The topic of drug addiction has been in the news lately, spurred by rising rates of addiction and deaths due to overdoses. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s recently-publicized story of the death of a friend through addiction brought the issue to the forefront this month. Shocking stories of normal families ruined by addiction impact too many Americans today.
At Stillman and Friedland, we have seen cases where patients become addicted to opiate-based painkillers, and therefore we continue to urge our clients to help themselves through therapies other than painkiller medications.
Many of these tragic overdose cases begin with an injury. Patients are offered opiate pain medications such as Percocet, Vicodin, and Oxycontin to alleviate pain post-injury or surgery. While these may be appropriate in the short term, they are not a long-term solution for persistent pain. In addition, the downside of these drugs is a strong counter-indication for their use, even in the short term. Women especially are more prone to addiction issues — a report out this year indicates that women’s addiction rates have risen over 400% over the last ten years.
Giving out prescriptions for opiates without tight criteria, limited-term application and close supervision is negligent — period.
Much has been said about the need for more treatment for addicts—and we agree. Heroin addiction is booming and something must be done. However, nearly 80% of heroin addicts today began as opiate prescription painkiller abusers, and switched to heroin because it was cheaper and accessible when their prescription ran out. Yes, opiate addicts must be helped, but more importantly, it is time to restrict the use of these painkillers to avoid creating addicts in the first place.
A crucial point we have made before is that painkillers are a “band aid” solution. Pain is merely a symptom of a dysfunction. Using opiates does not solve the underlying cause of the pain, and with skyrocketing addiction rates, painkillers clearly create more problems than they solve.
As advocates for our clients we urge you to take personal responsibility for your care. Be informed. Ask if the meds your doctor is prescribing are opiate-based, and if they are, say no! Use non-opiate pain meds if you need them. Explore coping strategies and ways to reduce the inflammation that causes pain. Persist in physical therapy, chiropractic care, and diet modification to reduce pain. Use stress-reducing activities to lessen pain, including walking, yoga, and relaxation techniques.
At Stillman and Friedland, we strive to be your best advocate for financial recovery, but your personal recovery is up to you. We strongly believe that patients must push back against the irresponsible use of opiate painkillers. A review of our past blog topics will hopefully help anyone in danger of drug addictions or dependency:
Stillman & Friedland — because we care…
* This blog entry should not be construed as medical advice or treatment for any specific condition. Only a licensed medical professional can properly diagnose and treat medical conditions. If you have any question regarding your health, please consult with your healthcare provider.