The house was packed, and the photograph, taken from the rear of the room, showed a sea of heads similar to what you might see at a senior center lecture.
Such is the insidious nature of prescription drug abuse.
Anyone who has suffered through a night with an infected tooth knows that anything that will relieve the pain is a God-send, even if it simply knocks you out. For others, chronic back pain can be debilitating to the point of desperation.
The pill helps.
Then the pill helps again.
And then, if not regulated, there is no prerequisite pain, only an overwhelming need.
Forget the images of needle parlors, crack houses and filthy alleys. Think more along the lines of a well-kept, comfortable living room with pictures of family and friends, maybe even grandchildren. The dark specter of addiction lives there, too.
And then there are the other victims: those who were handed a pill, or two or three, at a party, a first step toward dependence.
Drugs that were formulated and produced to end suffering are tragicly the source of a new kind of suffering.
No, the room wasn't filled with people addicted to prescription drugs, but they could be. And, they may know of someone who has fallen victim to drug addiction. Whether it be oxycodone or valium, just because it is originally dispensed by a doctor's prescription doesn't mean it won't hurt you if taken outside the bounds of the prescription.
The fact that the house was packed for a forum on prescription drug abuse is a good sign.
The more people who are aware of the dangers, the more people who are aware of the tell-tale signs of prescription drug addiction, the better the chance the problem can be attacked successfully.