LEHIGH ACRES, Fla - Could the war on prescription pill abuse keep patients who legitimately need medicine, in pain? Many viewers tell WINK News they can't find their legal pain prescriptions, anywhere.
Larry Tezekjian of Lehigh Acres currently takes about eight different medications for pain, he still suffers from injuries to his spine from a car crash 16 years ago.
"These pain levels are like walking around with an ice pick in your leg," said Tezekjian.
They're all legal prescriptions. But these days, he can't find the medicines his doctor prescribes.
"I am told keeping ordering it, keep ordering it, it never comes in," said Tezekjian.
"We've seen a tremendous difficulty on the patient's part in getting medications out of their pharmacies," said Doctor Gene Mahaney, Medical Director of Pain Management at Lee Memorial Health System.
Doctor Gene Mahaney, of Lee Memorial Hospital, says that's because of Senate Bill 7095.
"Unfortunately, due to the tremendous problem with pill mills in the area, over the past few years. Florida has been forced to enact probably some of the most strict laws in terms of governing controlled substances," said Mahaney.
The Attorney General's Office says the law doesn't stop pharmacists from filling prescription for narcotics and says those supplies are regulated by the DEA.
"They get a certain allotment every month, and because of the restrictions that have been placed on the pharmacies and distributors, they are unable to go to their distributors, ask for more medication, without raising a level of scrutiny by the DEA," said Mahaney.
But some patients feel victimized.
"It's forced patients to go from pharmacy to pharmacy to try to fill pills and cause them to feel very profiled," said Mahaney.
And Doctor Mahaney is not optimistic for the future.
"I believe patients will continue to have difficulties finding these medications on a regular basis," said Mahaney.
None of the pharmacists we contacted would even talk to us about this.
One told us exactly what Dr. Mahaney said; they're afraid of getting in trouble with regulatory agencies.
The Florida Attorney Generals Office told WINK News that the law is effective and since cracking down on pill mills, they say they've seen a 52% drop in deaths related to oxycodone.
Dr. Mahaney said a new spine center at Lee Memorial is open, offering alternatives to narcotic based pain management