Critics claim pain pill legislation creates obstacle course for law-abiding doctors, patients

CLEARWATER - Without her oxycodone pills, Jeanne can't even get out of bed.

"It feels like you were just run over by a truck," she said. "Everyday. Every morning."

Asking only to be identified by first name for security reasons, the fibromyalgia patient showed up to her pharmacy of two years to find they no longer prescribed her medicine.

"I had to do what's called a pharmacy crawl, which is driving around to different pharmacies try to find one that has it," Jeanne explained.

It took her five tries before she found one with oxycodone.  Since then, filling her prescription is a never-ending challenge, one that's not just affecting patients.

"Pharmacists are deciding they don't feel comfortable filling my prescriptions," said physiatrist Dr. Marc Reiskind.

Dr. Reiskind practices in Pinellas County where the pain pill ordinance is even tougher than state law. The county requires any doctor writing more than twenty narcotic prescriptions a day to pay $1,500 a year to register as a "pain clinic."  They're subject to random inspections and required to post a permit.

"I treat some patients of mine with narcotics. I don't want to be known as a pain physician. I'm not," Dr. Reiskind said. "They're making me pretend to be something I'm not so that I can fill a county regulation."

Though Dr. Reiskind doesn't deny a pain pill problem, admitting some changes even made for better patient care, he's concerned many new rules simply make it hard to practice medicine, and doctors may give up fighting.

"They just say, 'I'm not going to do this. Find somebody else,'" he said. "Physicians are very scared of the potential. We don't want to lose our licenses. It's our livelihood."

Jeanne's nervous too, because in April, a month after her first oxycodone scare, she says her physician of six years sent her a letter. He decided he'd no longer see chronic pain patients, and she'd have to find a new doctor.

 "It feels as if this is going to be continuing forever," Jeanne said. "What state, what country do I need to move in order to have pain relief?"

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