Published by WMUR-9 – Manchester, NH

Much of the focus in the state’s opioid crisis has been on those struggling with addiction, but many people say they need the drugs to manage pain, and doctors maintain that prescription opioids can be used safely.

One New Hampshire man, who asked not to be named, said he was working in construction in 1988 when he was injured while pouring a retaining wall.

“We were pouring it with a coal chute,” he said. “It was 16 feet long, and I went to lift it up and step up, and when I did, I ruptured two discs in my back.”

The injury severed the man’s nerves to his right leg, leaving minimal feeling. After he went through several unsuccessful surgeries, he was put on painkillers that he said didn’t work.

“I was in bed for almost 22 years. and I would get up to do the minimal daily activities — bathroom and get a drink of water — and then it was back into bed,” he said. “I could barely move.”

His pain is now being managed with opioids such as methadone and oxycodone at Elliot Hospital in Manchester. He said he can now walk with a cane.