There is no question that living with chronic pain is difficult. Pain from a sudden injury is also tough to deal with, even short term.
And while opioids do serve a purpose, they also carry some very serious risks, including death from an unintentional overdose. In fact, more than 175,000 people have died from an opioid overdose since 1999.
To help fight the opioid addiction crisis, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new guidelines for prescribing these powerful medications. Low and slow is the name of the game. Doctors are being asked to prescribe lower doses of opioids for a shorter period of time in order to try and avoid the risks associated with long term use of pain medication.
There are things you can do to help yourself, and those you love, avoid getting addicted to opioids. Some simple steps include:
- Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking opioids
- Be honest about any history you have with drug or alcohol abuse
- Ask your doctor about other ways to manage your pain (physical therapy, for example)
- Do not mix medication with alcohol or other drugs
- Don’t take more than you were prescribed
- Don’t share your prescription with anyone else
Here is a list of some common opioids: