Opioids Crisis. Opioid Crisis. Opioid Crisis. Sadly, it’s not like The Wizard of Oz and just because I clicked my heels and repeated it three times does not mean it has gone away. But much like Dorothy we aren’t in Kansas anymore. It seems everyday it gets worse and people are going further off the deep-end about the issue. There are doctors dropping patients with no warning, refusing to prescribe meds due to “new laws” that don’t exist. And patients are suffering. The media is only showing the public one side of the crisis. They don’t show you about the people who need them to function. Not because of addiction but to advanced disease process. They also don’t often talk about those who have taken their own life due to lack of medication. Something has to be done. Someone needs to draw attention to the people who are really suffering.
Before I jump into the issues at hand I feel like I need to put this here. A disclaimer of sorts. I would like to set this straight now so no one can misconstrue my writing later. Is there an opioid crisis? YES. Is it being made to look worse than it is? Possibly, it’s hard to know. Are innocent people who use pain medications just to be a productive person being hurt in the process YES, Three hundred times YES! Am I saying that opioids haven’t led some to other drugs, NO. And I’m not saying that there are drs out there who need to have their license revoked for their illegal and VERY DANGEROUS prescribing practices because there are. What I am saying is that there is a LARGE POPULATION of America’s who are being FAILED by the current United States Medical System. People who never asked to be in the situations that they find themselves in. Those that didn’t “do” anything to cause the pain they live with on a daily basis and would give anything to get rid of that pain, meds and go back to their normal life.
According to Healthline News in November of 2017 it was reported that there were nearly 100,000 AMERICANS who live with some kind of chronic pain who are not able to get the relief they need. This same article also states that more than 30 percent of Americans live with some kind of CHRONIC or SEVERE pain. To put that into perspective for you more people live with chronic pain than with cancer, heart disease and diabetes combined. Just to spell it out a little further nearly 1.5 million Americans have lupus (LFA), approximately 10 million Americans live with Fibromyalgia(NFA), approximately 1.3 million Americans have Rheumatoid Arthritis (Healthline), 200million women worldwide & 1 in 10 women in the United States have Endometriosis (Endo Foundation ), nearly 780,000 people in the US have Crohn’s (Healthline, and it is estimated that nearly 2-3 million Americans have chronic migraines Migraine.Com.
You may be wondering why I chose to share those stats? I wanted to show you that that approximately 23 million Americans have conditions that cause some kind of chronic pain! Pain that they did nothing to cause. All of these conditions happen on their own without any help from the person they happen to. What I’m trying to show you is that it’s not like these 23 million people went out and tore their ACL or had an emergency or scheduled operation and got addicted to pain killers post op. These people have conditions that won’t likely ever fully go away. And that cause pain frequently. Are some of that large group of people addicted to opioids? I’m sure. But I just want people to understand that it’s not just the people who go in and have an emergency surgery that need pain pills to deal with their pain. There are people like me who have very few days where something doesn’t hurt. Even with changing my diet, and trying heat, heat & pain patches, ice, acupuncture, etc and pain meds are just necessary sometimes.
I don’t want any pity. That’s not what this is about. I want people to realize that there is a MASSIVE population in the United States who live with daily chronic pain due to nothing they did. They didn’t ask to get Lupus, or Fibromyalgia or Migraines. And I can tell you I didn’t ask to get all of the above plus more.
No one with a chronic illness that causes significant chronic pain should be made to feel guilty because we need pain meds here and there to continue our fight. We shouldn’t be looked down upon or shamed by anyone, ESPECIALLY MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS, because we are at the point in our conditions where pain pills are necessary. We should not feel ashamed to tell people when asked that we use pain medication as needed because we have to. We shouldn’t have to ration our meds or be made to quit cold turkey because some doctor decides he no longer wants to prescribe narcotics after 5 years of treatment. We sure as hell shouldn’t be made to feel like suicide is our only answer when no doctor will listen when we tell them just how bad the pain is and refuses to listen.
None of that should be happening. But guess what?? It is. And you will NEVER see it on the news. You won’t find a story about the 70 something grandma who was forced to stop their pain meds cold turkey because their doctor decides to follow a “new law,” that doesn’t exists. Or the father of three who felt like he had no other way out than to end his life once his pain medication was taken away with no warning. You won’t see the story about the young newly widowed wife and mom who now has to explain to her three young children that their father is no longer here on Earth because the medical system FAILED HIM. You won’t see the story about the mother of 3 young boys who love baseball more than anything who hasn’t seen a game all year because the pain is unbearable. You simply won’t see it.
Do you see a trend? All the news will ever tell you about are those who are addicted. Those who started with narcotics and use it as a gateway to heroin. They will tell you about all the negative things that happen because of opioids. But they won’t tell you the negative things that are happening because those who actually need the medication and are no longer able to get them.
