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The other side of the opioid crisis – a first-hand account

We’ve done some coverage of the opioid crisis [1] lately – particularly in Wilmington, one of the worst cities for opioid abuse in the nation [2].

While taking an unflinching look at the very real problem and its very real human costs, it’s worth considering another aspect of our reaction to it.

Last month Lynn Frank, 64, wrote a thought-provoking piece [3] for Philly.com about living not with opioid addiction but with chronic pain that is made manageable by her use of prescription opioid medication.

From that piece:

I am the other side of the opiate crisis. I am not an addict. I take pain medication to function at a minimal level and not allow my chronic pain get the better of me. It lets me feel normal for a short time every day. I never feel “high” from taking it, just almost “normal.” It allows me to focus and to do simple tasks that I could not otherwise perform

There are other things chronic pain sufferers do to relieve pain. In an effort to distract ourselves we meditate, pray, and have hobbies such as knitting (my personal favorite) and reading. We do many things to take our minds off of our pain, We attempt to stay positive even when it feels impossible. A short relief from pain helps. Pain medicine helps us function, at least for a short time, in a way that most people take for granted.

Please acknowledge those of us who suffer from chronic pain. Recognize our need for these powerful medications. Understand that we are only trying to live our lives by managing the nonstop pain. We want to survive and overcome. We will.

Read the whole thing here [3].