This is something I’ve heard second hand from a number of people with various ailments that are helped tremendously by pain medication. It also highlights that many of these issues are not as simple as we might think based just off of a slogan or a tweet. Making opioid prescriptions harder to get means you’re making it harder for people who need them to get them as well, not just addicts. When you decide that something is a good idea and pass legislation, you need to also account for the ways that is going to impact people who are not part of the group that you’re targeting. In this case, pain management patients and doctors who have legitimate reason to have access to opioids.
We see much of the same shallow thinking in other areas as well, especially when it comes to mental health. Many want to ban anyone with a mental health condition from owning a gun, or working with kids, not realizing that to many domestic violence victims, many of whom are under going therapy for PTSD, owning a gun is the best way to protect themselves, or that by outlawing those activities they are only encouraging people to not seek out mental health treatment, lest they be “branded”.
That’s not to say that we should just throw up our hands and do nothing, but these sad situations deserve more thought than simple solutions. We need to find a way to allow for people who’s live depends on having access to medication to have access to it, and also treat those who are harmed by the addictive nature of it. We need a better system to protect domestic violence victims before we go cutting off their options, and we need better access to and less stigma around getting assistance for mental health issues before we can truly judge who might be dangerous, and who really isn’t.
But those kinds of solutions don’t fit into a tweet or catchy headline, and too many are just not interested in thinking that hard.