“Dependence isn’t addiction, and that is continually left out of the discussion and the policies being made,” said disability advocate Maelee Johnson.
Hardly a day goes by when the discussion of opioids and their misuse is not on the front page of local or national newspapers. However, the flipside of the issue, pain management, is barely, if ever, centered in the conversation.
This came up most recently with Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, who seeks to advance a bill he previously introduced called the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act 2.0, which would, among other things, establish a three-day limit for opioid prescriptions.
This lack of focus on disabled and chronically ill patients has inadvertently pitted doctors against their own patients, who are framed as going down the rabbit hole of dependency following a sprained ankle or routine dental surgery. But this overly simplistic framing erases people with long-term disabilities and chronic health conditions who are struggling to live their lives while being punished for using the best tools we have available to enable their full participation in society.