In “Minnesota is serious about opioid abuse,” the Dec. 19 editorial, I saw the word “understand” only once. People in extreme pain need understanding and compassion — and help. Sympathy does nothing for the pain.

It’s nice to get cards, letters and phone calls expressing sympathy for one’s condition. But what you want is understanding. Does anyone understand your sharp stabbing pain, the frustration and anger that follow? I’m sure there is someone out there who has lost a job because of sharp stabbing pain, unrelenting, pounding with every beat of his/her heart. Try to understand the humiliation, frustration and anger of not being able to provide for one’s family.

In the night, you are alone with your pain. Sleep won’t come. Fatigue, anger, frustration come. You scream in your gut. Does anyone understand? You isolate yourself from friends and family. No one wants to be around a chronic complainer. Pain is all you know.

Stop attacking the doctors and drug companies. Doctors go into their profession to try and relieve pain and suffering. I’m sure there are groups of people out there dedicated to helping relieve pain.

So very much money is spent after the fact. How about spending some of that money on groups trying to help before the fact? Prevention.

There are a lot of government entitlements. How about subsidizing surgery and hospital bills? Maybe there is someone out there who can’t afford surgery. Maybe no insurance, just screaming in their gut. Won’t someone please understand?

A while back, the Star Tribune had an article headlined “Limiting opioids is creating new pain (Dec. 10).” It featured a man named Jerry Larson.

Mr. Larson: I understand your pain, anger and frustration. Not everyone wants to be on drugs. The pain messes with your mind.

You read in the Bible: Ask and you shall receive. You pray to God, and you don’t receive. Now you turn to painkiller drugs. The drugs become your salvation. Only thing is, the drugs do as much harm as good. The drug now messes with your mind. Your body craves it. Your personality changes. You aren’t you anymore.

Everyone may not agree with what I have been writing. Good! Stand up and say, “I understand!” Or, “I am trying to understand.” Editors, I challenge you to do a series on prevention efforts before someone turns to drugs. Eliminate the demand for drugs, and the market for drugs will be greatly reduced.

Go, Jennifer Kane (“Epidemic is the symptom, not the disease,” Sept. 11, 2017).


Jim Plekkenpol lives in Shakopee.