Addiction Prevention Coalition News

Some health experts across the country are pushing for stricter guidelines when it comes to treating pain in clinics and hospitals.

They sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

In it, they said the current standards are contributing to an overuse of addictive pain medicines.

We found doctors here who agree.

Dr. Mark Wilson with the Jefferson County Health Department tells ABC 33/40, prescription pain addiction here is at a "crisis" level. He says re-evaluating these guidelines is only part of the picture. Wilson adds, there has to be a middle ground where we still treat pain adequately, while remaining aware of the risks of addiction.

Those risks are well known by 32-year-old Jonathan Jones.

Jones is a resident at The Foundry in Bessemer. He is a recovering addict. It started when he was prescribed medication for his back pain.

"Once you get started, and get that feeling, it's easy to get hooked on," said Jones. "Everybody is going to have some kind of pain they're going to deal with. Most people think pain meds are the only way. I think it should be a little stricter in how you get it."

Currently, hospitals are required to give surveys to patients asking them to rate their pain. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid rate hospitals by those surveys.

Now, health officials are asking to drop the survey.

Sandor Cheka with the Addiction Prevention Coalition says he is not surprise some medical professionals are stepping up and speaking out.

"You see it across the country. People are really trying to figure out how do we stop this massive opiate epidemic?" said Cheka. "Are we giving them drugs for valid things? Or are we just trying to comfort those who are in a little bit of pain?

Jonathan Jones has this message for those struggling with addiction. "You're not alone. Don't think you're the only one who has to go through these issues."

Dr. Wilson says it will take a lot of resources to get this epidemic under control.

He wants the community to help by getting rid of leftover pain medicines, or keeping them locked up

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