As a long time chronic pain patient, patient advocate, pain writer/researcher, regular Columnist at painnewsnetowork.org, and Delegate to International Pain Foundation, I am one of ONE HUNDRED MILLION pain patients whose voices are being completely left out of this narrative. Out of these 100 million, many of us need access to opioid pain medications in order to function on a daily basis. Not because we're addicted, but because we have legitimate, 'round-the-clock treatment, for our moderate to severe pain.
I am contacted daily by patients who are absolutely desperate because they cannot obtain proper pain treatment, or because their meds have been so severely cut or completely withdrawn, because their doctors (even pain doctors) "Are afraid they'll lose their licenses," and they can no longer function. I am one of the many who need a level of morphine equivalent, which is much higher than the CDC’s “Recommended Daily Morphine Equivalent Dosage.” I, and many of these patients (NOT addicts) see two options if we cannot get the necessary medications—seek relief in the form of street drugs, or commit suicide. It is that simple.
It is abundantly clear that the opioid witch-hunt is quickly snowballing into the new American genocide for those of us who rely on opioid pain medication to have any quality of life, whatsoever. I am not ignoring the problem this country has with addiction, but pain and addiction are two separate issues, and must be treated with two very separate approaches. I am not pushing opioids, just a patient's right to utilize them to their fullest extent of effectiveness, as well as an advocate of the doctor/patient decision-making process, over the governmental, media, and special anti-opioid interest groups deciding what patients’ treatment should or should not be.