Pubdate: Sun, 02 Mar 2008
Source: St. Petersburg Times (FL)
Copyright: 2008 St. Petersburg Times
Author: Stuart McClain


Your two-part story on painkiller abuse really left out one aspect of
the story. You are quick to cite the number of deaths from overdose
and everything negative you can, and I agree those are things we need
to be aware of. But I did not notice you cite the number of people who
live in horrible pain, who if they lost their ability to get these
meds would be sentenced to live out the rest of their lives in agony.

I know because I am one of them. I have a contused spinal cord, and a
ton of nerve damage. I can walk, but each step is like driving a
white-hot spike through my feet and legs. As you probably guessed I am
on a few painkillers; some are for long-term, some are for
breakthrough pain. I am on full disability at age 44 and I hate it. I
hate taking drugs for my pain.

But if well-meaning people like you make it impossible for me to get
the help I need, I will get to live in that agony all the time. The
people who need this stuff understand better than you ever will the
nature of it. We don't run around asking for sympathy. We only ask for
the help we need and to be allowed the dignity to live our lives, as
diminished as they have become.

Try walking in my shoes for a while before you judge me, because when
I see a story like this it really hacks me off.

Stuart McClain, Largo
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