If I did not have access to pain meds, I would not be able to work and I would likely commit suicide. I have tried everything: physical therapy, chiropractic, heat, ice, acupuncture, massage, NSAIDs, epidural injections, radiofrequency ablation, surgery, TENS units, yoga, t’ai chi, even an implanted spinal cord stimulator. That thing worked only until I had a lumber fusion; then the battery pack was more painful than other parts of my body so I had to have it removed. Ultimately caused more trouble than it resolved. My sister, who lives in a small town, cannot get pain meds from her primary doc because he’s afraid of the DEA. So she now has to travel 100 miles every month to a big city, just to get a paper prescription. Neither of us is on a high dose of meds: just Vicodin. We’ve both been stable on these meds for a long time, with an occasional bump for things like travel. I used to be on a lot more meds but tapered myself down to the lowest possible dose on which I can function (work). I used to get my meds from a pain doc, who counted my pills every month and reviewed prescribing information. She also drug tested me every month. I finally fired her after she got furious that I had gone to the ER (I had pneumonia) and they gave me a few pain pills because I separated ribs coughing. She thought I was drug-seeking. I had missed three weeks of work from that illness. Now, fortunately, my PCP prescribes my pain meds. She drug tests me once a year because she has to, and I am on a pain contract but she’s not all freaked out about it. She doesn’t question my judgment; she knows I will stay on the lowest possible dose. But I am really tired of being treated like a dope fiend at the pharmacy. I even once had a pharmacy that routinely shorted my narcotic pain meds, knowing I couldn’t complain without sounding like an addict. I am also fortunate to live in a state where they will treat post-surgical pain fairly aggressively, at least for 10-14 days post-op. It’s also a right-to-die state. I know it may come to that some day but I hope it’s a very long time, assuming I can get adequate treatment.