For 16 years, prescription opioids ruled Jo Pagel’s life. From 2001 to 2017, she battled cancerous tumors in her breasts, lymph nodes and uterus while fighting an addiction to OxyContin.
“I didn’t know a thing about it,” Pagel, 63, said of the drug, which was prescribed to her in 2001 to quell pain from her cancer treatments, surgeries and neuropathy in her hands and feet. “I just knew I wanted to beat my cancer. Whatever my doctors told me I needed to do to beat my cancer, that’s what I was going to do.”