How does it feel to suffer from debilitating pain but not be able to get your hands on the medication that could help? In the Opinion video above, we hear from Americans who have had to endure this nightmare.

They are among the countless people with chronic pain who have been the unintended victims of the national crackdown on opioid prescribing. In response to the deadly opioid crisis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines intended to limit opioid prescriptions. That advice soon became enshrined in state laws across the country. Suddenly, many pain patients lost the drugs that made their lives bearable. Some sought relief in suicide.

Last year the C.D.C. issued new prescription guidelines intended, in part, to induce a course correction. But facing a confusing mess of federal and state laws, many physicians are still afraid to prescribe opioids to genuine pain sufferers.

America’s doctors have been put in a difficult position. But it doesn’t need to be this way. It is possible to stop overprescribing yet ensure that pain sufferers get the relief they deserve. The patients in our video have one message: Listen to us.

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