Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Michigan Author Talks Prince and Stigmatizing Opioid Addiction

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Being in chronic pain is more common than many Americans may realize

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Although the autopsy results from Prince’s death have not yet been released, many stories have surfaced that the artist suffered from an addiction to prescription painkillers. 

Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson speaks with Lev Raphael, author and MSU creative writing professor, who recently wrote an article about Prince and opiate addiction in the Huffington Post.

He writes:



You may be so wild with pain you can imagine that killing yourself is the only solution.

That’s not a lifestyle. That’s not drug abuse.

That’s hell. And one in seven of us gets trapped there at some point in our lives.

[Prince] was not taking these drugs to get high, he was taking these drugs to deal with pain,” says Raphael.

Prince’s use of prescription medication is not that uncommon, says Raphael.

Anytime anybody dies, the first thing they say is they found prescription medication in her or his home, but a lot of us have prescription medication in our homes… If one out of every seven people in the country deals with chronic pain at some time in their lives, then this is a national issue.”

There’s so much shame in this culture about telling the truth about pain, because we’re supposed to be tough, we’re supposed to be able to take it,”  says Raphael. He says he has suffered from chronic pain, and that it’s a sort of disability. “We’re disabled but no one can see it…we’re the hidden disabled.”

Click the audio link above to hear the entire conversation.

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