SARASOTA, Fla. -- When 30 year-old Adam Martin woke up in the hospital, the doctor said, I have good news and bad news.
“The good news is you’re alive. But, the bad news is you're paralyzed and you’re probably never going to walk again,” Martin recalls.
With tears in his eyes, Martin says he suffered an accidental gunshot wound by his brother that rendered him paralyzed and dependent on prescription pain medication for relief.
“The pain in my neck, the chronic pain I suffer from the actual gunshot, it takes that pain away—the nerve damage, the spine damage—it makes my quality of life a lot better.”
His pain medications of five years were recently cut in half due to state-wide efforts to limit prescription drug abuse. Now he says he frequently can’t even get his prescription for oxycodone and morphine sulphate filled.
“It's a shame, an absolute shame,” says pharmacist Mike Pass. “People that need scheduled drugs, narcotics to alleviate pain… they should be getting them.”
Pass says it’s only going to get worse. “Toward the end of the year the DEA is limiting the amount of drugs and narcotics that are produced in this country.”
He explained, “That means that the manufacturers are not allowed to manufacture; so the pharmacists are in short supply. That indeed is a problem.”
There are safety measures in place to help ensure prescription medications do not fall into the wrong hands.
“In the state of Florida, all pharmacists are required to report all of the scheduled drugs that people are filling prescriptions with,” said Pass.
But Martin's mother Ann says her son needs relief and is in chronic pain. “It’s to the point where he could cry sometimes.”
And this she says is what life would be for him without the meds: “It would be hell for him; he would be in constant pain.”
Pass says pharmacists now worry more about robberies. But the government’s main concern is of medication abuse.
Martin does understand why there are strict guidelines on who can’t get prescription medications, “Because people abuse them. But they seem to forget about the people that need them.”
He says he just can't wrap his mind around why he can't get the necessary pain relief that his doctor prescribed.