Suncoast men say they are collateral damage in war on drugs

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Posted: Sunday, December 22, 2013 6:05 pm

SARASOTA, FLA. - Florida fights prescription drug abuse aggressively. State regulators tighten regulations and limit the supply of narcotic pills distributors and pharmacies can have in their inventory. It is a move applauded by Sheriff Tom Knight who says it has made it harder for criminals to abuse prescription drugs.

“And so the individuals who truly need it will be able to get their hands on it,” Sheriff Knight told ABC 7.

Not so says Tom Contant.

“I’m in severe chronic pain 24/7.” A severe motorcycle accident left him disabled and dependent on pain medication.

“Oh, I would give up this garbage,” said Contant. “I have been having to take this medication since 1990 and these people on the streets that want to take it for fun, nail them, cause I don’t want to take it.”

He says he is unable to function without pain meds and now he is having trouble getting his legitimate prescriptions filled.

“I’ve been from every pharmacy from here to North Port one day trying to drive and find this medication. I was told the same thing in every place, we have gone through our allocations. We don’t have that in stock any more. We’ve gone through our allocation.”

Contant had to return to his doctor who wrote a new prescription for a weaker medicine that has left him in agony.

Contant friend and neighbor, Steve Lasher is also dependent on pain medication.

“I’m like collateral damage in a war. These things that they are trying to do are affecting those of us who really need this medicine,” said Lasher. He has been HIV positive for 20 years says it is hard enough getting prescriptions filled when the pharmacy has the supply on hand.

“You take the prescription up to the counter and they look at you like you are a junkie. They look at you like you are there and you don’t really need to be there,” said Lasher.

Both men say they are innocent victims in the war on drugs. They hope something is changed so those with painful conditions and valid prescriptions will not have to needlessly suffer.

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  • Powerk posted at 3:28 pm on Sat, Jan 4, 2014.

    Powerk Posts: 1

    As a nurse and pain patient, I can see both sides of this problem. It is unfair that legal pain patients are lost and hurt by being stuck in the middle. I have trouble finding my meds. I drive miles every month from sarasota to north port and am turned away every time. My cobra ended last July which ended my mail order prescriptions. I'm treated like a drug addict and looked down upon. My meds are now 700.00 monthly because the 1 place I found won't take discount drug cards on narcotics. My generic time released med is 520.00 a month. I'm not asking for special treatment I just want to be treated fairly. I wish just 1 pharmacist would help and maybe others would follow. I sure could use a little help getting what meds I need.

  • Fight For Pain Care Action Network posted at 12:06 am on Tue, Dec 31, 2013.

    Fight For Pain Care Action Network Posts: 1

    I totally agree with these men. I have been involved with pain care advocacy for over 4 years now nd have watched this take place.. I have been contacted by thousands of patients suffering because of the draconian measures the state FL has taken. Florida has pain People! Yes, we needed the pill mills gone but not create collateral damage in the process. Snowbirds are NOT returning here either. Remember? This state is home to many elderly, disabled and people who suffer with pain because the weather is mild. FL has more of this population than most any other state!

    Because of these problems that have created, Patients are having to wait up to 2 weeks for their legal prescriptions to be filled. They are dependent on these medicines and have to suffer severely while waiting.
    It seems that the FDA stated that sharing medications caused much of this problem too but all these problems with delayed filling and doctors made afraid to write for proper medicines is causing many to be under treated and these things will happen and are happening, can you blame them?
    This in turn will cause, 1. patients to suffer and withdraw, or 2. yes! share with family and friends to ward off severe pain, or 3. cause patients to go to the streets looking for medicines they need, in which they are legally prescribed but can not obtain because of draconian measures taken by Pam Bondi and Rick Scott. They went extremely OVERBOARD!! Now we need someone to fix ALL this MESS and fast!
    FL revenue will decline and many more patients will be signing up for disability, Medicaid and many of them are qualified but only wanted to continue working for the better income. If these patients can't get filled? They lose time at work, get fired because they're pain is out of control. All pain patients know, it's easier to keep pain maintained, but if it gets out of hand, it's harder to get back under control. What the he!! is wrong with this state or this country? This shameful! and all representatives of the government should be ashamed of themselves for lying! They promised this wouldn't happen to legitimate patients but guess what?? It did! and now?? They don't care! I hope this message gets to all who need to read it because it is the truth. This needs to STOP NOW!

  • crabbysam posted at 3:27 pm on Mon, Dec 23, 2013.

    crabbysam Posts: 15

    You know the sad part of all is this is that this story doesn't end here.

    It's sad that the DEA forces poor people like these that live with chronic persistent pain are forced into mandatory visiting their anesthesiologist or pain control doctor every thirty days when prescribed morphine type medication used for debilitating pain.

    The DEA does NOT give a rat's @ss if the person is bed-ridden or a paraplegic. It's bad enough these poor soles have to live with chronic pain, pill mills and the DEA make having a disability a nightmare with their having patients (& physicians) having to jump through hoops to receive medication they so desperately require.

    It's a sad state of affairs and people living in pain have my sympathy.

  • crasherlasher posted at 6:46 pm on Sun, Dec 22, 2013.

    crasherlasher Posts: 1

    Tom Knight, its NOT working, this policy is not working.


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