For those who suffer from Chronic Pain, you know that your quality of life can be very dependent on the medications you take to control your symptoms. If your experiences are anything like mine, you have either had to fight with your Doctors to be given appropriate pain killers (I haven’t had this experience fortunately), or you have been judged somewhere in your life for taking narcotics (This I am all to familiar with). Because of the stigma associated with opiates, it has become common for society to throw addicts and Chronic Pain Patients into the same category… We are often painted with the same brush so to speak.
The FDA in the United States has now approved a new version of Oxycontin. The Associated Press released a statement just an hour ago in regards to this drug. Oxycontin has been widely known as “Hillbilly Heroin” because if the time-released coating is broken down, it can cause a high similar to injecting heroin. Addicts crush these pills, and either snort the powder, or mix it with water and inject it.
A drug that was manufactured for the purpose of relieving severe and debilitating pain has become an epidemic of abuse…. It isn’t a drug to play around with… it can kill.
While the scale on which this narcotic is abused continues to grow – so does the stigma and associated judgment for taking it for the RIGHT reasons… Doctors are becoming too jaded or too scared to prescribe it, Pharmacists become wary each time a script needs to be filled, and the Media continues to sensationalize EVERY story they can get their hands on about WHO is taking it, who got arrested, and unfortunately who died with this drug in their bloodstream…. And in turn misjudgments are made, and fear-mongering reigns… Don’t get me wrong, I think it is devastating how many lives have been lost to Oxycontin. I am not a stranger to the impact addiction can play in peoples lives – I too, have been forever changed by the damage caused by addiction – But if we were to hear about how many lives are lost each day to Alcohol – I think it would put things into perspective. While alcohol doesn’t have any medical benefit, and is the most socially acceptable addiction there is – Oxycontin has the ability to give someone quality of life -IF- they need it for the right reasons.
Hopefully the new version of the widely known opioid will create a positive step in the right direction to treating severe chronic pain. While I don’t think that it is fool-proof by any means, and addicts will still find a way to abuse it (where there’s a will, there’s a way), maybe prescribing this form will come with less judgment and more understanding…. MAYBE…
I guess we shall see….