Opioid Shortage Worsens, Production to Increase, Will it Matter?

As the COVID-19 (coronavirus) public health emergency has deepened, the National Pain Report has reported on the shortage of pain medication. The DEA -led crackdown on opioid production is having an unintended consequence during the coronavirus crisis: Many of these same drugs are essential for people on ventilators, and now there’s a shortage.

The shortage is so bad that the DEA last week that it was going to allow an increase in production quotas of pain medication. Here’s our story on it.

The “non-chronic pain” media (I guess there is such a thing) has been picking up the story.

Here’s a story that Politico ran on the topic, entitled “America’s new opioid crisis.”

It’s a good read. Suggest you read it and leave a comment with Politico.

One of the chronic pain community’s eloquent people weighed in on Twitter.

One of our readers, Georgia Carroll wrote to the National Pain Report about the DEA decision to increase production and openly wondered whether it would make any difference.

“Supply increase does nothing for chronic sufferers who can’t get any doctor write the prescription,” she wrote. “I advocate for 500 legitimate abandoned patients who have not been able to get opiates for 5 months and no help is in sight.”

We have been asking our readers about how access to their physicians has been since the COVID-19 crisis started. We were especially curious about physicians who use telemedicine and patients report it’s been a mixed bag—some were happier with the situation saying that they actually had their prescriptions increased and others were having a hard time getting any satisfaction.

Chronic Pain Advocate Terri Lewis, Ph.D. has been monitoring the situation and is find that many doctors are still requiring pain patients to come it.

“Members of the pain physician community: If you are insisting that patients drive to your office for visits and prescriptions, as opposed to using telemed, you are abusing them, your staff & families, and your professional obligation to protect the public during this pandemic,” she wrote on Twitter.

Let us know how you are doing—is access to your physician or provider better or worse? If it’s better, tell us why. If it’s not, share with us.