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Chronic pain is a widely spread health issue in the United States, and some would consider it the flame that has sparked the heroin/painkiller addiction epidemic.

 In News, Opinion

Even the most observant person fails to see the pain others walk around with every day. Chronic pain is a widely spread health issue in the United States, and some would consider it the flame that has sparked the heroin/painkiller addiction epidemic. I have suffered with chronic pain since 2004, as a result of a on-the job injury. My physician followed common practice and prescribed opioid pain killers and many other pharmaceutical medications. After many years of arduous physical therapy and various treatments, I partially recovered. My physician continued to prescribe large amounts of painkillers, but I soon found a safer and more effective treatment with the cannabis plant. At first I reduced my need for opioid painkillers  and soon I eliminated my need for pharmaceutical drugs completely.

Many years later I still live with the invisible drain on life, which is chronic pain. Chronic pain is an unpredictable beast, it will attack some days and incapacitate, while other days I am near 100%. But still, chronic pain affects my life everyday. Despite the pain I feel, I continue to live an active and productive life. Even though you cannot see the pain, I can always feel it.

Rather than give up and let this pain control me, I practice an integrated therapy of yoga, meditation and healthy living. This enables me to live something of a normal life even with chronic pain.

I was sent to federal prison for operating a state legal medical marijuana facility. Even in prison, my chronic pain attacks me. In here I am not able to treat my pain with cannabis, and unfortunately my terms for release prohibit me from using cannabis at all. I continue to do physical therapy, yoga and meditation. I keep fit and exercise often. I do my best to live healthy in prison. Unfortunately, I am using pharmaceutical medication to take the edge off this pain I live with. When we come to prison our illness and injuries do not disappear, however they are not always visible.

I have seen the miracle healing attributes of the cannabis plant. I watched as thousands of patients reduced their needs for pharmaceutical drugs. The war on drugs and large pharmaceutical companies have insured that the most harmful side effect of using cannabis as medicine is incarceration.

It is disgusting that the most dangerous aspect of using cannabis is going to prison. The federal prison system currently houses over 12,000 inmates for marijuana crimes. Even as recently as this year citizens have been sentenced to federal prison for operating state legal medical marijuana organizations. Tragically there are still many federal prisoners serving life without the possibility of parole, for non-violent marijuana crimes. I have been a prisoner in this prison industrial complex for four years. Soon I will be released; I will be back in society. When you look at me, you will not see my chronic pain. You will not see the years I have spent in prison. Like anyone with chronic pain and like any prisoner, I strive for a normal life. As a free man I will continue to exercise and stay healthy and do my best. Thank you for your continued interest in my case and your efforts to end the incarceration of nonviolent drug offenders. For more information about Chris Williams go to: http://www.freechriswilliams.com/

By Chris Williams

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