chronic pain

Writing the Diversion Story

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People often ask me where did I get the idea for my book.  In the case of Diversion, it was more about the "ideas" than any one single event.
I first heard the term "diversion" from a member of the Justice Department's DEA Diversion Control Division speaking at a Killer Nashville conference. I believe it was the 2015 conference. When I walked out of her presentation, I knew Diversion was going to be my next book.

While Diversion started with my conference attendance, it was shaped by events and conditions over the next two years as I wrote the story. During that time, concern over the misuse of powerful opioid pain medication grew to the point that it became a national health crisis.  New England teenagers were stealing storm drains to get money to buy their Percocet. The list of syndromes and mental disorders that are explanations for addiction had gotten longer. The government was paying for our drugs, and doctors became more liberal about prescribing them. There was a growing army of doctors and pharmacists whose loyalty was to the dollar rather than the Hippocratic oath. All of this was occurring in an environment where technology increasingly exposed us--removing privacy as an option. And terrorist plots continued to pop-up, desensitizing us, no matter how terrible, to their ever-present occurrence. That is the world I write about in Diversion.

I'm a cancer survivor, and I deal with chronic pain. Three major surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation saved my life, but they also caused the long-term consequences of living with pain. I've benefited from these powerful opioid drugs like millions of others who do so without abusing them. I have experienced the close attention and supervision of responsible doctors and their medical teams caring for patients who need and benefit from prescribed opioids. Based on my personal experience, the problem is not the drugs.  The real problem is the diversion of them from their intended medical use to recreational purposes.

People with a destructive addiction are searching to fill some void in their lives.  And, as illustrated in Diversion, they are as likely to become addicted to alcohol as they are to opioids. In writing Diversion, I set out to show the corrupting impact of opioid misuse on human behavior.  At the same time, I wanted to make clear that there is a difference between medical dependence and destructive addiction.  I also wanted to show the difference between pill mills doling out prescriptions for cash and responsible doctors and pain management clinics treating patients dealing with chronic pain. While it was important to show the comorbidity between mental disorders and opioid addiction, I wanted to also convey that even the extraordinary can fall victim to these drugs. Finally, I wanted to recognize the national scope of the opioid drug problem, but at the same time emphasize the impact on the community. To draw that connection between national scope and local impact, I open the story in new England, quickly move it to the south, to Florida, and then let the two continental extremes, north and south, meet in “small town” Middle Tennessee.  

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For signed copies of books by Tom Collins, go to the TomCollinsAuthor.com. Unsigned print and eBook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. For Amazon go to amazon.com/author/tomcollins. For an audio edition of The Claret Murders go to http://amzn.com/B00IV5ZJEI. eBook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBook’s Store and Smashwords.com. For the newest adventure novel on Amazon go to Diversion: a Mark Rollins Adventure.
Published by I-65 North, Inc.