Another way to look at this solution is just to not look at it, or let the status remain "quo."
The most popular way of dealing with this problem is to simply ignore it. It's the path of least resistance because most people who have a chronic pain condition slowly fade out from the lives they used to have. They stop going out with friends. Many lose their jobs and are no longer able to work at all doing anything because employers are no required to accommodate conditions that are completely intermittent and unpredictable in their intensity and duration, nor should they be. However, one consequence is that those with chronic pain soon become a forgotten people and no one remembers them who do not go out of their way to maintain those bonds.
That, of course, is hard to do because if you do care, you feel helpless when you cannot do anything to comfort that individual and you may even think that you are harming the situation to visit and remind your friend of the life that they used to have. While there is certainly some of that, it wouldn't be inappropriate to have that conversation directly with your friend. Just ask the friend directly; they'll be glad you recognized the need and cared enough to ask.
Other than the incident of a person who overdoses (and apparently was some kind of angel right up until that incident), the media and society don't seem to care much about those with chronic pain. The issue of opioids and who is taking them doesn't seem to matter until someone gives in to their addiction and takes too much.
You won't, however, often see a pain victim overdose on opioids. We can't afford to risk that. If we are at that point of being genuinely suicidal, most will do something far more abrupt and more likely to be successful than taking pills. Pain victims also live in fear that any act of straying from their prescribed regimen might put them at risk for a doctor cutting them off from more medication, making suicide the only option left.
Sadly, depending on how bad the pain is, some chronic pain victims can't reach that euphoric state that makes opioids so tempting for others. Without even considering issues involving tolerance build-up, chronic pain victims first have to relieve their pain before any pleasure can be felt. The amount of medication needed to achieve that would be enough to cause serious problems and slowing respiration.
I hope that this series has been informative for you thus far. My next few posts should be more regular now that the school year is ending... not that don't work over the summer months. Even after 20 years, I still spend many days over the summer preparing things and planning lessons for the coming year.
As the blog continues, I will present my thoughts on a real solution for the so-called opioid epidemic. My solution is not complicated and it is a genuine solution. My solution is one that doesn't blame or hurt those already dealing with a legitimate pain disorder and and also one that acts prohibitively against abuse from those seeking to get high leading to the complications of overdose.
Next post "The Real Solution, Part 1: Remove the Temptation," will be published on or about May 28, 2017.