Letters: Chronic pain patients suffer from opioid crisis; balancing security and freedoms

Wrong questions being asked during opioid crisis

As the argument rages on about the so-called “opioid crisis” in our nation and those of us who argue for the decriminalizing of these substances continue to be voices crying in the wilderness, the “crisis” continues unabated. Why? To me it’s obvious that the wrong questions are being asked, the wrong approaches are being tried, approaches that inflict harm on a totally innocent group of people.

Why do people take opioids? The group that kills themselves take them to get high. They feel lousy most of the time so they take drugs to induce a state of euphoria. It doesn’t last long so soon they take some more. Then, they find that they need more to get the desired effect. They bounce around from doctor to doctor, a little script here a little script there, it all adds up. Some foolish people blame the doctors — they shouldn’t. Addicts become very slick when it comes to getting what they want. A history of kidney stones they never had will work. If they run out of painful symptoms, they will take to robbing pharmacies. They know they’re on a downward trek, one that might lead to jail — but it doesn’t matter, the drug is the thing, only the drug.


Some check into treatment — it’s the best thing when you’re strung out. When you come out, just a little bit will make you high as a kite. Sometimes treatment works. It feels healthy to be clean. I respect these people — but they’re not the innocent people I mentioned.

Who are the innocent? They are the ones who suffer. When I read an article on addiction and some dummy says — “I believe a doctor should write a prescription for no more than three pills; or another so-called professional says, “A six-day supply of opioids should be the max.” These people know nothing about chronic pain and what real suffering means. The terminal cancer patient, the elderly patient so racked with arthritic pain she can’t leave her wheelchair yet has to be wheeled in every six days to get her pain meds. An addict could take that many with one fell swoop — but who really needs them? I’d like to read a column in the Carroll County Times about those folks, the chronic pain people.

Don Haines


Balancing security and freedom

Unfortunately, “These are the times that try men's souls.”

In my way of looking at security in the County Office Building, the commissioners are correct in their approach to creating a more secure means of otherwise open access to our county government.

But should other offices be overlooked? Town government offices, for instance, are just as or even more vulnerable where sometimes only one employee is in the building. It's both employees and records.

On the other hand it seems silly to ask for IDs at fire company breakfasts and carnivals. When did you have to show an ID and sign in and out when you visited a patient at Carroll Hospital?

When you attended your house of worship? Entered the BWI passenger terminal? Entered the campuses of our two local institutions of higher learning? The mall? A public hearing?

A theater? The Ag Center?

Where will this end? Who knows?

What I do know, still, as of now, is that Carroll County laws must follow the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

It is all our responsibility not allow our own fear of risk to grow to such Chicken Little proportions that we drown out access, equality and American Democracy itself.

Our relinquishing this duty would surely make our country's founders spin in their graves, if they aren't already. And terrorists and authoritarian types would have won.


John D. Witiak

Union Bridge