Wouldn't it be ironic if the assertion that Uncle Rushbo had become a drug addled moron because of his addiction to OxyContin was a misperception based on a much loved Republican misstatement of the truth about painkillers?
Republicans are against the use of painkiller pills by the working poor. They cavalierly note that they don't want to condone something that can lead to addiction. The word "addiction" will evoke images of drug users lounging about in a section of San Francisco that became synonymous with the term "flower power." The use of the term "drug" will convey images of heroin users with dirty needles. Pain builds character.
At that point, it is easy for the Republicans to persuade the public that only stern measures provided by red-blooded patriotic American politicians will protect the kiddies on the school playground from the fiends who want to pedal the "one moment of ecstasy; a lifetime of regret" philosophy of instant gratification camouflaged as "painkillers."
There's just one flaw in this picture. Some time ago, a usually reliable source told this columnist that when a person who is in pain is given a dose of painkiller, he or she doesn't get "high," but benefits from the cessation of the pain and nothing else. That aspect of the pain killer story isn't well disseminated.
A person who is not in pain and takes certain substances will get high. Most readers know that. Painkillers act like a "road block" for nerves transmitting pain, and provide two very different results if the recipient is or is not in pain. That obscure bit of medical knowledge indicates that the mainstream media isn't delivering an accurate picture of the situation.
If the pain was sever and if it were recurring, it is easy to see that one might feel more comfortable receiving the "road block" substance and want it whenever the hurt begins? Isn't it like the guiding principle for approving waterboarding? The "I'll do anything to make this stop!" is a powerful motivation for answering an interrogator's questions. Similarly a pill that can make pain stop holds a strong attraction for someone who is in considerable pain. It's not a high they are desperately seeking.