Listening to and reading through the continuing coverage involving Prince passing on has been triggering in some ways and enlightening.
As the news emerged that he had a serious addiction to opioid pain killers I'm inclined to think several different things.
1. That his faith - Jehovah's Witness - likely played a different role in his death than I imagined last week. They did dissuade him from having a hip replacement that would have possibly brought him relief from chronic pain. Instead he didn't have the surgery and sought to mask the pain with legal opioids, likely leading to his death.
2. I still don't 'get' how anyone can possibly enjoy the stronger prescription opioids. I have been on oxycontin and other meds more than once for different types of conditions, some that were corrected by surgery, some that healed with medicine. I never liked the feeling any of those gave me beyond the fact that they killed the pain. You know what else they killed? Emotions and even positive feelings. Hard core pain killer use even blunts your sexual pleasure, making your orgasms like whimpering wet firecrackers instead of nuclear explosions. I always felt like a turnip or a rutabaga fallen off the truck and sitting next to the road, no thoughts or emotions.
3. Those that are prone to addiction must be getting some vastly different feeling from the opioids than I do.
During my years working at the Clinic of Crazy one of my tasks was opening mail, taking all the reports off the fax machine and retrieving medical records from the hospital. Part of that was when the print out came over from the state pharmacy board was going over it looking to make sure patients weren't copying their opioid prescriptions and taking them to different pharmacies. We also got records on how many narcotics prescriptions from other doctors these same patients were getting. I'd go over those lists, make notations and bring them back to whatever doctor or doctors had a pile of scamming drug offending opioid patients before writing the patient a letter firing them from the practice and letting them know that the reason was scamming for pain pills.
Apparently Minnesota doesn't have something like that in place on a state level to monitor the number of pain pill scripts individuals were getting from their doctors or possibly copying to get more. I understand that the law enforcement looking into Prince's death have already started going through the records of several local pharmacies looking for evidence that he had way too many pain pills being prescribed.
People hooked on those things will say and do anything to up their amounts. Once, when I was still working at the clinic, I had a list posted in my office above my desk with a list of the excuses I'd heard for early refill. Everything from 'I went swimming with my oxycontin in my pocket' to 'My dog ate my prescription.' and just about anything else you could imagine.
One lady not only had pain pills but she was getting klonopin and benzos from one of our doctors. She was gassing up at a local place, sat back in her car while the pump was running and promptly fell asleep. The gas station owner called the cops after their knocking on her windows failed to raise her after she was parked at the pump for twenty minutes. The cops busted out her window trying to wake her up, she woke up, started the car and drove off with the pump still attached to her car. The first day she was out of jail she immediately tried to hit us up for more prescriptions. This was after the investigating officer had already been to the clinic to question why she was on so many different pain meds and anti anxiety drugs.
Most of our problem pain pill patients were the patients of one doctor at the clinic. He owned the place and was super arrogant, even for a doctor, and he finally got busted by the feds for his pill prescribing ways. He now has no hospital privileges, or prescribing abilities and only sees a handful of elderly patients.
4. Treating famous patients can be very problematic if the doctor is star-struck or the patient is surrounded by those that make their every whim come true.
Several of patients when I worked there were local celebrities.
From the way the pill prescribing doctor treated the rich and powerful makes me think that whoever Prince's physicians were they likely did the same thing as Elvis Presley's did. They prescribed whatever he wanted because he was famous. Same thing killed Michael Jackson, who seemed to think propofol is a sleeping aid.
All of this sort of makes me sort of annoyed because I've seen what it's done in regard to the ability for people legitimately suffering to obtain pain relief. Our local community here has also had a huge heroin epidemic from those that started out abusing the pain pills before moving on to heroin. Just last week we had about a dozen ods in this little rural community. Law enforcement is blaming the readily available pain pills for hooking locals and sending them into the arms of an addiction to heroin.