Thursday, October 08, 2015

Prescription painkillers--still a huge pain

People stealing them from medicine cabinets to get "high," people with chronic pain who can't get good control or stop them when they want to, constipation, trafficking. Opiods are a major drug problem in this country.

Just last week, I heard about a woman who got a knee replacement and is now having trouble stopping the pills.

More than a quarter of Americans have taken prescription--meaning opiod-based--painkillers in the past year. Seven in 10 have been given these in their lifetime.

In 2012, among people 25 to 64, drug overdose surpassed car crashes as the leading cause of death.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health did a national opinion study of 1,100 adults in the US (Addiction, Oct 7).

One upshot was that the public may be on the verge of wanting more controls, such as:

--Better medical training on controlling pain and treating addiction

--Requiring docs to make sure patients aren't getting multiple prescriptions from different doctors (doc shopping)

--Requiring pharmacists to check ID.

In the study, 58% of respondents ranked prescription drug abuse as serious or extremely serious--up there with guns and tobacco.

Many Americans--this showed--have had experience with these or known someone who has.

This applies to my family. My family member was asked repeatedly to sign pledges with the doctor that she would not get pills from another doctor, but did so anyway. She denied she had a problem but took addictive pills daily for back pain. She lied about it all.

Others try the internet for supplies or go to Mexico. Or Mexico comes to them--and they buy the stuff on the street.

One thing you need to know--you can take these pills (oxy, Percodan, Percocet) for real pain, say after an operation, and still get hooked. It takes an addictive gene or personality. But it can happen.

Other people take them for a healing period and stop as soon as possible because of nausea or constipation, no problem.

Still others need them for chronic pain--day in, day out.

Aren't drugs a blast?

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