fill prescriptions from specific doctors as an official company policy.
For people who struggle to live with their pain, including some who must use wheelchairs, the hours they have to spend in their cars and work to get in and out of a car--just to find a pharmacy to fill their prescriptions--all only makes their pain worse. Floridians and all other Americans who live with debilitating chronic pain should never face more challenges to getting the care they need to live their lives.