To the editor of THE EAGLE:
The recent Ruth Bass column, "The twins: Vicodin and Heroin" and the March 8 letter to the editor, "Pharmacy chains must help addicted," prompt me to respond based on a recent hospitalization. My nurse asked me several questions about pain. Most important was, "What level of pain is acceptable to you?" It set the tone that some level of pain was reasonable to expect.
I agree that advertising, physicians, and pharmacies all play a role in the use of prescription pain medication and the road to abuse. However, we as consumers cannot blame them and fail to take some responsibility on ourselves.
We are part of an instant gratification society so it is not surprising that we want our pain relief fast and complete. But we miss an important point, that pain is our bodies’ way of communicating valuable information about how we are doing. It can keep us from doing too much after an injury or surgery and as it lessens it can let us know that we are improving.
While no one should suffer severe pain, and those who experience chronic pain should be provided relief, those of us who are recovering and whose pain can be expected to lessen, should not numb ourselves to some discomfort that is a normal part of healing. If we are to make a dent in addiction to prescription pain medication, we must be honest with ourselves about our level of pain and only use narcotics for more intense pain.