HRW is seeking evidence that the CDC guidelines and other efforts to modulate opioid prescribing result in patients being cut off from vital medication, in violation of their right to appropriate health care.

The group “is looking for testimonials from chronic pain patients who have been forced or encouraged to stop their opioid medication by physicians or pharmacists,” the Pain News Network reported in March.

“The CDC clearly knows what’s going on and they haven’t taken any real action to say, ‘That is not appropriate, involuntarily forcing people off their medications. That’s not what we recommended,’ ” Diederik Lohmann, director of health and human rights for HRW, told the network, which says two-thirds of its readers take opioids, mostly for chronic, non-cancer pain. “When a government puts in place regulations that make it almost impossible for a physician to prescribe an essential medication, or for a pharmacist to stock the medication, or for a patient to fill their prescriptions, that becomes a human rights issue.”