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Opioids, Sickle Cell, and the Latest Win on the Issue

July 10, 2018 by Andrea

opioids

Instead of improving over the years, the stigma associated with sickle cell warriors and pain medications has only gotten worse -- especially with the onset of this administration's focus on what they term the "opioid epidemic." Warriors are often dismissed as addicts and told their pain can't possibly be as bad as they say it is. 

Recently, though, one Virginia man scored a win for the thousands of people living with sickle cell in his state. Yesterday (July 8, 2018), the Richmond Free Press reported that on June 15, Virginia's governor, Ralph S. Northam, approved a regulation change allowing doctors to prescribe sickle cell patients higher dosages of opioids without having to provide justification for such prescriptions. This change, which was campaigned for by George H. Carter, a Virginian who lives with SCD and is chief lobbyist for the nonprofit Sickle Cell – Virginia, has been a long time coming. 

According to the paper, Carter took his fight to the General Assembly and the Virginia Legistlative Black Caucus first, but neither would help him. Finally, he approached the state Board of Medicine, and this past February, they voted 12-6 to add sickle cell to the list of opioid regulation exemptions. 

"If you haven't experienced the pain, you just cannot imagine what it is like," Carter told the Free Press. 

Read the entire article here.

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