They aren’t drug addicts. They are regular people who are suffering from chronic pain, some even battling cancer. Some are hospice patients.

First Coast News [FL] started investigating this in 2013 and since then the problem has only gotten worse. Local doctors and pharmacists say it has become its own public health crisis and has even lead some to commit suicide…

It’s a conversation Jacksonville pharmacist Bill Napier, owner of Panama Pharmacy, says he has every day with patients. “We will regularly have maybe 30 people a day who we can’t fill prescriptions for,” said Napier. “We had two patients I know of who got tired of the battle and committed suicide…

Under pressure from the DEA he says he created a nine item checklist to decide whose prescriptions his pharmacy can fill. “It’s just continuously gotten tighter and tighter on the supply side from the wholesaler. Only 20 percent of my medicines can be controlled substances.”

At his pharmacy in order to get a prescription for a controlled substance like morphine, oxycodone or hydrocodone filled you must be over the age of 35, undergo a criminal background check and your doctor must be vetted.

“If it’s a new patient, say they have a new cancer, well they are just out of luck,” said Napier. “Especially towards the end of the month I have a lot of people say my pharmacy is out of it, and I try to explain every pharmacy is out of it because every pharmacy has a quota. Once you meet a quota you are done.” …

We want to know if you’ve had trouble getting your prescriptions filled. Use #MedsDenied to join in on the conversation on the First Coast News Facebook page or tweet us on @fcn2go.

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