Georgia veteran says VA’s efforts to fight opioid addiction has left him, others in pain

ATLANTA — A Georgia veteran says Department of Veterans Affairs efforts to fight addiction are leaving him and others in pain.

The VA has cut in half the number of patients receiving powerful opioids.

But 72-year-old Navy veteran Amos Moore says without pain medication, just standing up is a challenge.

“Every time I move, it’s painful, it’s excruciating,” Moore told Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray.

For years, Moore says, his doctor at the Atlanta VA Medical Center prescribed the opioid hydrocodone to help with the pain from degenerative disks in his back

But Moore said this month a new doctor cut back his dose. Then he said another doctor stopped refills of his hydrocodone prescription entirely.

“She didn’t examine me, she didn’t touch me. Just got on the computer and started making changes,” Moore said.

In a statement, a VA spokesman wrote:

“These allegations are false to the point where repeating them for your readers would be highly irresponsible. Atlanta VA health care system will reach out to the veteran directly to discuss his treatment options moving forward.”

The VA has reduced the number of veterans prescribed an opioid by more than 50% in an effort to prevent addiction.

But there are growing concerns the VA has gone too far.

The mother of Georgia veteran Gary Pressley filed an $8.25 million claim against the VA on Feb. 18.

Pressley committed suicide in the parking lot of the Dublin, Georgia VA medical center after failing to have his pain medication refilled.

Her attorney Peter Bertling told us, “They need not to arbitrarily withdraw people from these medications without a legitimate justification for doing so.”