For those of us knee-deep in the debate over ethical use of opioids during an epidemic, it is all too easy to draw battle lines and become either 'pro-opioid' or 'anti-opioid'. Historically, too, the attitudes within medicine and the general population have tended to swing back and forth between these two extremes. However, both extremes are unjustifiable, and so at this moment in history, we must try to stop swinging the opioid pendulum. What we need, instead, is a nuanced attitude toward opioids that acknowledges both their potential for benefit and their very real risks. In this paper, I make the case for this view by citing the powerful essays included in this symposium. In short, I suggest that were we to take any individual's experience with opioids as authoritative, we might run the risk of swinging that pendulum to one of the extremes. But by listening to the complex stories of everyone, we are more likely, I think, to recognize the need for care and compassion that necessitates a more subtle look at responsible opioid use.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 225-231
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.