But this one group of people has been messing with me for years. And probably you, too, though you might not have thought about it much.
The first time was in high school, when there was always suspicion about your friends and drugs. Now, this was the 70s - there was good reason for suspicions about friends and drugs! But I wasn't doing any and still found freedoms limited because "well, you never know. Junkies..."
In the 80s, I was an impoverished stage actress living with a roommate in Ft. Lauderdale. Junkies broke in and stole my TV and my makeup bag with my contact lenses (it looked like a purse) and had unplugged the 2 VCRs we had hooked together - I came back with the laundry and they scooted out a window without them (one was borrowed!) One broke in one night and went into my roommate's bedroom and took her purse - she saw him and was terrified. (They also stole my next door neighbors' collection of mostly-gay porn. And some of it was really funny. A great loss...) And they were the reason we couldn't leave windows open for a breeze. In South Florida. Junkies.
That's obvious stuff. But how about this: I had some really bad allergies in Florida and I am a singer. After much trial and error, I found that Sudafed Non-Drying Sinus would unclog me but also allow me to sing. Hooray! I was their best customer when I was doing a show. Then they disappeared from the shelves - they had to be "reformulated". And you know why. Meth. Junkies. (The reformulation never worked for me - here is someone else bitching about it.)
When I had my 3rd knee surgery - a total knee replacement in 2000 - I was given Oxycontin for the first time. Knee replacement surgery is considered the 2nd most painful surgery (hip replacement is number 1), and the Oxycontin was a miracle worker! It took the pain down to a level where I could push much harder in physical therapy. Well, while I was in the hospital, anyway. When I checked out - still in out-patient rehab for many more weeks - I was switched to the much weaker/more side-effects/omg-I'm-so-constipated Percocet. And why was I not allowed Oxycontin? Thanks, Rush Limbaugh and the rest of you junkies!
So now I have a chronic pain syndrome. I am one of the lucky ones. My rheumatologist has been very careful working my way through different meds and we now have one for milder pain, one for I-am-never-going-to-sleep-my-muscles-are-spasming pain, and one for emergency breakout pain for if I sublux a rib or fall and tear a tendon (I've done both). But people with my disorder often end up in emergency rooms because something dislocates or tears that they can't handle (mostly, we just jiggle our bones back together, y'all, which the ER folks never believe), and because we have high pain thresholds, are used to being in pain and we aren't screaming, we immediately get categorized as a "drug seeker!!". ER doctors are called on to apologize to EDS sufferers all the time because they are unaware of EDS and ignorant of chronic pain syndromes in general. One patient tells of a disbelieving ER doc putting her on an examining table and YANKING on her legs - she basically dislocated this poor woman's entire body! And the reason we get treated as "drug seekers" as opposed to people who need help? J-U-N-K-I-E-S.
We have this idiot reporter from the NYT - not a doctor - who has written a book about how bad pain killers are for people. When the courts were looking at changing the laws about certain pain killers, they heard testimony for 90 minutes from people whose relatives overdosed using the drugs recreationally, but only allotted 10 minutes for testimony from chronic pain sufferers and their doctors!! Because? Junkies! (At least the AMA is looking into it now.)
Yes, I know - there are people out there who are more susceptible to pain killer addiction, and having several close friends with addictive personalities I truly do feel awful for them. But there are also people who ruin their lives because they are more susceptible to gambling, alcohol, sex - my best friend died because of circumstances directly related to his alcoholism. But, amazingly enough, even though alcohol, smoking and gambling can ruin and kill without providing ANY redeeming value, we don't treat everyone who orders a drink, lights up a cigarette, or pulls a handle on a slot machine like they are automatically abusers. So why pain meds? Which have huge value to those in chronic pain?
So I'm pretty worn out with junkies - they have messed with my life for too many years. Get off my damn medications and go get a bottle of scotch or some cough syrup or something (Hey! How come they're not restricting Robitussin??). Or campaign to legalize pot - I'm up for that! And can we please educate our doctors so their first thought isn't "junkies!" Let's get that first thought to be "this may be a person in real-but-not-obvious pain, let me take a minute to check this out". Heck, I'll even show you how my elbows bend backwards! Just take a minute to think of us as people first.
I could use a drink.