Opioids mean relief - and humiliation - for these pain patients
People who are prescribed opioids for chronic, often agonizing pain, say they are treated like drug abusers even by closest family and friends.


(If you click on the link, there is more to the story. This is just my part in it)

Jon Gold, 45, Northeast Philadelphia
Jon Gold broke his back in 2013. He is half-paralyzed from the waist down he has no sensation on one side, from his toes to his backside, but full feeling on the other. He suffers neuropathic pain in his feet that he describes as constant electric shocks

Jon Gold, on his 45th birthday.

Gold tried nerve blockers, entered a clinical trial for a spinal cord stimulator, and had surgery to install a pain pump, which "did absolutely nothing" to help him.

The only thing that banished most of his pain was a combination of Percocet and extended-release morphine. But his physicians will no longer prescribe them, he said, because he used to occasionally take an extra pill when the pain was severe and therefore run out a few days early, meaning the medication would not show up in a monthly urine test. That result is considered a risk factor for abuse he could have been selling them and would likely be entered in his medical record.

Now he is prescribed Suboxone, which can be used for pain but is better-known as a treatment for substance abuse. It alleviates only about half his pain, making it difficult to leave his apartment. Gold sends a letter to prospective doctors describing his history but so far hasn't found any willing to prescribe the only medicines he said really worked.

"I assure you, taking medication for my pain has absolutely nothing to do with getting high," he tells them. "It is about having some joy in my life. It is about having a quality of life. It is about stopping the pain, and that's all it's about."

He posted a video he made on Vimeo:

(Vimeo has since taken the video down because I used a clip from "American Dad")

A few months ago, Gold got tired of lectures about his pain medication from friends, and put a bluntly worded post on Facebook.

"My pain is my own. Only I know what it feels like. Only I know what has helped it," he wrote. "It's this simple, if you want to judge me for wanting to stop my pain with something I know works (after trying SO MANY things), then you are simply not a friend I need or want to have."

He says he lost two of what he thought were his best friends.