What are we doing about the opioid epidemic?

If you’ve just come out of surgery or are suffering from chronic pain, you probably appreciate medicine that numbs it, like opioids. Unfortunately, research shows that even medical use of opioids comes with a cost. Each year, millions of Americans become dependent on these addictive drugs, and the number of opioid deaths has quadrupled since the early 2000s.

In fact, a new report by the CDC shows just how short the timespan is for a patient’s addiction. If a doctor prescribes an opioid medication for longer than five days, the patient has a much greater chance of becoming dependent on it.

If patients get their hands on a second dose, one out of seven will form an addiction. In the event that patients must take a long-acting opioid, about 25% will still be using the drug one year later. Unfortunately, many will also still need the painkiller after three years.

Interestingly enough, the sales of opioids have risen at the same rate that people are dying from prescription drug overdose. In other words, both opioid sales and opioid deaths have quadrupled from 2000 to 2014. Needless to say, opioid addiction in America is certainly an epidemic.

Changing the Treatment

To combat this addiction, doctors are starting to avoid the prescriptions overall. The CDC recommends that doctors should not prescribe the drugs for chronic pain, and many doctors are deepening their knowledge of the prescription doses. For some cases, doctors are even opting for IV treatments of less harmful medicines, such as Tylenol.

In New Jersey, Gov. Chris…

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