This year has seen an overwhelming increase in lawsuits targeting big pharmacy chains as well as companies that make opioid pharmaceuticals. Yet, the lack of reporting on the changes in prescribing and distribution laws continues.
There is no public dialogue about the millions of people whose lives have been improved because of opioid prescriptions. There’s also a lack of public discourse about changes that the healthcare system could and should be making in order to reduce chronic pain after surgeries and injuries. Instead, the only thing that is acceptable to discuss in the media is the “opioid crisis” and how addiction can be stopped.
New legislation around addicts and addiction has been recently passed. However, the coverage still pales in comparison to sensationalizing opioids devastating our communities. But, how the laws have evolved over the past couple years has yet to get any meaningful coverage.
There has been a lot of attention on high profile suicides, recently. The reasons for suicide the media discussed never once included chronic illness and chronic pain. However, the prescribing laws changed and suicide rates have skyrocketed. If taking opioids had less of a stigma then these issues could be discussed. However, taking prescription narcotics has become a source of ridicule and shame.
People automatically assume that if you’re taking a prescription opioid, that you don’t really need it… if you just changed your lifestyle … if you could just “push past the pain”, then you would not need the medication anymore. There is a lack of compassion and a lack of comprehensive, unbiased media coverage.
These legal battles did affect changes. Big chain pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens made drastic changes to filling prescriptions for opioid medications. Yet, this is NEVER addressed in the media coverage about the “opioid crisis”! These lawsuits are contributing to the prescription filling standards changing at smaller pharmacies.
The lack of fair and accurate coverage is having a really devastating affect on people, like me, whose life depends on having pain relief I can only find through opioid prescriptions. Yet our stories are never told. The lives of the millions of people whose quality of life and ability to function, work, get out of bed, raise their children depends on narcotic medications is ignored by the media. The facts are hard to find under the cover of mass hysteria.
So, we must continue to raise awareness and raise our voices. We must continue to support each other during this time of ignorance, cruelty and misinformation.