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I Am Tired of Being Judged for Using Opioids to Manage My Pain

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I have spoken on opioid use before and how it is getting harder and harder to receive a prescription. The opioid crisis seems to be in the news in a lot of places from talk radio, to the nightly news, to even Congress. I personally have written about how doctors have become more and more adverse to allowing the prescriptions to continue, even if the person has been on said opioid for more than five years with no ill effects. I have also written about how pharmacists have the ability to deny a medication based on a visual diagnosis and can refuse to give you the required medicine that has been authorized to you.

In all of this information, or misinformation, that is flying around, we encounter yet another advisory in this “crisis.” The public eye. Friends, family and even strangers find out what medications we are taking and the judgment is immediate. Everyone has an opinion, everyone has a story they heard. The response is overwhelming.

I heard a news story recently that told of a pro American football player who was removed due to violations of the NFL’s drug policy by smoking marijuana. He responded with a video of him, smoking, saying it helps with his pain and mental health. He then spoke on how it is better for him to smoke that instead of being addicted to opioids like he has seen.

My chronic illness is not your scapegoat.

On a more personal note, I have had people come forward with threats that I cannot be taken seriously because of my prescription. The use of opioids in my past – it has been over two years – has now given people a reason to judge me further and to disregard my opinion, my judgment and almost anything because “we just don’t know or cannot see the effects of those evil drugs on you yet.”

This is absurd. I, like so many people with chronic illness, have daily struggles to get to work, take care of myself, fight an illness, fight doctors and pharmacists, and the public image of the medications I take. In all of this, I then get told I do not matter because of the drugs I am supposed to take to live have affected me “too much.”

Where is my voice? Who will speak for the trees?

I experience the “common knowledge” from people who know all about how bad the opioid crisis is and how they know what is better for me than my doctor. It is now said with such surety that everyone knows the horrors and effects of how it devastates lives. How dare anyone speak up in defense of this terrible drug use!

I am. Someone has to say something. I am tired of being judged. I am tired of being put in a box and quantified. I am tired of being labeled and categorized because of my medication. Is this how we deserve to be treated? With judgment and scorn about our illness and our help? How should we then live? We have to stand up and speak out.

Getty Image via westtexasfish

Originally published: July 6, 2019
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