Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Pain and How to "Kill" It

One of our nation's dirty little secrets is that drugs are destroying a chunk of Appalachia. Not heroin, not coke or crank or inhalants, but prescription pain-killers. OxyContin has the baddest rap, but Vicodin and methadone are heavy-hitters. Ironically, methadone is used to treat heroin addiction, but when a rash of fatal Oxy overdoses flared five years ago, the law clamped down on OxyContin prescribing and methadone became the favored opioid.

You can reduce the supply of a substance, but if you don't dwindle demand, addicts will always find another close substitute. One reason for the rise in OxyContin abuse was the reduction in opium supply when we waged war on terrorism in poppyland - Afghanistan.

Prescription drug abuse is not just a problem in Appalachia - statistics released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse Monitoring the Future survey found 9.2% of 12th graders used prescription painkillers in the past year.

My suggestion? Let's get down to the REAL causes of prescription drug abuse - a societal inability to accept, confront, and work through our collective pain. And, damn, isn't treatment a dirty word? Right up there with prevention...

On the writing front... Karl Iagnemma, one of my favorite scientist/writers released his first, critically-acclaimed novel The Expeditions, published by the Dial Press. I just ordered it from Amazon.

And speaking of Amazon... yesterday also was the separating of the wheat from the chaff in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. Guess I was the chaff, as my submission failed to make it to the semi-finalist round. Not that I thought it would - my manuscript is far better now then it was three months ago. It's been fun peeking in on the mayhem over there - check out the forums, then check out the submissions and review your favorites. I can't decide what's more entertaining - ABNA or American Idol.

My personal pain continued with a decidely dead laptop. The intensity of my discomfort increased when the mailbox yielded an agent rejection - my first. As such letters go, it was a 'great' rejection - three paragraphs, personalized, even a few notes about the writing and 'well-developed' voices. But a rejection nonetheless...

But as I skulked into the dark to self-medicate with a hefty dram of Glenlivet, at last... an acceptance. Three micro-flashes accepted into print. Yahoo!

Back to revising, back to writing, slow and steady - cuz you can't rush art.

Believe. Peace, Linda


  1. Hi Linda!

    Just poppin' in to see how you're doing. I'm sorry about the rejection, but, Wow! Your first rejection a long, personalized note! Sounds like your sitting on a winner....

    I've always been averse to pain pills, I think because half my family seemed to be addicted and shared their "meds" among each other like sticks of chewing gum. I also think you hit it on the mark about facing pain; dealing with it. There are plenty of alternative methods better for health. Unfortunately, many insurance companies don't cover homeopathics.

    You take care, dear!

    Cindy aka gooblink

  2. Props for persevering through the acceptances, rejections, and continuing to do what you love. THAT is no small thing. Keep going Linda.

  3. First, congrats on the acceptances. I hope you'll tell us when and where.

    Second, I hope you're feeling better. It's a nasty bug going round, isn't it?

    Third,I watched Karl the other morning on Fox25. Sounds fascinating, the book. He, as well.

    And last. I'm sorry to hear your novel wasn't chosen, but, perhaps, that will turn out to be a very good thing. Any rejection stings, but things are, well, a little messy over at Amazon, no? So maybe it WAS for the best. :)

  4. I agree with Kelly!

    And CONGRATS on your micro-flashes. Definitely keep us posted!!!

    Interesting thoughts on pain, and our society's inability to accept and work through it.

    I also think it speaks VOLUMES about the world we live in that sooooooo many people are in so much physical or psychic pain that they then can't accept or work through.

    I know for myself, I am extremely sensitive. I am not into drugs or alcohol (have done both in moderation, and only pot in the drug category), but sometimes it ummm, helps. I remember one time I was going through a really painful thing with a guy, and my roommate and I smoked a lot of pot that week and I thought to myself, they should legalize it for heartache too.

    And a lot of people I know ho have gotten into substance abouse, alcoholism, are also really sensitive people, some who'd never show it, but if you get to know them, you see it. I mean this stuff is epidemic in our culture, so what does it say not only that we don't know how to handle pain, and that so many people are in so much pain in the first place?


  5. Hey Cindy, thanks for wandering by - I've enjoyed your new blog endeavor, and will pop by again soon (with my laptop back, everything and anything is possible. Who cares if I can't breathe?).

    Sarah, thanks for the encouragement. You are right - there are more people who say 'I have a great idea for a book' then there are folks who say 'I've written a book.' And I do love this writing thang...

    Twiz, I know, rejections are part of the business. Unfortunately, too great a part. But I'mg thrilled for your auspicious start to the New Year. I discovered karl on a Nova Scienc show interviewing him about his 'split brain' passions of science and writing. I emailed him immediately because SO much of what he said resonated deep in me. And yes, I am now exquisitely glad to NOT be a part of the ABNA - some of those reviews are vicious, undeservedly so. A lot of spite thrown around there... glad you're up and about. I'm still running a low grade and coughing. Worst of all, my mind is a pseudofed-fueled mushball.

    Chrys, we all treat our pain the best way we know how, and usually aspirin doesn't come close. Interesting how we, as a society, fail to plumb the depths of our dark emotions. Although I'm not Jewish, when someone I love dies, I adopt my own form of sitting shiva. if you don't mourn when the spriti moves you, it WILL come back to bit you.

    Peace, friends...

  6. LInda, you are absolutely right. Somehow we have become convinced that we no longer have to confront our problems but simply take a pill to not handle the problem but hide the symptoms.

    As the director of Novus Medical Detox, I daily see the ravages caused by prescription drug addiction created by doctors prescribing it to their patients and then the patients either continuing to obtain it or purchasing these drugs on the internet or the street. Probably the worst of these drugs is OxyContin--legal heroin.

    Pain is real. I have had to deal with it much of my life first from polio and then from two surgeries. However, there are alternatives to painkillers and they must be tried first. Let's not treat the symptoms but the cause.

    Prescription drug addiction is an epidemic and we must do everything we can to stop it before it overwhelms us. Education is a must. Detox and rehab are the only solutions for people who are addicted and have decided that they must change their lives.

    Steve Hayes