Medical providers in Knoxville, nationwide face opioid shortage

Local News

FILE – This Feb. 19, 2013 file photo shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. The maker of the powerful painkiller said it will stop marketing opioid drugs to doctors, a surprise reversal after lawsuits blaming the company for helping trigger the current drug abuse epidemic. OxyContin has long […]

In the midst of an opioid epidemic, hospitals across the country are now facing a different kind of crisis: a shortage of these painkillers for patients in acute pain.

The shortage is an unintended product of manufacturing setbacks and a government effort to reduce addiction by restricting drug production.

The Drug Enforcement Administration says they will work closely with hospitals and drug manufacturers to ensure patients have access to necessary hospital-administered medications.

American Medical Response, the ambulance company that runs through Knoxville, confirms it’s a problem here and around the country. Spokesman Mike Cohen says they’re working with medical directors to find other drugs to use instead of opioids on ambulances. He says a lot of the drugs were made in Puerto Rico, which is still recovering from the hurricane.

UT Medical Center also says it is a national problem and they will “work diligently with our physicians to assure that patients are treated with comparable medications for their pain.”

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