I have been reading with consternation articles and editorials on the abuse and overuse of prescription pain medication. Although this is a troubling issue, I find it equally disturbing that the legitimate use of such medications under medical supervision by patients with severe, chronic pain is seldom mentioned.
Without this reasonable access, our lives would be almost unbearable. Chronic pain patients — even those with documented verification of their pain and its causes — are routinely accused of being addicts or weak, and our pain is often dismissed as exaggerated or false.
Or we are sometimes labeled hypochondriacs. Suffering physical pain is hard enough; being called a liar adds to the psychological pain of humiliation.
As I understand “pill mills,” they tend to operate on a cash-only basis. It seems to me that physicians who accept insurance, Medicaid or Medicare are more likely to be legitimate because otherwise they might risk investigation for fraud.
Prescription drug abuse hurts everybody, including patients who suffer from pain. Please remember that despite the drug abuse out there, many people truly suffer daily from debilitating pain, and their quality of life would be deplorable without pain management.
Laura Jackson-Radford of Warrensburg, Mo., is amusician who played for the Topeka Symphony. She is a Washburn University graduate. She has been disabled about 20 years with severe arthritis.