As we reported in a Stillman and Friedland blog post last year, addiction to opioid pain medication is increasing, and so are the resultant deaths from overdoses. There are now more U.S. deaths from overdoses than from car accidents. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that in 2014 there were 14,000 deaths due to overdoses, quadruple the rate since 1999. That number includes 1,263 Tennesseans, meaning that 9% of all U.S. drug overdoses occur in Tennessee, a shocking statistic. Up to 1 in 4 patients who receive opioid pain meds such as OxyContin, Oxycodone, Opana, Vicodin, and others*, develop addictions.
If you are recovering from an injury, you should know that the CDC defines best physician practices for prescribing opioids. As a patient, it is in your best interest to understand these guidelines and minimize your exposure to these drugs.
Here are a few key points:
- Opioids are for short-term use, and not been demonstrated to be effective in the long term.
- If you have to use opioids in the aftermath of an accident, start with the lowest dose possible, avoid time-release doses, and taper off use.
- If you can, restrict their use to the time you spend in the hospital—not taking them home means family members, especially teens, will not have access to them.
- If you have problematic side effects with opioids, discontinue use.
- Use safer, non-opioid pain relief in place of opioids. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin or Nuprin) has the additional benefit of reducing inflammation, a source of pain. Natural preparations such as turmeric can also ease inflammation, as well as a healing diet.
To understand the far-ranging societal effects of opioid use, watch this short video about the youngest victims:
A list of many opioid drugs includes:
- Codeine (only available in generic form)
- Fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora)
- Hydrocodone (Hysingla ER, Zohydro ER)
- Hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
- Methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
- Morphine (Astramorph, Avinza, Kadian, MS Contin, Ora-Morph SR)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin, Oxecta, Roxicodone)
- Oxycodone and Acetaminophen (Percocet, Endocet, Roxicet)
- Oxycodone and Naloxone (Targiniq ER)
From Stillman and Friedland … because we care about you.