(118): The War on Drugs Means Old Ladies Can’t Replace Their Stolen Pain Medications

This is who suffers because of the War on Drugs. Image by John Dyer via Flickr. License.

Is this fair? I’ve been jumping through the interminable hoops that always present themselves just prior to my appointment at the pain clinic. One thing struck me as terribly unfair and possibly damaging (well, there are others but this one stood out today). If your opioid pain medication is stolen, you will not be granted a replacement prescription by the pain clinic (at least not at MY pain clinic in Tennessee). I can see how this sort of thing is abused by drug seekers, but this includes a theft that has been duly reported to police (so there is a paper/electronic trail to show you’ve made an official complaint).

That means that, should you be a victim of theft, you may be required to suffer all the pain and indignities of opioid withdrawal. And for some of the people I’ve seen at the pain clinic, this could be dangerous. Some of these people are elderly men and women who, in some cases, require oxygen tanks or other artificial medical devices to help them function in everyday life. A stressful event like opioid withdrawal could mean death for some of these people.

One old woman in the waiting room was worriedly telling her friend that she has to hide the fact that she has an oxycodone prescription, because she’s afraid her relatives will steal it from her and sell it. That sort of thing I ascribe to the horribly misguided and damaging “war on drugs.” If these opioid drugs were generally legal and available through more easily accessible channels, their street value would plummet, and it would become less attractive to commit felonies such as breaking and entering to obtain them. The one who ultimately suffers is that poor old lady who has pain severe enough to require oxycodone.

It isn’t so much getting old that scares me; it is the indignities that come with it. An old woman in severe pain and with multiple infirmities is an easy target for criminals, and she has no recourse to the system that provides her only means for pain relief. For her (and for me if that situation arose for me) it is too bad, so sad.

No thank you, War on Drugs, you long-standing injustice! Thanks for reading my rant, y’all!

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