Published by The Hill

When I went into the office one Saturday afternoon in August 1994, I planned to spend a few hours finishing a brief that was due in federal court Monday morning.

At the time, I was an attorney for the justice department. After 30 minutes of working at my desk, my back started to burn; it felt as if acid were eating my spine. In rapid succession, my muscles seized and threw me from my chair. I landed on the floor, stunned, as my body seared with pain.

What I didn’t know then was that the pain would persist, and that I would be unable to sit, stand, or walk unassisted for almost twenty years. Nor could I have imagined that I would take opioids.

Opioids fill the news with a steady stream of stories of lives lost from overdose and abuse. What we rarely hear is the other side — opioids are also the most powerful pain medication we have. For me, they were life-restoring.