Drugs · Family · Health · Pain Management

Get Over It (the Opioid Crisis) Already

My mom will turn 81 years old this July. She has been struggling without effective pain medication for over a year. Her OTC options are very limited because she is in Stage 4 kidney failure. She’s managed to stave off actual dialysis for nearly five years. She’s had one shoulder and one hip replaced and should probably have the remaining two replaced. But really at 81 years old?! She also has osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, sciatica and spinal disk issues.

And she isn’t able to truly manage her pain … because the backlash from addiction to opiods has meant that the people who really need them often can’t get them. We resorted to buying edible cannibas (high CBD/low THC). She sleeps more to escape the pain and her energy is depleted from the stress of dealing with continuous chronic pain. She loved taking her Yorkie for a daily walk. She enjoyed going out to shop and eat, visiting the ocean etc. COVID limited that for such a long time that we were really looking forward to doing them again. And she just can’t cope without effective pain relief.

We figured something had happened to change policies at her PeaceHealth medical provider and recently had confirmed via an article in a local newspaper that one of the senior doctors (who just happened to be her doctor) was both over prescribing and prescribing for himself.

In the interim, her doctor recommended a drug that interfered with her muscle control and led to falls, shots directly into her joints and back, physical therapy and, of course, more surgery. Again, she is 80 years old. Quality of life is clearly more inportant than quantity at this point. She’d been taking Hydrocodone without overuse or addiction off and on for years. Getting addicted seems highly unlikely and, even if she did, why would it really matter?

She had a wellness exam with her doctor and I went into it armed for grizzly bears. We were not leaving without a plan that included a medication to manage her pain. Viola! The prescription had to be reviewed by a “team,” but we will be picking it up from the pharmacy tomorrow.

In conclusion, punishing people with a real need for pain management via opioids is WRONG. If some of those people no longer need the drug and/or get addictd, they need real treatment that is a viable alternative (maybe methodone), not to simply be cut off. Individuals become heroin addicts because heroin is cheaper then pills on the black market. And the need to get any of those things illegally, leads to crime annd broken lives. Treating the social issues that lead to addiction might also be a “good” idea.