For a lot of addicts, they say it started with pills. And after the pills, it changed to something far worse. In today's world, there is undoubtedly an ongoing opioid epidemic. People are losing their lives to opioids every day in the United States. What you don’t see in the mainstream media, however, are the people with disabilities who have chronic pain and opioid addiction. Perhaps it is the stigma of being an addict juxtaposed with a person’s disability that makes the topic difficult to discuss.
I was an addict. The onset of addiction was something that I never saw coming. I never thought it would happen to me, not because of my Cerebral Palsy, but because I had a very staunch and opposing perspective on addiction.
I know, you’re probably thinking: “Well, what makes you different than other addicts, then? You are just abusing a medication that others REALLY need to be able to function in the world.”
I hear you, I really do. The only issue, of course, is the fact that alongside Cerebral Palsy are comorbid conditions, as I’m sure you all know. The ones that I suffer from are Mild Scoliosis, Degenerative Disc Disease, Chronic Hip and Back Pain.
Just because I abused a medication doesn’t mean that I have suddenly reached a point where my body has healed, and I no longer need it. I have been clean from opiates for almost half a year now, and I am still in pain. While hyperalgesia is a common side effect of long-term opioid use, I was somehow under the impression that my pain would lessen to manageable levels once I was off of the opiates. That just wasn’t the case. I have since been using medical marijuana to manage my pain, and while it does help, it is not the same as an opioid.
So, the issue lies in the fact that unlike regular addicts who can become rehabilitated and lead normal lives, at least to my knowledge, they don’t contend with a physical disability that has a tendency to worsen with age. So on days with incredible amounts of pain, I slather on THC Balm and take a couple Naproxen. Lately, I have been crying, a lot.
My question to you, is, is this true quality of life? Or is there a way that we can see the person, not the addiction, and treat them accordingly?