Pain Pills, Government, and What Is Best For Us

In Columns

I want to talk about America’s opiate problem. I know, I know, nobody should say any of this out loud. It is our country’s dirty little secret, that is not a secret anymore. I’m talking to the folks that will read this and say nothing and to the rest of us. For me, I am not part of America’s opiate national emergency. I have no possibility of passing away from some overdose. I can’t stand those pills, they make me sick to my stomach when I take them. Going back to when I was a young adult, those pills made me throw up and there is no worse feeling to me than to be sick to my belly. So, it is not my thing.

However, I have known many people who had some back problem or some medical condition and then got on these pills because they needed them in life. I also watched people take them to get high. I watched beautiful women grow old too fast on them and lose their hair. I watched men who had it all and lost EVERYTHING when these pills dismantled their entire lives in a fairly short period of time while they abused them to get high.

It is strange for me because I am the son of a heroin addict. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, I felt VERY alone with this problem. My father was in the first methadone treatment program ever conceived in New York City to treat heroin addicts. He was actually in the very first class. I have a memory of my father being on TV on the news as a kid in NYC before I moved down to Florida and was so proud to see my own father on the television. Then, I found out later in life, it was because the local NYC news channel did a story on heroin addicts and the city’s first public program to combat it. So, I have a long history of watching from afar, people’s love of opiates. I’m not sure if some folks realize that heroin and pain pills are the same thing or at least they are in the same family, very close cousins.

I know that we probably all know of at least one person in this category who does not really need these pills. I don’t feel alone anymore like when I was a kid. It is now widespread. But what can we do? We want to help them. We want to save them, but we have no power to do it. The drug is stronger than our advice. The reason why I wrote this is because I have a fear. I’m afraid that the government’s reaction to our nation’s problem will leave people who need these drugs left in a state of agony and pain. I can’t imagine those people left in a neverending life of misery, just because some of us just wanted to get out of our heads and get high.

Just musing…


C. Rich
Author, Blogger, Poet

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