Published by The Wichita Eagle

I wrote a column last fall about the opioid epidemic and how it was becoming a bigger problem in Kansas. The point was that many sides – lawmakers, insurance companies, physicians, treatment centers – needed to reach consensus on how to best attack the problem of people abusing the drugs.

A reader reminded me I forgot about a segment of the story: the patients who legitimately need opioids to battle chronic pain and have productive lives.

“It’s real easy to say, ‘Crack down on opioids,’ but at what cost to those of us who actually need them?” said James, a 66-year-old Wichita businessman. “There are some of us who absolutely have to have these drugs or we can be in bed all day in great pain and utterly unproductive and on disability.