A Georgia woman is hoping state lawmakers will hear how opioids – prescribed by doctors – nearly ruined her life.
Connie Brownlow's problems started a few months ago when she was side-swiped by an 18-wheeler on the interstate.
"I couldn't move my neck. I couldn't move my back. Everything was locked up," Brownlow told CBS46 News.
Doctors prescribed her hydrocodone and oxycodone to relieve the pain -- powerful opioids that turned the federal-government employee of 33 years into a zombie.
"I've never been one to drink or to smoke, so I don't know about drugs, per se, but I have taken like codeine and how it makes you sleepy. But this medication, it's just on a different level," said Brownlow.
When she would try to come off the opioids, the side-effects would kick in even worse. She would hallucinate and become depressed.
"So that's how you get hooked?" asked CBS46's Rebekka Schramm.
"That's how you get hooked," answered Brownlow.
It was a friend - not a doctor - who recommended that Connie see Dr. Leana Kart, an Atlanta chiropractor.
Dr. Kart quickly realized the opioids Connie was taking were just masking the pain caused by a severe misalignment of her spine, which was pinching many of her nerves.
"Chiropractic is a wonderful alternative to helping so many people not even get on these medications," Dr. Kart told CBS46.
As president of the Georgia Chiropractic Association, Dr. Kart is now working with state lawmakers in hopes of helping to craft two bills that she says just might put a dent in the opioid crisis. One of the bills would lower co-pays for chiropractic. The other would require medical doctors to recommend chiropractic care first for patients with neck and back pain.
"I do believe the medical community is on board. It's the legislators that we have to educate," said Dr. Kart.
Brownlow says her story is proof that natural treatments can help some chronic-pain sufferers become drug-free.
CBS46 reached out to the American Alliance of Orthopedic Executives. When it comes to tackling the opioid crisis, the AAOE is more interested in seeing states require the use of electronic prescriptions.
It'll be interesting to see how far the chiropractic proposal gets and whether lawmakers decide to craft it into a bill.
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