Tell me where it hurts

Our ability to feel pain allows us to survive, it’s our response to damage. It’s also hard to quantitate, hard to specifically target and this cloudiness affects more aspects of our lives than we are aware of. According to The International Association for the Study of Pain, it is an:

unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage

Here’s how it works:

As is obvious, addiction to painkillers is no joke. According to the CDC:

Since 1999, the amount of prescription opioids sold in the U.S. nearly quadrupled, yet there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain that Americans report.  Deaths from prescription opioids—drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone—have also quadrupled since 1999.

For a brilliant account on the matter, check out Peter Grinspoon’s Free Refills: A Doctor Confronts his Addiction.  

Moreover, a recent report in Science alludes to the fact that exposure to opioids may lower pain tolerance on the long run, which is very bad news for people with chronic pain.

It is obvious that we would like to remove sources of pain away from anyone we love, and it has touched on key societal issues:

Abortion

Besides religious constraints, legalising abortion seems to be acceptable in cases of rape or incest, if the woman’s life is in danger, or if the foetus has medical problems. Some of the arguments also touch on the pain we might be inflicting on the foetus. Even though evidence points at no pain sensation before the third trimester, some states require anaesthesia administration to the foetus prior to the procedure, if not fight for its ban altogether. Poland has recently taken this fight to the streets.

Assisted Suicide

Canada recently announced legalising physician-assisted suicide to the incurably sick, joining a handful of other countries such as Switzerland, the Netherlands, Albania, Colombia and Japan.

[Signature drink by E.]

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