MOBILE, Ala. (WATE) -- While thousands of people are dying every year from opioid overdoses, those who demand on pain management argue no one is talking about it. Here are the stories of two men who live in agony every day with real chronic pain, now victimized by the abuse of others.
Debilitating pain has been a part of Raymond Kaykendall's life for nearly 30 years. The simple act of bending over to feed his dog is difficult. He was a laborer and fell from a bridge 30 years ago. It took more than a year before he could sit in a chair without being in a full body cast.
"I shattered my whole left side. It was like pick up sticks on the X-ray," Raymond says. He broke his back, lost a kidney, and suffered other internal injuries. "They told my family for three days that I wouldn't live," he claims. Raymond says his left leg is an inch shorter than his right leg.
To relieve his pain, Raymond was prescribed by his doctor a cocktail of Opioids, which became stronger and stronger every year. Now because of strict new opioid policies his daily meds were cut back. He takes oxycodone for pain 4 times a day. Previously, Raymond was taking approximately 90 milligrams a day and now he takes 30 milligrams. That is 60 milligrams less per day and as a result of that Raymond's everyday life is affected. "It's affected me in everything. Doing house chores, just getting through in life," he says.
Steve Glass can't get out of a chair without pain. Disabled for 27 years following a series of back surgeries, Steve has chronic, constant pain which affects him emotionally, physically, and psychologically. To ease his debilitation, his doctors prescribe 15 mg of Oxycodone, 10 mg of Oxycontin.
"This is one-third of what I was taking before the cuts in the medicine of everyone," Steve says. "One-third or less. These are the ones demonized the most. There are others, but this is what is always in the news," he continued. Steve claims being in chronic pain, his quality of life has "crashed as a result."
With changes in his pain management, Raymond believes he's paying the price for the abuse by others. "I just don't see where it is my fault that people are overdosing on opioids, when I take mine the way I'm supposed to," he says. "I'm the one that got cut back on my pain medicine because of all the other people out here doing stuff they shouldn't be doing."
Both of these men believe those with chronic pain should be exempt from strict legislation. "I don't think the government ought to be the one to dictate to the doctor's what they can prescribe," says Raymond.
"We're dying, like the people who are overdosing. It's just slower," says Steve.
Just a few weeks ago, the Food and Drug Administration enacted what's called the SUPPORT Act. In the legislation, the FDA supports developing drugs to treat pain that are not addictive, as well as the need to better understand the safety of existing opioids.
Tonight at 5:00 p.m. our all day coverage of this crisis continues. Rose Ann will show us how an Alabama man is fighting addiction by focusing on the brain. Also, tonight from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. we will have experts in the studio answering phones and your questions about addiction.
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