The Drug Store News Group has launched a new microsite to help bring attention to an often overlooked group in the debate on prescription drug abuse — the millions of Americans who live in chronic pain who may be unable to access the medications they need because of proposed changes in regulatory policy.
Last fall, the Food and Drug Administration recommended that combination prescription pain medications containing hydrocodone be reclassified as schedule II controlled substances. The change would limit the amounts of these drugs that a pharmacy can buy from a wholesaler. The unintended effect is that when a legitimate patient shows up at the pharmacy, the medications they need may not be available.
While prescription drug abuse is a growing problem in the United States — according to the to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 14,000 people died from prescription drug overdoses in 2008, about three-quarters of which were caused by opioid-based painkillers — as many as 100 million Americans live with chronic pain, according to Institute of Medicine estimates.
The new site, puts a face on these legitimate patients and what it means when they are unable to access the medications they need to manage pain. Working with the U.S. Pain Foundation, Drug Store News was able to capture the stories of those living with chronic pain and their daily struggles. The new Drug Store News microsite ties into the U.S. Pain Foundation’s INvisible Project, a photojournalistic showcase of the day-to-day experiences of real people with chronic pain, which was first introduced in 2010.