New Pain Management Rules Leave Patients Hurting

An effort in Washington State to curb a steep rise in prescription-drug overdose deaths—the most ambitious crackdown in the nation—has prompted a number of doctors and clinics to stop taking new chronic-pain patients on opiates, and in some cases to cut off current pain patients.

Are doctors simply using the new law as an excuse to dump pain patients, who can be needy and demanding — and, in some cases, addicted? Will the new rules cut down on overdose deaths — or just make life unbearable for the many patients who are legitimately hurting? One University of Washington Medicine neighborhood clinic stopped taking new chronic-pain patients on opiates after patients flooded in, saying their doctors had cut them off.

Source: East Valley Tribune – September 4, 2011