To the Editor:

We’ve all heard – constantly – about the scourge of opioids and about how many lives are lost because of their MISUSE. Actually, the word “misuse” is rarely used – leaving the reader to believe that putting these little tablets into your mouth will either kill you, give you a high, or make you a raving lunatic. How sad that this isn’t even close to the truth. Lately, the majority of opioid deaths are caused by people taking fentanyl – most often made illegally in Mexico (or further South) and smuggled across the porous border – along with cocaine, heroin, unaccompanied minors to be used in the sex slave trade, and other illegal activities. This drug is taken by people using it illegally and wanting to get high!

It’s easy to agree that THIS sort of opioid is bad. I totally agree. This would be the “Epidemic” that everyone is talking about.

The other epidemic – the one you never hear about – are the tens of thousands of people who suffer real, debilitating pain and for which there is no cure and very little hope for relief, other than taking prescription medications that are opioids. The epidemic here is that legitimate pain sufferers are having a harder and harder time obtaining them – and many of these people are taking their own lives because they can’t deal with the pain because of not being able to get the medications that will HELP them! These people aren’t addicts or druggies or misfits or the worst of society – they are simply folks who are hurting and want to lead normal lives like you and me. And the ONLY way they can do that is by taking these medications.

Everybody is jumping on the bandwagon to stop or severely limit people from having access to these MEDICATIONS – including Gov. Ducey with a wrong-headed solution that LIMITS anybody that is LEGITIMATELY prescribed the medication. By the way, his solution was dreamed up by and implemented by lawyers and politicians, NOT doctors.

My wife is a perfect example of someone who is harmed by these idiotic policies. Many years ago, the vehicle she was driving was rammed by a driver who ran a stop sign. She suffered broken legs, a broken neck, a severe traumatic brain injury, was in a coma for days, and much more. Ever since that accident, she has suffered terrible pain. She takes methadone (an opioid) for the pain. She’s taken it for over 20 years. She is not a druggie, she doesn’t act crazy when she takes it, she has no negative side effects, and she looks and acts normal – IF she is able to take it. If she doesn’t take it, the results are disastrous! The pain and agony are indescribable. My wife has tried other medications, therapy, and more – nothing else works!

Because of laws, rules, lawsuits and more – it is very, very difficult to find a doctor who will prescribe these medicines. In fact, THERE IS NOBODY IN ALL OF COCHISE COUNTY that can or WILL prescribe these medications for those in need of pain medication. There is a source of methadone for ADDICTS that are trying to get off of using heroin in Cochise County – but not for legitimate pain sufferers! Unbelievable that drug abusers can get methadone – but legitimate pain sufferers, in need, cannot get it! What’s wrong with this picture?!

Something needs to be done and done now to help those in need.

If I happen to be misinformed about there not being a source for methadone prescriptions in or near Sierra Vista – please email me at JRinSV@gmail.com.

James R. Wilson

Sierra Vista

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