Your article (Lack of support for painkiller addicts ‘hiding epidemic’, 2 November) says half a million people in England have been taking opiate medication for more than three years. There seems to be an assumption that most people are prescribed painkillers for short-lived conditions but cannot stop taking them. I suggest another reason.
After years of chronic back pain I finally managed to get an x-ray, which showed spinal deterioration. I expected to discuss treatment. “Not necessary,” I was told. No doubt the pain was considered inevitable at my age. There are a range of conditions with similar issues of poor diagnoses and limited treatment. Many of us take painkillers for years because we are still in pain. We are not addicts. We are treating a debilitating condition when no other option is offered.
Aston Clinton, Buckinghamshire
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