The other side of opioids

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DELTA, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT News)-- Gene Bowlen has been dealing with chronic pain for over a decade. He has pain in his neck and disks in his back. He also used to suffer from a hernia.

Bowlen used to work in an oil field. He was lifting ramps onto a trailer when he got hurt.

“In 2004; I re-injured it in 2005 in about October,” says Bowlen.

Up until this year he’s been taking prescription Methadone and Oxycodone, he says with no problem even at a lower dosage.

“I cut myself down, not the doctor”.

In a letter, his doctor says she is discontinuing her practice of managing and prescribing the medicine due to the stricter prescribing guidelines for opioids. He says he’s not an addict and realizes the opioid epidemic.

“But the problem is that not all these patients are like me saying ‘fix me, I don’t want to take your drugs,’”

He says the other drugs his doctor prescribes just don’t work and that he’s allergic to several of them. What he really wants is the surgery that would fuse the vertebra in his back. He’s hoping that the surgery can be paid for by his Medicare. But even if it is, he says he might still need to be on opioids if the procedure doesn’t take away the pain.

“And if I got to have them the rest of my life? Well I’m not really happy about it, but I guess that’s the way I’ll have to live”.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse website, every day more than 130 people in the U.S. die after overdosing on opioids. In 2017, Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency for opioid overdose.

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