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Chronic pain sufferers plead for a nuanced approach to opioids
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Will Michele Jacobovitz get out of bed today?
That depends on how many pain killers she has left in her monthly prescription, which sometimes she’s forced to ration. Some mornings are harder than others.

Jacobovitz, 56, has suffered from chronic pain since a 1987 car accident. The Pasco County resident has had 73 surgeries since, from her spine to her neck to her ankles, and she has the scars across her body to prove it. In December, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

As such, she says it’s impossible to function without popping a highly addictive pain killer with Acetaminophen and Oxycodone components, in the morning. Without it, she says, there are days she can’t get up at all. Or get to the bathroom in time when she has to go. It can be humiliating.

Jacobovitz says she’s not addicted to pain killers. But she’s absolutely dependent on them.

"It comes down to quality of life," she said. "I’m not using these drugs to get high. I’m using them so I can have some kind of life. So I can get out of bed. They don’t take my pain away. But they mask it so I can function."


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