Strong opioid dosage is the topic of a two-day public hearing by the Food and Drug Administration — which is trying to discern the benefits and risks.
For Katrina King, her opioid addiction began with a back injury. It got so bad she spent two years behind bars after getting caught with forged prescriptions.
King blames being put on high-dose medication too strong for her injury.
"The extended release — introducing that into the picture as such a potent dose so early in my diagnosis without trying anything else — ended up being catastrophic," she said.
Some people have suggested the FDA remove high-dose opioids form the market to fight the deadly epidemic. Others argue the stronger meds are necessary to manage pain for some patients and getting rid of it could worsen pain for those people, leading to potential suicides.
"We don't want to cause additional suffering for people who have unmanageable pain that does make them feel they don't want to live anymore. On the other side of that, I would challenge the pharmaceutical industry and the FDA to come up with other methods of pain control," King said.
The FDA will review public comments and decide whether to make change, which could include tougher regulations on reducing the use of high-dose opioids.