The 21st Show

Managing Chronic Pain With Opioids; Illinois Writer Nafissa Thompson-Spires

An arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen.

An arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen. AP Photo/Patrick Sison

Kate Rosenberg-Douglas has been managing her chronic back pain with prescription opioids for about a decade. Now she’s written an op-ed about her experience relying on opioids for pain while they’re being condemned for causing addiction. Plus, Nafissa Thompson-Spires is the author behind the novel Heads of the Colored People. Her short story collection showcases black life in a way not often written about. 

Kate Rosenberg-Douglas has been living with debilitating chronic pain for almost half of her life. 

Earlier this month, Kate penned an op-ed for the Chicago Tribune, where she's a reporter, about her experience treating her pain with opioids. She writes about how it’s easy to condemn opioids when you’re just thinking about addiction, but harder to dismiss them when you’re living with chronic pain. 

Kate was on the line to tell us more about her story.


Nafissa Thompson-Spires's debut collection of short stories, Heads of the Colored People, examines the modern Black experience in vignettes both poignant and witty. It was longlisted for the National Book Award in 2018 and won the 2019 Pen Open Book Award

Nafissa was an assistant professor of English at the University of Illinois, teaching creative writing. She'll move to New York to teach at Cornell University this fall.

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