Doctors And Ethicists Worry New Opiate Law Could Leave Some Patients In Pain

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The U.S. government considers OxyContin, a prescription drug, to have a “high potential for abuse.”
Photo: OxyContin pill bottle
OxyContin pills are arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt.

As the 7-day opioid prescription limit law passed by legislators this spring takes effect, some doctors and ethicists remain concerned about the human toll.

Matthew Wynia is one of those worried medical ethicists, and the director of the Center for Bioethics and Humanities at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Wynia talked to Colorado Matters about how people in legitimate pain could find themselves without the medications they need.

One of Wynia's primary concerns with the law is how it could play up existing circumstances of medical discrimination. For example, it's already difficult for people with Sickle Cell Anemia to get medication, and the fact that the disease tends to affect people of color makes the situation even more prone to discrimination and barriers.