How the Opioid Crisis Is Creating a Crisis for Chronic Pain Patients

I have been diagnosed fibromyalgia, panic disorder, insomnia and quite a few other conditions for five years now. I have experienced a lot and have struggled to find the help I need to make it through my day-to-day routine, much less when life throws me curveballs. I have tried and put into place all manner of methods of managing my conditions. I have changed diet, put in a modified exercise regiment and adjusted my life to fit my condition. I also take prescribed opioids.

News outlets have been reporting on the “opioid crisis” that has arisen. They talk about the real effects on people’s lives. They talk about the families being torn apart with the misuse of the drug. They are representing every side of the issue. Except mine.

I, like many others with chronic illness, rely on the use of these drugs to lead a somewhat regular life. Understandably, we do not represent all responsible opioid use. However, we do regularly get added to the group of people who abuse opioids. The news loves to report the numbers of total users or the max number of prescribed people in U.S. Using these numbers, all kinds of data can be thrown around as to the approximate number of abusers. I am not ignoring the rising numbers of opioid-related deaths. I fear that too many people are caught up in the panic and it is hurting the people who need the help.

I have recently changed pharmacies due to the national response. CVS has come out to say they will not prescribe more than a week’s worth of an opioid to cut down on the number of pills in the public. This hurts in several ways. I now have more co-pays to look forward to paying. I now have the stress of going to the pharmacy once a week instead of once a month. I get to be faced with the pharmacy techs who judge me on my condition. They have to evaluate what I take, how many I take and how often I take it to ensure I am doing everything correctly. It can feel humiliating and debilitating.

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