Oxycontin experience won't be forgotten

To the editor:

Many articles in The Eagle of late have been about drug abuse. It appears that often the cycle begins with pain-suppressing drugs. Many individuals get a form of pleasure, stress relief or other presumed benefit from the drugs. Then, seemingly before the user knows what is happening, addiction sets in and a downward spiral begins that far too frequently ends as an item in the obituary section of the paper, all too often without explanation for the cause of death.

As a cautionary note, I would like to share a poem I wrote that illustrates my sole experience with such pain-relieving drugs.

A few days after the World Trade Center towers were destroyed, my cancerous prostate was removed. For the first day, I had a needle in me anesthetizing me from pain. Then, the next day the needle was removed and I was given two small white oxycontin pills to supposedly continue offering pain relief.

What followed were three days where constipation was the least of my problems. Most all of us, from time to time, experience at least a bit of diminishment in our ability to experience pleasure from many of life's offerings. Far from a minor period of gloom, my exposure to oxycontin produced a level of total despair I had never experienced before and hope never to have again. For three days I could not even use my imagination to recreate a single source of joy.


My poem summarizes my three-day experience of deep despair. If it serves as thought-provoking for someone considering use of drugs for other than their medically intended use, so be it.




Despondence, despair.

Life without value,

Life with no meaning,

Life without joy,

Hopelessness holds the high ground,

Or better said, the low,

When all former pleasures collapse in a heap,

A fractured rubble of once fond dreams.

Search, and search the mind as one will,

There is nowhere to be found an old source of happiness

That holds out the promise of repeating its one-time role.

No more is there beauty in the sunset, nor fragrance in the rose.

Gone is the lift of the spirit from the three-beat rhythm of the waltz,

Vanished, the thrill of the view from the mountain top well-climbed.

Absent is the pleasure in a child's squeals of delight,

Or the purr of a favorite cat, cozy on one's lap.

Lost is the spine-tingling feel of one's love pressing up close.

The joy of opening a gift, caringly selected for you alone, has


Holidays have become horror days.

Gone is all that is good, all that can nourish the heart.

Death beckons,

A welcome path to walk,

The gangplank escape from a ship of depression

To a bottomless sea of blessed oblivion.

Better nothingness than peering through a locked gate,

At past joys, unrecapturable.

Better advance to the void

Than remain in a cage of total emptiness.

Don Lathrop, Canaan, N.Y.