Responsible opioid users struggle to get the meds they need
REDDING, Calif. - Redding local, Steve Harrasser is fighting Fibromyalgia that causes him severe pain. He used to be very active. He was a mountain biker, racketball player, fisherman, and hiker. He ran a civil engineering and surveying business. With the pain of his disease and in his 50's, he now can't do any of those things anymore.
"It's like being beat up with a baseball bat," Harrasser said. "Every morning it's like Groundhog's Day. Everyday it starts over again. I wouldn't wish this pain even on my dogs."
He said if he didn't have his opioid medications for the pain, he would be in a nursing home and need around-the-clock care. He said it's often a struggle to get his medication. He recalls being treated like a drug addict several times at the pharmacy.
He said the addicts on the street doing opioid's recreationally are doing the most damage to the people who truly need it.
"Don't mess with our medications. For the ones who are needing it because you are putting our lives in danger now over somebody that doesn't really care about their lives by abusing it," he said.
He said he doesn't think lowering the doses doctors prescribe will fix the opioid crisis.
"You can take everything away out of the pharmacies or whatever and those people will still get what they need," he said. "I guarantee it, because the street people will find it where there's a will there's a way."
He said he is very responsible with his medications and doesn't like being treated otherwise.
"I take a certain amount I've taken for seven years, I haven't increased it at all. I try to decrease it if I can. I cut back when I'm not so much in pain."
Nancy Brown is another Redding resident that struggles with pain. She suffers from the repercussions of a truck accident and diabetes. She said the pain is all she thinks about.
When she has trouble getting her medications, she ends up spending more money.
"Sometimes, I end up in the emergency room," Brown said. "I can't tolerate the pain and what they are giving me is not enough so I do go to the hospital and have to have injections."
She said she's able to be active because of the medications she takes. "I've been in pain for 20 years and it isn't getting any better than taking the medicine. It helps me to go outside and I go for walks and I'm able to do these 17 steps that if I wasn't on my medication there would be no way I would leave my home."