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“After the surgery the pain was just excruciating,” McHann recalls. “I was unable to function.” His spinal problems turned out to be more complicated and hard to treat. And he developed other health problems, too. He had several more surgical procedures for his back, but he got no relief. He says on days when his pain is through the roof, “I can’t open my eyes because I know if I blink it’s going to hurt.”

His doctor prescribed methadone, a powerful opioid. He stayed on the drug for seven years.

“It helped immensely, it brought my pain down to a 5 or 6 [on a 10 point scale],” McHann says. “I could function fairly well throughout the day. I could go to church every weekend, I could help my wife shop, I could help around the house a little bit.”

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