As someone who has (comparatively mild) chronic pain, and who has had worse and been on the stronger stuff for it, I will once more point out the obvious: in general, these drugs are not addictive when they are taken for pain; it’s after the pain is gone and the patient has some left that the trouble can start: without pain to dull, a Vicodin (etc.) has pretty much the effect of a couple of highballs, a nice warm glow. (The stuff’ll stop you up worse than a block of government cheese, too, a side-effect rarely mentioned). It can be insidious.
Is it so dire a threat that making your great-Aunt with trigeminal neuralgia writhe in pain for two-three days is an okay price? As it turns out, neither the pharmacy nor the drug warriors much care. Caring isn’t their job.
Your mileage, of course, may vary. My own experience is much like hers, albeit at a much lower level, since I’ve never actually had to take the darn things for more than a week at a time. As for that rarely-mentioned side effect, well, there are times when that’s the result you want.