Last month, New York City announced that patients at public hospitals would no longer be able to receive more than a three-day supply of medicines such as Vicodin and Percocet. Lost or stolen prescriptions will not be refilled.
Another example is Washington state, where an educational course for anyone who prescribes opioids is required by law, and a so-called "pain contract" to accompany any prescription.
Meanwhile, the number of painkillers prescribed in the UK is on the rise. One factor may be recent changes to the National Health Service allowing people more flexibility in choosing a doctor.
Semmons still walks with two crutches. Like the weather, his pain is always there, even as it changes from day to day. "It's a constant nagging pain and then it alternates up to a really sharp, needly pain, a stabbing pain," the 63-year-old says.
On good days, he can stand to be philosophical. "I'm in pain every day. It's just a part of life."