Oxycodone shortage to cut addiction may hurt patients - Tucson News Now

Oxycodone shortage to cut addiction may hurt patients

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Local pharmacies are feeling the pain.  At the Medicine Shopp, pharmacists say they're getting several calls a day, from people asking for the blue pill. And sometimes the answer is no.

In between filling dozens of prescriptions, Medicine Shoppe Owner Deborah van Sant worries about her patients.

"There's a huge drug problem across the nation. Several pharmacies and wholesalers have been shut down," van Sant said.

Pharmacists blame this on "pill mills:" doctors and nurse practitioners willing to write a prescription, no questions asked. Under the watchful eyes of the federal government, drug companies have cut down on the shipments they're sending local pharmacies.

And it's hurting guys like Chris Earhardt. He suffers from Compartment Syndrome. There's a lack of blood to his leg that causes nerve damage. 

"It's hurting me," Earhardt said. "You can't get any kind of pain medication anymore." I can go to four to five different pharmacies here around my house [and] may end up on the west side to even get it."

It's frustrating pharmacists as well.

"I'm not able to get the amount of medication in my store to supply my established clientele's needs," van Sant said.

Not able to fill every prescription, pharmacies are now puting strict protocols in place to cut down on prescription drug abuse.

"Then we make a determination," van Sant said. "Based on all that information whether or not we feel comfortable filling the prescription or not."

She said she has had to turn people away.

Earhardt says he understands the concerns. After downing these pills for months, he wonders if he, too, is addicted.  

"Yeah, it's highly addictive.  I've been on them since August so I'm pretty sure I'm addicted," he said.

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