The media will definitely NEVER show you the people who’s lives who have been changed for the better due to pain medications. The people who were in beds for weeks or months who are now out of bed more. Or the people who hadn’t been able to leave their house simply because of the pain, who now due to pain medication are able to at least get out of the house occasionally. Moms or Dads who have never seen their child sing in the church choir or play soccer that are able to solely because of a very low dose pain killer. Those are things that will NEVER get the media’s attention.
With all things can come addiction. People can potentially become addicted to anything. Some of those addictions are much worse than other but they are addictions none the less. People can be addicted to things anywhere from sweets and soda, to alcohol and sex. And don’t think I am naive to the fact that opioids are addictive and addiction does happen because it does and I have seen it first hand. It CAN happen for some quickly after just a few short days. Or some can take the meds for years and never become addicted. EVERY PERSON IS DIFFERENT. I just want to get some of things out that the new media will never share. Like I have said before Opioids can Be dangerous but they can also be life changing.
10 thoughts on “The Side Of The Opioid Crisis You Wont Hear About…….”
Thank You for writing and sharing this article
You are so welcome. Feel free to share it!! We have to get the word out.
Is there an organization fighting for chronic pain patients? Its not really the docs.. I can tell you from experience they are being threatened by the state boards, the DEA, and others.
Yes there is at least one that I know of that is fighting for chronic pain patients. I know they are being threatened. That is what angers me even more.
YES! This. There are days where I wake up crying in pain in the middle of the night, days where I can’t walk, can’t leave the house. Some dats the pain is so bad I do think about suicide, I won’t lie. I don’t plan and I love my life too much but when everything hurts so bad the thoughts will come. But because I am 21 and my chronic illness is invisible, almost every doctor has assumed I am drug seeking, despite no history of use. The “strongest” pain medication I have been given is a prescription NSAID. Even when I’m in the ER rating my pain an 8/10 or 9/10, I get tylenol or maaaaaybe some very low does Tramadol. Why do I have to suffer for the unfortunate mistakes of the medical field and addicts?
I know. I am so sorry that you are suffering so much. It’s an awful way to live. And you are so young. I’m so so sorry. I know that doesn’t help but I do get it!
THANKS for your accurate description of a situation that the media has presented as a one sided issue. i know SO many people who need or needed opiod pain meds for short term or as a back up when their autoimmune disease flares really bad and NONE of the people I know are addicted or EVER have been. They are careful not to take too much or too often. But they need the medication to get by from time to time or take regularly but carefully, so as not to be addicted.I am lucky to have an internist who looks at my disease process and the pain i live with and sees that I take as little pain meds as possible. He has no problem prescribing what I need. He also does not over prescribe to other patients he thinks abuse the use of ANY prescription medication. We need more ethical doctors like him.
Thanks for listening. Keep on being who you are.
Thank you!! That’s exactly why i wrote this. People need to know this side of this whole crazy story.
Thanks for writing this. I wish more people would see. What are your sources for the statistics? I’m 38, and have been dealing with chronic pain for 20 months, effecting my entire left leg, butt, and now migrating to my right butt and leg. No one has given me a correct diagnosis. I’m in the medical field, a pharmacist, well almost, about to get my license to practice, but studying is sooooooo incredibly hard because it’s next to impossible to get comfy. I can’t sit for more than ten minutes. Even with pain meds, because my dose was reduced so my pain never ever goes away completely. I’ve tried everything to relive pain, been to the ER like six times this year. I finally, yesterday got an MRI of my pelvis, something I’ve been begging for for months. I’m thinking this is related to my history of endometriosis. My pain fluctuates from 3/10 – 9/10 daily, because it’s not adequately controlled… I cannot get enough pain meds to fully function. In public, rare event these days, (when I go to doctor appointments, and the pharmacy) I’m at an 8 or 9 pain level, especially after driving there, I’m tearing up, and I’m sure such a strange position while waiting that people stop and ask me if I’m okay. This is my life, every day. It sucks. Yes, thoughts of suicide enter my head, but never want to actually act on it a since I know I will get through the severe pain when my pain med kicks in…. But then when it wears off in three hours, if I’m lucky four, I’m slowly heading back towards that 8 or 9/10. I’m only allowed three pain meds per day, which is nonsense. They work better than any other method I’ve tried, when they’re in my system, but the wait between doses is absurd (8 hrs, when I know, as a pharmacist that they are dosed every four to six hours based on kinetics). I’m not addicted to any, “high.” I’ve never experienced a high. If anything I’m addicted to the pain relief. This article described the problem to a T.
I am so sorry you are dealing with this. It’s just not right the things they are doing. If you don’t mind sharing it. Please do so. I want this to reach as many people as it can. People need to be able to see and hear the real story. Hear what is really happening and what problems this whole epidemic is really causing. I updated the article with my sources. And added a couple references.