CP, The Law, the Internet, and me
Well, let's see-maybe you had an accident, and, when conventional treatments didn't work, or left you even worse, you ended up being in pain much longer than you expected. Maybe you had a condition-MS, fibro, neuropathy, even diabetes (which comes with it's own brand of neuropathy).which just kept making you hurt-and the painful times got worse, and more frequent, as you went along, taking your doctor's advice. He may have sent you to a new kin of doctor-or, maye he quit treating you, with the reason that "There's nothing more I can do". But you knew something had to be done so you found your way to opiate relief!
The more fortunate of you found compassionate doctors, who assured you that you were NOT addicted...this was just a medicine you needed, like a diabetic needs insulin (I was once called a 'retard' for using that analogy-but then, I'm no doctor-more on that story later). Some of you began accepting pain scripts from multiple doctors-sometimes, even with the doctors knowing about it. and some may have started to casually 'borrow' pills prescribed to other people, maybe trading some meds you no longer needed.
but, all through this, with a few exceptions (mainly with those who never had trouble with doctors,who never had trouble -a rare combination, to say the least) the threat was never far away-what would we do when our supply ran out? Does it mean that I'm one of those...addicts??? So, you try and stop. And many do, successfully. but, in the back of your mind there will always be the knowledge that you can be so much more comfortable, active, productive, and free!
What to do?
Many can say they suffered in quiet dignity; I'm certainly not saying that my case is universal, necessary, and, definitely not the best action...when push came to shove, I crossed the line-to an actual, prosecutable crime. Prescription forgery.
Well, I'm not writing this to comment on the prison system. I ended up staying for 11 months-longer than I expected (because of a deal that my lawyer had cut) but much less than it could have been. The specific crimes I plead guilty to held a maximum of 4 years.
All that time, I believed myself to be an addict. I really had not much of an idea of what chronic pain treatment was. And, I had seldom taken drugs stronger than codeine-even when the choice had been literally, in my hand, I seldom chose Vicodin, and never attempted to forge a triplicate. I was given Percocet for acute conditions on occasion-that's the strongest I ever had.
Well,I still was free-but still required to go to an outpatient rehab. It was more inflexible about pain relief than even the prison had been-I had to stop taking the Klonipin I was prescribed there. I fulfilled the requirements for over a year, until a scare with heart palpitations allowed my regular doctor to put e back on Klonipin. but, as o the pain, it was my parole officer who saw that I was having some trouble with my back and feet, and insisted that I get help-for my PAIN.
I also began to think...maybe if I had had pain treatment, proper pain treatment, I may not have had to go through this. Also, I kind of wondered...what did incarcerating a 43-year-old woman have to do with the stories you hear about the trouble caused by addiction. Except for the things I did to ake care of my pain, I wasn't a thief, never thought of being a prostitute, and didn't really take much interest in illegal drugs. Except for marijuana, which was just an occasional party drug, that I could take or leave, and cocaine, which I tried 3 times, and which had no effect on me, I really wasn't experienced at all!
So, where did that leave me?
I took an interest in, and joined, the Libertarian Party-for this reason, as well as many others. Their position was pretty much my own-on this matter. Although force and fraud (of which forgery is a part) is universally condemned, most libertarians think that the law was wrong to begin with. I was pretty quiet about having a criminal record-until the Rush Limbaugh case. Then, I wrote a post to the new York Libertarian Party's Yahoo group-followed by several to advocacy groups-notably, the Drug Policy Alliance. I pretty much got a good reception.
With the exception of Chronic Pain forums.
I'm not someone that easily fades into the background-I'm either out front, or on the sidelines-an almost silent 'lurker'. When I began to post in CP forums, I saw no reason not to be 'out front'.
But, there was a reason. They did NOT want to be associated with anything remotely tainted with the idea of 'addiction'. No. Those were for the 12-step groups (which had never helped me, for obvious reasons.) People with chronic Pain go to doctors. Addicts go to jail. Obviously, never the twain shall meet.
Well, striping it of legal, moral, and most other considerations-who wants reasonable access to drugs-mainly opiates, although medical marijuana is gaining ground?
Quite simply, the people who use drugs.
Who are they? Oh, this question and answer format is getting tiring. It's the people who have a need for drugs. Quite simply, addicts and ourselves.
Butbbut give drugs to addicts? Won't that make them-oh that's right-they're already addicted.
I was thinking more along the lines of letting drugs be sold, allowing the open market to set the prices. And, with law-abiding people among them, the prices are likely to go down, the quality be required to be controlled, so, the world of theft, prostitution, and other degrading acts done to pay for the drugs will lessen-that's for sure.
Doctors-since patients will be able to get their drugs with or without their say-so will be free to research and treat diseases that are treatable, even curable...instead of spending half their time playing pin the tail on the junkie-and often being wrong, with tragic results.
Police will be free to pursue violent criminals. Most likely, the DEA will cease to be. No, it won't be a perfect world-but doesn't it deserve a chance at being a better one than the one we have?