I Wasn’t Looking for Addiction, I Wanted Pain Relief

By Denise Pascal, Guest Columnist

Five botched back operations, a cracked pubic bone and fibromyalgia led me to OxyContin 20 years ago.

I stayed with my doctor for 15 of those years, voluntarily titrating my dosage down from an initial 280mg of OxyContin a day to only 40mg.

Last June, my doctor suddenly decided to take me off opioids. I was given 6 WEEKS to get off Oxy with nothing for my pain or the effects of rapid titration off opioids. 

I now have to fight for my prescription lidocaine patches (which insurance doesn’t cover), my nightly Ambien and two lousy valiums for panic attacks.

My body is completely confused. Everyday feels like I am moving through mud. The pain is indescribable. Everyday things I could do last year on Oxy are gone. I can’t grocery shop. I can’t walk my dog. If something falls on the floor, it stays there because I can’t bend from the knees due to osteoarthritis.

For ten months I have had diarrhea, my brain is totally confused, and even simple tasks like paying bills are overwhelming. THIS IS YOUR BRAIN NOT ON DRUGS.



My withdrawal cost me almost $5 thousand in out-of-pocket expenses from visits to random specialists to manage my symptoms, prescriptions, and people I have had to hire to do simple errands.

This is what happens to those of us left with no family who can’t function. I am over 62 and have been legally disabled since 42. I wasn’t looking for an addiction, I was looking for relief. We were caught in a net by people who abused a drug that gave us some semblance of normalcy.

Suicide enters my thoughts often now. I can’t stand the pain. And just maybe that was the desired end result of this false narrative. 


Denise Pascal lives in New Mexico.

Pain News Network invites other readers to share their stories with us. Send them to editor@painnewsnetwork.org.

The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Pain News Network.