I promise

addiction aid bottle capsule

The spoon is hot, sterile, bent to give me the best angle. The needle is sharp – it’s new, straight from the packaging, not something I get every day.

You don’t have to do this.

I shake off that inner critic, that Jiminy Cricket that always chokes me with guilt. It wasn’t my fault I had back pain in 2005 and was overprescribed. It couldn’t help my kids left as soon as they turned 18. I didn’t mean for this to happen.

I promised this was my last hit. I’d take this dose and, just for one day, everything would feel better.


This was written for the July 25th Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction prompt, “Just for one day.” I took the perspective of an accidental opioid addict and tried to show a small peek of the complexity of this modern crisis.

For more information on the opioid crisis and some of the reasons for its sudden arrival on the scene, I suggest reading this New England Journal of Medicine article. While the journal is peer-reviewed, I think the article is pretty accessible and gives a bunch of good data. As a pharma engineer, this is the stuff that peeves me, because tons of people who work at legitimate companies are ruined by shady practices from the top.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

28 thoughts on “I promise

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      Do you mean the companies are/aren’t liable? Because I think they’re definitely at least *partially* liable for shady business practices. It really mirrors the tactics of big tobacco, where you get people addicted then pretend it’s not a problem. Even so, there’s some crappy doctors out there, then there were people who abused their prescriptions. This complicates issues because it makes legitimate victims seem less believable.

  1. crimsonprose says:

    Your micro-fiction touched a nerve. Way back in 2003 I was prescribed dihydrocodeine for a back problem, wrongly diagnosed as arthritis. The usual treatment was ibrufen. But NHS’s computer system disallows the over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug for asthma suffers, even though less than 10% with asthma have a reaction to it. None of this I knew at the time.
    Neither did I know how addictive dihydrocodeine was. The withdrawals on coming off it after moderate to long term use (I came off it in 2014) are reportedly equal to coming off heroin. I can’t comment on that. All I’ll say is … nah, never no more. And my thanks to my doctor, and our wonderful NHS advisory computer for getting me hooked.

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      Since I’m in the pharma field, I get to see how most normal workers appreciate having a job that contributes to human health – but a lot of upper-management or even sales team decisions can throw everything out of whack.

  2. Jules says:

    I do think it is a crime to over prescribe. Not quite in the same vain – I have an older neighbor who had to be hospitalized for three days. He doesn’t use oxygen at home, no meds for his diabetes, yet was forced to have oxygen and nurses put on compression socks that they didn’t take off for three days – Even after he asked. (I wasn’t home at the time or I would have raised hell). The socks were not put on correctly and bent more than one toe nail back (causing a slight infection too) so that the nails had to be removed by his foot doc. So in the end he will have had two foot doc appointments that were caused by the hospital stay – I told him to complain about that, but I doubt he will. And when I found out he didn’t say anything to the doctor who was taking care of his issue at the hospital – I told him that he needed to speak up. For surely the doctor would/should have done something about the socks and his feet.

    However that being said… No one knows how to live with pain these days and Doctors afraid to be sued because they haven’t prescribed something and capitulate more often than not. It is only those who refuse to use the pain killers as prescribe that have even half a chance of getting off them. Some people refuse to take more than regular over the counter pain meds. But those are few and far between.

    (Getting down from my soap box now…. very good post by the way).

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      Thank you for the comment and praise! I tend to agree with you that overprescribing is a major issue, and people really do need to learn more about what’s happening to their bodies when they take medicine or accept a procedure. Even the best intentions of nurses and doctors can sometimes be wrong, and no lawsuit can ever replace your health.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Sorry to hear of your neighbor’s plight, Jules. If this is your veteran neighbor, it really frosts me because we’ve also encountered such stupid and rigid VA “you-must” rules, including — at one point — the prescription of opioids. He’s fortunate to have an advocate in you!

  3. Charli Mills says:

    This is literary art in action — taking a social crisis and giving it human skin the reader can slip into and experience. I count my blessings that back surgeries worked to relieve pain and that my doctor did not prescribe opioids for pain. Instead, I did water therapy and acupuncture. I know of many veterans who were prescribed opioids because — if you think about it — they are a population dealing with chronic pain from impact injuries and war wounds. Once the government flipped its stance, instead of working with those veterans, addicted or not, they now have “addict” labeled in their records. However, moving forward, as of June of this year (2019) the VA is taking a more holistic approach such as what I had. It will take time to work out the bureaucratic kinks such as getting therapists on board and getting them paid. I appreciate how you use your professional insights and turn it into art. Thanks for the journal link, too!

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      No problem! It is always so interesting to see your perspective with the VA. With such a small percentage of the population participating as soldiers/sailors/pilots etc., it’s easy to just look at our cushy civilian lives and forget. I hadn’t thought about how the opioid crisis must have hit the veteran community hard, but you bring up such good points! Thanks for your comment and insight.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.