By Wanda –
Dear Sir or Madam,
As a person with chronic pain, it saddens me to hear of the ongoing “opioid crisis.”
It saddens me that patients like myself are being prevented from receiving access to life-changing medication because of people who have turned that medication into recreational drug.
It saddens me to know that elderly people are having their medication stolen from them, either by someone who will use them for a “high” or someone who will sell them.
It saddens me that so many lives are being lost to depression and hopelessness, leading to suicide because they were patients lost in the “medication gap” created by the current condition.
Recently, Ultram (aka Tramadol) was reclassified as an opioid. Because this was offered to those of us who were treated with an opioid as a “more responsible choice,” many were forced to change medications. For a number of people this meant living with higher pain levels, but avoiding being judged for taking an opioid, or to hold opioids back for when things worsened. Now that Ultram has been classified as a controlled substance, we are back to having to carry the script in person. By the public at large we are seen as “users,” that stigma we despise because it has been perverted to cover addicts.
We USE medication to try and live a tolerable life. Addicts ABUSE their given “drug” to escape life. Therein lies the difference between the two, the patient with their medication and the addict with their drug. In a world that all too often sees only the addict, it is disheartening and depressing to be viewed through the same lenses.
There is another “opioid crisis” in America today. It is the crisis of patients being turned away because doctors are judged by insurance companies and legislators for prescribing such medications. It is the crisis of the side-lined, those whose lives are ruled by pain but are unable to treat it adequately. It is the patient who has chosen to take the “lesser” medication and now finds it being stigmatized as well.
If you want to see this crisis, look no further than your local emergency room where these people are turned away as drug seekers or to your local pharmacies where corporations have decided they know the doses all Americans should take in any given period. Look to the business accounts showing missed days, to the college classrooms being taught all opioids are bad, to the local new-age shops where millions are turning for natural healing, or perhaps all you need to do is look at your readership.
Those struggling patients are there… all one needs to do is look.
With Kindest Regards for Pain Awareness,