“We know of no other medication routinely used for a nonfatal condition that kills patients so frequently. We hope to see fewer deaths from opiates. That’s the bottom line. These are really dangerous medications that carry the risk of addiction and death.”
~Dr. Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The over-prescription of opiate painkillers is a real problem in and around San Diego. Drug rehab programs are full of people who were legitimately prescribed medication for a chronic pain condition, became dependent, and then succumbed to the disease of addiction.
On March 15th of this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—the country’s top federal health agency—released their first-ever guidelines for the dispensation of opiate painkiller medications like OxyContin, fentanyl, and Vicodin.
In a direct response aimed at stemming the nation’s twenty-year increase in opiate pain pill prescription and use, the CDC is recommending that primary physicians make several changes to the manner in which they dispense medicine for pain, including:
- Opioids should NOT be “considered first-line or routine therapy for chronic pain”
- Non-medication therapy and non-opioid therapy are the preferred options
- Opioids should ONLY be prescribed when the benefits to “pain and function” outweigh the risks
- If they absolutely MUST be prescribed, opioids should be given in the smallest dose and shortest duration possible, and used in combination with non-opioid medications and exercise therapies.
- Non-opioid medications might include acetaminophen, NSAIDs, and some anticonvulsants and antidepressants.
- Exercise therapy might include resistance, aquatic, and aerobic options, can be further combined with weight loss, yoga, meditation, and massage.
- Initial prescriptions should be written for no more than two or three days, while other options are explored.
- When they must be written for longer terms, there should be a follow-up and risk/benefit re-evaluation at no more than the three month mark.
Massachusetts Senator Edward Markey had nothing but praise for the new guidelines, saying, “Just as we need rules of the road to prevent injury and death, we need strong guidelines that can help prevent abuse of and addiction to opioid painkillers.”
According to the CDC, more than 165,000 Americans died from opioid pain medication overdoses between 1999 and 2014. In 2013 alone, almost two million people in the US abused/were dependent upon prescription pain medications.
Even though they may have been prescribed by a doctor, the abuse of prescription pain pills can lead to drug addiction. San Diego residents who need help for opioid misuse, dependence, or addiction are urged to call the intake specialists at Lasting Recovery.
We use the latest evidence-based protocols to offer multi-modal treatment that can help you overcome this problem, so you can address your chronic pain safely and without risk of a deadly addiction.
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