It’s always worse when no one understands your chronic pain
An old, crusty, redneck said, “They ought to take all these drug addicts out and shoot them.”
An older, crustier, redneck said, “Then you’d be shooting my daughter. She got treatment and straightened her life out.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
“Anyone who includes ‘take them out and shoot them’ usually says, “That’s not what I meant.””
“You seem to know a lot about what people usually say.”
“And a lot about drug addiction.”
What’s the first picture you see when you hear the words Opioid Epidemic?
In 2015, more than 52,000 people died of drug overdoses, nearly two-thirds of which were linked to opioids like Percocet, OxyContin, heroin, and fentanyl.
That’s almost as many Americans killed during three years of The Forgotten War in Korea.
The first image I see after reading the Vox quote is a graveyard.
Official figures for the Jonestown Massacre say ‘over 900.’
Round it up to a thousand and 2015’s overdose deaths are more than fifty two times greater.
What is the War On Drugs doing about this massacre?
Sixteen states, including South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia, already treat simple possession of drugs as a misdemeanor instead of a felony in some or all cases — and Oklahoma may join them in November. Many more states need to follow suit. Reclassifying certain drug possession offenses from a felony to a misdemeanor not only reduces a sentence, but it also recognizes that drug addiction and substance abuse are health conditions that are better treated than incarcerated and ignored.
No one wants another Forgotten War, and the increase of opioid addiction in the suburbs shifts the focus from jail to treatment.
President Barack Obama has commuted more sentences — focused on drug offenses — than any other sitting president, and the Department of Justice has announced it will end the use of private prisons, removing a perverse financial incentive to incarcerate more and more Americans.
Don’t let the prison of chronic pain slip past.
From all corners the issue of drug abuse and prison go hand in hand.
Not so much chronic pain and prison.
The opioid epidemic crosses all lines to snare new converts, prison is slanted toward a racial divide.
Look again at the top map.
Oregon gets 82.2 – 95 painkiller prescriptions per 100 people.
Notice the states with the highest prescriptions per 100 people?
About 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, according to a 2011 report from the Institute of Medicine. So doctors — under pressure from drug companies, medical organizations, government agencies, and pain patient advocates — resorted to opioids.
In a case where the customer isn’t always right, doctors still wrote prescriptions.
When they stop, it doesn’t mean the end of chronic pain, but a shift in supply.
Heroin is extremely cheap in the black market, despite law enforcement efforts for decades to push up the price of drugs by cracking down on the illicit supply. In fact, over the past few decades, the price of heroin in the US has dramatically dropped.
This is where the prison part changes the picture.
In general, all of this suggests that the country as a whole needs to put more resources toward making drug treatment options more widespread, accessible, and affordable.
I didn’t hear prison as an option, but what if a guy in the neighborhood gets popped for feeding his habit?
You didn’t know he had a problem, or how much of one if you did.
He got hurt on the job and retired on disability? Now he’s heading to prison for a drug offense.
The new neighborhood will be challenging.
The trail from injury to addiction is clear and ready.
If addiction leads to prison in some cases and not others, that’s a trail to clear.
There may be a new tool in the kit.
The drug overdose epidemic hasn’t hit people of all racial groups equally either, with white Americans suffering far more overdose deaths than their black and Latino peers.
Death is not an optional treatment for chronic pain.
Neither is prison, but if the opioid epidemic throws enough light on prison reform for some drug offenses, it won’t be another Forgotten War.
If chronic pain, drug addiction, and prison haven’t touched you or anyone you know, it’s because no one’s talking.