Like depression, the use, overuse and controversy surrounding pain meds directly affects a number of multiple myeloma patients–especially those of us with lasting bone damage.

Here is an excerpt from one of the best and most balanced articles I have ever read on the subject:

Chronic Pain Fuels Boom in Opioids

 By John Fauber, Reporter, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/MedPage Today – February 19, 2012

…Without rigorous scientific evidence to prove that their benefits out weigh potential harm, drugs like OxyContin and Vicodin increasingly have been used to treat a wide array of chronic pain syndromes including low back pain and fibromyalgia.

Current practices reflect a gradual shift from the use of these drugs to treat short-term acute pain such as post-surgical pain, as well as severe pain associated with metastatic cancer or end-of-life pain — uses that were based on solid evidence that such use was safe and effective.

But the benefit seen for those conditions was extended to treatment of chronic pain syndromes, an extrapolation that had no evidence to back it up.

Caught in the middle are millions of Americans with real pain that can last for years and thousands of doctors who want to help them…

Just because the article presents many sides of the issue, doesn’t mean it still isn’t a mess.  The problem is so complex, one article can’t cover it all–but this one tries.

Too many opioid type drugs are being prescribed for too many people.  At least this article attempts to analyze why from an industry insider’s point of view.

I would have great difficulty functioning without oxycodone.  Not because I’m addicted or even dependent, but because it dulls the pain caused by dozens of myeloma related “holes in my bones.”

Since I am on blood thinners indefinitely, I can’t take aspirin or ibuprofen.  Considering the risk of liver damage from Tylenol, oxycodone is my single best option.

But even more importantly for me, oxycodone is a Godsend when it comes to helping to minimize my peripheral neuropathy.  Without it, my hands and feet would throb and burn uncontrollably.

Balanced or not, the majority of this expose’ focuses on the misuse of prescription of pain medication and how the industry ever got to this point.

But buried deep within the body of the story I found this:

Underlying those fallacies, critics say, is an even larger one: That the use of narcotic painkillers to treat non-cancer pain lasting many months or years is supported by rigorous science.

“Non-cancer pain.”  At least the article acknowledges that many cancer patients need ongoing pain management which rises above all of the controversy.

CLICK HERE to access this important article about how drug companies have encouraged so much use–and misuse–of pain medication.

Feel good (no pun intended!) and keep smiling!  Pat